Oliva Master Blends 3
Before the famous Serie V took the premium cigar world by storm in 2007, when people talked about Oliva, they talked about their Master Blends. Originally meant to be an annual release starting in 2003, the creation of new Master Blends stopped at three in 2006. While Oliva Master Blends 3 is an older entry into Oliva’s top-rated portfolio, it is a tried-and-true classic that is deserving of attention.
An Introduction to Oliva Cigars
Long before the Oliva brand was a household name in the humidors of aficionados across the country, the Oliva family grew tobacco in the Pinar del Rio region of Cuba. In 1886, family patriarch Melanio Oliva first began producing tobacco for cigars, and the family through three generations grew and sold tobacco until Cuba’s Communist Revolution.
Following the revolution, Gilberto Oliva Sr. looked far and wide before settling on Nicaragua to grow his prized Habano seeds. In 1995, over 100 years after Melanio first planted those seeds, the Oliva name made an appearance on a cigar band and has since become one of the largest producers of tobacco and manufacturers of cigars in Nicaragua, with a presence at almost every cigar store in the United States.
Once I remove the cellophane from the stick, my eyes fall on a gorgeous chocolate-brown wrapper that has a nice oily gleam from the lights. I can also feel a bit of tooth as I delicately inspect the wrapper. The cigars are also given a unique oval press with rounded corners that fit perfectly in my hand and mouth, and when looking at the foot it almost looks like the fillers are stacked atop one another.
After cutting the cap and taking a few cold draws, I detect a good bit of earth and wood with a hint of black pepper as well as a touch of sweetness reminiscent of raisins.
Once I have toasted the foot, I take my first puffs. My palate is quickly greeted by a ton of earthy flavors accompanied by an enchanting woodiness. Behind the earth and wood, I enjoy medley licorice, sweet chocolate, and leather that are impeccably well balanced. A dash of dried fruit sweetness also comes to play.
As the burn progresses, the sweetness begins to fade in place of an increasing amount of leather.
The burn crosses over to the second third of the smoke, and I knock off sturdy grayish-white ash depicting razor-sharp char lines. The leather flavors are front and center at this point, along with the emergence of welcoming notes of cinnamon and coffee.
The chocolate, earth, and licorice notes are still present, with the hints of black pepper more pronounced with a retrohale. The complex flavors these sticks provide are a real treat for my seasoned palate.
The richness and complexity of the second third continue into the third, with dark chocolate and black pepper coming to the forefront. The dried fruit sweetness also becomes more pronounced, playing off the other flavors that have carried over from the second third.
I can feel the strength starting to creep up on me at this point, almost deceptively, as the finish on the Master Blends 3 is creamy and smooth yet loaded with flavor. It is obvious that the complex flavors of earth, wood, leather, chocolate, coffee, and sweetness would make these gems a classic for 15 years.
How strong is the Oliva Master Blends 3?
Oliva Master Blends 3 is a smoke bursting with full-bodied flavors thanks to the abundance of Ligero in the fillers. While the flavors may be bold, they are also creamy and smooth and never overwhelming to my palate. However, I think they are best suited for a more seasoned connoisseur who would be able to fully appreciate the complexity and nuance of the Master Blends 3.
A fine top-quality scotch would make an excellent pairing with the Oliva Master Blends 3, even one that has a lot of peaty flavors. The earthy, woodsy, chocolatey-ness of the Master Blends 3 lends itself to a rich and complex whiskey. A stout beer or a flavorful lager would also make a good accompaniment to Master Blends 3, as you would want something more flavorful to keep up with the complex smoke.
Although initially introduced as a small-batch limited run, Oliva Master Blends 3 has proved to be so good and sought-after that it is still a regular production some 15 years later.
With a box of 20 MB3 Robusto going for $199, a box of 20 Churchills for $240, and the Torpedo at $260, you are looking at prices of around $10-$13 per cigar, and take it from me these gems are well worth it.
Master Blends 3 is arguably some of the best to come from Oliva, right up there with the top-shelf Serie V Melanio. If you are looking for something to keep in your humidor that will consistently provide an impressive smoke, head on over to JR Cigars and order your box of 20, pack of 10, or pack of 5 Oliva Master Blends 3 today!