It was only a few short months ago that Eddie Ortega brought his well-received Ortega Serie D Maduro to market, and it’s clear he has no plans to rest on his laurels. In a matter of weeks cigar shops around the country will be receiving the first shipments of the new Serie D Natural, well in advance of the upcoming IPCPR trade show. (If he keeps up this pace, I’m going to have to start calling him Pepin.) And as luck would have it I was able to acquire enough pre-release samples for a review.
There’s not a lot of new ground to cover with the release of the Serie D Natural, so we’ll keep this short and get right into the review. It features the same filler and binder as the Maduro (tobaccos from Esteli and Jalapa), as well as the same box-pressed format, but distinguishes itself with an Ecuadoran Habano Rosado wrapper. When they touch down, the Serie D Natural will be available in 10-count and 20-count boxes in 6 vitolas, #6 (4 1/2 x 48), #7 (5 x 46), #8 (5 1/2 x 50), #12 (5 x 52), #10 (6 x 52) and #20 (6 x 60).
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention that Ortega Cigars advertises with us. But since I enjoy giving him a hard time, I figure that evens things out a bit. I’ll let you be the judge. On we go.
Size: 5 1/2 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano Rosado
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Source: Samples provided by Buckhead Cigar
Price: MSRP $6.90
I always appreciate it when a manufacturer helps the consumer out by clearly distinguishing between natural and maduro cigar lines. Because sometimes looking at the wrapper just isn’t enough. In the case of the Serie D Natural, the relative lightness of the Ecuadoran Habano Rosado would be enough to tell it apart from the Maduro, but Eddie made identification idiot proof by replacing the band’s green background with a gold one. And then there’s the “SER D NO. 8 NAT” printed on the band. Line AND size, no mysteries here.
While the Serie D Natural looks sharp from a distance, it has a distinctly rustic appearance on closer inspection. The veins are fine, but wrapper has its share darker markings, with some spots that look wrinkled by the press. Generally the cigars were sound, though I found a small hole and a crack just above the band on one stick.
The cigars were firmer than many box-pressed sticks I’ve smoked, and felt consistent. It had a hay and barnyard aroma, with a touch of aromatic sweetness, and a nutty molasses cold taste.
The burn was generally very good, especially considering the cigars I smoked for this review were pre-release samples that spent a lot of time in transit, and very little time recovering from it. As always, I picked the cigar for the tower of burn at random, and it this case, it was the least behaved of the bunch, in terms of unevenness, touch-ups and loose ash. However, the always critical draw was right on across the board. Aside from a little unevenness at times, the others burned flawlessly.
The Serie D Natural had a creamy, somewhat aromatic beginning with a touch of cedar, but didn’t hold back on the pronounced, dense almond flavor that would hold a major role throughout the smoke. Early on there was also a rich chocolate that accompanied it, but that lessened as the cigar made a transition into a more syrupy, amaretto-ish almond and light creamy cedar.
Around the beginning of the second third there were a few puffs of distinct sweet amaretto that were absolutely marvelous. (No, I’ve never tasted amaretto in a cigar before either.) Almond with a light cedar influence continued, supported by creamy coffee and touches of chocolate. The amaretto returned a few times before the beginning of the final third.
As the Serie D Natural neared it’s conclusion, the profile became a little savory. The rich almond continued in its starting role, but the cedar that accompanied it for much of the journey became a little more prominent. Chocolate and creamy coffee lingered into the finish and beyond.
The price is great, and will undoubtedly contribute the cigar’s popularity.
I’m on the fence. Not as to whether or not I love the cigar (I do), but whether or not I like the Serie D Natural more than its Maduro predecessor. I think I might, but it’s a tough call, so I’m not going to commit to that until I smoke more of them after they’re released. And I definitely will. One thing I will commit to is buying a box as soon as they become available. It’s a no-brainer. The Serie D Natural is delicious, well-made and reasonably priced. The only real decision to make is 10-count or 20. I’d definitely recommend checking it out.
Liked It: Beautiful. Box-worthy.
Buy It Again: Absolutely
Recommend It: Absolutely
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.