Oliva Classic Naturel Churchill

You might think “hey, it’s a monday so there shouldn’t be a review today” but when I upgraded my blog to a 100 point score and a set schedule of reviews I noticed that my first review I ever posted was on april 17 2007, so its exactly 10 years later and that deserves a vintage review. Years and years ago, it must have been 2008, the Oliva distributer for The Netherlands was blowing out old stock of Oliva Classics in several sizes, and by blowing out I mean literally dump prices. I snagged a few boxes in different sizes and still have a few of the Churchills left. And such an old cigar seemed the perfect fit for a review celebrating the birthday of the blog.Now the Oliva Classic might not ring a bell, but here’s the story. In 2001 Oliva released the Oliva Bold, a Nicaraguan puro in both natural and maduro with a embroided cloth ring. Those bands changed to paper rings and later the name changed to Oliva Classic. A few years later they renamed and repackaged the cigar into the Oliva Series O that we can buy at local retailers nowadays.  I actually have one of the cloth banded maduros in my collection and the infamous “toilet seat’ box with 6 natural and 6 maduro Oliva Bold churchills.

This cigar is so old and rare nowadays that even my friend Maria Jose, who’s the factory manager at Oliva in Esteli, Nicaragua has never seen them. I told her about those while at the factory and she was very jealous, I haven’t been back to Nicaragua since but I promised to save her one of these 7×50 Nicaraguan puros that are at least 10 years old. The cigar has a nice medium brown, mild shiny and oily wrapper with the veins flattened from the inside like Oliva always does, creating a smooth surface of the wrapper. The cap is nicely placed and the double ring looks great on the cigar when it comes to colors, its a brownish red ring with a double golden lining, a thick line and a thin line on both top and bottom of both rings and then a curly golden print on both, the bigger top ring has a golden O and Oliva Cigar Family and the smaller bottom ring says Classic. The back side of the main ring says hand made. Simple yet tasteful, beautifully printed on good quality paper.

The construction feels flawless and once I release the cigar from its cellophane jacket I instantly smell a barnyard manure aroma, when I smell more precisely It smells more like a horse. The cigar has a strong aroma for its age. I punched the cigar and got a great cold draw with a little peppery but sweet hay flavor. And what better way to light a vintage cigar with a vintage lighter? I’m tasting a pleasant, not too strong coffee flavor with sugar and a little woody bitterness. After a centimeter I lost the coffee. The flavors are dry and some nutmeg.

After a third I taste dry wood with a little milky chocolate and the nutmeg. Slowly the flavor changes to the ice tea I make with the Malaysian tea dust I bought in Singapore and that’s not because I’m drinking it as I drink water while reviewing. I also taste white pepper. Soon I also taste some sweetness. After two thirds I taste spices, a little pepper a little lime on a base flavor of cedar. You can tell this is a vintage cigar, the flavors taste old but in a positive way. With 2 inch to go it’s all nuts with white pepper and a little lime. The pepper is building up near the end to a very nice and strong Nicaraguan signature.

The draw is perfect, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is beautiful light gray and dense. The smoke is medium plus thickness and a medium plus amount too, beautifully white. The burn is good, not razor sharp but even enough. The cigar is medium to medium plus bodied and medium flavored. The cigar is well balanced. The smoke time is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible, even at Oliva they don’t have these anymore

score: 93



Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , ,

Oliva serie V Maduro Short Robusto Edición Europa 2010

In 2006 the Nicaraguan cigar producing and tobacco growing family of Oliva and their Oliva Cigar Company, not to be mistaken by the Oliva Tobacco Company who are also tobacco growers but not related, released their strongest cigar to their portfolio, the Oliva Series V and with succes, the torpedo made it into the top 25 of Cigar Aficionado the next year and the blend has been voted in that top 25 for 6 years in a row, an industry record. In 2008 Oliva released a limited edition maduro version of the Series V in a torpedo shape and a Broadleaf wrapper and repeated that in 2009 with a different wrapper, Nicaraguan Habano Maduro this time. In 2010 they changed the size to a 6×54 with yet another another wrapper, Mexican San Andres Maduro and they not only released a limited edition for the USA but also a different size just for the European Market. For Europe they picked a 4 1/2×50 Short Robusto, 1500 boxes of 10 cigars were made. I really loved the 2008 release but wasn’t impressed with the later releases until I smoked this one.

