2017 CA Report: The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide to Oliva Cigars

2017 CA Report: The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide to Oliva Cigars

Cigar Advisor’s Essential Oliva Cigars Tasting & Buying Guide

By the Cigar Advisor Editors

It took three generations and two government revolutions to make Oliva Cigars.

Melanio Oliva grew tobacco in 1880’s Pinar del Rio Cuba; his son, Facundo, would take over for him in the ‘20s working the family tobacco plots until 1959 when Cuba’s government was overtaken by Castro’s Communist Revolution. Change came quickly, causing Facundo’s son, Gilberto, to move the company into buying and selling tobacco.

Within a few years of Castro’s ascension to power, Gilberto left Cuba to find new tobaccos that offered the classic Cuban taste – and like many of his contemporaries, he’d eventually land in Nicaragua. But the idea of making Oliva Cigars would have to wait another thirty years, as the family was forced to weather the Sandinista Revolution. Gilberto & family would finally return to Nicaragua in 1995 to grow Cuban-seed tobacco and produce cigars under the family name.

If you’re not already familiar with the family lineage, it may interest you to know that some of the top Oliva cigars are named for the family’s most influential members, Gilberto and Melanio. In all, there are eighteen core blends in the Oliva Cigars portfolio – and for this guide, we’ve reviewed one cigar from each line to give you an idea of the feel, flavors and nuances of each cigar. Moreover, each of the Advisors has done a side-by-side comparison of both the natural and Maduro versions of these cigars; in other words, we’ve covered all the bases.

As always, our smoking experiences are our own; and because finding and identifying flavors is subjective, we recommend you use our notes to decide which Oliva cigars you’d like to try for yourself. If you’re already an Oliva cigar fan, we’d like to know about your own Oliva experiences, so please leave a comment at the end of the post.

 

Oliva Serie V Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 6″ x 56
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Sun Grown
Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa Valley Ligero
Binder: Nicaraguan

oliva cigars oliva serie v cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Excellent. The wrapper is entirely even in milk chocolate color with some vein marbling, but no obtrusive veins. The cigar is well-packed with no soft spots. Cap is multi-seamed and well-applied.
Draw: Excellent.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): A faint hint of leather.
First few puffs: Sweet and creamy with a peppery finish.
Base flavors: Tangy citrus, earthy spice, charred oak, pepper.
Aroma: Spicy
Burn / Ash Quality: Excellent. Burn is exceptionally even and well-paced with a thin carbon line. Ash is quite firm with marbled grey colors.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Observations:
This cigar had more tanginess in the citrusy department than I remember, which made it a nice surprise. I was also impressed by the burn, since some figurados tend to have issues, but this cigar was so well put together it burned at a nice steady pace giving me over two hours’ worth of comfort.

Oliva cigars Oliva Serie V Torpedo cigar review

Summary:

Let me start by saying that despite the creamy-smooth draw of this Oliva Serie V Torpedo cigar, it is full-bodied. It’s also pretty complex, especially when you don’t push it too hard. In addition to the base notes of citrus, earthy spice, charred oak and a hint of pepper, you may also find dashes of espresso and cinnamon in the mix. More for the experienced cigar smoker who can appreciate the finer nuances of this cigar, I recommend pairing it with a long-aged single malt, bourbon, or dark rum. Finally, this cigar likes to settle-down by your side like a loyal pup, so make sure you’ve got plenty of time for it, too. ~ Gary

 

Oliva Serie V Melanio Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Robusto (5×52)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua

oliva cigars oliva serie v melanio cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Even though the chocolatey brown wrapper has slight mottling, it is satiny, smooth and beautiful – the slight box-press is nice.
Draw: Excellent, with just a hint of resistance.
Pre-light flavor: Semi-sweet chocolate, and very salty on the prelight
Toasting & Light: Mucho Ligero – takes a bit to get it started.
Base flavors: Coffee, wood, leather and spice. It gets sweet, too.
Retrohale: Got a big snootful of pepper up in there, plus a charred oak sensation.
Aroma: It seemed surprisingly mellow to me.
Burn / Ash Quality: Burn line never really got straight, but never needed a touch up; had an almost-solid grey ash. Well made.

