Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 – Dandy McCoy “Empire State”

The Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 Dandy McCoy “Empire State” marks the fifth 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. The Dandy McCoy “Empire State” marks the May 2013 release.  Each installment of the Ortega Wild Bunch has been very different cigar experience – and Dandy McCoy is no exception. Overall, this is a solid release by Ortega Premium Cigars and one that should satisfy many cigar enthusiasts.

At press time, the following are the names confirmed for the first nine 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 “Enforcer”
May: Dandy McCoy “Empire State”
June: Honest Abe “Ringmaster”
July: Wild Bill
August Fast Eddie
September: Gearhead Gary

Word is the character of Dandy McCoy is based on a New York City cigar enthusiast named Ade McCoy – someone whom Ortega has encountered. The inner part of the box that houses this cigar reads as follows to describe the character of “Dandy McCoy”:

The Dandy is a sharp dressed man who enjoys the company of beautiful ladies, some even share his passion for cigars.

A proud native New York, he enjoys the excitement of city life and the frequent get-togethers at the local shops with his friends in the “Grown & Sexy In The City Cigar Group”

Let’s take a closer look at the Dandy McCoy “Empire State” and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile

Like the other cigars made by Ortega Premium Cigars, the Dandy McCoy is made at the My Father Cigars factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Dandy McCoy is the first of the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 series to feature a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.  The binder and filler have not been officially disclosed, but there have been reports of the filler having Nicaraguan, Mexican, and Honduran tobaccos.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed

Vitolas Available

As mentioned above, each monthly release of the Wild Bunch is a unique blend in a different vitola.   This is the first box-pressed vitola of the series.  The vitola is named “Empire State” and measures 6 x 54.


The Dandy McCoy “Empire State” featured a classic coffee bean colored Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.  There was a little oil on this wrapper and it is somewhat coarse in texture.  There are a few visible wrapper seams and most of the veins are visible upon close examination.  The cigar has a well-packed box-press with no soft spots.

As with the other installments of the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013, the band of the Dandy McCoy is highlighted by an illustration of the “Dandy Mccoy” character done by Neal Wollenberg. 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 5 of 12″ in white font on a gold background.  Below that is a white “12” that is circled in white on a (darker) red background. Toward the bottom of the band it says “Dandy McCoy” in modern white font on a black background.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my cigar experience of the Dandy McCoy “Empire State” I went with my usual selection of a straight cut to remove the cap.  Once the cap was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw.  The cold draw provided a mix of chicory and pepper.  The chicory notes actually worked quite well with this pre-light draw creating a satisfying experience.  At this point, I was ready to light up the Dandy McCoy and see what the overall cigar experience would bring to the table.
Flavor Profile
The start to the Dandy McCoy “Empire State” treated me to a classic Garcia family pepper blast. As the pepper blast settled, some additional flavors emerged – first chocolate and then some nut flavors.  Later in the first third, some background citrus and toast notes surfaced.  The chocolate and nut flavors eventually became the primary flavors.  The pepper, citrus, and toast were secondary flavors.  I found the citrus and toast melded together to create an almost “burnt” like sweetness that was very unique.
The second half saw the chocolate notes become more like the chicory I got on the pre-light draw.  The chicory and nut remained in the forefront while the citrus, toast, and pepper remained in the background.   The chicory never got overly bitter or harsh and was helped by the balancing of the other flavors.  The citrus and toast continued to meld very nicely together.
As the Dandy McCoy “Empire State” moved into the last third, the nut notes joined the other background notes and the chicory remained primary. Toward the very end, the pepper notes joined the chicory flavors in the forefront.  The end of the cigar was flavorful – although there was a touch of harshness. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
From a burn perspective, the burn line of the Dandy McCoy “Empire State” was a little jagged, but it did not have any canoe or tunneling problems.  The resulting ash was mostly white in color, but it was a little loose and at times was prone to flaking.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
As for the draw, I found it to be outstanding.  This made the Dandy McCoy a low maintenance cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
Overall I found the Dandy McCoy “Empire State” to have a little more kick than one might think. In particular the strength of this cigar sneaks up on you. Overall, I assessed this cigar to be medium to full in strength.  As for the body, the flavors were deep and robust.  These flavors easily qualified to make the Dandy McCoy a full-bodied smoke.   When looking at strength vs. body, I definitely gave an edge to the body.
Final Thoughts
Back when I reviewed the previous installment of the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 (the Tony the Boss “Enforcer”), I commented on what an amazing undertaking the Wild Bunch concept is.  It is not easy building a series with 12 distinct blends and 12 distinct sizes and taking it to market – especially given the fact that Ortega Premium Cigars is a small company.  At the same time, the products being released in the Wild Bunch are truly unique blends.  The Dandy McCoy “Empire State” follows this pattern – delivering a unique flavor profile (namely the citrus/toast combination in the background) for this Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro.  This would be a good cigar for a novice enthusiast looking for something a little stronger to try.  I do think both experienced and novice cigar enthusiasts will enjoy the unique flavors and complexity of this cigar.  As for myself, while the first three installments of the Wild Bunch stand at the top, this is a cigar I would definitely smoke again.

Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 90

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Tobacco World in Marietta, Georgia.