Fathers, Friends, and Fire Father & Daughter

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In recent years, the list of holidays and festive days without a cigar continues to dwindle, and one of the most recent to come off the board was one that seems surprising to have stayed around as it did, Father’s Day.

In 2016 Ventura Cigar launched a series of events dubbed Fathers, Friends and Fire to celebrate the holiday. This year, part of those events was a limited edition cigar called Father & Daughter.

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It gets its name from the fact that it was blended by noted cigar maker Omar Ortez and his daughter, Indiana, who is also the chief marketing officer of Omar Ortez Cigar.

It’s a 6 x 50 toro that features an Ecuadorian habano wrapper and Nicaraguan tobacco for the binder and filler. The cigars themselves were not sold, but used as promotional items during the events, which featured either Michael Giannini, general manager of Ventura Cigar Co., or Erik Stokkebye of Pete Stokkebye, a pipe tobacco company.

“I was really excited to collaborate with Indiana and her father on this project,” said Benjamin Winokur, brand manager for Ventura Cigar, in a press release when the event series was announced. “The Fathers, Friends, and Fire event series means a lot to me personally, as my father was the one who got me into cigars. To have the opportunity to share Indiana’s story, alongside the cigar she created with her father for these events is very special.”

  • Cigar Reviewed: Fathers, Friends, and Fire Father & Daughter
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Agroindustrial Nicaraguense de Tabacos
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua & Peru
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: n/a
  • Release Date: June 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Just from a vitola perspective, the Ventura Cigar Co. Fathers, Friends, and Fire Father & Daughter is almost painfully familiar; a 6 x 50 toro with a plain cap that is rolled well with no obvious imperfections. On a slightly closer look, the Ecuadorian habano wrapper is a bit darker and oilier than average, and the band is on the attractive side with a mix of black, gold and metallic red that isn’t often seen. The cigar has a bit of give, it’s not underfilled but it shows a touch more give in spots than what seems to have become the norm. The foot of the cigar is quite peppery with a background that has both some wood chips and earth at its core, but certain samples offer a sensation of sniffing a bag of brown sugar. The cold draw is a touch loose with notes of root beer and sarsaparilla, some more of the brown sugar that morphs into torched sugar, an unexpected and enjoyable creaminess, and no pepper, which is even more surprising given what the nose offered.

The Ventura Cigar Co. Fathers, Friends, and Fire Father & Daughter starts with a decent bit of pepper, a bit of tree bark in the aroma, and an interesting chalk note that seems to push the previous two flavors apart instead of bringing them together. Thankfully, it’s not consistent in its appearance or dominance of the first inch or so. The cigar doesn’t respond well to quicker puffs, which I did prior to the first photograph being taken, with the chalk note getting exacerbated and dominating more of the profile. Once the first clump of ash drops, and with the puffing rate slowed a bit, the profile makes a big step forward in terms of complexity and unity, with some creaminess joining the base notes and smoothing out what had been some slightly rough edges. There’s still some pepper to be found, which pushes the profile into medium-plus territory, but what I could also describe as condensed milk does an impressive job balancing everything else the cigar is offering. Retrohales through the first third are definitely pepper-laden, and while they may show some youthful exuberance, they don’t overwhelm the senses.

While the Father & Daughter’s sweet creaminess was the most impressive part of the first third, the start of the second third sees that sweetness disappear fairly quickly, replaced by sweetness cedar and assorted other woods, while the earthier notes remain as background players. The pepper takes a bit of a hiatus, though even with its retreat the profile stays solidly medium-bodied and medium-strength, and generally very good on the palate. Pepper returns not long after the burn line crosses the midway point, giving the cigar a bit more rough character. The flavors begin to lose of their cohesiveness in the final puffs of this section, while the burn and smoke production are still quite good.

The opening puffs of the final third of the Fathers, Friends, and Fire Father & Daughter show a bit more of the tree bark and some increasingly robust earth and pepper, but also a good bit of sweet juiciness that provides an interesting contrast to the core flavors. One sample delivers a strange metallic twinge on some puffs, bending the robustness in a direction it doesn’t need to go, yet even still the cigar is quite palate-friendly. The sweetness from the first third that I’d gladly welcome back is nowhere to be found, and instead the pepper takes the reins a bit more assertively, with the backing flavors thinning out just a touch. When the last clump of ash drops, the cigar delivers a big, potent blast of biting pepper that feels like it literally sinks a number of tiny teeth into my tongue. Construction, burn and smoke production remain well above average, and I find myself battling to get the cigar smoked down as far as possible before the heat and metallic twinge finally become too much and I put the cigar down.

Final Notes:

  • Each coffin was hand signed.
  • I don’t want to say that this cigar has a clunky name, but it does. I love the idea behind it, but it feels like it’s just too long.
  • I finally got to meet Omar Ortez at the 2017 Puro Sabor Festival in Nicaragua, and as I mentioned in the post, an Omar Ortez Original was one of the first cigars I remember smoking and enjoying.
  • Anielka Ortez Flores, daughter of Omar and sister of Indiana, is the ceo of Agratabacos and also the current president of the Nicaraguan Tobacco Chamber (ANT), the latter of which is a position she will hold until 2019.
  • The name of the cigar got me thinking about how fathers—and mothers—have been recognized in the cigar industry. The most obvious is My Father Cigars, which Jaime and Janny Garcia named for their father, José “Pepín” García.
  • In his La Historia line, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo honored his father with a vitola called El Senador, his wife with the Doña Elena vitola, and his wife’s grandmother with the Regalias d’Celia vitola.
  • Carlito Fuente has honored his parents numerous times with cigars, from the OpusX Love Affair, which celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary; to the Father & Son vitola in the Fuente Fuente OpusX 20 Years Celebration line.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by Ventura Cigar Co., which advertises on halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 35 minutes on average.
88 Overall Score

While it would be relatively easy for a cigar maker to simply knock out a good if unremarkable cigar for a series of events, it's apparent that Ventura Cigar Co., Omar Ortez and Indiana Ortez went well above that line of thinking, crafting a flavorful and balanced cigar that hits its share of high points. The pepper may be the most readily apparent flavor for most of the cigar, but the sweetness and creaminess that fills in the gaps is what makes this cigar shine. While I would have liked the final third to finish off the cigar with less heat and harshness and thus allow me to smoke it down to a nub, the journey from the start through the band is impressive, enjoyable, and definitely recommendable.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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