I make no secret of my preference for smaller cigars, with a 50 ring gauge generally being the largest I’ll buy. If you’re like me in that regard, and if you enjoy the challenging complexities of a full-flavor cigar, then I highly recommend the Oliva Serie V Lancero.
For starters, there is something special about the all-Nicaraguan core, which includes full-bodied Nicaraguan Jalapa longfillers and a Nicaraguan binder. But the puro’s greatest achievement for me is its milk chocolate-colored Sun Grown Nicaraguan Habano wrapper.
I’ve been hanging onto a box of Oliva Serie V Lanceros for aging purposes, which I recently had occasion to crack into. From the get-go, I’m surprised by how much the cigar’s pepper notes have mellowed out. Instead of causing a tingling in my sinuses, it is at once rich and smooth, bringing to mind the word, “invigorating.”
Time has also been kind to the cigar’s burning characteristics. At release, they were subject to the instability that affects most Lanceros: a lopsided burn, somewhat-weak ash, and the occasional tunnel, all of which could be reasonably kept in-check by smoking slowly.
They now perform amazingly well, boasting a thin, crisp burn line and sturdy, neatly-stacked ash. I also find them much more tolerant to my pace.
Finally, the flavors and aroma have also rounded out. At initial release, I recall being able to pick out clearly-defined flavors of wood, pepper, earth, and some spice. These notes have mellowed and mixed, forming a baseline that is greater than the sum of its parts, and underpinned by subtle sweetness.
If a couple years can transform a cigar to this degree, I’m excited to find out how they’ll taste a year from now.