The Tortuga 215 Reserva is a cigar line launched by Victor Vitale's Legacy Brands at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show. The Tortuga 215 Reserva is a Nicaraguan puro that was originally launched in four large box-press vitolas. Recently, Vitale announced three additional line extensions to the Tortuga 215 Reserva line - with each known as "Cedro". The first of these line extensions is a corona gorda known as the Tortuga 215 Reserva Cedro No. 5. I've recently had a chance to smoke this new vitola. Overall I found this to be a very good cigar and one that is a great addition to the Legacy Brands portfolio.
Legacy Brands was a company launched by Vitale to focus on small batch, limited production boutique cigars. Tortuga Cigars was already an established brand owned by Vitale that is a part of that umbrella.
In terms of the Tortuga 215 Reserva cigar name, Vitale told me it was his father who came up with the Tortuga name. Tortuga is Spanish for "turtle". Vitale felt the name was very appropriate for the brand in terms of the focus on quality and not rushing a product to market. As for the 215 in the name, this is a tie to Vitale's roots in the city of Philadelphia. 215 represents the area code for the city.
In terms of the new Cedro sizes around the Tortuga 215 Reserva, they differ from the original vitolas in three ways: First they will be rounded vitolas as opposed to box-press like the four original vitolas; Second, the Cedro vitolas will all come with a cedar sleeve around it; And third the cigars will be geared toward smaller ring gauges.
Without further ado, let's take a closer look at the Tortuga 215 Reserva Cedro No. 5 and see what this cigar brings to the table:
As mentioned, the Tortuga 215 Reserva is an all Nicaraguan puro. It features a maduro wrapper. The majority of the tobaccos come from the Esteli region. The cigar is being produced in Honduras.
As mentioned the Cedro vitolas are rounded - which differ from the original box-press sizes. The remaining two vitolas have not been named. The addition of the Cedro vitolas will bring the line to seven frontmarks. The Cedro No. 5 measures 5 1/2 x 48.
Cedro No. 5: 5 1/2 x 48 (Rounded)
Alma: 5 x 54
Tributo: 6 x 56
Diplomatico: 7 1/2 x 58
Triufo: 6 x 60
The Tortuga 215 Reserva Cedro No. 5 has a chocolate colored wrapper with an oily complexion to it. There are some visible veins on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper's darker color does a nice job at hiding the wrapper seams.
While the Tortuga 215 Reserva appears to have two bands, it is actually a single band that is actually interconnected. The upper portion of the band has a pale yellow, gold, red, and white color scheme. This portion of the band features a red shield with the text "TORTUGA 215" in light font. Just below that text is the text "Todo Importado". There is also a gold crown above the shield. To the left and right of the shield are gold medallions as well as gold and red striping. The red stripe just below the medallions has the text "LEGACY BRANDS" (on the left) and "BY VICTOR VITALE" (on the right) - both in gold font. On a red stripe below that one it says "TORTUGA" in a ticker tape format - also in gold font.
At the bottom of the shield is a gold medallion and this connects to the bottom portion of the band. This is also a pale yellow in color. The text "Reserva" is in gold cursive font. Two gold medallions surround the text on each side. A red stripe with a thin dark trim sits in the middle of the band with the text "VICTOR VITALE" in the middle. The remainder of the band has gold adornments.
Finally a red ribbon rests around the footer. A cedar sleeve connects the red ribbon to the banding on the upper part of the cigar.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up my Tortuga 215 Reserva Cedro No. 5, I placed a straight cut into the cap of the cigar. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw produced notes of earth, cedar space, and a touch of chocolate. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the Cedro No. 5 to be solid. At this point I was ready to remove the footer ribbon and cedar sleeve from my Cedro No. 5, light up the cigar, and see what the overall smoking experience would have in store.
The start to the Tortuga 215 Reserva Cedro No. 5 provided me a mix of chocolate, earth, and spice notes. The spice was a little tough to pin down as it had some interesting characteristics as it seemed to exhibit a cross between red pepper, exotic spice, and cedar spice. The spice could be detected on both the draw and the retro-hale and had a nice lingering effect on the tongue. In the background were some notes of caramel and cream.
The earth and chocolate notes emerged as the primary flavors early on. The spice receded joining the caramel and cream in the background. By the middle of the first third, the earth notes took control. The chocolate and spice notes were secondary while the caramel and cream notes became more distant - almost a tertiary note.
At the midpoint, the spice re-emerged into the forefront joining the earth notes. The chocolate notes meandered between the forefront and background note. The cream and caramel notes were pretty mch gone.
As the Cedro No. 5 came to a close I detected some more spice with the earth notes. Even in these late stages, I thought the spice was a little tough to pin down, but I liked the fact it kept me guessing. The end of the cigar was flavorful. The resulting nub was soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
From a burn standpoint, the Tortuga 215 Reserva Cedro No. 5 performed reasonably well. There was some meandering of the burn line from time to time, but the cigar was not in danger of canoeing or tunneling. The resulting ash was on the firm side with a nice light gray color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw was pretty much not too loose and not too tight. I did find the Cedro No. 5 produced ample amounts of smoke easily. Many times that can be attributed to a looser draw, but the Cedro No. 5 still seemed to have enough resistance to my satisfaction.
Strength and Body
The Tortuga 215 Reserva Cedro No. 5 is not going to be a cigar that is going to overpower you with a lot of strength. The Cedro No. 5 starts out medium strength. There is a slight increase in strength and by the second half, it builds up just enough strength to qualify for medium to full in my book. As for the flavors, they aren't going to be ones that weigh heavy on your pallet - and it works well with this blend. The body of the Cedro No. 5 follows a similar pattern to the strength - namely it starts out medium-bodied before progressing to medium to full-bodied. There is excellent balance between the strength and body as neither attribute overshadows the other.
In addition to the Tortuga brand, the new Ora Vivo brand (a collaboration with Armand Assante) has also joined Legacy Brands. While both the Tortuga 215 Reserva and Ora Vivo are different smokes, one thing they have in common is that they are very classic smokes. Sometimes when I assess a cigar, I can get caught up in a lot of flashy flavors, but the Tortuga 215 Reserva just has a very old school feel to it - and I liked it. I've smoked the rounded and box-press formats of this cigar - and both score nicely, however my personal preference is the rounded format. This is a cigar I could recommend to an experienced or novice enthusiast. As for myself, it's a cigar I would smoke again and easily recommend a five pack of.
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 3.0 - The Fiver
Source: Samples provided by manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
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* Cigars for this assessment was provided by Legacy Brands. 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.