Gilberto Oliva Reserva Toro. A tribute to the man who started the Oliva Cigar Company in Nicaragua in 1995. But that doesn’t mean that the family wasn’t in tobacco before. It all started with Melanio Oliva in 1886. Melanio Oliva, the family patriarch, grew tobacco in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Gilberto, Melanio’s grandson, fled to Spain and later Nicaragua after the Cuban revolution and after his family’s plantations were taken from them by the thieving Cuban regime. In Nicaragua, he became a tobacco grower again. With his sons Gilberto, Carlos, and José, he created Oliva Cigars. In 2017, at age 86, Gilberto Oliva passes away. Ministry of Cigars was lucky enough to have sat down with this industry legend at the Tabolisa factory in 2014.
To honor their father, Jose, Gilberto Jr, and Carlos created the Gilberto Oliva Reserva line. In the same way, as they did with their great grandfather Melanio. For the Gilberto Oliva Reserva line, they turned to an Indonesian Sumatra wrapper. The binder is from Ecuador. The filler is Nicaraguan, with at least some but probably all coming from the Oliva family farms. Besides producing cigars, Oliva also grows tobacco in Esteli, Condega, and Jalapa. The Oliva Cigar Company is now part of the Belgian family-owned J. Cortes brand.
The cigar is quite good looking. A smooth and oily Colorado Maduro colored Indonesian Sumatra wrapper. At first glance, cigar smokers might not recognize this as an Oliva cigar. The classic logo with the big O is missing from the ring. Dark red, gold, and brown create a more classic looking logo. The construction feels immaculate. A nice triple cap finishes the look. The cigar has a mild spicy aroma.
The cold draw gives a bit more resistance than desired. After the cigar is lit, there is a beautiful mixture of sugar, grass, and dark spices. Full, rounded, smooth. Slowly a little pepper and leather show up too. Black pepper. The spice is a mixture of nutmeg and cinnamon. It is more pronounced in the retrohale. After a third, cedarwood shows up as well. The dark spices remain, with sweetness, and there is even a hint of vanilla. If there is any cigar that makes resembles Coca-Cola in a dry form, this is it. But better. Because there is also cedar, black pepper, and some earthy flavor. The Final third has all of the flavors mentioned above, with some citrus and floral flavors. These flavors remain until the end. Only the mouthfeel changes and becomes a bit dry.
The draw is good. The ash is white as ash can be, a sign of tobacco from potassium-rich soil. The burn is straight and slow. The smoke is thick. It’s white and there is a lot of it. This is a cigar medium in body yet full in flavor. Well balanced and very pleasant, yet the cigar could use a little more character. The smoke time is three hours and twenty minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box