Now this review is not the only one this cigar. I gave a few to Brooks from Halfwheel.com a few years back and he posted a review. The prices mentioned on Halfwheel come from U.K. based websites and the U.K. has crazy taxes. In The Netherlands the cigar had a fixed price tag of €8,50. The cigar has been aging for a minimum of 6 years so the cellophane is discolored from the inside. The band is the normal Oliva serie V band, big, beautiful and printed in my home country of The Netherlands at Vrijdag Printing. The wrapper is dark, toothy, rough and leathery with some veins and it feels leathery. It is not a good looking wrapper when you base it on esthetics but it’s beautifully intimidating. The construction feels good. After a punch I had a tight draw so I made a cut with my xikar butterfly cutter and then the mild spicy cold draw was good. The aroma is thick, rich and deep, reminds me of a horse stable.

I managed to lit the cigar with the last remaining gas in my vintage Ronson and straight away I taste espresso with a lot of cane sugar, it’s like Cuban coffee. After a centimeter the espresso becomes a little milder and the sweetness also toned down a little. The flavors are getting a little toasty though.

Halfway I still taste sweetness but now with more earthy flavors and a little bit of pepper. This Maduro wrapper surely lives up to the ‘Maduro is sweeter’ people always say but it’s not overpowering. After two thirds I get more of a woody flavor with some pepper and the sweetness, which now reminds me of honey.

The smoke from this small cigar is medium thick, not as thick as I like and not as much as I like either so there go some points. The ash on the other hand is amazing, white and very dense. The burn is a little bit off but not enough to correct. The draw is great, but I always expect good draw from Oliva. This cigar is medium plus bodied and medium to full flavored. The smoke time of this enjoyable cigar is close to 90 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? They are nowhere to be found, its been over 6 years since they were released but I’m glad I bought all the boxes I could find.

Score: 91


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Studio Tobac ST-EF401

This is an old review that somehow never got posted when it should have been uploaded.

Studio Tobac, the think tank of Oliva, used to do a world tour with events and if you bought a box there you would get a sampler with some unreleased cigars. Now world tour is a big name because only one of those years a country outside of the United States was visited but because I worked for the Oliva distributer who also ran the Oliva warehouse for every country outside the USA, I managed to get my hands on the samplers anyway.
I picked this 5×50 ST-EF401 test blend from the sampler. The light colored, probably Connecticut shade, wrapper has a few veins. The construction feels good and I smell an aroma that reminds me of horses. The ring is just a photocopied piece of paper with the code ST-EF401 on it. The cold draw is fine and I taste dry raisin.
The cigar is acidic and musty, now I know for sure that the wrapper is Connecticut shade. The flavors are harsh, peppery and with some spiced. After an inch I taste some licorice, hay and wood and the flavors are still musty. Halfway I taste (still musty) wood with some herbs. After two thirds the cigar gets very ashy.
This cigar had a smoke time of an hour and fifteen minutes. The draw is great but the smoke is thin. The light colored ash is compact and firm. The burn is good but the smoke, which is good in volume, has a very nasty smell.
Would I buy this cigar again? That’s impossible because this test blend never made it to the market and in my opinion that’s a good thing
Appearance: 7
Construction: 7
Draw: 8
Burn: 7
Smoke & ash: 7
Aroma first part: 5
Aroma second part: 6
Aroma third part: 5

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva

Oliva serie G Robusto

A Nicaraguan classic with a Cameroon wrapper grown by the renowned Meerapfel family, who grows about 80% of all Cameroon tobacco. The blend has been a staple for Oliva for many many years, I’m reviewing the robusto.
The thin Cameroon wrapper isn’t the prettiest, but then again, Cameroon wrapper usually isn’t the best looking wrapper anyway. A simple classic band rings the cigar that feels well constructed and has a minor hay aroma. The peppery  raisin flavored predraw is fine.
Spicy flavors, like you expect from a Cameroon wrapper. The flavor is a bit harsh though, which I never tasted in any other Oliva G series before. It soon turns to green herbs with some sweetness.After a centimeter the harshness is gone, mildly sweet wood with some white pepper is what I taste.

After a third the sweetness disappears, herbal flavors with pepper and some wood, halfway the sweetness returns but way on the background and way mild. The wood is the main flavor, by far. After two thirds I taste cinnamon and other spices too. Slowly a nutty flavor shows up, which I like a lot. Nutty flavor gets stronger with some sweetness.
Nice amount of smoke, not too thick though but not too thin either. The ash is white, tight and firm. The draw is great. Burn is razor sharp. The cigar gave me an hour and 20 minutes of pleasure.
Would I buy this again? Yes, it’s a nice change of pace.

