It was great having the opportunity to meet Eddie Ortega in person at the IPCPR 2014 in Las Vegas. Eddie said the goal of the cigar was to come out with something more medium bodied as opposed to the more full bodied Serie D Maduro line. He also moved away from the box press due to some feedback.
This was one of those cigars that was immediately high on the list for group review, especially after some of us got the opportunity to enjoy it prior to the formal write up.
I’ll preface by saying I’m a huge fan of Eddie’s Serie D Maduros. Personally I felt they were an outstanding stick that wasn’t getting enough attention as they should.
The nose on the Ortega Serie D Black is prominently cedar, sweet tobacco with some dry moss undertones.
On the cold draw I was picking up light black pepper and more of the sweetness from the nosing.
The first third started out very evenly balanced with some light earth at the back of my tongue post draw. The pepper I picked up from the cold draw is here, and it starts out light and builds to just below a medium intensity as I proceeded. The retrohale reveals cedar, and again very smooth with no harsh pepper or burn at all. The earth has a thick mouth feel to it by the time I read the middle third.
In the second third the pepper hits peak levels at medium intensity, but does not overpower any of the other flavors. Some wet cedar and cashews are introduced here, and again the flavor profile is just exquisitely balanced for the entire third.
The last third continues the trend so far of the flavors being exceptionally balanced. The dominant flavors here are a wood and earth combination to finish. I smoked this right down to the nub.
Eddie Ortega has another clear winner on his hands here. This cigar is going to have broad appeal as it splits the light bodied smokers and the heavy bodied smokers. I knew I was ready for a box split of these at around the 15 minute mark.
The Ortega Serie D Black is a very clean looking cigar. The wrapper is light brown with minimal veins, smooth seams, a solid triple cap and a great looking black and gold band. The prelight aroma from the wrapper has a natural tobacco scent, with a deep, slight sweetness. The cold draw shows flavors of cedar, tobacco and a little bit of black pepper.
The first third of the Serie D Black starts off with a blast of flavors. There is a deep, sweet honey flavor that is dominating so far. Behind that is a tobacco and cedar note, followed by a spicy, pepper retrohale. The burn line is dead on and the ash is a tight, very light grey.
The second third becomes very woody and the mouth feel becomes much drier. The flavors are now a dry wood with a very faint honey sweetness and a stronger spice on the retrohale. Towards the end of this third the wood turns to a smokey oak, and the honey note becomes more pronounced. Still burning smooth.
The final third started to worry me, because I started to get a harsh note. But after a good purge, the flavors popped amazingly. There is a lot more bite in the final third, but still underlined by the honey and sweet tobacco flavors. I definitely had to smoke the final third slowly, to keep the flavors in line, but the flavors were worth the effort.
First off, I want to say the Ortega Black was one of the cigars that stood out to me at the show. So much so, I made it a point to mention it on our recap, and go back and ask Eddy for samples to review. I am sick as a dog, so my review is a bit short winded.
The first third the draw was light and rich, with a nice spice on the retro. Heavy notes of roasted nuts hit the draw, with hints of sugar.
The second third kept the sugar, but developed a cream soda note on the exhale as well that rolled off the tongue.
The final third was still very creamy and nutty, with nice complexity.
Hands down, Eddie just makes good smokes, not sure how else to describe his stuff. Take my money already damnit, and expect a full review in the future when my palate and head recover. I will go ahead and predict this will make our collective list this year. A no brainer box split for me, and I will probably end up going deep like I did with the Series D Maduro.