Summary:

Some pedigree notes: this blend was Cigar Journal’s 2013 Best Cigar, and was named Cigar of the Year 12 months later. Here are a few reasons why…

Upon lighting, big thick smoke immediately pours off the Melanio, full of tangy flavors. And from there, gets even more complex: dark spices, dark chocolate (as in the not-so-sweet kind) and espresso show up, and there’s a light lingering pepper that hangs out in the shadows. So does an oaky taste, along with cinnamon. At about 1/3 the Robusto loses some of the initial sweetness.

oliva cigars review serie v melanio

The Serie V Melanio is a beefy and complex cigar – more so than I’ve had in quite a while. Flavors abound, like ping pong balls in a wind tunnel. The sweetness returns in the form of a dried fruit taste, complemented by an obvious leather note. The smoke output is still smooth and creamy, and the cigar leans toward full (but not too full) body. That is, until you get down to the primary band, where it’s banging on all 8 cylinders. The flavors are very layered, adding strong coffee and earth on top of the leather. The salty taste from the prelight returns to make it almost a fermented, balsamic type of taste, and remains heady right up to the end.

Melanio has earned this delicious offering from Oliva Cigars a 91 rating; I can see how. Extremely flavorful. You owe it to yourself to try at least one. ~ John

 

Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Robusto (5×52)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua

oliva cigars oliva serie v melanio maduro cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Again, we have a satiny, smooth wrapper – slightly box-pressed, but with no color variations whatsoever. This Maduro is only a hair darker than the natural Serie V Melanio.
Draw: A little tight.
Pre-light flavor: Thin flavors of earth and coffee.
Toasting & Light: Again, lots of Ligero, plus a charcoal type taste upon lighting up.
Base flavors: Dry spices, earth, leather and nut/seed.
Retrohale: I got a big rush of red pepper this time – a real eye-opener.
Aroma: Nice room note, and a little sweeter than the other Melanio.
Burn / Ash Quality: Excellent – tight white ash, burn line was straight and true.

Summary:

I smoked the Serie V Melanio Maduro back-to-back with the “other” Melanio, and found some significant differences between them – primarily that the Maduro is darker and thinner in flavor, and doesn’t sweeten up for quite a while. That surprised me.

oliva cigars review serie v melanio maduro

About an inch in, that San Andres sweetness I’m looking for finally comes on, in the form of toffee across the tongue. Good rips of thick smoke come along with it, and the ash holds really nice. Superb construction here.

If I put these two Oliva cigars side by side, I found myself leaning toward the other Melanio…I didn’t find this Maduro to be as complex. Oh, the flavors sure are tasty enough – but the layers aren’t there in the same way as the Serie V Melanio. This actually prompted fighting words and insults here in the office, with someone reminding me that the Maduro is even more highly rated. So while this one never really blossomed for me, I’d certainly be willing to give it another try in a different size. It’s surprising how different two vitolas can taste – and that’s an experiment I’ll gladly conduct. ~ John

 

Oliva Serie G Cigar Review (Natural)

Country of Origin: Nicaraguan
Size:  Torpedo (6½x52)
Strength:  Medium
Wrapper: Cameroon
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder:  Nicaragua

oliva cigars oliva serie g cigar reviewDraw: Excellent
Pre-Light: Sweet and cinnamon-y
First Few Puffs: Very Nutty
Aroma: Slightly sweet
Burn/Ash Quality: Solid, perfect, light gray
Balance of Flavors: Slight complexity

Summary:

The Serie G Natural is a beautiful looking box-pressed stick with a golden Cameroon wrapper that’s smooth and seamless. I had this one late morning with coffee which complemented each other quite well. There’s a very pronounced nuttiness at the start and that flavor continues throughout the smoke as well as having distinct almond notes.

oliva cigars oliva serie g torpedo cigar review

About a third of the way in it develops a nice woodiness and coffee bean component on the palate. There are a few cigars, like the Arturo Fuente Hemingway line, that utilize a Cameroon wrapper so perfectly – and the Oliva Serie G is right up there as well. It produces a sweet aroma and burns perfectly from start to finish.

