Last year at the annual La Zona Palooza event in Miami, I received one of Arielle Ditkowich’s La Sirena Porthole cigars. This particular cigar line was released back in 2015 and was based on a challenge to Ms. Ditkowich to create a cigar for the value minded consumer. The result of that fan challenge was the creation of three cigars that were named the Porthole. There were two blends released in the line and each used a Nicaraguan binder and filler. The wrapper on the first was an Ecuadorian Connecticut and the second used an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper.
The Ecuadorian Connecticut variety comes in one vitola – a 6 x 50 Toro and has a retail price of $6.60
The Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro comes in two vitolas:
- Toro Gordo – 6 x 58 (MSRP $6.90)
- Corona – 5 x 44 (MSRP $6.30)
All La Sirena Porthole cigars come packaged in 25-count cabinet boxes with a simple design that further kept the costs down. They are produced at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
The cigar I received at the event was the Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro Toro Gordo.
The La Sirena Porthole Oscuro is a veiny, rugged, and bumpy cigar that is finished with a simple cap. Looks can be deceiving when it comes to cigars and I always say don’t judge a cigar simply by looks. The wrapper is dark brown with some marbling scattered about. The cigar has a nice weight and there was no noticeable soft spots along the barrel.
The Porthole is adorned with a single band, that depicts a porthole looking out over the ocean with a grey wood plank background. The words “Porthole by La Sirena” is printed on a yellow painted wood plank. I like to look of this band, it is definitely unique.
The aromas of the Porthole Oscuro certainly lit up my smell sensors with a sweet spicy curing barn aroma along the barrel along with hay and fresh-cut grass off the foot.
Once I sliced the cap the cold draw offered a sweet open draw with a slow building pepper as you roll it about.
The pre-light exam had me wanting to light this up and see what sub $7.00 can get you in the cigar market and if Arielle Ditkowich met the challenge.
Cigar Review Notes
- The journey started with a sweet and spicy set of notes
- Pepper is ever-present on the nose during the retro hale
- After an inch of burn the pepper recedes
- The early sweetness continues
- The ash is salt and pepper and flaky and sits atop of a thick char line
- Once the ash fell – after an inch and half – you will notice a flat and centered burn cone
- Light spice enters, balancing well with the sweetness
- Hint of cocoa follows
- The burn is fairly straight through the 1st half
- Earthy notes enter midway through the second third
- As it moves into the final third, the earth slides back
- Pepper enters the profile for a short burst
- The early natural tobacco sweetness moves forward and completes the journey
- Strength was medium
- Total Smoking Time was one hour and forty minutes
I feel the La Sirena Porthole Oscuro met the challenge to bring a value priced, Arielle Ditkowich cigar, to her fans. The collaboration with Erik Espinsoa shines in this blend. Though not overly complex, the flavors transitioned well and the underlying sweetness made it an enjoyable smoke. Even with the flaky ash, the burn line was straight and problem free.