Quai d'Orsay No. 50 Cigar Review

Quai d'Orsay No. 50 Cigar Review

by Nick Hendry

Many nations have been fortunate enough to have Cuban cigars rolled especially for them thanks to the Regional Edition programme, but only the French have had an entire brand created just for them.  Created in 1973 at the specific request of the French distributors, and intended to pair with champagne, Quai d’Orsay is amongst the lightest cigars to be found coming out of Havana.  In 2017 the brand was massively overhauled, with all but one vitola being discontinued and 2 new ones brought in to replace them.  The smallest of the 3 regular production versions available now is the Quai d’Orsay No. 50.

As the name would suggest, the No. 50 is presented in a 50 ring gauge by 4 3/8 inches – the same vitola as the incredibly popular Partagas D5.  The shiny gold band glints in the light and gives an extra lustre to the stick, which will be enjoyed for around 35-40 minutes.

The gold cigar band of the Quai d'Orsay No. 50

Construction: 10/10

  • A beautiful claro wrapper, light gold in colour and with a lovely shine, surrounded a generous fill with no hard spots.

Draw: 10/10

  • Flawless, from start to finish. As soon as the cigar was burning the smoke flowed freely, and never were there any moments this changed.

Combustion: 8/10

  • The occasional deviation from straight, but nothing to worry too much about. Never required a touch-up with the lighter.

The Quai d'Orsay No. 50 Cuban cigar

Ash: 5/5

  • A very light grey, almost whist, and clung to the foot of the cigar firmly. Dense and compact when it finally fell to the ashtray.

Smoke: 5/5

  • Generous, fragrant and flavoursome. Exactly what we look for.

Flavour: 22/25

  • The fact that this cigar is light in body and strength does not mean it is lacking in flavour. Delicious notes coat the tastebuds, but without overpowering.

Overall: 32/35

  • My natural preference is for lighter-strength cigars, and I have been in love with Quai d’Orsay since finding a box of Secretos Cubanos in a shop on the Côte d'Azur in 2017. This particular example only served to strengthen that feeling.  The No. 50 is a fine cigar, particularly well-suited to a morning coffee.

The Quai d'Orsay No 50 Cuban cigar

Final Score: 92/100

  • This cigar began, as all Q50 I have sampled before have begun, with a wonderfully creamy texture.  The smooth vanilla notes were tempered with a touch of coffee, and it is for this reason I most enjoy this stick in the mornings.  Alongside a latte or cappuccino, it is the perfect gentle start to a day of smoking.  As it moved into the middle third the cream lightened and the coffee noted took over, with the slightest hint of toffee sweetness as an aftertaste.  The final third brought with it a surprising intensity, notes of warmer caramel and an unexpected touch of black pepper on the tip of the tongue.  Demand for these cigars, combined with the supply issues all Cuban brands have faced in the last 18 months, have made them fairly hard to come by – this stick was an example of why.  I shall be stocking up as much as possible while I can.

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