Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada 2011

I travel around the country quite a bite.  As a part of my travels I usually try to find a good cigar shop to enjoy a cigar.  One thing I always ask the tobacconist is what do you have in new and what do you have that I might not find elsewhere.   For the past few months, I’ve made an occasional stop at W.Curtis Draper in Bethesda, Maryland.   On a trip earlier this month, when I posed those questions, the Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada 2011 came up as a potential cigar.   I usually try to keep on top of many cigar brands and releases, but I had not heard of these before.   Since I have a solid level of trust for the folks working at Draper’s, I opted to pick up a one of these.   I recently got around to smoking this cigar.  In the end, this definitely qualifies as an “under the radar” cigar that delivered an excellent smoking experience.

Tortuga Cigars is owned by cigar maker Victor Vitale.   They produce two core line cigars – the Tortuga 1948 Connecticut Shade Smooth and the Tortuga 1950 Natural Aged Maduro.  The Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada is intended to be a true limited release cigar.  I don’t have specific numbers but on the Tortuga website availability is listed as “Extremely Limited”.   I’ll infer from this cigar is being sent to Tortuga authorized retailers in small quantities.

Another view of the Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada 2011 – other side of band

Ultimately, it is going to come down to how good the cigar is.  Let’s take a closer look at the Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada 2011.

Blend Profile

The blend of the Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada 2011 consists of tobaccos from the “Big Three” countries – Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua.  A good chunk of the tobacco comes from Honduras – thus holding to my theory about 2011 being a renaissance year for Honduran tobacco.  The cigar itself is made in the Dominican Republic.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada 2011 is available in three vitolas.   The cigars are sold ten to a box.

Robusto: 5 x 52
Torpedo: 6 x 54
Toro: 6 x 54

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For this assessment of the Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada, I went with the Robusto vitola. As I usually do, I opted for a straight cut.  When I started the pre-light draw, I was treated to notes of blackberry and wood.  I’m going to mention blackberry a lot, so I want to make a disclaimer.  I had read earlier on the Tortuga website about some of the blackberry flavors.  At the same time, this is a flavor note I had no problem detecting.  At this point, I was very anxious to fire up my Tortuga 215 and see what else I was in store for.

Flavor Profile

The initial draws of the Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada 2011 provided me with a decent shot of pepper on both the tongue and nostrils.  The pepper subsided to the background for the remainder of the smoke.  At this point,  I picked up a mix of caramel and blackberry sweetness.   Blackberry notes are not new to me with a cigar.  This is something that made me fall in love with the La Palina Family Blend Alison over a year ago.   These flavors held for the first third and gave the Tortuga 215 a very nice start.

As the Tortuga 215 progressed into the second third, I noticed the caramel notes diminish, but not completely disappear.  I was happy the blackberry sweetness remained.  I also noticed some classic oak notes emerge in the second third.   As the Totruga 215 moved into the final third, I detected some floral notes.  These floral notes – along with the blackberry were the primary notes.   The floral/blackberry flavors had a very “tobaccco-like” taste to it, so I don’t want to confuse it with a potpourri.   The caramel, oak, and pepper notes were in the background.   This is the way the flavor profile came to a close.  The finish was not harsh.   The resulting nub was soft and warm.

Burn and Draw

The burn and draw of the Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada 2011 was the story of two halves – with the first half being stronger than the second half.  For the first half, the burn was razor sharp and provided me a tight, white ash.   The draw was effortless in the first half.   On the second half, the burn did require a lot more in the way of touch-ups.  The draw also got a little tighter.   Overall the burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.  Had the burn and draw been as solid as it was in the first half, it would have gotten perfect scores.   Still, this wasn’t a bad burn or draw.   I will also disclaim that I smoked one cigar for this review, so this could be the byproduct of a hand-made product.

Burn and Tight Ash of the Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada 2011

Strength and Body

The nicotine profile was very interesting in this cigar.   The Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada 2011 definitely was a classic medium-strength cigar in the first half.  I felt as the smoking experience progressed, the Tortuga 215 increased in strength.  It moved to medium to full in the second half, and hit full strength by the last third.   The strength definitely crept up on me.

As for the body, the flavor depth was medium-bodied to start.  Like the strength, the body increased as the cigar experience progressed.  The cigar goes toward medium to full toward the last third.   For most of the cigar the strength and body balance very well, but toward the end, I actually thought the strength had an edge. 

Final Thoughts

This was a very nice find of a cigar.  I would definitely love to pick up a couple of more of these cigars in the future.  As I mentioned above, I’m more inclined to think the burn and draw issues were due to more of a hand-made factor.  I felt the Tortuga 215 Edicion Limitada was a well-made cigar – that brought some very different flavors to the table. I’d probably lean on giving this to more of an experienced cigar enthusiast because of the subtle complexities in the flavor profile – and because I felt this cigar had a stronger finish.  At a minimum, if I cannot pick up some more of these, I’m inclined to give the core line offerings a try.


Burn: Good
Draw: Good
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium (progresses to Medium to Full and Full by the end)
Body: Medium (progresses to Medium to Full by the last third)
Assessment: Nice to Have

Source: The cigar for this assessment was purchased from W.Curtis Draper in Bethesda, Maryland