|Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 Island Jim WaHoo|
The Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 Island Jim WaHoo third installment in a monthly series of cigars being developed by Ortega Premium Cigars. The Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 series is a unique limited production cigar concept that was introduced by Ortega Premium Cigars. The concept behind the Ortega Wild Bunch is to dedicate a cigar to various cigar enthusiasts whom company president Eddie Ortega has personally met during his time in the cigar industry. During 2013, each month a different cigar – in a different size and blend will be released as a tribute to these various people. Island Jim WaHoo represents the March 2013 release. I found this to be an outstanding smoke that can appeal to a wide range of cigar enthusiasts – as well as a cigar that fits the name. In my opinion this is one of the more unique smokes I’ve had in 2013 – and it makes for one of the best releases under the Ortega Premium Cigars banner to date.
At press time, the following are the names confirmed for the first six months of the Ortega Wild Bunch series. Currently the series looks as follows:
January: Big Bad John “Jackhammer”
February: Iron Mike “I Beam”
March: Island Jim “WaHoo“
April: Tony “The Boss”
May: Dandy McCoy “Empire State”
June: Honest Abe “Ringmaster”
While the identities of the January and February 2013 releases of the Ortega Wild Bunch are not widely known, not such the case of Island Jim. The cigar is named for Jim Robinson, who owns a cigar shop called the Leaf and Bean in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From his interactions on social media, Robinson seems very proud of being associated with this project.
The inner part of the box reads as follows to describe the character of “Island Jim”:
Nestled in the heart of steel country is a tropical gateaway called Leaf & Bean. This cigar and coffee shop is a splash of brilliant color in an otherwise yellow and black world. Its owner, a laid back, self-proclaimed beach bum the locals call Island Jim.
Jim takes things easy and enjoys life, all he needs is a cold beer and his favorite cigar, the Wahoo!
Without further adieu, let’s break down the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 Island Jim WaHoo and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 Island Jim WaHoo is made by the Garcia Family at the My Father Cigars’ factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. This uses an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper – something that is a staple of the Garcia family. Of the releases of the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 so far, this is the first that is a non-Nicaraguan puro.
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Rosado
As mentioned above, each monthly release of the Wild Bunch is a unique blend in a different vitola. There is one vitola per blend. The official name for the vitola of the Island Jim is called “WaHoo” . The cigar itself is a toro measuring 6 1/2 x 52. The cigars are packaged 20 per box. The plan is for 500 boxes of Island Jim WaHoo to be produced – consistent with the other blends in the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013.
The Island Jim’s wrapper color is best described as a combination of milk chocolate with a touch of colorado red to it. The wrapper itself has some oil to it. It is a little bumpy to the touch. There are some visible seams and veins on the wrapper.
The band of the Island Jim is highlighted by an illustration of Robinson (Island Jim). These illustrations were done by Neal Wollenberg, whom has been working with Ortega on the whole project. Wollenberg also did the art work for the boxes.The rest of the band is similar to the layout of the other bands in the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 series. To the left of the illustration is the text “TABACOS ORTEGA, HECHO A MANO” in white font on gold background. Below that is the text “Premium Ortega Cigars” in white font on a red background. On a third row is the text “GRUPO SALAJE THE WILD BUNCH” – also in white font on a gold background. To the right of the illiustration is the text “3 of 12” in white font on a gold background. Below that is a white “12” that is circled on a red background. Finally toward the bottom of the band it says “ISLAND JIM” (classic tropical) in black font on a yellow background.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Island Jim WaHoo, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was clipped, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw provided a very interesting flavor combination of cedar, nut, and lemon notes. The nut and lemon fit the “island” theme of this cigar nicely. Overall this was a very good pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light up my Island Jim Wahoo and see what the smoking experience would bring to the table.
The start to the Island Jim WaHoo started out with a combination of citrus, pepper, and natural tobacco notes. The citrus and pepper notes quickly moved out in the forefront, but it didn’t take long for the natural tobacco flavors to join in. The natural tobacco provided some sweetness to the smoking experience. As the smoking experience moved through the first third, the natural tobacco sweetness morphed into more of a caramel sweetness.
Later in the first third, some nut flavors emerged in the background. The nut flavors increased and eventually joined the caramel notes in the forefront. At the same time the citrus and pepper notes diminished becoming secondary notes.
In the second third, the nut took over as the primary flavor. The caramel notes receded to a secondary flavor along with the citrus and pepper. The nut flavors hold as a primary flavor until the end. The other flavors remain secondary. The Island Jim remained flavorful unti the end. There is no harshness at the end of this cigar. The resulting nub is cool in temperature but a little soft to the touch.
A note on the flavor profile. Like the pre-light draw, I found this flavor profile fit in with the “island” theme of this cigar as once again flavors of citrus and nut fit in nicely.
Burn and Draw
From a burn perspective, the burn line to the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 Island Jim WaHoo did have some unevenness to it. While I was able to adjust the burn line with my butane lighter, there were more touch-ups than I would have preferred. Otherwise, there were no other issues with the burn. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal. The resulting ash was mostly firm. There were a couple of times the ash flowered, but again nothing major. The ash was mostly white in color with some salt and pepper speckling to it.
The draw to the Island Jim WaHoo was outstanding – not too loose and not too tight. Overall, it made the Island Jim WaHoo a nice cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a nicotine profile, the Island Jim WaHoo starts out with medium strength. In the second half, the Island Jim moves to medium to full strength. I noticed on both the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 Big Bad John (January) and Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 Iron Mike (February) that these cigars also started out medium and progressed to medium to full strength by the end.
As for the body, the Island Jim WaHoo has some nice depth to it. I assessed this cigar as being medium to full-bodied from start to finish. For the first half, I would say the body had an edge over the strength. When the strength of the Island Jim WaHoo kicks up in the second half, the strength and body become more well-balanced.
At the time of this review, we are three months into the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 series and the results have been very impressive. I found the Big Bad John and Iron Mike releases to be more niche profile cigars. The Big Bad John was geared at the big ring gauge cigar enthusiast while the Iron Mike has a unique flavor profile that might not be for everyone. With the Island Jim WaHoo, I found a cigar that probably has the widest appeal to cigar enthusiast. The Island Jim WaHoo delivers some incredible flavors and that is why it is so appealing. This is an excellent cigar for the novice cigar enthusiast looking to progress to a cigar medium/medium to full strength. Experienced cigar enthusiasts will appreciate the complexity this cigar offers. This is a cigar that I would smoke again and consider a box purchase for.
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (Second Half)
Body: Medium to Full
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.