Omar Ortez Originals Toro

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Rocky Patel started it all with his bandless Edge cigars packed in rough-hewn crates. Camacho followed up on the theme with El Legend-ario, and the Cubans have been going nekkid for years. But now that Rocky has responded to the copycats with a joky promotion for Edge “Counterfeits” in the latest CI catalog, I don’t know how much longer the trend can last. Even the Cubans have started banding cigars that have never had bands before… and Rocky is now banding Edges at the foot! Bandless cigars may soon be on the endangered list. Despite all this, Altadis showed up late to the party last year with a bandless Nicaraguan called Omar Ortez Originals.

Omar Ortez is a native Nicaraguan tobacco man who in the past has worked with Philip Wynne in the production of Felipe Gregorio and Felipe II cigars. Ortez established Agroindustrial Nicaraguaense de Tabaco in 1995, and is also the blender of the Exile brand cigar made in the NATSA factory. He oversees a “vertically integrated” production facility (like Padron) where he controls every aspect of the process — from seed to smoke.

Omar Ortez Originals are presented without bands and come packed in unfinished crates of 60. So far three sizes are available: robusto, toro, and torpedo.

The manufacturer is a little tight-fisted with information about the blend, admitting only Nicaraguan wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and –wait for it — Nicaraguan filler. But looking at this cigar I’m really reminded of the Ecuadoran leaf used on Aurora’s Pueblo Dominicano and 5 Vegas Limitada cigars: the smooth sheen and widely spaced veins are eerily similar. It’s a rustic looking cigar, a little rougher than the Auroras, but that goes along with the whole tough guy 60-count crate thing. Like you might pick up a crate of these at the tack store while you’re loading up on alfalfa for the herd.

It opens up with a woody flavor typical of Nicaraguans, accented by a metallic twinge that dissipates after a couple inches. It’s a full flavored smoke, but for the first third the aftertaste is very mild with no spice. There’s a nice aroma here: simple wood at first, followed by some light spice that makes the aroma smell almost like sandalwood. Not what I expect from a Nicaraguan wrapper, but very nice. The flavor moves into bittersweet chocolate territory in the second third and the aftertaste becomes slightly bitter. Towards the end of this cigar the flavor becomes sweeter, almost chocolate liqueur-like. Unusual, unexpected, but not unpleasant.

Omar Ortez Originals are Nicaraguan puros that really don’t smoke like Nicaraguan puros. They’re medium to full bodied cigars with good construction, fine taste, and an unusually sensitive aroma. They’re far less aggressive than I expected, which is probably a good thing. What they lack in power is balanced very nicely by a complexity that belies their appearance.

And get this: they’re affordable. If you play your cards right, you can pick these up for less than three bucks a stick. As Borat would say: “You like! I very excite!”

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14 thoughts on “Omar Ortez Originals Toro

  1. These Omar Ortez cigars sounds very interesting. A Nicaraguan puros cigar that doesnt blow the top of your head off. I love the taste of Nicaraguan cigars but most are way too strong for me.

  2. You should check out the milder Pepin made smokes — Troya Clasico and Sancti Spiritus. Fantastic Nic puros with classic woody Nicaraguan flavor and a lot of subtlety. They might put a dent in your wallet, but they won’t blow your head off.

  3. As usual, you’ve provided a classy and informative review.

    I just had one of these Omar Ortiz Originals tonight and was surprised at how mild it tasted (and after-tasted) down to about the last third, when it picked up with some nice chewy-steak meatiness. The strange thing about this cigar that, despite the seemingly mild flavor, it kicked butt in terms of nicotine content.

    However, I found the flavor lacking in the subtleties you described in your review. Then again, some people need a swift kick in the pants just to realize they’re alive. For such a large cigar, it was a gentle giant. If you like boldness, this one falls a shade short.

  4. I feel especially classy when I quote Borat. But you’re right, this is not a heavy hitter by most standards. I’m more of a medium-bodied smoker though, so it really hit the spot. I’d smoke a lot more of them if they were sold in reasonably sized boxes.

  5. I agree that this not one of the best smokes that I have ever encountered, however, it is one of my favorites due to its simple subtle complexity. It is rich, flavorful,and hits the spot. I generally enjoy a rich, flavorful smoke that is a a medium to full body and this smoke stick achieves this nicely.

  6. Both Cigars International and JR Cigars have these for the same price — crates of 60 for about $160. As usual, you can sometimes save 20 to 30% by bidding for these on Cigarbid. Current bid for an auction ending today is $118.

    If you’re not familiar with the Comparison Shopper at Cigarcyclopedia.com, check it out!

  7. I found your review to be very accurate indeed. I have smoked quite a few of these and love the complexity. The burn has been fantastic with minimal touch ups from start right down to the nub. I also agree that considering the claim that this is a Nicaraguan Puro it does not at all seem like other Nic puros I enjoy, such as the Joya De Nicaragua Antano 1970. All said and done in my opinion, this is a very consistent stick, one I continue to enjoy time and time again.

    Thank you for you insight.

    Bulldog

  8. I would definitely sample several before shelling out for a box. I got a box that tunnelled & I had them stored correctly. I even swapped out my remaining ones for new ones from a retailer and had the same issue. Out of the box of 60, probably less that 1/2 of them had burn problems. Good sticks when they burn correctly.

  9. these are one of my very favorite stix, I just LOVE the flavors from start to finish(right to the nub),but I have read on another site that they are Panamanian/Nic long filler, and Mexican binder? This would make sense given their spicy/sweet flavor. Any thoughts?

  10. I smoke these cigars and still smoke them during the day. However im a Arturo Fuente Canones maduro man in the evening. And these Omar ortez are quite impressive!!!!! And i come from a family who smoked all their lives from grandma ,mom and pop’s. I can vouch for these omar ortez black labels! !!!

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