Eddie Ortega owner of Ortega Cigars is going to be on CigarChat today. Eddie has been on CigarChat several times and we plan on talking about his newest cigars, Wild Bunch. If you want to hear more about the six of the twelve blends which have been released check out this post.
I am a big fan of what Eddie did at EO Brands and his work on his own. I always tell everyone that Eddie is a pioneer for using Mexican tobacco in the Serie D, which is my jam.
Below is taken from Eddie’s website about the Wild Bunch. “This is a project I've been meaning to do for a while and now just seemed the right time. During my time in the cigar industry, I've come to know quite a few out of the ordinary characters, to say the least. This series is based on some of the more illustrated characters in the group. The Ortega Wild Bunch series will launch on January 2013 and will consist of 12 characters in total with one being released each month, only 500 boxes of each will be made and each will be completely different in shape and blend from the previous.”
I am going to smoke the Honest Abe for my review who is made after Abe who owns the Smoke Inn cigar empire. I am not reviewing but smoked the Dandy McCoy and really enjoyed it. I am ready to get down to business.
Ortega Cigars Wild Bunch Honest Abe
Size: 6.5 x 52
Wrapper: No Clue
Beverage: Sweet Tea
Cigars Smoked for this Review: One
Smoking Time: 90 Minutes
Price Point: TBD I would assume around $10
Cigar Provided By: Eddie Ortega himself
Construction: It is decent. There are a lot of veins on the wrapper and there are some spots that the wrapperseems to be not securely seated against the binder. Also, there is a small crack at the foot but I will blame that on UPS. I really like the band on the Honest Abe. The picture of Abe is pretty amusing and the black/red on the wrapper provided a nice contrast. The back of the band has the words “Rupo Salvaje” which means “The Wild Bunch” which I think is a nice touch, although I can’t read Spanish.
Flavor: On the cold draw I can already tell there is a going to be a ton of pepper in the Honest Abe. I can feel the spice already up in my nose without even lighting the Honest Abe. On the first few puffs this is confirmed when I am hit in the face with a ton of pepper and spice. Between the pepper spice there is a grassy note that really comes through as well. For someone who doesn’t smoke a ton of cigars the first bit of the Honest Abe might catch you off guard. I typically don’t get a head rush from cigars anymore but after a few puffs the hard day at work seemed to melt away into a blissful nicotine buzz.
The spice lets up after a few puffs and the Honest Abe moves you into a very dense woody flavor. Into the second third there is an odd sweetness that comes into the mix. It mixes well with the wood flavor but it was a strange contrast to go from wood to sweet. The Honest Abe after the sweetness hit me really mellowed out and became less about power. The wood lowered in strength and the sweetness did as well. I would compare it to going 80 miles an hour and then quickly braking and going 40 mph.
After the midway point in the Honest Abe the spice kicks back up and begins to build the more that I smoke. The closer that I approach the end of the Honest Abe I get a more pronounced nutty flavor that mixes with the spice. The end of the Honest Abe was a full spice attack which I expected but wasn't ready for. I hadn't eaten much all day and by the end I was hurting.
Strength: I would say this is full flavored and bodied without question. The fact I was reeling from the nicotine hit says something about the cigar to me. It was still a great tasting cigar and didn’t overpower me with strength.
Balance: I have had better balanced cigars. It went from crazy full flavor and then when to more mellow notes in hurry. I will say that the Honest Abe is the first cigar I have seen this dramatic shift in strength happen so quickly. Hell, I felt like I got whip lash.
Aroma: One thing I noticed about the Honest Abe is that the smoke is very dry in my mouth. Most cigars will make me work up some saliva but here the smoke is almost like a desert that sucks all the moisture out of my mouth. Honestly, it is kinda hard to describe. I was able to pull a ton of air through the cigar which allowed me to boom some smoke which helped me repel these crazy mosquitoes I have at my new house.
Complexity: The Honest Abe was complex and showed me that it isn't a one trick pony. Overall it was very bold in a lot of the flavors but showed a softer side, before ramping back up into a full assault on my palate.
Finish: It was long, strong, and was down to get the friction on.
Final Thoughts: I would say the Honest Abe isn't for the mild cigar smokers of the world. I did a number on me, which is very rare. I would say it was good, but wasn't great. I believe it lacked a bit of nuance which could have taken it up a peg in my book.