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Staff Reviews

Quorum Shade Staff Review

Grant T. Thompson's picture

Grant T.

Yep, yard ‘gar season is in full swing and that means reviewing budget-friendly bundles, like the Quorum Shade blend I’m smoking today, rises to the top of my priority list. I’m tearing open a fresh batch of 6-by-50 Toros for the sole purpose of telling you whether you should reserve some space in your coolerdor for Quorum Shade or not.

Years back, I offered my full account of the original Quorum blend, which is a basic brand blended and manufactured by the folks at J.C. Newman who also own a variety of other inexpensive brands, including Brick House, Cuesta Rey, and La Unica, as well as the high-end Diamond Crown line. Although Quorum cigars are handmade in Estelí, Nicaragua, J.C. Newman also owns and operates one of the oldest cigar factories in America. The Newman family has been in the cigar business for generations, making a steady stable of affordable cigars in addition to partnering with Carlito Fuente who produces their top-shelf blends.

The nice thing about the Quorum Shade I’m firing up is that it’s blended from one hundred percent long-filler tobaccos. A golden-blond Ecuador Connecticut wrapper leaf surrounds a binder grown in Sumatra and a consistent core of Nicaraguan long-fillers. After unsheathing a Toro from its cellophane and focusing my attention on its appearance and construction, lovely aromas of nuts and toast emerge while the cigar exhibits excellent density from head to foot.

The expertly applied cap slips off with a quick snip from my double-guillotine cutter. Quorum Shade opens with an elegant cold draw with notes of cashew and cocoa powder followed by hints of honey wheat and pepper. My first impressions are positive. The Toro offers a creamy, effortless draw the second I start toasting the foot with my torch.

Tasting notes of baking spices and pepper leave a subtle aftertaste on my palate with every fresh draw I expel. I pick up hints of oak, grass, and almond as well. Because I’m schooled in value cigars, especially bundles, I’m well acquainted with the quality J.C. Newman is known for. Quorum Shade is mild and mellow but also more complex than I may have anticipated.

After twenty minutes, the burn meanders for a moment but self-corrects as the Toro unfolds with overall nutty flavor. A luscious undercurrent of cereal and cedar provides a touch of heft to the profile as I cross into the second half of the cigar. Keep in mind, a 20-count bundle of Quorum Shade Toros goes for around forty-seven bucks, or $2.34 per cigar. That’s a tough price to beat if you want to smoke a good cigar while you’re trimming the hedges or slapping a coat of paint on your picket fence. 

I don’t mind the taste and aroma of the original Quorum recipe, which is finished in an oily Sumatra wrapper leaf, but I definitely prefer Quorum Shade because of its softer, nuttier character. After forty-five minutes of smoking, I’ve got the band off so I can fully consume the nub. The final stretch gets a touch chalky but stops short of becoming bitter or acidic. The aroma is pleasant and doesn’t linger, and I’m nearing the hour mark before the Toro gracefully expires in my cavernous Stinky ashtray.

Make no mistake, Quorum Shade is not a fancy brand you’ll pass out to your future father-in-law or as a thank you cigar to your boss, but when you’re in search of a casual cigar you can randomly fire up in the afternoon, you’re getting a reliable smoke with decent taste that won’t break the bank. 

Until next time, long ashes to you! 


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