Appearance: 7
Construction: 8
Draw: 8
Burn: 9
Smoke & ash: 8
Aroma first part: 7
Aroma second part: 7
Aroma third part: 8

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Oliva Serie V diadema

Oliva, just browse my reviews and you’ll see that I love the brand (except for the Connecticut Reserve but that is because I dislike Connecticut shade with a passion) so you can imagine that I had high expectations for this 9×56 Oliva series V diadema. This is a limited edition of only 2500 sticks, just for Europe. 1000 sticks made it to The Netherlands, the other 1500 ended up on the German market.
The cigar looks fabulous, a beautiful and smooth Colorado colored wrapper with a strong and peppery barnyard smell and not a lot of veins. The construction feels great and the predraw confirms the flawless construction, I taste raisin and pepper.
Straight from the start I taste a full coffee flavor with some earthiness and pepper. There is also a smoky flavor. After half an inch I taste wood, pepper and coffee. The wood slowly grows stronger and far far on the background I taste some dry, very dark, chocolate. The chocolate disappears again and all I taste is wood with herbs. The flavors are mild creamy now.
After a third I taste creamy chocolate with wood. The herbs are gone, just like the pepper. Halfway I get that typical Oliva sweetness that only an Oliva cigar can produce. The wood, the sweetness, the creaminess all blend together while the pepper makes a comeback. After two thirds the pepper is strong and the cigar gets more spicy. Near the end I get wood, some herbs and a little bit of cacao.
This cigar lasted me for two hours and forty-five minutes and I loved every minute of it. The draw is amazing for a cigar this size and shape. The light gray ash is firm and the burn is fantastic too. The only negative thing I can say is that the smoke could be a tad thicker but if that is all, it is a great cigar. The flavors of the cigar are dry so I got thirsty a lot during smoking. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored.
Would I buy this cigar again? A whole box, even with the steep price

Appearance: 9 / 10
Construction: 10 / 10
Draw: 9 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , ,

Oliva series V #4

After last year’s success story with the Oliva V maduro short robusto Edicion Europe Oliva decided to create another European exclusive cigar and they chose a 5×43 #4 size with the Oliva V blend for us Europeans. A select group of American retailers had the opportunity to buy a limited amount of boxes too. The price is set for 5 euro a stick.
The wrapper has the colour of dark chocolate with a few veins. The cigar has a strong smell of an old wooden barn. The construction feels great and the predraw is just like I want it. I taste tobacco with chilli peppers.
I taste pepper, coffee and an earthy flavour. That earthy flavour with quite some pepper on the top of my tongue is the aftertaste. On the background I taste something sugar sweet. After half an inch I taste lots of pepper with some chocolate on the background. After a third I taste pepper with terroir. The chocolate and the sweetness have disappeared. I do taste some herbs too though.
Halfway I taste a little less pepper and I do get some chocolate and a little bit of nuts. Some puffs later I also taste terroir again. Near the end I taste more pepper with terroir. Even though the pepper is strong, it is not as strong as before. The nut flavour remains.
This cigar lasted me an hour and fifteen minutes. The draw is great and I got a lot of thick white smoke. The ash is quite dark and medium firm. The burn is great and the cigar is full flavoured and full bodied.
Would I buy this cigar again? You can count on that

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 8/ 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , ,

Oliva masterblend 2 robusto

The Masterblend series from Oliva are supposed to be the cream of the crop of the Oliva cigars and the Masterblend 1 and Masterblend 3 that I smoked really impressed me. I never had the Masterblend 2, until I ran into a box of 5×50 robustos recently. The cigars are € 10,50 each here. The cigar is tattooed, like the Masterblend 1. The production of the Masterblend 2 was limited to 120.000 cigars in total.
The oily wrapper is chocolate brown with the mentioned tattoo and quite some veins. The construction feels good and the cigar smells like chocolate with dried grass. The band is beautiful and accentuates the tattoo. The predraw is great, I get a lot of flavour, mostly hay but with some raisin.
The first thing I taste is a bitter mixture of earthy flavours with leather, coffee and a hint of white pepper. The bitterness quickly disappears and after half an inch I taste that earthy flavour with leather and wood. After an inch I taste some white pepper and lots of herbs. After a third I taste wood with some leather and hay, the aftertaste consists of some white pepper and herbs.
Halfway the hay flavour gains strength with herbs, some leather and a big splash of that earthy flavour. The flavours change to earth with some herbs and a hint of leather. The aftertaste is pepper. After two thirds there is some citrus with the earthy flavour. Near the end the citrus is replaced by wood.
This cigar lasted me for an hour and three quarters. The draw is great, just like the bur. The silver-grey ash is firm. I got a lot of smoke. This cigar is full flavoured and full bodied.
Would I buy this cigar again? I liked the cigar but the Masterblend 1 and Masterblend 3 are better in my opinion

Appearance: 9 / 10 because of the tattoo
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , ,

