Oliva Connecticut Reserve
I had some time earlier in the day to squeeze out a review so I needed something a little more mild and preferably something I could enjoy with a coffee. I looked through the humidor and selected a few milder sticks I thought would pair well then looked over our previous reviews to make sure the Slacker Tony didn’t review on of them already (especially with Water…but who cares, right?). So I realized that the only Oliva cigars we’ve reviewed are two of the NUB’s(The Cain NUB and 464T Maduro NUB. So I decided to settle down with an Oliva Connecticut Reserve and some freshly ground coffee.
The Oliva family story is not that dissimilar from a lot of the family run non-Cuban cigar producers. Originally, they were tobacco farmers in Pinar Del Rio Cuba and were eventually forced to flee due to communism. After testing the soils of various countries, the Oliva family settles in Nicaragua and began producing top quality tobacco again.
The Oliva Cigar Family doesn’t seem to venture too far from what works but what they do produce is extremely consistent, tasty and usually well priced. Their lines offer a variety of flavors and strengths ranging from a full bodied Serie V down to the mild Connecticut Reserve and even a specialty line called the Master Blends. Today’s review is focusing on the milder range of their lines, the Connecticut Reserve in the Robusto vitola. This line is also offered in a few other traditional sizes such as Churchill, Toro, Torpedo and Lonsdale. This is probably a cigar that a lot of people have already tried since it’s been around for a long time and seems to be a staple in most people’s humidor. Let’s see if we can find out why in today’s review.
Cigar: Oliva Connecticut Reserve
Drink: RocketFuelCoffee.com Panama Carmen Estate
Vitola: Robusto (5 x 50)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Price: $4.50 – $5.50
• A velvety smooth and honey brown colored wrapper surrounds this cigar
• There are some visible veins on the cigar but they are all small and thin
• The cigar is finished with a clean double cap
• The foot appears well packed and cleanly cut
• The length of the cigar is fairly firm but has a slight spring to in, very consistent throughout
• Draw is a little tighter than I would have liked but it’s not terrible, I won’t re-cut or use a toothpick in case it opens up later
• The draw opened up a bit as the cigar progressed but it seemed to be smoking well so I never bothered to try fixing it
• Toasting was very fast and surprisingly even
• Burn line has been fairly straight through the first inch
• As I get past the first third the burn is starting to go really one-sided, I may need ot correct it if it doesn’t catch on soon
• The burn line never completely corrected itself but it did not get worse so it’s still burning without any touchups at the half-way mark
• As I get into the last third, the burn line is just about straight now.
• Cigar started burning a little hot near the nub
Smoke & Ash:
• There’s not much smoke coming through on the draw and it appears fairly thin, not the thick cloud you would usually get on most other cigars
• The resting smoke is fairly consistent but not too thick or overpowering
• The ash appears clean and tight with a light grey tone to it
• The ash just doesn’t want to fall off, sign of great construction here
• Ash finally fell off just past two inches
• The aroma on the wrapper is mostly of hay and some earthy notes
• Pre-light draw brought a lot of earthy notes and some woodsy hints
• Initial draws kept the earthy and woodsy flavors and added to that a slight tartness
• The Oliva Connecticut is starting off fairly mild and has a smooth creamy finish on each draw
• As I get past the first third I’m starting to pick up a toasted bready kind of flavor
• The retrohale on this cigar has no bite to it but finishes off with a smooth and creamy woodsiness
• As I pass the halfway mark I’m getting some nice roasted coffee flavors that are mixing well with the cedar and earthy smoothness
• The body picks up a bit in the last third, maybe just touching into the medium range
• Very minor bitterness near the end allowing me to nub the cigar until my fingers were burning
The Oliva Connecticut Reseve made for a perfect morning smoke today and every time I have it. It has a smooth and creamy mild profile that is enjoyable for pretty much every level of smoker from novice to experienced. The burn and ash was also fantastic making the whole experience enjoyable from start to finish. The price on these is also very accessible. Although the MSRP is around the $5 mark you can usually find these on special for a much better value. This is a classic Connecticut that tastes exactly like you would want it to and remains enjoyable every time. If you haven’t tried one yet, keep your eyes open for some and give them a try!
Today’s pairing was a freshly brewed pot of Panama Carmen Estate Coffee which I received as a gift from Lisa over at RocketFuelCoffee.com. You can also track her down via twitter on @rcketfuelcoffee or @hisandherf. The location this gourmet coffee bean is grown is fairly interesting, it is shade grown at an altitude of 5,600ft. Give the full description a read over here. The coffee initially poured a bit light and I was a bit worried I had gotten the measurements or coarseness of the grind wrong. After taking a quick sip I knew it was just right. The flavor of this coffee fills your mouth quickly and offers up a unique morning cup. Rather than a strong bitterness I was met with a flavorful, yet light, mix of bright and roasted flavors. There is a natural sweetness to this coffee that could almost be characterized as fruity but with a smooth and deep finish. Made for a perfect morning pairing with this cigar! Other suggested pairings with this cigar would need to remain light, such as water or soda, maybe a light beer. But I think coffee makes the perfect match here.