Baptiste by Oliva, a Famous Smoke Shop Exclusive
In May of this year, Famous Smoke Shop announced a shop exclusive made by Oliva Cigar Company, a company that has received its fair share of press as of late. It was announced only a few weeks back that Oliva Cigar Company was acquired by J Cortes Cigars N.V, a European based company that specializes in small machine made cigars. The Oliva family will continue to oversee the operations of the company, but I am still interested to see what’s to come as result of this acquisition.
Produced in Esteli, Nicaragua, the Baptiste by Oliva, named after a character in the Lord of War movie, is a budget friendly cigar available in four vitolas: Toro (5 ½ by 54), Torpedo (5 ½ by 54), Churchill (7 by 52), and Double Toro (6 by 60). Prices range from $5.63 for the Toro to $6.15 for the Double Toro.
Samples Provided by Famous Smoke Shop
Price: $5.63 per single | 5-pack for $19.99 | $78.99 per box of 20
Size: 5 ½ by 54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Smoke Time: 1 Hour and 20 Minutes
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is deep brown in color with some black watermarks and some other color variations. The wrapper is very dark compared to other Habano wrappers I typically see. Tiny veins web down the Baptiste that feels extremely smooth to the touch. Firmly and evenly filled, there are no soft spots to be found as I examine the cigar. A potent aroma is found on the wrapper with notes of wet earth, vinegar, and red wine.
The same aromas come across from the foot of the cigar with an added layer of caramel. The large double cap has a minor crack in it, which I do not see leading to any issues. Upon clipping the cap, the draw has almost zero resistance with some mild to medium flavors of cinnamon and rich cedar. A spice heat is instantly felt on the lips.
The Baptiste by Oliva opens with some wet woodsy notes that quickly transition into a more rich cedar, along with earth, a dark red fruit sweetness, and a good dose of black pepper. The finish is a mix of earth and coffee. There is something about the profile that makes me think the tobacco is young – maybe the way it jump between a musty woodsy/earthy taste to a rich profile. The burn-line is thick and tons of oils are seen on the leaf as the cigar warms up. The black pepper is making a strong push into the profile. So far so good with the burn and ash.
Moving into the middle third, the Baptiste’s profile transition with a new saltiness that is playing well with the earlier profile with the earthiness holding strong and more of a natural sweetness joining in. The pepper has moved up steadily since the start of the cigar and is borderline full in flavor and heat at this point. Overall, the profile is much more balanced and has really found its rhythm in the second third. A small section of the wrapper is struggling to burn, but i am holding out on a touch-up.
The earth is gritty and the profile is gaining in richness with around two inches left. The sweetness is fuller than earlier and more caramel-like and I am still enjoying the saltiness that joined the profile in the second third. Closing out the cigar, a toasted/char flavor and black coffee show up and the heat from the cigar is letting me know it is time to lay it down for its final rest.
I am always excited when Cory Grover from Famous reaches out to Casas Fumando to check out one of their new shop exclusives. I have come across several cigars from Famous that fit by budget and they have made their way into my regular rotation. So will the Baptiste be the next cigar to join my rotation? The Baptiste by Oliva had nearly perfect construction and performance other than the small crack in the wrapper and minor burn issue in the second third that self-corrected. I was concerned about the draw being too free, but once lit, the cigar produced a satisfying amount of smoke that delivered a rich & spicy profile. The wet woodsy notes in the first third and charred notes at the end of the smoke were the only things that took away from the rather enjoyable profile. The Baptiste is by no mean a complex cigar, but one shouldn’t expect that when paying under $6, but it is a cigar that offers a consistent medium profile with enough spice to keep the palate alert. My buying recommendation on the Baptiste would be a 5-pack.