The Tortuga brand has, in the past, been one of those cigars that I would see on the shelves and ignore for one reason or another one. It might have been the packaging, the light shade of the wrapper, or even the name itself that made me never consider trying it out. However, tonight, I decided I wanted to see if my preconceived thoughts of the Tortuga 215 Reserva Cedro No. 5 were right. So I went ahead and took the risk to find out.
Cigar Review: Tortuga 215 Reserva Cedro No.5
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: Tabacalera Aguilar
Ring Gauge: 48
Vitola: Robusto Extra
Looking at the cigar closely, it has a glossy band embossed with highlights of red and gold with a solid background hue of aged yellow reminiscent of an old books worn page. Further down this hand made cigar is a thin sheet of cedar with a short red fabric band on the foot, which slid off cleanly, revealing a light sand colored wrapper underneath.
The aromas from the foot were that of a typical cedar-wrapped cigar; cedar wood with hints of pepper and tobacco. I observed a very uniform looking wrapper with minimal veins and well-hidden seams. As for the head, it is finished in traditional Cuban fashion with three evenly placed caps making for a precise cut leaving no pieces dangling or unraveling.
The draw is in the average range of resistance. Not too tight, not too loose. However, I’m not usually surprised or confused when it comes to tasting a cigar before it’s lit, but this Tortuga had me guessing left and right as to what I was tasting. After about thirty seconds, all I could think about was as if a York Peppermint Patty melted in the pocket of a leather jacket. Doesn’t that sound strangely enticing? It was.
Whilst toasting the foot of the cigar with my triple-jet Vertigo Glock torch lighter, the aromas swirled past my nose. It was a rather brilliant fragrance with lively notes of vanilla and subtle pine leaving me wondering who snuck the letter ‘b’ into the word “subtle”. Moving on.
Getting into this Tortuga, I could already tell my previous thoughts about this cigar were far off track. Notes of roasted coffee and paprika excited my palate, finishing with a buttery texture that persisted well towards the next draw. Inching my way down, the flavors began to change into a forward tasting sweet cedar laced with cocoa finishing with citrus and driftwood undertones. The cigar up through this point is solidly at a medium body and medium strength. While advancing towards the final third, the burn line began to develop a wave but corrected itself after about half an inch or so. Deeper flavors began to appear in the smoke. Black tea, pepper, kindling wood and leather bring the body of the cigar up a notch into the medium-plus range while maintaining its medium strength.
It is a very bad habit of mine to overlook certain things that do not immediately stand out in the appearance department. It’s something I’m working on to be more of a risk taker when it comes to picking out a cigar to smoke. And this cigar certainly helped me work on that. I was pleased with the Tortuga 215 Reserva Cedro No. 5. Some positive traits I found in it were quality construction and a well-rounded flavor profile. Even though I don’t always smoke mild or medium bodied cigars, this is one I will revisit in the future. I enjoyed what it had to offer when it came to flavors. For a cigar in the $8 dollar price range, its complexity surprised me leaving little downtime. If there is a certain cigar that you seem to always pass by in the shop, take the jump and give it a shot. You’ll never know if you’re missing out on what could be your next favorite smoke.
- This particular size comes in boxes of 48 cigars, an unusual number unless we’re talking Opus X.
- Tabacalera Aguilar has been previously used by Victor Vitale, creator of Tortuga, to make the Ortsac 1962.
- Victor Vitale is also known for distributing brands such as La Mezcla Cubana.