5 Mar 2012
As we reported in early February, Eddie Ortega, co-founder of EO Brands along with Erik Espinosa, announced he was leaving EO to start his own outfit called Ortega Cigars. The news came 20 months after Rocky Patel bought a 50% share in EO Brands.
The blends in the EO Brands portfolio—including 601, Cubao, Murcielago, and Mi Barrio—are all made at Don Pepin Garcia’s My Father Cigars factory in Nicaragua. So it comes as no surprise that the first line from the Ortega Cigar Company is also made by Pepin at My Father Cigars. Called “Serie D,” the blend boasts a Mexican maduro leaf from the San Andreas Valley surrounding Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. “We are using some fillers from Jalapa and Estelí that are crazy good and help create a profile that is full-bodied with lots of spice, flavor, and aroma,” Ortega told us via email. “I know the consumer will love this one.”
Serie D is available in five sizes that are just starting to hit select retailers: No. 6 (4.5 x 48), No. 7 (5 x 46), No. 8 (5.5 x 50), No. 10 (6 x 52), and No. 12 (5 x 52). The No. 12 is a dark, oily stick with a firm feel, a slight box press, and pre-light notes of sweet cocoa. It retails for about $7 apiece.
The initial taste is very dry with a burning wood characteristic. It is not nearly as sweet or as chocolaty as you might expect. Instead, the defining trait of the Serie D is its chalky, mouth-coating texture—one that isn’t dissimilar to the Murcielago. Another unique attribute is a sour mustiness on the finish. Throughout the syrupy smoke, flavors of dark chocolate, black coffee, and fig come and go. But the chalky, woodsy core remains consistent from light to nub.
The dark, rich aromas of the cigar are just as enjoyable as the taste. I smoked the No. 12 in my den, allowing the thick smoke to hang heavy in the air. This added to the experience, as did the excellent physical properties. While Eddie Ortega has acknowledged some draw inconsistencies in the first shipment of these cigars, I found no issues in the samples I smoked for this review.
Distribution of Ortega Cigars is done in-house and, for now, is not widespread. Ortega says he is in talks with distributors to bring his cigars to more areas of the country. If you find the Serie D at a shop near you, be sure to pick up a few sticks to try for yourself. The No. 12 is priced appropriately and worthy of four stogies out of five.
[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]
photo credit: Stogie Guys