Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oliva Serie O Robusto

Locked out with Oliva
Part 1: Oliva Serie O Robusto

Size: 5 X 50
Shape: Robusto
Origin: Nicaragua
Body: Medium
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun-Grown Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano

This morning, I went out onto the front porch, being sure to close the door behind me, with both the Oliva Serie O Robusto and the Oliva Serie V Double Toro Maduro, excited to sampling these two cigars that I have been looking forward to for some time.

I decided to try the Serie O first and slid it out of its cellophane. Giving the stick a once over, I noticed that the wrapper was incredibly uniform in color, displaying a lovely tan brown color over its entirety. The wrapper was toothy with a few unfortunate cracks, one of which gave me some cause for concern. Fortunately for me, my concerns were later squashed thanks to the construction of this cigar.

Passing the stick beneath my nose, I noticed the distinct smell of manure and cedar, and the pre-light draw exhibited the taste of cream and cedar. Cedar seemed like it would be a major player in this smoke, and it was in the most welcome way.

When I put some flame to the foot of this cigar, I immediately tasted peat and wood before the flavor profile settled into its most dominant flavors: cedar and nuts.

From the outset I tasted a great deal of delicious cedar and cashew notes, with a bright compost flavor exhibited through the nose. As the first quarter progressed, the smoke became sweet and creamy with light spice in the nose.

Through the second and third quarters of the smoke, cedar and oak notes took dominance while the cashew flavor sunk slightly into the background. Occasional raisin notes crept in during this time, but came and went without ever staying present for longer than a puff. Spice became dominant in the nose as the compost flavor subsided towards the end of the third quarter.

One occurrence of note from the third quarter was the way the cigar burned through the large crack in the wrapper. As the burn edged closer to the growing canyon, I felt certain that things would go to pot once the split began to burn, but I was very wrong. The wrapper kept pace as it burned through the troublesome crevice with little to no variation in the flavor profile. This crack was most impressively handled, and I attribute that to the cigar’s construction.

Once I arrived at the finish, the body ramped up slightly and the compost flavor which had all but vanished transformed into rich earthen notes.

Second to the flavor of this cigar, something that greatly impressed me was the burn and the ash. The ash held on for ¾ of the cigar! By the time the first bit of ash fell off, I was already making notes about the finish. The burn was also very even for the majority of the smoke, only becoming wavy for moments at a time and masterfully worked through a major crack in the wrapper without so much as a run.

Having come outside with the Serie O and the Serie V, I was glad to have chosen the Serie O first, it being the milder of the two. The creamy, sweet cedar and cashew notes were delightful, especially first thing in the morning. It was also the shorter smoke, which then allowed me time to grab a meal before I dove into the full bodied Serie V.

I watched the nub for a minute as it quietly snuffed itself out and then rose from the rocking chair to go back inside. The only problem was, when I placed my hand on the door knob to let myself back in, I discovered that it was locked.

To be continued…

Presentation: 8/10 – The band on this stick is fairly standard for Oliva, with gold and eggshell complementing each other. It is simple with a touch of elegance. Very nice.

Appearance: 7/10 – The wrapper is very nice and consistent in color. However, it did exhibit a few small cracks and one major one which fixed itself during the smoke.

Construction: 32/35 – In addition to being consistently firm, the burn was very even overall and the ash was firm and held on solidly for 3/4s of the smoke. The draw felt a bit tight during the pre-light ritual, but proved to be deceptively open once lit.

Flavor: 43/45 – The creamy cedar and cashew flavors were delectable and the compost and spice in the nose provided an excellent contrast. The profile of this cigar had an ebb and flow to it that really keeps the smoker interested.

Overall: 90/100 – The Oliva Serie O Robusto is another excellent offering from Oliva and offers very good construction and excellent flavor. For the price, this is a smoke that cannot be beat. I highly recommend giving this stick a try.

A note on the Serie O blend by Oliva:
From “A great value, the Oliva Series O was one of the first blends made by the Olivas. In 2005, it received a 92 rating from Cigar Aficionado magazine.
The Oliva Series O is a selection of cigars that commemorate one of the most famous tobacco families in the cigar industry. Oliva is a smaller more boutique cigar company that takes exceptional pride in the quality of their cigars. In Nicaragua they are one of the largest tobacco growers of tobacco and roll their own crop. They oversee every aspect of the production of a cigar from seed to smoke, which is not something many people in the cigar business do successfully.
The Series O earns its name as the original blend to hit the market. The Nicaraguan tobaccos in this blend give the cigar a well-rounded body and aroma. A silky… wrapper finishes this cigar making it look almost as good as it tastes. The blends release in 2005 was met with some of the highest ratings ever received including a 92 rating from Cigar Aficionado Magazine…”

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