Oliva Master Blends 2 Robusto Cigar
Nice-looking wrapper; evenly colored in a milk-chocolate hue, and delicately branded with a laser engraved insignia just beneath the band. Somewhat veiny, which is not unusual with Sumatra wrapper, but attractively oily with a virtually seamless roll. Well-packed and slightly pressed, but more oval than square. When clipped, the cap popped off cleanly, and the pre-lit flavor was somewhat earthy, typical of Nicaraguan tobacco.
The cap clipped perfectly and lit evenly revealing a firm, light grey ash. The draw was effortless with a light wisp of smoke oozing from the head. Surprisingly smooth at first with an appealingly spicy aroma. The burn at the 1/2-inch mark was perfect. Peppery notes were prevalent in the finish; not overbearing, but just spicy enough to warrant a chase with a sip of water. So far, it had a very “pure” tobacco flavor like good Cuban cigars, and in this regard, the consistency and balance were perfect.
As the cigar reached the midpoint, the aroma took on an earthier dimension. Surprisingly, for a short cigar – and in true Oliva blending form – the smoke improved dramatically in flavor without increasing in strength. The second ash dropped off leaving a perfectly-formed cone dead center, another sign of experienced handcrafting. (I doubt the Olivas would entrust this series to none other than their best rollers.)
Even at 2¼-inches from the head, the cigar continued to smoke smoothly, maintaining a rich, full-bodied, and even-toned flavor. Far exceeding my expectations, I smoked it until it literally burnt my knuckles. If I removed the band and told you it was a Cuban, I’m confident you’d believe me. Truth be told, I’m not that comfortable comparing it to a Cuban. This cigar really doesn’t need any comparisons; it stands on its own.
I was so impressed with the Master Blends 2 Robusto, I nominate it is as one of the best cigars of 2006, and recommend it to anyone who has acquired a taste for full-flavored blends, particularly those who smoke “luxury” cigars. Since these were made in very limited edition, I suggest the collectors among you reading this, take note. I’m certain it will become a quite valuable cigar down the road.
Final Score: 9.5