Tabacalera Oliva

Oliva, Esteli, Nicaragua

Oliva Master Blend 3 Torpedo

After the 2003 release of the Oliva Master Blend 1, the 2005 release of the Master Blend 2 Oliva released a third Master Blend, the Master Blend 3 in 2006. The company did not disclose how many cigars were released but next to the box releases in the robusto, torpedo and Churchill sizes they also released a sampler with those three vitolas and a 5×54 double robusto.


The cigars aren’t tattooed as explained in the Master Blend 2 review which I published yesterday. And in the last 11 years there has been no follow up to the Master Blend series, so we are still waiting for the Master Blend 4. The Master Blend series consisted of 3 vitolas, I smoked the Churchill for the Master Blend 1  review, the robusto for the Master Blend 2 review so lets go for the torpedo for this Master Blend 3 review, then I covered all vitolas and all releases


The sharp head of the cigar is what I notice first, combined with the box pressed with rounded corners it makes the cigar quite unique in shape. The ring is almost identical to the Master Blend 1 and 2, except for a little difference in color and a 3 of course. There is no mention of the number of released cigars though and the tattoo is missing. The construction feels good and the dark wrapper feels a leathery. The cigar has a strong aroma, it smells like walking through the woods early morning after a rainfall, wood, plants and animal droppings.


I cut the cigar. The perfect cold draw is spicy and peppery with sultanas. After lighting it with a soft flame I taste a nice smooth mixture of coffee, honey, cedar, cumin and lime. After an inch I taste cedar, nutmeg, pepper and lime. Halfway the pepper gets stronger with cedar. The final third starts with wood, a little pepper and a little lemon. Near the end I taste coffee again.


The draw is fine and the smoke is medium plus thick, medium plus in volume and beautifully white. The ash is dense and white but not too firm. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a good cigar but I like the 1 and 2 better.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oliva Master Blend 2 Robusto

I explained the history on the Oliva Master Blend series in the review of the Master Blend 1 Churchill which I posted yesterday so I won’t repeat myself on the limited tobacco story. Where the Master Blend 1 was released in 2003, the Master Blend 2 came out in 2005. Where the Master Blend 1 saw a production of 375,000 cigars the Master Blend 2 is even more limited with 120,000 cigars, 2,000 boxes of each size.


Now I have a bundle of the private stock of the Oliva family, those are not tattooed but I also had a commercial released one with the tattoo. The tattoo is beautiful but Oliva stopped with tattooing the cigars because it caused at least a 10% damage rate in perfectly good cigars, costing a lot of money and wasting a lot of good tobacco.


The first difference I notice is the ring, its almost identical except it has a 2 right above the half circle cut out and the total production is on the side instead the back. The wrapper is more rustic, thick with veins and discolorations but the tattoo makes up for it. The construction is flawless, again the box pressed with rounded corners like in the Master Blend 1 review and a well placed cap. The aroma is strong, cocoa mixed with hay and straw, very nice.


I punched the cigar. The raisin flavored cold draw is fine. I lit this vintage cigar with a vintage lighter, soft flame. I taste coffee with sugar and lemon, the aftertaste is red pepper. After half an inch I taste earth with a little lemon and a faint of chocolate accompanied by a peppery aftertaste. After a third I taste earth with a little nutmeg, lime, salt and pepper. The flavors change to cedar, soil, chocolate, salt and pepper. The final third starts nutty with salt and a nice dose of pepper in the aftertaste. The pepper slowly grows and I taste a hint of mint too.


I found that the draw was close to perfect. The ash is light gray with thick layers. The ash is firm too. The smoke is medium thick, I would have liked a little more of it though. The burn is beautiful. The cigar has a slow but steady evolution, its complex and medium bodied while being medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish!

Score: 94
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Categories: 94, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Oliva Master Blend 1 Churchill

Tobacco growing companies often experiment with tobacco, new crops, hybrid tobaccos etcetera and sometimes with fantastic tobacco as a result but those tobaccos aren’t always suitable for further exploitation maybe because of a low yield or that they are prone to disease. Oliva is one of the companies that both grows and makes cigars and in 2000 they had crop of experimental tobacco. They decided to put a Habano wrapper around it and called it “Master Blend 1”, with a total limited production of 5,000 boxes in three sizes (robusto, torpedo and Churchill), so 15,000 in total and released it in 2003.


Now these cigars are nowhere to be found anymore but I have a friend at the factory and when she came over for a trip to Amsterdam I offered her my guest bedroom which she gladly accepted. As a gift she brought me a bundle of Master Blend 1 Churchills, Master Blend 2 Robusto and Special S Perfecto. She knew I wanted the Master Blends, I begged her for those both of the times I visited the factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Now the Master Blend 1 and 2 that were commercially released have a tattoo on the wrapper but the ones I got don’t have the tattoo, they were rolled and stored for personal use of the Oliva family.


The cigar has a nice colored habano wrapper, medium dark, silky with one vein but its been pressed before rolling so it doesn’t destroy the look of the cigar. The ring is gorgeous, burgundy red with golden details and letters, a green picture of tobacco fields and at the back is says the total production of 375,000 cigars. At the bottom of the ring there is a half circle cut out for the tattoo, that is missing on my specimen but I explained why. I love the shape of the cigar, its box pressed but with rounded edges, therefore it falls in between what you would expect with a box pressed cigar and a regular cigar shape. The construction feels great too, a bit hard but evenly packed with a nice placed cap. The smell is still strong after all these years and is a strong barnyard aroma.


