On October 19, 2013, Fox Cigar Bar in Gilbert, AZ held the second Annual Foxtoberfest, a celebration built around the theme of Oktoberfest which is held every year in Munich, Germany.
Numerous cigar manufactures attend the event, including 262, Ashton, Crowned Heads, Drew Estate, J. Fuego, La Flor Dominicana, My Father Cigars, Oliva, Oliveros, Rocky Patel, Room101, Quesada and XIKAR amongst others.
Also present was Eddie Ortega of Ortega Cigars, who also brought along a special cigar called The Fox. The new blend was made exclusively for the event in a 6 x 38 size sold only in five-packs. It used a blend of Nicaraguan tobacco from Estelí in its binder and filler, is covered by a Nicaraguan oscuro wrapper.
The 200 soft packs of five sold out so quickly that Fox Cigar Bar requested Ortega bring back the cigar as a regular release for the store, something Ortega agreed to do next year with a possible second vitola joining the Petit Lancero.
The soft packs that the Ortega Fox cigars come in resemble a candy bar and look like this:
- Cigar Reviewed: Ortega The Fox
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars, S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Oscuro (Estelí)
- Binder: Nicaragua (Estelí)
- Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí & Jalapa)
- Size: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 38
- Vitola: Petit Lancero
- MSRP: $7.99 (Soft Packs of 5, $34.99)
- Date Released: October 19, 2013
- Number of Cigars Released: 200 Soft Packs of 5 Cigars (1,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The Fox is covered in a dark expresso brown wrapper that is extremely toothy to the touch and has a nice triple cap with a pigtail on top. There is a bit of oil present, and there is just a tiny amount of give when it is squeezed. Aroma coming from the wrapper is a combination of strong leather, cedar, dark chocolate and earth. The cold draw has a very distinct flavor of chocolate covered raspberries, a fruity, tart sweetness along with cedar.
The Ortega starts off the first third with an almost overwhelming black pepper that is evident on both the tongue and the retrohale, as well as strong flavors of dark cocoa, creamy leather, earth, and slightly bitter espresso. There is also a fairly strong—albeit indeterminate at this point—sweetness that is mainly noticeable on the retrohale, and it combines very well with the rest of the profile so far. Smoke production is well above average for the vitola, and both the burn and draw are close to perfect with the ash hanging on for more than two inches before falling for the first time. Strength-wise, the The Fox ends the first third firmly in the medium camp and seems to not be getting any stronger from there.
I started noticing a very interesting note around the start of the second third, becoming more obvious closer to the halfway point as a fairly strong salty soy sauce flavor, which I have not honestly tasted in many cigars before. There were other notes as well, namely earth, leather, cocoa powder and cedar. The black pepper on the retrohale is still a factor in the profile, but is not nearly as strong as in the first third, while the sweetness that I noticed has actually increased in strength. Construction-wise, both the burn and the draw are excellent and the smoke production is still copious.
The final third of The Fox features quite a bit more sweetness that I pegged as a molasses flavor, as well as noticeably less of the soy sauce flavor from the second third. Other notes of espresso, cedar, earth and cocoa flit in and out, while the black pepper on the retrohale continues to decrease. Right before I put the nub down, I taste a floral note that has not been in evidence before, there and gone quickly. The burn and the draw continue the trend from the first two thirds, as does the strength, which ends the cigar firmly in the medium camp.
- There have been other manufactures who have used packaging for cigars that look like candy bars in the past. The most recent example was Alec Bradley, who gave away a three pack of cigars at their party during the IPCPR show in Las Vegas in July.
- That and this have criticized by many as leading to targets by government agencies looking to advance the argument about tobacco and minors.
- Both the burn and the draw on both samples of the Ortega Fox that I smoked for this review were phenomenal and really could not get much better.
- The band on the Ortega Fox is very reminiscent of the bands used for Ortega’s so called “Wild Bunch”, which is a project that has been releasing a different blend and size every month in 2013, each of which has a unique name that commemorates a specific person in the cigar industry.
- In fact, while some people on forums have mentioned that fact that the cartoon fox on the band could perhaps be seen as marketing to children – a view I do not agree with – the fox is actually the logo for the Fox Cigar Bar where these were sold.
- There were two other exclusive blends released at the 2013 Foxtoberfest: one from La Flor Dominicana and one from SWAG Cigars.
- Interestingly, Ortega released another 6 1/2 x 38 Lancero for the 2013 DC Tweetup back in March, the Ortega Serie D Maduro Lancero, which featured both the same size as the Fox—6 1/2 x 38—as well as about the same number of cigars released. It also became regular production shortly after the event, although it is sold national.
- While these are called Lanceros, it should be pointed out that the traditional size of a Cuban Lancero – or Laguito No.1 as it is known in the factories has always been 192mm x 38 (7 9/16 x 38.) Of course, that does not stop a complete bastardizing of the name and vitola. Not that this is anything new.
- The final smoking time for both samples of the Ortega Fox averaged one hour and 25 minutes.
- The samples smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- At this point, the five-packs from the Foxtoberfest celebration are sold out, but as noted above, there will be more of them produced as an exclusive to the Fox Cigar Bar in early 2014.
I have been smoking more and more of Eddie Ortega's cigars in the last few months, from his Minis to his Serie D Maduro Lanceros, and I have to say, he seems to be hitting it on all cylinders lately. The Ortega The Fox is no exception: wildly complex, a great vitola, excellent construction throughout the smoke and decidedly medium-bodied. This is one of those blends that really stays with you, one I thoroughly enjoyed, and one that people should definitely try if they can get ahold of any.