|Ortega HeavyDuty 6 x 60|
The Ortega HeavyDuty recently became the fifth brand to be released by Ortega Premium Cigars. This brand is meant to provide an affordable premium hand-rolled cigar to satisfy the ever growing demand of the big ring gauge cigar enthusiast. With the exception of the Serie D Maduro/Natural No. 20 and a couple of entries in the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013, there has not been a lot of cigars in Ortega portfolio to meet the large ring gauge segment of the cigar market. With the HeavyDuty, the line is being launched in three sizes with a 60 ring gauge – and three sizes with a 70 ring gauge. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the HeavyDuty. I found this to be an enjoyable smoke that easily hits the mark in providing a high quality large ring gauge smoke – at an affordable price.
For the Ortega HeavyDuty, Ortega turns to the Abe Flores’ PDR Cigars factory to produce this cigar. Last year when Ortega introduced the Ortega Mini, it marked the first time the company went outside My Father Cigars in Nicaragua to produce a cigar as that line is also made at PDR.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Ortega HeavyDuty and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The HeavyDuty features a four country blend including an Ecuadorian Habano Wrapper:
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler & Binder: Nicaraguan, Dominican, Pennsylvania (U.S.A.)
There are three sizes of the 60 ring gauge and three sizes of the 70 ring gauge – appropriately titled HeavyDuty 60 and HeavyDuty 70. These cigars are all priced under $7.00. The cigars are available in 20 count bundles. They are also available in 60 count trays that consist of the three sizes of a particular ring gauge.
|60 count tray of Ortega HeavyDuty|
560: 5 x 60 (SRP $5.70)
660: 6 x 60 (SRP $5.80)
760: 7 x 60 (SRP $5.95)
570: 5 x 70 (SRP $6.65)
670: 6 x 70 (SRP $6.85)
770: 7 x 70 (SRP $6.95)
For this cigar experience I went with the HeavyDuty 660 – which is a popular 6 x 60 format. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper has a medium brown color. Most of the wrapper seams are well hidden. While there were some visible veins, I found the HeavyDuty 660 to be a smooth wrapper. There is also some oil on the surface of the wrapper. The cigar has a large flat Cuban style cap.
The band is thin with a black background and gold trim. The gold font text “HEAVYDUTY” sits on the black background. Toward the rear of the cigar, the band has the red and white Ortega Premium Cigars logo.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I went with a straight cut to start things off. Once the cap was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw provided subtle notes of nut and natural sweet tobacco. There was almost an unsweetened buttery undertone to the flavors on the cold draw. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the Ortega HeavyDuty to be satisfactory. At this point I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Ortega HeavyDuty is not going to be a cigar that has a lot of flavor transitions. However, the flavors that are produced by this cigar were very smooth and delivered excellent taste – and I found complemented each other nicely.
The HeavyDuty started out with notes of nut, light pepper, and natural tobacco. It didn’t take long for the nut flavors to become primary while the pepper and natural tobacco settled in the background. These flavors pretty much made up the first half of the Ortega HeavyDuty. The retro-hale produced a nice herbal spice.
By the second half of the HeavyDuty, the nut flavors were still primary. There was now a slight increase in the pepper notes. As the HeavyDuty entered the last third, the pepper displaced the nut flavors. However the pepper never became overpowering and the HeavyDuty retained its smoothness right until the end. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The Ortega HeavyDuty scored nicely when it came to the attributes of burn and draw. The burn line had a tiny bit of jaggedness, but overall this was a burn that remained relatively straight from start to finish. This was a burn that didn’t require an abnormal amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm and did have some minor flaking along the way, but again nothing out of the ordinary. The ash itself had a classic salt and pepper color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Ortega HeavyDuty|
The draw was excellent as well. I didn’t find it too tight or too loose. This made for an enjoyable smoke from start to finish. For a large ring gauge, the only issue one might have with this draw is that the size will be too large for them.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I definitely fond the HeavyDuty skewed more toward the milder smoke especially in the early phases. The first half of the HeavyDuty was mild to medium in strength. By the second half, the strength did progress to medium.
This cigar was positioned as a full-bodied cigar. This is one thing I was not in agreement with. To me this is more of a medium-bodied smoke. This isn’t a knock as I think the medium profile worked perfectly with the flavors delivered. As for strength versus body, I gave the body the edge here.
I find the debate about large ring gauge cigars to be polarizing. There are those who are against it that won’t even pick up this cigar. On the other hand, there are those who love them and will gravitate toward this cigar. The good news for the latter is that they will find the Ortega HeavyDuty excellent large ring gauge cigar that was definitely blended with size in mind. I am curious to take the 70 ring gauge size for a spin and see how it performs. This wasn’t the most complex of cigars, but I did like the flavors from this cigar. The smoothness also played a key role with this cigar. In the end, this is a cigar I’d recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast in mind. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d reach for again – and it’s worth a five pack in my humidor.
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
News: Ortega Premium Cigars to Launch Ortega HeavyDuty 60 and Ortega HeavyDuty 70
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