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Cigar Review: Tortuga 215 Reserva Tributo by Victor Vitale

The Tortuga 215 Reserva is a Nicaraguan puro from cigar distributor The Cigar Agency’s former owner, Victor Vitale, who recently sold the company in order to concentrate on his new cigar company, Legacy Brands. At this year’s IPCPR trade show Vitale introduced two new cigar lines, the Tortuga, and Ora Vivo Armand Assante, which he describes as “ultra premium boutique cigars.” For today’s review I decided to cut into a sample of the Tortuga 215 Reserva (6×56.)

The cigar had a very nice appearance with a beautiful, smooth, and oily rich brown wrapper. It looked like Vitale had spared no expense on presentation- this stick was decked out in two upscale gold, cream, and red bands and a red ribbon at the foot for a very convincing “expensive cigar” look. Construction was nice and clean with a soft box press, which had the effect of making the 56 ring gauge appear smaller than it actually was. Pre-light draws produced a taste of black pepper and rich tobacco.

The smoke began with a taste of creamy earth, molasses, and relaxed black pepper with a rich tobacco zing on the finish. The draw was nice and easy and the burn was off to a great start. After burning through the first inch of the cigar the pepper had disappeared to be replaced by smooth notes of cream and bread accompanied by a vague baking-type spice. Strength was on the high side of medium and a neat grey ash was slowly stacking up.

Flavors were very laid-back and mild in the 2nd third, giving off a clean and pretty straightforward taste of earth through tons of thick, creamy smoke. Eventually I was able to detect background notes of leather and bread, but for the most part this portion was just super-smooth and easygoing.

Finally I reached the point in the smoke where it was necessary to remove the bands in order to continue, which is when I realized that they were not two bands, but one ornate band designed to give the appearance of two separate bands. Nice touch. I was hoping for some real flavor transition here, but instead the body ramped up a bit and the flavor became slightly fuller and heavier while remaining well-balanced and consistent.

The Tortuga 215 Reserva was a very relaxing smoke with a “classic” kind of appeal. Burn and draw were excellent on this stick, as was the smoke production. This definitely came across as a “gentleman’s cigar,” which is what I think Mr. Vitale was going for, therefore I award it a polite and reserved B+ grade. This one will look nice next to the Padrons, Fuentes, and Montecristos in your humidor .