If you dig a Cameroon leaf around your cigar, this one is a must try. ~ Tommy Zman

 

Oliva Serie G Maduro Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size:  Belicoso (5×52)
Strength:  Medium to Full
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan

oliva cigars oliva serie g maduro cigar reviewDraw: Perfect
Pre-Light: Sweet Cocoa
First Few Puffs: Slightly peppery
Aroma: Toasty
Burn/Ash Quality: Solid white
Balance of Flavors: Great balance of different flavors

Summary:

When you hear the cigar-ti-philes yakking about their favorite brands, you don’t usually hear them playing up the G Maduro, but I’m here to change that. This is one hell of a top-notch cigar with so much damned flavor, it’s crazy. It’s a box-press beauty with a flawless, silky smooth Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that is dark and oily. There’s a little shot of pepper upfront upon lighting but that quickly gives way to some delicious notes of black coffee and earth. That broadleaf wrapper starts giving off notes of sweet cedar at about the halfway point and it just keeps on getting better. There’s such a nice balance of these flavors as nothing overpowers, but instead meld together wonderfully.

oliva serie g maduro review oliva cigars tz

Do yourself a favor and give the Serie G Maduro a try… I’m betting you start playing it up to your leaf loving buddies! ~ Tommy Zman

 

Oliva Serie O Cigar Review (Natural)

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Toro (6×50)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan

oliva cigars oliva serie o cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Excellent. Wrapper has an attractive Colorado patina. The cigar is well-rolled with no apparent soft spots. Cap is perfectly applied.
Draw: Excellent.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Leather and cedar.
First few puffs: Earthy and woody with a note of sweetness.
Base flavors: Earthy spice, cedar, cashews, and a hint of pepper.
Aroma: Sharp.
Burn / Ash Quality: Excellent.  The cigar issues a lot of smoke with an even burn and a thin carbon line. The cigar also burns at a nice even pace. The ash is mostly marbled grey and taps-off easily.
Balance of flavors: Very good.

Observations:
Not having smoked one of these in several months, my first observation was that this cigar had a little more pepper on the finish up front, but the woody-nutty base that I like was right in the pocket. The pepper settled down by the midpoint and the smoke was much creamier, too, leaving flavors mostly of sweet cedar and roasted nuts. From that point on, the cigar remained true to the end with a semi-sweet, woody-nutty character.

oliva cigars oliva serie o toro cigar review

Summary:

The Oliva O Toro cigar is another longtime favorite, and having had a number of different shapes in the O series from Oliva Cigars over the years, the Toro has become my favorite. The smoke is full-bodied but leans more to the medium side of the dial. It’s certainly full-flavored and quite creamy, not to mention an excellent representation of how a well-made Nicaraguan puro is supposed to taste. I would recommend this cigar to cigar smokers seeking a straightforward, non-complex smoke for just about any time of day. I sampled this one in the morning with my coffee and it made a great pairing, but it also goes well with a good Port or dark rum. ~ Gary

 

Oliva Serie O Maduro Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 5″ x 50
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan

oliva cigars oliva serie o maduro cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Well made. Wrapper is seamlessly rolled and even in color. The cigar is well packed with a nice heft to it. The cap is perfectly applied.
Draw: Good.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Notes of leather and nutmeg.
First few puffs: Earthy and spicy.
Base flavors: Earthy spice, cedar, coffee bean, dark chocolate.
Aroma: Sharp.
Burn / Ash Quality: Nice even burn with an almost invisible carbon line. The ash is marbled grey and a bit less than firm. Ashes broke-off in half-inch nuggets.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Observations:
This cigar was impressively meaty and issued a lot of earthy smoke with just a hint of dark chocolate sweetness on the finish. Darker flavors emerged in the second half for a much heartier, full-flavored smoke, mostly with notes of earth, spice, and coffee bean.

