Gilberto Oliva Reserva Sumatra
So, you guys should all be familiar with Jeff by now. He’s our honorary Casas Fumando writer, and he kicked out tons of great reviews. If he keeps this up we are going to force him to join us full time. Until then, enjoy his newest “Guest” review.
After reviewing the Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Connecticut (you can find that review here), I now bring you my thoughts on the Sumatra wrapped Gilberto Oliva Reserva. Originally slated to be released last year as the Facundo, a trademark conflict put the launch on hold. Now the cigar has been released as Gilberto Oliva Reserva, an Indonesian Sumatra wrapped stick, and Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc, in Ecuadorian Connecticut. Both versions come in five sizes: Corona 5¾ x 43, Robusto 5 x 50, Toro 6 x 50, Torpedo 6 x 52, and Churchill 7 x50. Packed in boxes of 20, pricing is very affordable, starting at $5.25 for the Reserva Corona and topping out at $6.90 for the Reserva Blanc Churchill.
This is the first new line of cigars to be released by Oliva since the Melanio came out in 2012.
Wrapper: Indonesian Sumatra
Size: Torpedo 6 x 52
Smoking time: One hour, thirty minutes
Pairing: Fremont The Sister Imperial IPA (ABV 8.5%)
The Gilberto Oliva Reserva comes draped in a medium brown leaf with a slight greenish tint and a couple of spots of discoloration, one light and one dark. Veining is minimal along the length of the shaft, but more prominent toward the sharply pointed cap. The pack is firm with a bit of springiness down toward the foot. The band differs from the Connecticut wrapped Reserva Blanc in that the Reserva uses a maroon background rather than white. The wrapper gives off an aroma of earthy tobacco, while the foot shows a little more barnyard and woodiness. After clipping the cap twice, I am presented with a snug draw that gives up notes of sweet cedar and spice and a spicy tingle on the lips.
The tightness of the draw makes for a rather light mouthful of smoke, but double-hitting it allows for earth and cedar elements to show on top of natural tobacco, while aged leather appears in the retrohale. The burn started out a bit thick and wavy, but has quickly sharpened up and is now almost perfectly even, leaving behind a compact ash that holds on for an inch. As the draw opens up a bit, pepper begins to show, and the wood turns deeper than cedar as a sweet musk note plays on the tongue.
While there really no new flavors apparent as the Gilberto Oliva Reserva enters its second third, the ones that are present have become more cohesive, giving the experience a more well-rounded and smoother feel, and smoke production has also increased. The pepper drops down on the palate, while maintaining a moderate presence on the retrohale. A slight breadiness and lightly sweet spice soon begin to emerge and a light-roasted coffee note follows.
As the Gilberto Oliva Reserva moves into its stretch run, the coffee note has become sweeter and blends in well with the oaky wood, earth, and spice. The cigar has tipped over to just past medium, climbing into the low-medium range in strength. A small amount of char has come in to mix in nicely with the other flavors. As it smokes down toward the nub, the sweetness falls back as the other flavors intensify, and the Reserva finishes at near medium-full in body and medium+ in strength. I had no thoughts of reaching for my lighter throughout the smoking experience, as it burned evenly with no threat of ever going out on me.
All in all, I found the Gilberto Oliva Reserva to be a solid smoke, offering up good flavors. While not terribly complex, it’s still an enjoyable cigar with great construction and burn properties, and had enough change-ups to keep me interested. I would like to try out the parejo sizes to see if the snug draw is a result of the torpedo shape, but it did eventually open up to a comfortable level, so along with the affordable price, it’s a nice addition to the Oliva stable, and I can easily recommend picking up a couple to try out.
You can get the Gilberto Oliva Reserva from our good friends over at Cuenca Cigars here.
The Sister Imperial IPA from Seattle’s Fremont Brewing showcases tropical and citrus fruits, honeyed maltiness, and a big hop backbone, weighing in at 8.5% ABV. That makes it a solid match for medium bodied cigars and the Gilberto Oliva Reserva is no exception. The fruit, maltiness and body of the beer increases as it warms, countering the bitter finish nicely and helping to keep up the sweetness that the cigar offers, while complementing the spice notes. I think a nice Dubbel or Doppelbock would also be a good match for this cigar.