Cigar Reviews

Onyx Reserve Mini Belicoso

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So let me start off by apologizing for the lack of content this week. If you’ve been following our posts on our Facebook page, you would see that Tony has been partying it up with all kinds of awesome people down in Nicaragua this week. Expect a full report from him when he gets back to posting, there should be some interesting things to talk about based on what he’s been telling me (more like bragging! lol). As for me, it’s just been insane lately with work and life but here I am, with today’s late week post! From the humidor today comes a cigar that was again given to me by our good buddy Lou B. As with a few of my last few cigars, Lou was kind enough to gift me with a few new cigars I hadn’t tried yet and I offered to review them in exchange. The cigar of choice today is called the Onyx Reserve.

Now the label on the Onyx Reserve has no information on it other than its name and the word “handmade”. I actually did no research on this cigar prior to smoking it and I’d never really read much about it before so that allowed me to give a more unbiased review. A little research after smoking it and making notes revealed to me that this cigar is made by Altadis. Historically I haven’t really hit alignment with the flavor profiles of most Altadis sticks, so will smoking it without knowing that ahead of time affect my opinion???

A little more research showed me that this cigar has an interesting mix of three different fillers and if you check out me pre-light inspection notes below you’ll see I actually picked out three distinct coloured filler in the foot. I thought that was interesting that they are so easily discernible. It’s also wrapped with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper which Tony and I are both big fans of.

There isn’t too much other info on the cigar out there but I can tell you that it is made in the Dominican Republic. It also seems to have some pretty good ratings from a variety of sources, mostly outside of the blogging world though. I especially liked the vitola here today, it’s a box-pressed Mini Belicoso and you don’t see many of those around. Reminded me of the Oliva Serie G Belicoso. So let’s jump right in and see what I though of the Onyx Reserve by Altadis Cigars.

Cigar: Onyx Reserve
Drink: Chimay Yellow Trappist Ale
Vitola: Mini Belisoco (5 x 52)
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Dominican, Peruvian and Nicaraguan
Price: A little over $4 (Gifted by Lou B!)
Burn Time: A little over an hour

Construction:
• A nice darkly colored cigar with fairly consistent dark chocolate tone
• There is a nice bit of oiliness on the wrapper as well as very few veins to be worried about
• The tapered cap is finished cleanly with a single leaf that blends in almost seamlessly
• The foot is well packed and I find it interesting because I can pick out 3 distinctly different colors of filler, possibly the different types of leaves from the blend or just a coincidence?
• The cigar is quite firm from cap to foot with almost no spring to it, hoping that doesn’t cause a tight draw
• The cut was pretty easy and even, also kept itself in a neat and clean pile
• Draw ended up being a little tight, maybe it’s cause I didn’t cut much but a couple pokes with my toothpick opened it up nicely

Burn:
• Toasting was almost too easy, the whole foot lit up evenly without much effort or time
• The first bit of the cigar was smoking dead even with a single wave to be seen
• Through the whole first half this cigar burned razor sharp without a hint of problems at all
• It also stayed lit without the need for extra attention, this is how all cigars should burn! Let’s hope it keeps up
• I spoke a little too soon… right after ashing in the middle area the burn started going a little lopsided so I gave it a little correction
• No more corrections required right to the end, great overall burn on this Onyx Reserve cigar

Smoke & Ash:
• The smoke from each draw is a little light on this Onyx Reserve, even with a few extra draws it just doesn’t seem to produce a very thick smoke
• The resting smoke is very very light, after just a couple seconds you actually can’t even see smoke anymore
• The ash is looking awesome, very white with only a few darker accents
• The cleanliness of the ash is also looking great with no flaking or signs of weakness
• Ash is holding on nicely just past an inch, gonna tap it off now to prevent any messes tonight
• Subsequent ashes kept holding on past the 1 inch mark with ease, very nice construction here

Tasting Notes:
• The wrapper has very little aroma on this Onyx Reserve, maybe just a touch of sweet tobacco and thats about it
• The foot is pretty light on aroma too but there is a bit more sweet floral scent there
• The pre-light draw is pretty light on flavors as well, just a bit of the sweet tobacco again
• Initial draws are pretty flat, no interesting flavors here to start but nothing harsh either, just a sort of mild sweet tobacco taste
• For the most part, the cigar is in the mild range and the retrohale has a bit of woodiness to it and a smooth tasteless finish
• There is a bit of woodsy flavors making an appearance with the sweet tobacco notes, maybe a little leather in there too
• It seems the body creeped into the medium area somewhere in the middle but the flavors are still very washed out
• There isn’t much to report here, the profile hasn’t really changed as I approach the final third
• I’m still getting some light wood and leather flavors backed by the stronger tobacco notes

Final Thoughts:
The Onyx Reserve didn’t quite do it for me tonight. It had some good elements to it and definitely had some quality construction but the flavors were just a little too weak for my liking. For the price, it could be a decent cigar to hand out but I think there are better options out there for the so-called “yard-gar” ideal. I’m hard-pressed to see why this got such high ratings in other places. Perhaps there is a market for the more bland tobacco flavored cigars? Maybe they appeal to past cigarette smokers a little more? I’m not quite sure but for me it just wasn’t the profile I enjoy. It might be worth trying if you are looking for something different to add to a regular rotation but I’d suggest opting for a sampler before you venture into a whole box here. One thing I can take away from this cigar is that it is another stick that confirms Altadis and me just don’t agree on flavor profile. I’m sure there are people that disagree with me but this is just one little fishes opinion in the big pond.