Oliva cigars oliva serie O Maduro robusto cigar review

Summary:

This is one of the Oliva cigars I’ve probably smoked the least, so I had few expectations. Thing is, I was mighty impressed, not just with the fine construction, but the chewiness of the smoke in this Oliva Serie O Maduro cigar. The flavors I was able to identify were earthy spice, cedar, coffee bean, and smattering of dark, semi-sweet chocolate. Not bad for a Nicaraguan Robusto with a fairly lean price point. The cigar burns at a nice even rate offering a few pleasant change-ups along the way, particularly in the last two thirds, and especially if you like a more stout type of cigar. Full-bodied, but in no way overpowering, the Oliva Serie O Maduro Robusto is a good all-around smoke for relaxing with in the afternoon or after dinner. Even the newly-initiated cigar smoker who’s been looking at good Nicaraguan Maduro cigars will see the Serie O Maduro as a welcome find. ~ Gary

 

Oliva Master Blends 3 Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Torpedo (6 1/2 x 52)
Strength:  Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Broadleaf Sun grown
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder:  Nicaragua

oliva cigars oliva master blends 3 cigar reviewDraw: Smooth
Pre-Light: Wood & sweetness
First Few Puffs: Very woody with a nice sweet component
Aroma: Dark toast
Burn/Ash Quality: Firm, white and solid
Balance of Flavors: Several core flavors balance so perfectly throughout

Summary:

Oh yeah, now THIS is what I’m talkin’ ‘bout, Willis! I like Oliva cigars, and have loved this stick in particular for quite some time – and even though it gets some very high marks, I don’t think it gets all the fanfare that it deserves. This is a top-tier full-bodied premium – a box-pressed smoke with rounded edges whose smooth and luscious broadleaf wrapper is so damned inviting.

oliva cigars oliva master blends 3 torpedo cigar review

It is incredibly complex with notes of espresso, honey, dark cherries and a hint of cinnamon. I paired this one with a belt of Bulleit Rye and dayum, I didn’t want the goodness to stop so I smoked it nice n’ slow for a good hour and a half. If you’ve never tried the Master Blends 3, it’s high on my recommendation list. Honest, peeps, I wouldn’t steer you wrong. ~ Tommy Zman

 

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size:  Robusto (5×50)
Strength:  Medium
Wrapper: Indonesian Sumatra
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder:  Ecuador

oliva cigars gilberto oliva reserva cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Simply flawless on appearance and build. My only gripes were that the draw was a tad tight and about 1 ¼” left the wrapper cracked.
Draw: A little tight.
Pre-light flavor: Sweet cedar and earth on the wrapper, foot is earthy with woods and leather. The cold draw is savory and sweet, loads of cedar wood and a slight tang.
Toasting & Light: Toasty, creamy and sweet with a woody aftertaste.
Base flavors: Cream, cedar, toast, leather, sweetness, and citrus.
Retrohale: Leather, charred wood, and white pepper.
Aroma: Cedar.
Burn / Ash Quality: Burn line holds sharp and the ash is thick, strong, and white.
Balance of flavors: Maintains a mostly sweet and creamy profile contrasted by citrus.
Consistency: All baseline cigars were nearly identical.

General Observations:
About an inch in and this cigar is very sweet and creamy, bit more body with notes of toast, cedar, and a slight herbal flavor.

Not overly complex through the first third.

The zest turns into a slight citrus note that counters the creaminess and adds a pleasant contrast.

Transitioning into the last third a distinct leather note makes its way forward but mostly hangs as an aftertaste.

That creamy buttery taste is the main note, the sweetness has dissipated a bit but the toast, cedar, and zest are intensified and leather is prominent in the aftertaste.

Gilberto Red cigar review oliva cigars

Summary:

While I’ve sampled a handful (or two) of this cigar, I have to say that they’ve all been consistent in flavors and construction.

The cold draw brought a savory sweet combination of cedar and cream with a zesty tang to the palate. The initial flavors- super creamy and toasty with a woody aftertaste. By the end of the first inch I found myself reeling from the amount of cream in this cigar- while very sweet like the Blanc, there’s a tad more body to this cigar with a nice toast, cedar, and herbal base of flavors going on.