I punched the cigar and the draw is a little tight, so I might have to cut it later. I taste hay and raisin. I lit the cigar with my soft flame. After lighting I taste raisin and floral flavors with a little pepper. After and inch I taste floral flavors with nutmeg, toast and white pepper. I also taste some walnut. Halfway I taste nuts, some chocolate, some mild pepper, cedar. The age took care of any harshness, this cigar is so smooth without becoming dull. The final third is a smooth nut with a little bit of white pepper and a hint of nutmeg. The pepper slowly gets a little stronger.


The draw is good, better than the cold draw. The ash is white, dense and firm. The smoke is thick, white and full in volume. The burn is straight. The cigar is smooth, complex and if I had smoked this blind I would have known that it is a vintage cigar. I would call it medium bodied and medium to medium full flavored but very smooth. The smoking time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish. Maybe I can bribe my friend at the factory with some stroopwafels.

Score: 94
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Categories: 94, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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

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Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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Cain F Lancero

The people that know me and my cigar preferences know that I’m a big fan of thinner ringed cigars and that my favorite vitola is probably the lancero. I have a decent selection of lanceros in a dedicated ‘lancero humidor’, an old 50’s refrigerator turned humidor. My collection currently has about 600 (petit) lanceros. Now because it’s a cigar that requires a lot of attention, I don’t smoke it when I have company, I don’t smoke it when I’m watching a game, I don’t smoke it when I’m watching a move, I only smoke them when I really want to focus on the cigar. And maybe because it’s such a hard cigar to smoke, smoke too fast and it gets bitter, smoke to slow and you get to relight it often, it’s not a popular size but boy, do I love them. For me the wrapper filler ratio is the best there is, a lancero or any other thin cigar has so much more dynamic than the large ring gauge sticks that are so popular nowadays. My goal for this year is to review at least one lancero each month and post my findings on the 15h of every month, at the end of the year I will not only make a top 25 but also a top 12 of the lanceros I smoked.

The first lancero I will review this year is the 7×38 Cain F lancero. I had this Nicaraguan puro in my humidor for years, I smoked several in the past and always quite enjoyed them. The Cain F was designed by Studio Tobac, Oliva’s think tank, in the hay day of the strong cigars and it contains a lot of ligero tobacco and the body flavor ratio in the thicker sized was way off because of it. The wrapper has a nice color with three small water spots but I’m not bothered by that. The veins have been rolled flat, like Oliva always does, before the wrapper is applied and that gives a smoother appearance of the cigar, the bands are simple, the regular Cain F foot band with an added skinny Studio Tobac band. The construction feels good and the cigar has a nice yet very faint cedar aroma. The cold draw is flawless with a mild peppery flavor to it.


Since it’s a small cigar there is no way to punch it, so I used my xikar cutter and Ronson lighter to decap and light the cigar. It’s a thin cigar so lighting is quick and easy. Straight from the get go I taste coffee and pepper with soon a little nutmeg. After a centimeter there is also a little sweetness and a mild acidic aftertaste on my tongue. After an inch the cigar loses the coffee and gets spicier with a sharp pepper on the tip of my tongue. Slowly but surely the cigar gets spicier and more peppery. The ligero strength also kicks in. The flavor doesn’t change dramatically but in little nuances every few puffs, just like you can expect from a thin stick. Halfway the strength toned down a little and I taste a lot of pepper with some licorice on the background. After two thirds i also taste sweetness with the pepper and the licorice changed to an earthy flavor.


The smoke is a little thinner than I would like, but still reasonably. The amount of smoke is fine and it’s white. The ash is beautiful, colors range from dark to light gray and it’s firm for such a thin cigar. The burn is razor sharp. This cigar is full full bodied and medium full flavored. Just like it’s bigger brothers the body flavor ratio is off, but not as bad as the thicker versions of the Cain F. I suspect this Cain F line was blended for strength with flavor as a second priority. Now I don’t mind a strong cigar, but it has to be balanced. I didn’t have to relight the cigar and it lasted me for almost two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? This is a limited edition so that is impossible and I still have plenty.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Cain, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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Appearance: 7
Construction: 7
Draw: 8
Burn: 7
Smoke & ash: 7
Aroma first part: 5
Aroma second part: 6
Aroma third part: 5

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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: , , , | 1 Comment

Cain maduro tubo

If you keep track of my reviews you may remember that in the past I have not been very pleased with the Cain and Nub cigars, with exception of the Cain F550 and the Nub barberpole until the recent releases of the Cain F lancero, Cain Daytona series and the Nub San Andres from the Studio Tobac sampler. As a Studio Tobac advisory board member I also got a Cain Maduro tubo, as the tubes are new. I decided to review this Cain 5¾x50 maduro robusto again, to see if my taste changed or that the new Studio Tobac are just better.
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The wrapper is nice, dark and oily with a few bumps and veins. The foot band is pretty and the construction feels good. I smell wood and earth. The predraw is fine and I taste an earthy flavor with tobacco.
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I taste an earthy flavor with pepper and a little bit of coffee, the flavors are full. I also taste a little bit of chocolate on the background. After half an inch I taste earthy flavors with lots of pepper, even in the aftertaste. I also taste a little bit of chocolate with the pepper. After an inch less pepper, more wood and something mild sweet.
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After a third I taste earth with a little bit of citrus and a herbal aftertaste. After two thirds the flavors have changed to herbs, pepper and a hint of chocolate. The turning point is reached with an inch to go
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This cigar lasted me and hour and fifteen minutes. The draw is great just like the high volume thick smoke. The white ash is firm and the burn is great too. This cigar is full flavored and full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, still not my thing

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

Categories: Cain, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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