|EPM Larceny by Eddie Ortega|
Back in February 2015, we broke news on a collaborative project between Eddie Ortega of Ortega Premium Cigars and Sean Williams of El Primer Mundo (EPM) called Larceny. The premise of this collaboration that Ortega and Williams would each produce a blend to satisfy the other’s palate. The cigars received by each brand owner would be released under that brand owner’s name. The result would be two limited production cigars called Ortega Larceny by Sean Williams and EPM Larceny by Eddie Ortega. There was one additional twist to this project – Ortega and Williams would work with Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Nicaragua. Ortega and Espinosa are best known for founding EO Brands – a company that produced lines such as 601, Murcielago, and Cubao. Today we take a look at one of the blends – the EPM Larceny by Eddie Ortega. Overall, I found this to be a fantastic cigar, and one that lived up to the high expectations this collaboration had in place.
Ortega and Williams recently appeared on Episode 140 of Stogie Geeks and discussed how this project was a true collaborative effort between Ortega, Williams, and Espinosa. Ortega mentioned on the show that he and Espinosa had been talking for a while about doing something together, and the Larceny project seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. While we have been told the cigars are being distributed by Ortega Premium Cigars, both Ortega and Williams are actively promoting the collaborative brand.
The two resulting cigars are packaged in 20 count boxes with ten cigars of Ortega Larceny and ten cigars of EPM Larceny. This is a small batch project with only 400 boxes total being produced. Ortega and Williams said after announcing Larceny, they sold out their entire allotment to the 42 retailers that were selected to carry it.
|Ortega Larceny (Left); EPM Larceny (Right)|
As for the project name, “Larceny” was selected to poke a little fun at the copycat nature the cigar industry is often accused of having.The slogan “What good is an idea if nobody want to steal it” has been used in the brand’s marketing material.
Without further ado, let’s dive deeper into the EPM Larceny and see what this cigar brings to the table.
For completeness, we include the blends of both Ortega Larceny and EPM Larceny.
EPM Larceny by Eddie Ortega
Wrapper: Ecuador Oscuro
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Zona)
Ortega Larceny by Sean Williams
Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Zona)
Both the Ortega Larceny and EPM Larceny are currently available in one size – a 6 1/2 x 50 Toro.
The EPM Larceny’s Ecuador Oscuro wrapper has medium to dark wood color to it Upon closer examination, there is some marbling that can be seen on the surface. The wrapper itself has somewhat of an oily complexion to it. There are some visible veins while most of the wrapper seams are well hidden.
The band to the EPM Larceny is thin, yet simple in design. The band has a cocoa brown color to it. Prominently displayed on the band is the text “LARCENY” in a thin white color font. On the far right of the band is the text “Esteli Nicaragua” in a small white colored font. There are two white pinstripes – one toward the top of the band and one toward the bottom of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the EPM Larceny, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was clipped, I moved on the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered notes of cocoa, earth, and a slight pepper note. Overall I considered this to be an excellent pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the EPM Larceny and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The start of the EPM Larceny picked up where the pre-light draw left off. I detected notes of cocoa, earth, and red pepper. The cocoa and earth notes moved to the forefront early on. I found the cocoa offered sweetness than the pre-light draw. Both cocoa and earth alternated in intensity with the cocoa notes having the edge. Meanwhile the red pepper was in the background. I also detected a slight cherry note in the background providing some additional sweetness. As for the retro-hale, it was a combination of black pepper with some occasional floral notes.
During the second third, I found the flavor profile very similar as the first third. The pepper notes did increase slightly – and I picked up both cocoa and red pepper on the after-draw. The cherry note had dissipated late in the second third.
By the last third, the cocoa notes receded to the background and the pepper notes joined the earth notes. There was definitely a spicy kick at the end of this cigar. This is the way the EPM Larceny came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch, and slightly lukewarm.
Burn and Draw
The burn path of the EPM Larceny remained straight from start to finish. While there was a slight amount of curvature, the burn line itself remained sharp with almost no jaggedness along the edge. The resulting ash was nearly white in color. The ash itself was firm – coming off the cigar in clean chunks. The burn rate was ideal. I found the burn temperature to be ideal until the last few puffs where it got a little lukewarm. At that point, it was time to put down the cigar.
|Burn of the EPM Larceny|
The draw to the EPM Larceny was open, but not overly loose. I also found this was a cigar that produced quite a bit of smoke.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, the EPM Larceny started out in the medium range. As the cigar progressed I did find this cigar had a slow and linear increase in strength. Generally speaking, by the second third this cigar was medium to full strength, and by the last third the strength moved into the full range. Despite the slow strength increase, I still was surprised how much strength this cigar was outputting during the latter stages.
Meanwhile the body started out in the medium to full range. This attribute also had a slow gradual increase and by the last third, it was in the full-bodied range. In terms of strength versus body, I found the body to have the edge early on, but in those latter stages, I found the strength had the edge.
In the conversation that Ortega and Williams had with us on Stogie Geeks, I detected a very good chemistry with this duo. The positive chemistry combined with working with one of the best small factories out there has led to a very good start to this project. I enjoyed the flavors to this cigar, but I also enjoyed how this cigar built up in both strength and body along the way. EPM Larceny showed no signs of young-ness – and my gut tells me aging is going to be very kind to this cigar. This is a cigar I would recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast. I do think there might be too much strength and body later in this cigar for a newbie, but its a good cigar for a novice to “graduate” to something fuller. As for myself, this was a very enjoyable cigar. It’s one that I would smoke again. If you consider EPM Larceny on its own (we will assess Ortega Larceny separately), this is a box worthy purchase.
Strength: Medium (1st third), Medium to Full (2nd third), Full (Last third)
Body: Medium to Full (1st third), Full (Last third)
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
News: Eddie Ortega and Sean Williams to Launch Larceny – a Project Made at La Zona Factory
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 140
Stogie Feed: n/a