While transitioning into the second third I noticed some of the familiar citrus-like zest that was so prominent in the Blanc as well. Cream was on full tilt through the second third with a dominating sweetness that reminds me of cocoa and cedar wood while a tang of white pepper hangs in the background. The last third brought a distinct note of leather into the picture, mostly as an aftertaste, while the dominating flavor was a creamy and buttery flavor. The sweetness dies down for a bit but the toast, cedar, and zest are more pronounced. A retrohale brings leather, charred wood and a white pepper spice to the palate. The construction allows for maximum nub-age; as the final puffs find their way home the smoke is savory- very creamy still with cedar, leather and a zesty citrus-like tangy white pepper. Compare to Oliva Cigars other Gilberto (the Reserva Blanc) and you’ll find a similar smoke- pair it with coffee or Earl Grey tea. ~ Fred

 

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size:  Robusto (5×50)
Strength:  Mild-Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Filler: Ecuador
Binder:  Nicaragua

oliva cigars gilberto oliva reserva blanc cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Flawless
Draw: perfect
Pre-light flavor: Cedar, leather, a slight fruitiness and citrus from the cold draw; the wrapper smells of leather, earth and cedar, the foot of rich tobacco and leather.
Toasting & Light: Very creamy and toasty with a nice white pepper nip and leathery aftertaste.
Base flavors: Honey sweetness, nuts, cedar, white pepper, lemon zest.
Retrohale: Nutty with hints of sweet cedar, toast, and white pepper.
Aroma: A sweet aroma of cedar.
Burn / Ash Quality: Perfect- razor sharp burn and I nearly got away with only ashing once.
Balance of flavors: Nicely balanced – favors flavor over body.
Consistency: This is my 5th or 6th one? They’ve all been very much identical to each other and fantastic construction.

General Observations:
Loaded with cream, toast, nuts, white pepper, leather, and a nice tang.

After a few puffs a honey-like sweet chimes in with the creaminess still rocking and a nice nutty and toasty aftertaste.

Retrohale is very woody, sweet, and herbal with white pepper. 

oliva cigars gilberto white cigar review

Summary:

Boy it seems like just the other day we reviewed this cigar on the review panel. Chalk up another Gilberto on the board for me- this may be my 8th cigar in the past month and they’re still damn good.

Construction? Flawless. Draw? Nice. Flavor? Creamy and sweet. Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc, while a tad milder than the Sumatra wrapper, holds a creamy flavor profile that’s too good to miss. The start was full of heavy cream with toast, white pepper, and leather. It opened up more by the first third- a honey-like sweetness with cedar, cashews, white pepper, leather, and a tang.

By the second third that zesty tang turned citrus- a plethora of creaminess with that honey, an herbal note, and cedar roam free. By the last third this bad boy was chugging along nice with a perfect burn and snow-white ash. Notes of cream, caramel, lemon zest, and white pepper are going full tilt and the cigar touches on medium, just barely. Those who love Oliva cigars will go bonkers for this cigar- it’s accessible to new smokers, an any time of day smoke that’s loaded with flavor at a sub $6 price. Pair with coffee, scotch, tea or whatever your bag is. ~ Fred

 

Oliva Connecticut Reserve Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Toro (6×50)
Strength: Mild-Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua

oliva cigars oliva connecticut reserve cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Excellent. The wrapper is silky in feel, buttery in appearance, and even in color throughout with a well-applied cap. No soft spots were found along the length of the cigar, either.
Draw: Excellent.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Slightly woody.
First few puffs: Smooth and nutty.
Base flavors: Sweet cedar, earthy spice, toasted nuts, coffee bean.
Aroma: Sharp.
Burn / Ash Quality: Very good. The burn was very even with a thin carbon line. Ashes were dark grey with black stripes, reasonably firm, and broke-off in equal half-inch nuggets.
Balance of flavors: Very good.

Observations:
Notes of sweet wood, spice, nuts and the hint of dark coffee that I’ve observed in many prior Oliva Connecticut Reserves were all in there, which speaks to this cigar’s consistency over the years. The cigar also transitioned well from a mild start to a solid medium-bodied smoke by the last third.

Oliva cigars oliva connecticut reserve toro cigar review

Summary:

An affordably-priced “go-to” when you want the rich, earthy-spice of prime Nicaraguan tobaccos in a milder cigar. Additionally, the Oliva Connecticut Reserve Toro is ideal for newer cigar smokers looking to move into the Nicaraguan cigar realm at low risk with a nice payoff. An excellent choice for relaxing with at the start or end of your day, regardless of experience, and one of the better Oliva cigars for pairing with coffee. ~ Gary

 