Pairings:
Another Belgian Trappist ale on Casas Fumando? Yup, you got it! But this time it’s not from Tony! Chimay is one of the few Belgian brands I can actually find regularly here in Ontario. Mostly it’s the Yellow label or the Red label and today we have the Yellow. Now I should note this particular brew is also sometimes known as the “White’ and it is actually a Tripel although it doesn’t really say that anywhere on the front label. This bottle clocks in at a full 8% alc./vol. and is definitely a lot less fruity than a lot of other Tripel’s. It’s super carbonated and has a bit of citrus backed by a heavy malt and slight bitter flavor. I think I missed the pairing here though, a darker more robust beer would have gone better. Perhaps a dark ale or stout, even a coffee, would have matched up better.

Daniel T. (a.k.a. Dalamscius) is an IT Professional from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He enjoys cigars, scuba diving, hockey, fishing, nature and anything that challenges his mind. If he's not sitting on his big comfy couch or at work you can usually find him in a boat on top of the water or 100ft under the water enjoying a dive. He is engaged to a wonderful Fiance and looking forward to his wedding. Feel free to contact Daniel anytime via email (dalamscius[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter http://twitter.com/Dalamscius

11 Comments

  1. czerbe

    May 31, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Hey Buddy, Onyx cigar is in my story for both best and worst stick I have ever had. Long story short, I was about half way through one when I got a phone call from my Wifes boss that said her water broke, (7.5 weeks early) so I dropped the stick in the ash try at my buddies house and rushed over to the my wife and took her to the hospital, needless to say 6 days later… yes 6 days our son was born at 4lbs 9 oz. 3 days after that my wife could come home from the Hospital but our son had to stay for 11 more days in the NICU…. So I went over to my buddies house the later that week and asked if he had the cigar I left in the ash tray he did so I took it put it in a Ziplock bag and tossed it in my humi… I said I wasn’t smoking another cigar until my son was home from the hospital. Well that afternoon we brought him home I took my dog for a walk and light up that half chared nub… and let me tell you it had the worst flavors I have ever tasted… I was the most disgusting thing I have ever put in my mouth.. and that says a lot.. and I couldn’t have been happier… my wife and son were home and this was my victory stick…

    • Dalamscius

      June 4, 2012 at 6:44 am

      Awesome story Corey. Sometimes it’s all about the experience and not the cigar. But for you next kid, try to find a good one so the experience AND the cigar are awesome! haha. Glad everyone was alright!

  2. jjo

    May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I haven’t had an Onyx in many a year. Maybe this is why.

    czerbe – Great story!

    • Dalamscius

      June 4, 2012 at 6:44 am

      I wouldn’t go rushing into it anytime soon 😉

  3. Swede214

    May 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Hay Daniel, nice review, it has to be twenty five years since I smoked a Onyx, back then I was a cigarette smoker. I really had no idea of what smoking cigars was all about, but I do remember that it was a mild cigar, even though I thought it was going to be strong by the looks of it, brought back memories, thanks.

    • Dalamscius

      June 4, 2012 at 6:45 am

      haha, seems this cigar has a few sentimental spots! Glad my review was worthwhile for something! lol

  4. Jungle Bum

    June 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I recently bought a corona collectable box of stoogies and the first one I smoked was the Onyx. I agree that it was very mild but I didn’t mind because it went well with the Gewurztraminer wine I was drinking after dinner. It is, in my opinion, a starter cigar for starter smokers. And that’s my two cents.

    • Dalamscius

      June 4, 2012 at 6:52 am

      Thanks for commenting Jungle Bum! I have no doubt this stick will hit the spot for some people, just not for me. It obviously hasn’t been around all these years because everyone hates it.
      I love a good Gewurztraminer in the summer. Very different from a lot of other whites and I typically stick to Reds, so this is one of the few whites I’ll enjoy. Was actually at a German winery in Niagara this weekend that sold a few Gewurztraminer’s and I picked up a couple bottles.

  5. Lou Bozzelli

    June 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    The Onyx is a great cigar, I don’t know why you guys are all up in my business about it. It’s the second box I’ve got of these. I’ve always thought of it as a quality smoke with great flavs and decent body. I’m suprised that you found it to be so mild or bland. I don’t know what to tell you guys. I guess that’s why there’s so many cigar brands out there eh??

  6. scott

    May 16, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Found a great drink pairing. (For me at least) onyx reserve w/ crown royal maple.

    • scott

      May 16, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      Oh & id like to add, that my experiences onyx reserve was good. I found them to be a good full flavored gar a a decent price.

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