In June of 2016 Oliva Cigar Company was purchased by J. Cortes, a cigar company based in Belgium. The company also unveiled a new cigar at the 2016 IPCPR named Facundo. The cigar never reached the market as it had to undergo a name change due to a trademark issue with Bacardi. The cigar finally made it back to shelves this year at the 2017 IPCPR and is now arriving at retailers.
Oliva cigar company can trace its roots to Melanio Oliva which was the last new cigar released by the company. Melanio began growing tobacco in 1886 in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. In 1964 following the Cuban revolution, Gilberto Oliva would emigrate to Spain before moving to Nicaragua where he would reenter the tobacco business. In 1996, his son Gilberto Oliva Jr. would launch “Gilberto Oliva” a label which evolved into today’s Oliva. So in a sense, the company has now come full circle.
Cigar: Gilberto Oliva
Filler: : Nicaragua
Ring Gauge: 50
The Look: Packaged in boxes of 20, the Gilberto Oliva Reserva comes in a red box, where the Reserva Blanc comes in a white box. The band of the Reserva is red and gold with some embossing but it looks more like a Romeo band then one from Oliva. The Reserva Sumatra wrapper won’t win any awards as it isn’t beautiful by any means. It’s uneven in color, feels thin and gritty under the fingers and it looks like it was rolled by an apprentice. However, we have learned in the past not to judge a book by its cover. In the hand the cigar is firm and heavy with a nicely packed foot.
The Notes: The cold draw of the cigar has some nuttiness to it, with hints of earth. The foot of the cigar sees the nuttiness become a defined almond, with cedar and some more earth. Once the cigar is lit the first note experienced is licorice.
As we smoke the first third of Gilberto Reserva the licorice notes continue to dominate with hints of almond and peanuts. There are also traces of coffee and earth with a pepper and mint on the retrohale with the latter that continues on the aroma.
The second third of the cigar see the mint from the retrohale make an appearance on the flavor profile. It’s not abundant, but it’s there and it’s interesting. There is some espresso notes as well with a creamy finish and hints of almonds. The retrohale offers up a robust aroma with hints of cedar and coffee.
The last third Gilberto Oliva Churchill sees some of the licorice notes return and with a hint of espresso that makes this an excellent post-dinner cigar. There are also continued notes of earth and nuts, with a subtle cedar on the retrohale and a relatively short finish.
The Finish: The brittle wrapper of the Gilberto Oliva will likely rub people the wrong way. If you don’t cut the cigar properly it will crack, and if you like to really salivate on your cigar you might not be happy with its durability. However, once you get past the wrapper the result is a cigar that had an enjoyable aroma and flavor profile. The cigar has an excellent price, and it definitely delivered an enjoyable experience that will bring me back to it again.
Price: $6.59 / $115.20