Baptiste by Oliva Cigars Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size:  Toro (5½x 54)
Strength:  Full
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder:  Nicaragua

oliva cigars baptiste cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Extremely uniform looking Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with thin, uniform veins; the oval press has a nice mouth feel.
Draw: Nice and smooth.
Pre-light flavor: Wrapper has earth and hay; foot is earth, leather, hay and pepper. The cold draw brings more hay and barnyard to mind with a rich leather, cedar, and a spice I can’t quite put my finger on.
Toasting & Light: A rush of pepper, toast, dark bread/grains, and herbs start things off.
Base flavors: Black pepper, sweet, bread, chocolate, coffee, earth.
Retrohale: It’s a sinus cleanser alright, a rich sweetness with cedar and loads of pepper.
Aroma: Woody and sharp.
Burn / Ash Quality: Some flagging issues that I fought with, but nothing major. The ash is solid and chalky-white.
Balance of flavors: Smooth, but leans on the peppery side.
Consistency: This one seemed much stronger than Baptiste cigars I’ve smoked in the past.

General Observations:
The pepper dials down from the initial puff and gradually gets sweeter.

The first third features black pepper filled smoke with a honey-like sweetness plus bread and herb linger.

The smoke is nice and intense- full bodied and peppery but a good balance.

Last third is giving me a bit of a nicotine rush- whoo!

baptiste by oliva cigars cigar review

Summary:

Preface: I’m pretty biased towards this cigar, I’ve been loving the Baptiste since it came out so it is what it is folks. For starters, this cigar looks great – the oily and veiny Ecuadorian Habano wrapper looks very distinct on this cigar. The oval press has a nice feel, though I did have some flagging issues – those quite rarely happen on these cigars.

Baptiste starts with a rush of pepper, toast, and dark breads and grains- full-bodied from the get-go. The draw is nice and smooth as a black pepper and honey-like sweetness take the front stage and is backed up by notes of bread and herbs. While intense, there’s still a good balance of flavor so as not to feel overwhelmed. The second third takes on more pepper and while the sweetness is more subtle, nuanced flavors start to show themselves: leather, earth, malted grains, unsweetened chocolate, and black coffee as well as a general woods. Last third is giving me a bit of a nicotine rush- whoo! I’ve smoked my Baptistes before but never with such a rush.

To bring it home, the last third shifted toward a malted sweetness with toast, cedar, and leather hanging on and the black pepper lingers in the background. As I’m closing this one for the books, I’m definitely feeling the nicotine. There’s a nice spicy-sweet harmony with leather, cedar, and coffee to keep things interesting. It started strong and finished even stronger. Enjoy it. ~ Fred

 

Georges Reserve by Oliva Cigars Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Churchill (7×48)
Strength: Mild-Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder: Cameroon

georges reserve by oliva cigars cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Smooth and satiny wrapper; the packing is average, the shape at the foot is a little off.
Draw: Some resistance – we’ll see if this becomes an issue.
Pre-light flavor: A strong hay note, with a fresh or “green” flavor to it – some oak and earth, too.
Toasting & Light: Quick to light, but it’s easy to scorch the wrapper, so be careful.
Base flavors: toast, wood and subtle sweetness, like a dried fruit – spice and pepper, too.
Retrohale: Adds a nip of pepper to a charred wood sensation.
Aroma: Gary said it smells like pot. I disagree.
Burn / Ash Quality: A just-ok burn line, and the ash is straight gray.

Summary:

Another “starter smoke” candidate from Oliva Cigars. I get a flinty, pencil lead type of taste off the start – then the Georges Reserve heads into the base flavors I describe above. There’s a darker, drier taste to this Connecticut; it’s not overly complex, but certainly is more consistent throughout.

The smoke output is on the thinner side, but thickens up by the halfway mark. As it does, along comes a wave of mild black pepper plus some dark coffee. The woody retrohale flavors remind me of the inside of a charred barrel. From there, this Oliva is on cruise control to the finish.

