Friday, August 31, 2012

Oliva Serie “O” Review


Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper type: Nicaragua
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 7”
Ring: 50
Cost: $6.00

Appearance (0-20): Initially I’m pretty happy seeing the Oliva “O” that’s sitting in front of me. It’s nicely wrapped and has an attractive gold, maroon, and yellow band. There is a small chip out of the tobacco at the foot and another small blemish by the cap, but overall it looks put together well. Otherwise it’s got a nice latte-esque color to it… the type where you’ve put just enough cream into your coffee so it isn’t dark, but not too much that its mostly milk.  
Score: 17

Construction (0-20): A decent amount of shavings came off the end when cut, but no more than usual. The overall feel of the cigar was that it was well packed, and it left ample room for an easy draw. While burning, it retained the same characteristics while keeping a nearly straight burn. And to go along with the burn was a solid light gray ash that held on for two inches at a time. Unfortunately, it did require a relight as well as some touching up in the last 1/3.
Score: 17

Strength (0-20):  If you want something that truly personifies what a medium to full cigar should be, I believe this is it. It had enough kick to it to make you know it’s there, but not so much that its overpowering.
Score: 19

Flavor (0-20): Rich earthy tobacco flavors mix very well with a very staunch wood (mainly cedar) taste… but without the other complimentary flavors, it wouldn’t be half as good as it is. Toast, leather, coffee, nuts and both slight spice and slight sweet are also found within this smoke. The overall blending and mixing of flavors is outstanding, as it is complex while keeping from being confusing. There are a couple of transition points where it’s not completely seamless, but otherwise it’s a solid smoke. 
Score: 18

Value (0-20): $6.00 is absolutely a price I would pay for the stick, considering the size and flavors…
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Smoked on my deck with a little Johnnie Walker Gold Label.

Overall (0-100):  Oliva has put out some outstanding items, and this Nicaraguan puro comes close. Some small construction issues kept this from excelling further, but it’s definitely a good price for a 7x60 with a nearly harmonious flavor profile. Another item in its favor is that it really does hit the medium to full range, where others billed as that miss the mark. Overall it’s not only a cigar I would smoke again, but one I would recommend trying. I plan on picking up some other sizes of this.
Score: 89


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Camacho SLR Maduro Review



  
 Information:
Country: Honduras
Wrapper origin: Honduras
Wrapper type: Maduro
Filler: Cuban seed corojo
Length: 4.5”
Ring: 50
Cost: $6.00


Appearance (0-20): The initial impression is the beautiful dark maduro wrapper.  Appealing to the eye, it grabs your attention with the bright red double band as well.  The perfecto shape is tapered perfectly, with no real flaws. There are some small veins running through the wrapper that are a lighter brown color, yet offer no hindrance in the smoke.

Score: 17

Construction (0-20): Each part of the cigar was nicely pack, without a single pocket.  After clipping off the cap, there were absolutely no clippings that fell off. One swift cut, and the cigar was ready to smoke.  The shape made it easy to light, giving off a smooth draw as well.  The wrapper was toothy, which is also prominent in the ash.  The ash held on for a solid inch or so, and was very white and wavy.

Score: 18

Strength (0-20): Listed as a med-full smoke, I would rate it closer to the medium scale.  Some people may feel a nicotine zing, but I felt that it was more of a relaxing and flavorful cigar.

Score: 16

Flavor (0-20): The first half inch is a quick hit of spice, and then immediately moves into cocoa and espresso.  These two flavors really dominate the cigar, and blend together very well.  You may find a touch of woodiness, but no other spice that is notable.  When comparing this to the Camacho Triple Maduro, this is more pleasant to me.  The Triple is a different smoke in its own right, but it is richer and has more of a bitter dark chocolate flavor.

Score: 18

Value (0-20): For $6.00, the number is about spot on.  The cigar burned for over an hour easily, and all of the categories were above average.  Camacho isn’t a brand that I have smoked a lot, but this is one that I would turn to.

Score: 17

Additional Notes: Smoked on my deck with water.

Overall (0-100): From start to finish, everything was well done.  The cigar looks good, burns well, and most importantly tasted good.  The flavors were very consistent from start to finish, and the blend.  Personally, I like to have a bit more spice with a cigar that has sweet coffee and cocoa notes, but this was still enjoyable.  Another positive cigar!

Score:  86


Monday, August 13, 2012

Sencillo Black “Piramide” Review


Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper type: Habano Colorado
Filler / Binder: Habano Jalapa, Nicaragua, and Honduras
Length: 6.375”
Ring: 54
Cost: $8.50


Appearance (0-20): First look from this screams elegance. The Sencillo label consists of a scripted “S” embossed in silver on a white background, with a black portion of the band sporting red writing. Its perfectly done to grab ones attention and simultaneously say “this is an elegant, graceful smoke”. I imagine it being Mad Men-esque… sitting around with executives, passing these around. It’s supported further by a darker Habano wrapper. There are a few veins that are visible, but the overall appearance is one that is both inviting and intriguing.
Score: 18




Construction (0-20): The initial cut revealed only a small amount of debris, which was highly acceptable. Feeling down the length of the cigar, there were no real causes for concern. No visible cracks, no chips. Actually all in all, there was nothing of major note in the negative concern. It’s dark and oily, feeling just right. The pre light puffs were a little loose for my liking, but again… nothing earth shattering. During the smoke the ash held for an inch and a half at a time before toppling off.
Score: 19

Strength (0-20):  Medium to full? Sort of... The majority of the stick was closer to the medium end, with it hitting its high around the midpoint before jumping back to medium again. Honestly, this is far from full, and barely jumps above the medium range at all.
Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): Deep down this cigar wanted to be two separate things – something sweet… and something earthy. Yet somehow the blend actually works well at doing both in unison without overwhelming the taste buds. Immediately after lighting this, its balls to the wall with the leathery and earthy flavors, but there’s an inherent sweetness that keeps it grounded. There are continual touches of cocoa, sugar, and cinnamon as you work throughout… but some other kicks like black pepper.
Score: 18

Value (0-20): When you begin to hit the $8.50 pricepoint, you are beginning to dabble in the range of a lot of quality cigars. That being said, this is one who I think would contend well with the things out there.
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Smoked at Cigars International with a little Johnnie Walker Black Label.

Overall (0-100):  When I began puffing away, I had no idea I was smoking a cigar from the likes of God of Fire (specifically with the work of Nestor Plasencia). But I’m glad I gave this one a whirl. The overall elegance of the band, coupled with the look of the cigar is enough to draw you in, and the flavors are good enough to keep you there. While we aren’t working with earth shattering stuff here, the reality is the flavors are expertly intertwined for a price that isn’t outrageous. Its complex without being confusing, a solid construction, and honestly… its flat out billows smoke. I would recommend this one to people looking for something with some complexity that hits the medium bodied range.
Score: 90