Oliva Connecticut Reserve
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Origin: Esteli, Nicaragua
Two years ago Oliva conducted a meeting with their staff to gauge the interest of creating a mild cigar. At this point in most of the sales staff reported that the smokers at their respective events were more interested in a full bodied cigar with little interest in a mild vitola. With this information, the Oliva Connecticut Reserve was shelved and work began on the Oliva Serie V.
After filling the need for a full bodied cigar, the Oliva’s once again turned to their staff to gauge the interest in a mild cigar to round out the line. This time around the response from events was that Oliva needed to create a cigar that appealed to the mild cigar smoker.
To meet the demand of a mild cigar, a blend of Nicaraguan fillers were matched up with a Nicaraguan binder and Ecuadorian grown Connecticut shade wrapper. This blend yielded the newly released Oliva Connecticut Reserve.
The new Connecticut line is available in five sizes including; a Lonsdale (44 x 6.50 @ $4.40), Robusto (50 x 5.00 @ $4.50), Toro (50 x 6.00 @ $5.50), Torpedo (52 x 6.50 @ $6.50), and a Churchill (50 x 7.00 @ $6.50). Cigars are packaged in boxes of twenty.
After removing my Oliva Connecticut from its cellophane tomb, I gave it a good looking over. With Connecticut wrappers having a tendency to exhibit fairly large veins and green discolorations, I was interested to see how this one stacked up. I was happy to find moderate sized veins for this type of leaf and one tiny discoloration.
The wrapper is a deep golden brown with a very slight oily sheen. The aroma on both the wrapper and exposed foot were very mild and produced little to no aroma. When pinched, the stick felt evenly packed with tobacco and showed no signs of hard or soft spots.
After quickly opening up the head with a pair of cigar scissors, I moved to checking the pre light draw. Taking a couple of cold puffs resulted in a light sweet taste with a draw that was very accommodating (neither too loose or too tight).
After my toasting and lighting ritual was complete, I took the very first puff on my Oliva Connecticut. I sent a large volume of smoke through my sinus and was a little surprised by the result. My experience with the Churchill size left me expecting a softer start. The robusto delivered a blast of flavor with that traditional Nicaraguan zing, which caught me off guard.
The first few puffs produce a medium body that quickly settles down to the mild to medium spectrum. The finish has a creamy texture that is fairly short on the palate. The primary flavor, at this point, tastes like a toned down Nicaraguan tobacco flavor. Once the initial rush of flavor passes I am able to taste the finer flavors, which are mostly made up of nuts and buttered toast.
As I burn through the first third I am left with a stick that is burning evenly with a moderately straight burn line and dark burn ring. The burn rate seems a touch fast while the draw is free with a little bit of resistance to it. The smoke volume is abundant and thick while wafting into the air and producing a mild room aroma.
After about thirty-minutes of smoking, I reached the second third of my Oliva Connecticut Reserve. At this point the mild to medium body was beginning to settle a little more while the flavor ramped up. The finish remained easy on the palate and left a thin creamy film on the palate.
In the flavor department, the flavor remained predominantly that of Nicaraguan tobacco with a bit of a bite-ines, or zing, to it. As that initial rush subsides, I’m greeted with the same nut and buttered toast flavor as the first third, with the addition of a little pepper and bitterness.
The burn continued to feel a little fast for this size cigar while producing loads of smoke with each puff. The resting smoke was light while the room aroma was quickly becoming more robust and appealing.
At around the half way point, the Oliva Connecticut suddenly becomes much more flavorful and lays it on thick. The rich Niacaguan tobacco flavor becomes a little more subdued and flavors of pepper and wood move in. The secondary flavors remain similar in that they continue to provide the same nutty and buttered toast like flavors while picking up a bit of bitterness. This bitterness adds to the dynamic of the cigar much in the same way that it does to a beer.
The final third began to wrap up after roughly an hour and ten minutes of smoking. As it came to a close, the body picked up slightly and plateaud at the low end of medium. The finish became a little richer and lasted a bit longer on the palate.
The burn rate still seemed a little fast but produced a cool smoke that never turned harsh. The burn line was moderately thin and even while producing an attractive room aroma. The draw was free with a little resistance and produced a dense smoke that was easily passed through the sinuses.
When it was all said and done, I was very happy with this cigar. I think that it delivers alot of flavor with a pairing of body that I enjoy earlier on in the day. Looking back at what I had heard about this blend, I expected it to be much lighter than it turned out to be.
I can’t help but think that this cigar may be a bit too full flavored for that mild cigar smoker that I portray in my mind and may be perceived as something heavier. For someone such as myself, I think the body is inline with what I am looking for in this type of cigar.
I think it is tough to try and compare this to something such as Ashton and Davidoff because those cigars have different makeups and core flavors. Both the Ashton and Davidoff, if memory serves me right, lack the zing of Nicaraguan tobacco and may be viewed as a smoother smoke. I think that those that are regular smokers of the Rocky Patel Vintage 1999, Connecticut, and Edge Lite, may find this cigar right up their alley.