If you just like the mild taste of a Connecticut cigar that maybe has a little something extra to it, Georges Reserve is worth exploring. No wild flavor swings, and smokes straight as an arrow, taste-wise – give it a try to see if it makes it into your rotation. ~ John

 

El Cobre Double Fuerte by Oliva Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Corona Gorda (6×48)
Strength: FULL
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua

oliva cigars el cobre cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: El Cobre has a little bit of a rumpled look – a toothy Maduro with nice seams, and very consistent in color.
Draw: Very nice.
Pre-light flavor: This thing even smells strong. Big earth flavor on the cold draw; it tastes of a heavy fermentation, almost like peat or charred wood. Lots of dark, smoky flavors here.
Toasting & Light: El Cobre actually lights up pretty quick.
Base flavors: There’s some complexity here…pepper, light herb and nut; these are eventually overtaken by a lighter coffee taste, leather and graham/cinnamon plus a sweeter light cocoa or caramel.
Retrohale: First retrohale is slightly floral; some spice later on, then…there it is – I tear up like after having a big dash of wasabi. Wow.
Aroma: Very sweet and enjoyable.
Burn / Ash Quality: Relatively tight ash with no flake, and a salt/pepper consistency. Carbon line is a little wobbly, but burns tight like a champ.

Summary:

Ever get psyched out because you’ve heard how strong a cigar is supposed to be? That’s El Cobre – I’ve been told it’s the strongest cigar in the Oliva Cigars lineup, and supposedly the family’s private blend. The size is listed as a Toro, but at 6×48 it’s closer to a Corona Gorda. Think a too-short Churchill. This is smaller than my usual preferred size, but I’m all in since I heard this one had some serious gusto.

Surprise: El Cobre definitely favors flavor and variety over just sheer intensity.

Thick, cool smoke is laced with pepper – El Cobre has very long but clean finish, if that’s even possible. Interesting that the cold draw flavors aren’t present while smoking it; they’re replaced with a much more refined oakiness, nut and leather, which progress through a decent amount of complexity. Eventually I find it reverts to some of the original flavors.

oliva cigars el cobre review

I’ve retrohaled milder/lighter cigars than this, and they had more pepper in the nose than the El Cobre – in the beginning, anyway. Even as it got peppery, it was still very smooth for a Double Fuerte.

This Oliva has the kind of smoke that coats the mouth. With 2” left, the El Cobre gets super-full. Buzz time. Even more intense after I had to relight it. Smoke it slow and steady, or you’ll get the burps like I did.

As I said, this cigar was supposedly born out of the private blend for either Gilberto or Jose Oliva – if El Cobre were a movie, I’d call it Full and Fuller. If that’s how you like your cigars, put it on your to-do list without hesitation. ~John

 

Flor de Oliva Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Toro (6×50)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Sumatra
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua

flor de oliva cigars reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Well-built for a value-priced cigar. Wrapper has a matte finish, no excessive veins, almost invisible seams, and a sweetened cap that’s also well-applied.
Draw: Very good.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Mostly sweet due to the sweetened cap, and a little woody.
First few puffs: Sweet with hints of cedar and spice.
Base flavors: Nutmeg, cinnamon, cedar.
Aroma: Sweet.
Burn / Ash Quality: Burn was very good. Ash was fairly firm and very light grey, almost white in color.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Observations:
First, there are several things about this selection that should be noted based on my prior experience with this cigar: Flor De Oliva cigars are rolled as firsts, not seconds or overruns. Only this selection among all of the Flor de Oliva lines has a sweetened cap. The sweetener is so lightly applied, depending on how deep you cut, you may hardly taste it at all. That said, it doesn’t have an artificial sugar taste; it’s more like simple syrup and tends to fade by end of the first third.

Flor De Oliva cigars Toro review

Summary:

The smoke issues a delectably sweet and earthy spiciness with dominant notes of nutmeg and cinnamon that cling to a cedary base note. Interestingly enough, the well-balanced flavors are helped along by the sweet cap rather than being interfered with – at least in the first third. The rest of the cigar is on its own and remains quite consistent down to the nub.

Truth be told, I’ve smoked hundreds of them over the years, and they’ve never failed me, which is why I’m still recommending them to new cigar smokers as well as more experienced smokers who want a great everyday value – like right here and now. ~ Gary

 

Flor de Oliva Gold Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size:  Toro (6×50)
Strength: Mild
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua

flor de oliva cigars gold cigar reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: A rustic, ragged Connecticut that won’t win any beauty contests – but a nicely applied cap.
Draw: Great – the fill seems somewhat loose; seems these beginner Oliva cigars are fast burners.
Pre-light flavor: Combo of hay and dry leaves, plus bread.
Toasting & Light: Very fast, with a couple of runners appearing right away.
Base flavors: Underlying sweetness, a little buttery.
Retrohale: Tried a few times; there’s not much to speak of.
Aroma: Pretty light and toasty.
Burn / Ash Quality: Burn is a little wonky, but corrected itself without touching up. The salt-n-pepper ash holds on surprisingly well.

