Country of origin: Honduras
Ring gauge: 52
Wrapper: Nicaraguan maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan; Panamanian
Rating: ★★★★ (very good)
What a surprising find...
I'm in a local retailer doing what I do...scrutinizing the glass cabinet hygrometer readings, chastising the saleswoman for failing to keep one of the cabinet doors closed, etc. - just being a real pest. And there it was sitting in the top corner - the Omar Ortez Originals Honduran Maduro, which I had never seen before. Of all of the premium cigars in the Altadis USA portfolio, I have smoked them all, with the exception of this. Those who know me, know that I have an affinity for maduro/oscuro figurados (torpedos, pyramids, belicosos, perfectos). So I was immediately drawn to this silky torpedo with the label surrounding the foot...I couldn't resist the urge.
This torpedo has a smooth dark chocolate appearing wrapper, which was moderately veiny and somewhat toothy. The smell was quite bold and intense, which mentally prepared me for a cigar that just may slap me in the face.
Warning: This cigar is deceitful - it was everything that I did NOT expect! Despite the powerful odor of the wrapper, the pre-light draw was unexpectedly sweet and buttery with hints of cocoa...completely unexpected given its pungency. Another utter surprise was this harsh peppery spiciness experienced during the first draw upon lighting, which literally tasted like someone sprinkled coarse black pepper across my tongue and the back of my throat. I have never grimaced during the normally ritualistically pleasurable lighting of my cigars, but GODDAMN. Even this veteran maduro smoker was astonished. But this deceitful Omar Ortez provided yet another surprise, as after the initial 2 draws, the flavor completely changed! (Note to my fellow novice and inexperienced cigar enthusiasts: Please do not let this initial draw deter you; akin to ripping a band-aid off of your hairy arm, it will only hurt for a second!) The cigar immediately loses the peppery spiciness and gives way to sweet liquer-like flavor with hints of coffee (reminiscent of cafe Bustelo), cedar, and licorice. The body was medium to full with the robust flavors described that remained consistent throughout the entire smoke. This is a perfect after-meal smoke - bad idea to smoke this on an empty stomach.
The draw is easy throughout - each providing a mouthful of thick smoke to savor. The heavy tobacco aroma is quite pleasing. What was even more pleasing was the burn, which was even throughout the smoke. This well-constructed torpedo created a uniform ash that was so firm, out of curiosity, I decided not to break it and waited to see how long it would be before it broke off and dropped into my lap (wearing some old cargo pants, I didn't care, I just had to know). Close to half of the cigar burned before the ash dropped! I frequently do my cigar tastings during long drives home; and if it wasn't for the slightly depressed manhole that I rode over, I believe that ash may have remained firm for more than half of the smoke. In addition, the ash was so firm that I could pick it up from my lap in one piece...unbelievable!
I truly enjoyed this Omar Ortez and smoked it almost to nothingness, as the nub was still providing the solid flavor that started after the initial kick in the mouth - it's a keeper!
Omar Ortez Originals, named after the cigar master himself, are crafted by Altadis USA. The Originals are true puros of Nicaraguan filler, binder, and wrapper, available as a robusto, toro, and belicoso. The Honduran Maduros are available as a torpedo, short torpedo, robusto grande, and a toro. The Puro Maduros are available as a robusto, toro, and short belicoso. Check out the website: www.omarortez.com.