Photo provided by Luke of aspiringgentleman.com
Oliva Cigar Company is a widely successful cigar maker. Their history can be traced as far back as 1886 when the Oliva family was growing tobacco in Cuba. After the Cuban Revolution they emigrated out and eventually settled in Nicaragua, where they have become one of the most successful and largest growers and distributors of Nicaraguan tobacco. The Oliva family has only recently entered the cigar industry in the early 1990s when the cigar boom was taking place. Their initial entry wasn’t anything huge, and widely unnoticed. Slowly that changed as smaller companies failed, and Oliva showed their worth with quality tobacco, excellent blends, great craftsmanship, and superb prices.
Today I’ve picked out an Oliva Serie ‘O’ in a robusto size, measuring in at 5×50. Like all Oliva cigars, it’s a Nicaraguan puro, with the cigar made entirely of Cuban seed Nicaraguan tobacco coming from various regions such as Esteli, Condega and Jalapa Valley. This particular cigar is covered in a nice dark maduro wrapper that is known to give a hint of sweetness to the cigar. The wrapper is a nice dark brown, almost bordering on black in dimmer light. It’s an oily wrapper, with lots of tooth along it giving it a rough texture, more so than any other cigar I’ve held. There are a few veins in the wrapper, and while not many, one or two are prominent. This doesn’t detract from the looks, however, and only adds to it. It looks dark, oily, toothy, and rough around the edges. It looks like it has character, with the gold trim wrapper making it look like a crowned fighter. Turning the cigar in my fingers showed no soft spots, and bringing it closer to my nose brings a sweet spicy scent mixed with strong fresh cedar. Much to my dismay, I was a little careless in removing the band, and ended up creating a small aesthetic flaw in the cigar. It wasn’t from a thin wrapper, but from me trying to take the band intact without completely unwrapping it. The band is on quite tight, and I suggest simply unwrapping the band if you remove it in order to avoid my mistake.
Lighting the cigar was very simple and easy with a single flame torch. It took little time, and it was very easy getting it to smolder evenly. Cutting the cap was also quite simple, despite the thickness of the wrapper. It cut off smoothly and neatly, and left a very nice draw with minimal resistance. I take a few puffs and am greeted with a myriad of flavors that all seem to blend together in a symphony. I get a sweet earthy feel with some mild spices. Hints of cedar and nuts come to mind as well, and the finish is like caramelized sugar and black coffee. As the cigar continues the flavors flesh out a little more. The start is sweet and earthy with some mellow spices. The spices give way to a woody and nutty core that reminds me of cedar and cashews. The finish is caramel and black coffee that lingers pleasantly in the aftertaste.
The flavors have a nice progression to them, and often blend together. They complement one another well, working as a harmony of voices in a choir, coming together as a whole for a medium to full body when the voices are all heard. Sometimes one will take a verse and show through more, then another in the next, but overall it’s a pleasant symphony of flavors that I enjoyed mostly together. It wasn’t until I concentrated more on the individual voices that I could hear them separately. It isn’t like the Serie G or V where the flavors are much sharper and are noticed individually. Some may like that, others may not. I, for one, do.
I enjoyed this cigar thoroughly. For that matter, I’ve never had an Oliva cigar that I wasn’t able to enjoy. Consider the following: the construction is excellent and the only times I’ve had an Oliva cigar burn strangely or off is when I failed to store them properly. The flavors are consistently pleasant, and require very little rest before the cigars are primed for smoking. Lastly, the prices per cigar are second to none, especially considering the quality behind them. The Serie O maduros are no different, and offer a variation to the classic Oliva flavors with the well aged maduro wrapper. You can find these online for anywhere between $5-6 each depending on whether you buy them in singles, fives, or boxes of 20. I’ve found these in local shops for just over $5 consistently, and have always found those prices to be a steal. Next time you visit a shop and see one, I urge you to try one out.