Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 – Warrior Joe Bushmaster

The Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 Warrior Joe is the tenth installment in a monthly series of cigars 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 idea 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 was released as a tribute to these various people.  The Ortega Wild Bunch as a whole has been a very good limited edition series.  Warrior Joe continues to keep this series flying high as I found this to be another outstanding release.

Being the tenth release, this was the October installment of the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 series. For completeness we list the twelve blends:

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 “Cheroot”
August: Fast Eddie “Eight Ball”
September: Gearhead Gary “Crankshaft”
October: Warrior Joe “Bushmaster”
November: Da Byrdman “Boys Club”
December: Crazy Jack “Psycho”

Each Ortega Wild Bunch character is described in the inner box cover.  The following is the description for Warrior Joe.   There have been no specifics on who the character of Warrior Joe might actually be.

“We’d like to tell you a little about Warrior Joe, but we’re afraid that’s classified.  Is he really a walking skeletal harbinger of death?  Probably not, but you definitely want him on your side in a pinch.  Much like these cigars, you’re better off smoking with them and not against them. Joe’s favor smoke when relaxing after a hard day is the Bushmaster”

Without further ado, take a closer look at Warrior Joe and see what this installment of the Wild Bunch brings to the table:

Blend Profile

The Warrior Joe has a dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper.  It is the second blend in the Wild Bunch series to use a Sumatra wrapper joining the Fast Eddie.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Dark Sumatra
Binder/Filler: Nicaragua Esteli/Jalapa

Vitolas Available

The official name for the vitola of Warrior Joe is “Bushmaster”. This size is a 6 1/2 x 50 toro.  The cigars are packaged 20 per box.


While I’ve seen many cigars called an Ecuadorian Dark Sumatra, I can say there is little question about the Warrior Joe Bushmaster being dark.  The wrapper itself has a dark color with an almost silky complexion.  Upon closer examination of the wrapper some dark marbling can be seen. There are some visible veins and some visible wrapper seams.

This is the one Wild Bunch release that does not have an illustration of a character on the band (although there is one on the box).  Instead the band has an illustration of two silver colored military style id tags.  One tag has the text “WARRIOR” and the other one has the text “JOE” – both in white.

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 a brown 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 10 of 12″ in white font on a brown background.  Below that is a white “12” that is circled in white on a (darker) red background. 

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoke of the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 Warrior Joe, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to start things off.  Once the cap was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The cold draw yielded notes of cedar sweet-spice, natural tobacco, and leather.  Overall, I considered the pre-light draw of the Warrior Joe to be satisfactory.  At this point, I was read to light up my Warrior Joe and see what the smoking phase would have in-store.

Flavor Profile

Warrior Joe starts out with mix of natural tobacco and spice.  The natural tobacco notes quickly moved into the forefront.  These natural tobacco notes had a touch of citrus to them.  In the background the spice had now evolved to more of a baker’s spice (what i term a “sweet spice”). There was also a cream note in the background.  Meanwhile the retro-hale was also providing a baker’s spice.

By the end of the first third, a raw caramel note surfaced in the background replacing the cream note.  This caramel increased during the early part of the second third.  By the midpoint, the caramel was now in the forefront with the natural tobacco.  The citrus notes had separated from the natural tobacco flavors and were now a background note with the baker’s spice.

In the last third, I found the caramel notes still present.  The baker’s spice lost some of its sweetness on both the tongue and retro-hale and became more of a classic pepper.   This is the way Warrior Joe remained until the end.  The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

I found the Warrior Joe Bushmaster to perform well when it came to its burn  While the burn line was relatively straight, there was some slight jaggedness to it.  Despite the jaggedness, the cigar was never in danger of canoeing or tunneling.  Meanwhile the resulting ash was light in color and on the firm side.  There was some occasional flaking but nothing major.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the Warrior Joe Bushmaster

The draw to the Warrior Joe Bushmaster performed very well.  I didn’t find this too be too loose or too tight.  I found the Warrior Joe to be a pleasant smoking experience from start to finish.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, I found the Warrior Joe to have a slight kick, but not be an overpowering smoke.  I assessed this cigar as having just enough strength to be medium to full. In terms of body, the depth and weight of the flavors also fell into the medium to full range.   The Warrior Joe does a real good job at providing a nice balance of strength and body – and neither attribute overshadows the other.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned up-front, the Warrior Joe is another excellent addition to the Ortega Wild Bunch 2013 series.  One thing about this particular release is it is going to provide a lot of that “Sumatra wrapper sweetness”.  It’s going to have that natural tobacco slant and that is complemented by citrus and caramel.  I am also curious to see what aging does to this cigar as well.  Overall this is a good cigar for a novice experienced looking for a cigar on the “medium plus” side.  Experienced cigar enthusiasts who like that “Sumatra wrapper sweetness” will enjoy this cigar.  As for myself, this is a cigar that I really enjoyed.  I’m curious to see what aging will do to this blend, but right now it’s a cigar I would pick up and split a box with someone.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Score: 91


Source: Samples provided by Manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a

* Some cigars for this assessment was provided by a representative of Ortega Premium Cigars. The samples were received in order to provide feedback.  Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.