Summary:

Is it the finest Connecticut leaf money can buy? Of course not. This is a $3 cigar – but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in thick and lacey smoke. Nice aroma, too.

Opens with that typical dry Connecticut taste, but that goes away after an inch and is replaced with buttery and spicy sensations, along with a wood note. The spice is something that just pops in to take a bite every now and again, just so you don’t get too used to the idea that this is a straightforward, mild cigar. A touch of earthiness arrives. The Gold is a little out of balance between the dry and creamy flavors, going back and forth; the last 3rd is all cedar. With an inch or inch and a half to go, it begins to harsh up a bit, more or less telling me it’s time to put it down.

All in all, the Flor de Oliva Gold is a fantastic starter cigar candidate from Oliva cigars, showing off more simple flavors that even a beginner can pick out. And given the price, one I’d surely recommend to the new folk. ~ John

 

Flor de Oliva Maduro Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size:  Toro (6×50)
Strength:  Medium
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder:  Nicaragua

flor de oliva cigars maduro reviewConstruction and Overall Appearance: Very solid construction, good amount of weight to the cigar. Wrapper is a coffee brown with very fine veins.
Draw: Tight.
Pre-light flavor: Wrapper: earthy, moss, cedar. Foot: pepper, leather, earth, cocoa. Cold draw has chocolate, dark fruits and malt.
Toasting & Light: A mild sweetness with a bready/toast component and cedar wood…there’s even a subtle charred oak component.
Base flavors: Semi-sweetness, black pepper, charred oak, cocoa, leather, coffee.
Retrohale: Sharp flavors of black pepper, wood, cocoa right to the front, and a spike of nicotine.
Aroma: A mix of earth and wood.
Burn / Ash Quality: Burn line holds sharp; the ash is a grayish white – a tad flaky but mostly solid.
Balance of flavors: While the balance tended to shift a few times between sweet and savory, overall, I would say a balanced cigar that embraced flavor instead of nicotine.

flor de oliva cigars maduro cigar review toro

Summary:

One of the more budget-minded Oliva cigars, Flor de Oliva Maduro is a great example of a mild-medium Maduro.

Opens with flavors of black pepper, malted chocolate, black coffee, a semi-sweetness and oak. By the second third the sweetness takes more of a backseat to more savory notes of black pepper, wood, charred oak, and even a little meatiness.

In between the second and final third- the sweetness dominates the palate but notes of oak, leather, pepper, coffee, and cocoa are still there, but somewhat muted. The final third goes sweet and creamy- the smoke is getting beefy as well.

Bottom line: a simple, straightforward and wallet-friendly Maduro from our friends at Oliva Cigars. This is my first Flor de Oliva in the Connecticut Broadleaf, but I hope there’s more to come of this. ~ Fred

 

Flor de Oliva Corojo Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Robusto (5 x 50)
Strength:  Medium to Full
Wrapper: Corojo
Filler: Nicaragua
Binder:  Nicaragua

oliva cigars flor de oliva corojo cigar reviewDraw: Smooth.
Pre-Light: Wood and sweetness.
First Few Puffs: Cedary and earthy.
Aroma: Dark and woody.
Burn/Ash Quality: A darker gray but pretty solid.
Balance of Flavors: Solid notes throughout.

Summary:

Let’s call this one what it is – an Oliva Cigars value stick – but trust me when I say that having a really low price sure as hell doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some seriously good flavor.

flor de oliva corojo oliva cigars review

The Flor de Oliva Corojo is not complex by any means, but I don’t always need to taste the full gamut of a Thanksgiving cornucopia to enjoy a smoke. That nice reddish wrapper has that patented Corojo sweetness and the Nicaraguan inside gives it that full-flavored earthiness it’s known for. Yeah, it’s in a bundle, but don’t get all snobby on me because there’s a place and time for this cigar and it’s definitely worth giving a try. ~ Tommy Zman

 

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