Oliva masterblend 1 torpedo

About 5 years ago, when I was still a noob, I started smoking cigars just a few months before, I went to a cigar shop and got me some singles including a few cigars I bought just for the look as it had a lasered tattoo which made the cigar stand out from the others. I learned that it was de Oliva Masterblend 1 torpedo. In may of 2007, about two years after I bought it, I smoked my last one and reviewed it. Ever since I regretted not taking pictures and I was never able to get myself another Masterblend 1 cigar as they are impossible to get until last december when a cigar shop owner told me he bought half a box from a client and had a few left. I wanted to buy them all, but my friends who were with me wanted some too, so generous as I am, I only bought one and let my friends buy the others. I just wanted one so I could take pictures for my old review. Well, if I’m taking pictures, I can take notes too right? A lot has happened since may 2007, it’s been four years, I am an experienced smoker now and the cigars have more age on them, so why not write a new review?
This cigar is 6 inch long with a 52 ring. The chocolate brown and leathery looking wrapper has a tattooed logo, which disappeared after the masterblend 2 series, because tattooing caused 15% of the quality wise great cigars got destroyed by the tattoo machine. The construction feels a bit hard and I smell wood and straw. The predraw is fine, I taste raising with a little pepper on the background.
I taste dry hay with some chocolate and the unique Oliva sweetness. The flavors change to wood and chocolate after half an inch. After an inch I taste dry hay again with some wood. Both the sweetness and the chocolate have disappeared.
After a third the chocolate returns and gets stronger with some pepper and herbs on the background. Halfway I taste wood with herbs and some chocolate in the aftertaste. Later on the wood disappears and I taste herbs, chocolate and hazelnuts. After two thirds I taste wood with herbs.
This cigar lasted me for an hour and forty five minutes. I got a great draw and a decent amount of smoke. The light colored ash is not firm at all. This cigar is full flavored and medium bodied. It has a great burn and I got a huge flame when I purged it.
Would I buy this cigar again? That would be close to impossible, I got this one with a lot of luck.

Appearance: 9 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , ,

Oliva series V belicoso

I reviewed this 5×54 Oliva series V belicoso about three years ago but my flavor preferences and review writing skills have changed a lot in the past three years, so it was time to revisit the cigar. When it comes to the regular Oliva lines, I prefer the Oliva series V with the Jalapo ligero and the high priming habano sun grown wrapper.

The dark and oily wrapper makes the cigar look awesome. I don’t see any real veins. The construction feels good and I smell a mild barnyard. The predraw is fine, I taste tobacco with some raisin and a little bit of pepper.


I taste a peppery earth flavor, full and strong with a lot of green pepper. After a quarter of an inch I also taste some wood on the background but everything is overpowered by the mentioned green pepper. After half an inch I still taste a lot of pepper with some wood and sweetness, the structure of the flavors is dry.


After an inch the pepper loses some strength, which is a good thing. It is still a strong flavor but not as overpowering as before. I taste a bit more sweetness and some dry wood. After a third I taste nuts, wood, some herbs and the pepper. Halfway I taste some sweet carrot with herbs and just a small amount of pepper. Soon after that I get more herbs and more sweetness, although the pepper gains some strength again.


This cigar had a smoke time of an hour and twenty minutes. The draw was good and the burn was great. I got a lot of thick smoke. The pepper and salt colored ash is firm. This cigar is full flavored and full bodied.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes!

Appearance: 9 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , ,

Oliva series V small diadema ‘Berlin’

These cigar were made especially for the opening of the Oliva Cigar Lounge in Berlin, last october, but due to a communication error more of these Oliva V Diadema with a unique size were produced than needed. The Oliva Cigar Lounge in Den Bosch managed to buy all the remaining Oliva V small diadema Berlin and sells them in bundles of 25 for € 130.00. Now I lacked the budget to buy a bundle, but a close friend did and gave me a fiver so I could try these. Another friend came by my house and the three of us smoked one, one of us got a major nicotine overdose, and no, it wasn’t me.
The small diadema is 5¾ inch long and that makes it smaller than the smallest Oliva V diadema, which can be found in the Oliva V sampler. The ring is the same though, 46. The habano wrapper has a nice dark color with a few thin veins. The cigar has a strong barnyard and chocolate smell. The construction feels good, and the cigar is topped with a triple cap. The predraw is a bit hard, I taste raisin and then with a delay a lot of black pepper.
I taste a non bitter coffee flavor with lots of black pepper and a hint of something chocolate like on the background. After an inch I taste pepper with some sweetness and cedar.
After a third I taste a lot less pepper, I also taste wood, dim chocolate and some herbs. The woodflavor isn’t cedar anymore but more oak. The dim chocolade flavor disappears soon. After two thirds I taste nuts with wood and pepper.
This cigar lasted me an hour and forty five minutes. This full flavored and full bodied cigar gave me enough smoke, although the smoke was a bit thin. The draw and the burn are good. The dark ash is quite firm. The purge gave me a really small and short flame.
Would I buy this cigar again? For this price, they are a steal.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , ,

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