The Ortega Serie D is the debut line from Eddie Ortega’s (formerly of EO brands) new independent venture, Ortega Cigars. The Serie D is handmade by Don Pepin at My Father factory in Esteli, and is comprised of super-premium fillers from both the Jalapa Valley and Esteli regions of Nicaragua beneath a Nicaraguan binder, and topped off by a Mexican San Andres maduro wrapper. On what was turning out to be a particularly beautiful day in our neck of the woods, I procured a sample of the #12 (5×52) from our massive walk-in humidor to take out for a test-smoke.
The smooth, dark, and oily San Andres wrapper on this stick looked pretty appetizing. After snipping the solid triple cap, pre-light flavors were faint, but I did pick up light notes of cocoa, and some dried fruit sweetness through a wide-open cold draw. It was time to break out the trusty torch.
This cigar opened up with an awesome, dry taste of cocoa, graham, and a nice, throat-tingling amount of peppery spice. The burn was off to an even start, and the draw was more than ample, just as I had suspected. As I puffed on, the flavor became more deep and concentrated, with just a slight sweetness coming through between the heavier tasting notes.
In the second 3rd, the smoke became creamier, and a pronounced woodiness came to the front of the profile along with a dried fruit characteristic similar to what I tasted on the pre-light. The spiciness was still there during this portion, though it was more on the finish at this point. The burn-line had a slight lean to it here, but I barely noticed. I was too busy digging the layered flavors coming through this stogie, and had I not been smoking for review, I doubt I would have noticed at all.
As I reached the final third of the Serie D, two things happened: 1.-The smoke became surprisingly smooth, especially for a last 3rd, and 2. – I was suddenly hit with a wave of intense nicotine buzz that forced me to set the stick down for a couple minutes and take a breather. Up until this point I had been smoking away without realizing the strength of the cigar. After a break, I proceeded to enjoy this stick (which was back to burning razor-straight) until it had achieved full nub status.
I really enjoyed reviewing the Ortega Serie D #12. It grabbed my attention from the first puff, and held it until the last. This stick was smooth, super-rich, well-balanced, damn tasty, and in terms of performance, it left very little to be desired. I would smoke this one again in a heartbeat, and today it earned a grade of A. Eddie has stated that he intends for the Serie D to be a blend that is here to stay, and based on my experience today, I have a feeling that it won’t be going anywhere for quite some time.
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