Ortega Cigar Company – Cubao No. 3
As I mentioned last week, Foxtoberfest is quickly approaching (find more information on the event here). A golf tournament will kick off the 2013 festivities on October 18th. The main event will be the following day at Fox Cigar Bar in Gilbert, AZ. Fifteen manufacturers will be in attendance, with a couple of them bringing in custom blends just for the event. Eddie Ortega of Ortega Cigar Company will be releasing “The Fox”, a Foxtoberfest exclusive cigar. While I do not have any specifics on the blend, I do know it will be a lancero. Eddie showed off The Fox on Facebook earlier this week. You can see the photo here. To say I am looking forward to The Fox is an understatement. But since that is still a week away, I decided to go with an available lancero from Ortega Cigar Company, the Cubao No. 3.
William Cooper of Cigar Coop posted a “Cigar Preview” of the Cubao back in June 2013 and has this to say about the cigar:
Cubao, was a brand that was a part of EO Brands. The line was introduced back in 2008. When Ortega and his partner Erik Espinosa dissolved EO Brands, Ortega retained the rights to the Cubao line.
In terms of packaging, Ortega Premium Cigars is replacing what they term the “scrounge” look of the boxes with a sleeker and cleaner look. The Cubao will now be offered in boxes of 10 as opposed to the boxes of 20 it used to be packaged in. The frontmarks have been consolidated down to six vitolas as opposed to seven (the No. 6 is not returning).
In the press release Ortega said: “I’ve been meaning to re-introduce Cubao for a while now, just had my hands full launching and promoting the Serie D which was the first brand under the Ortega name this past year, I think now is the right time to re-introduce the Cubao.”
While Ortega has announced the return of the Sumatra blend, there has been no word if or when the company will re-release the Maduro blend.
Cubao is produced in Nicaragua at My Father Cigars and is available in six vitolas: No. 1: (6 ½ by 49), No. 2 ( 6 by 52)Torpedo), No. 3 6 ½ by 38, No. 4 (4 ½ by 50), No. 5 (6 by 50), and No. 7 (6 by 42).
The Casas Fumando crew has reviewed several cigars from Ortega Cigar Company. You can locate the reviews here:
- El Conejito Tubo (Spec’s Exclusive)
- Serie “D” Maduro
- Wild Bunch Set #1 – Big Bad John, Iron Mike and Island Jim
- Wild Bunch Set #2 – Tony the Boss, Dandy McCoy, and Honest Abe
- Wild Bunch Set #3 – Wild Bill, Fast Eddie, and Gearhead Gary
Samples Provided by Eddie Ortega
Vitola: No. 3 Lancero
Size: 6 ½ by 38
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Smoke Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes
The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper is light to medium brown in color. The band does not pop against the wrapper due to the similar color. Small and medium sized veins cover the entire wrapper leaf. Light oils can be seen as the light reflects off the wrapper, but to the touch the wrapper feels somewhat dry. I am getting a lot of barnyard, pungent aromas off the wrapper, while the foot gives off notes of cedar, cardboard, and a faint pepper spice.
The triple, pigtail cap has been applied neatly and it is actually difficult to see where the cap begins. As I clipped the cap, a half inch crack formed. The cold draw is just about perfect so I do not believe it will impact the experience. The cold draw has a bit of richness to it, along with some woodsy notes.
This is one of those cigars you do not want to judge by its cover. While the wrapper color may trick you into thinking it will be a mild to medium smoke, the first puff will prove you wrong. With each small puff, my mouth fills with thick, flavorful, spicy smoke. A spice tingle is felt on my palate for a considerable amount of time. The profile is very meaty….maybe that’s the right word. It reminds me of the flavor you get from a barbecue sauce that caramelizes while grilling and there are cedar, woodsy notes hiding in the background. Being such a small ring gauge, the ash is excellent thus far, holding to three-fourths of an inch and the burn line is right on. Flavors are full with the strength being a solid medium.
Pulling into the second third, I am experiencing a lot of variations in the intensity of the pepper notes. The pepper is right in my face on one draw and, the next, it is toned down allowing some woodsy and nutty notes to show off. Warm, rich cedar notes are bringing a wonderful balance to the cigar. Also, an enjoyable, unique bitter citrus flavor, like orange peel, has entered the mix. The finish is very clean even with the lingering spice. The number of puffs I have taken can easily be counted on the layered ash with every other layer going from white to grey. Halfway through the cigar, a lot of sweetness has arrived, which I was not expecting but really enjoying.
At the one hour mark, I am making my way into the last third of the Ortega Cubao No. 3 Lancero. All of the flavors are meshing beautifully with one another. The pepper has toned down, the rich cedar has found its footing, and a sweetness is now rounding out the profile. Losing myself in the cigar, I almost burned right into the band. But don’t fear, I caught it just in time. Putting a close to the cigar, the Cubao is sneaking up into the medium/full range in the strength department.
As I have mentioned in the past, lanceros are one of my favorite vitolas. So right off the bat, this cigar jumped up a few points on my nonexistent rating system. However, draw issues and a flaky ash are common downfalls with such a small ring gauge. So I very pleased to report that this cigar did not present any of those familiar problems. Actually, the draw on every Cubao Lancero I have smoked (a total of four) have been exceptional producing a copious amount of smoke. The flavors surprised me with their fullness, but I was not overwhelmed by strength. If you are looking for an effortless cigar that delivers full, complex flavors, you can stop your search. Eddie Ortega made the right choice bringing Cubao back to market and the world will be a better place because of it.