Oliva Buying Guide
The cigar market is continuously growing and evolving. Each year, more and more brands are added to the marketplace, which can make it slightly difficult and confusing for a new cigar smoker to keep track of what they should try. Our mantra here at JR is “try everything twice”, but we understand that not everyone has that luxury.
That is why we have begun offering our monthly Buying Guides. Think of these as a directory to the leading manufacturers. In each guide, we focus on the most popular and influential brands from each company. While we aren’t disregarding the rest of the portfolio, we are attempting to showcase the cigars from each brand that have really made an impact in order to guide you in your decisions.
This month we are focusing on one of the largest and most influential brands in the industry, Oliva. Based in Nicaragua, Oliva is a titan of the industry and offers some of the best-selling and highest-rated cigars available today. Let us take a look at some of the icon cigars from Oliva.
Oliva Connecticut Reserve
The Oliva Connecticut Reserve is the perfect cigar to begin your journey, not just through the Oliva portfolio, but through the cigar industry in general. It is a great blend of smooth, mellow, and flavorful. It has the signature flavors one would expect from an Oliva cigar, but those flavors are slightly tamed so as not to be too overwhelming to a new palate.
Connecticut Reserve is hand-rolled at the Oliva factory in Nicaragua. It uses aged filler and binder tobaccos from the Oliva family’s fields in Nicaragua, creating a smooth yet flavorful center. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut seed wrapper. This outer leaf offers notes of cream, leather, and even a touch of sweetness. This smooth balanced wrapper combined with the slightly more intense Nicaraguan filler creates a well-balanced cigar that is the perfect smoke to introduce you to the Oliva family of products.
Oliva Cain Daytona
We are now going from the more restrained Oliva Connecticut to one of the most flavorful and complex cigars on the market. This Nicaraguan puro is just flavor personified. It is a great showcase of not only the ability of their blenders but also the incredible tobacco at their disposal.
The Cain Daytona is rolled using ligero tobacco from the Jalapa region for the filler. This gives it a good amount of strength as well as a distinct sweetness. The wrapper is an oily and intense Nicaraguan Habano leaf. This combination creates one of the more complex cigars iv ever smoked. The flavor transitions are constant. Each puff delivers varying notes of spice, pepper, tobacco sweetness, and leather. It is a flavor changer from start to finish.
Oliva Master Blend 3
The Master Blend Series was Olivas’ first high-end premium offering. The Master Blend 1 was first released back in 2003 in limited numbers and is now seen as a holy grail cigar. The Master blend 3 has become more of a regular production line due to its immense popularity. While it might not be as well-known as other cigars on this list, the Master Blend 3 is a top-of-the-line smoke and one of my personal favorites.
This cigar has a truly unique blend compared to other releases from Oliva. It uses aged Nicaraguan tobaccos for the filler and binder, but its wrapper is really what makes this cigar stand apart. It uses a special, sun-grown broadleaf wrapper. This unique leaf offers both the rich, chocolate flavors one would expect from a broadleaf wrapper, as well as a dash of spice and zest. The Master Blend 3 is well-balanced, incredibly flavorful, and a must-have for anyone trying Oliva.
Oliva Serie V
While Oliva was a successful company long before its release, the Oliva Serie V is what made the company the major player it is today. This is a cigar included on most people Mount Rushmore as one of the best, most influential Nicaraguan cigars ever created. Its impact and reliability can be seen in its constant high ratings. The Serie V was named to the Top 25 cigars of the year eight times, dating back to its release in 2007.
The Oliva Serie V is a Nicaraguan puro, using only choice Nicaraguan tobacco for the filler, binder, and wrapper. It is well balanced and much stronger than anything else in the Oliva portfolio. It offers up tremendous notes of coffee, caramel, a dash of spice, and a touch of earth as well. This cigar is an icon and is generally ranked up there with the Opus X and Ashton VSG as the best full-bodied cigar ever made.
Oliva Serie V Melanio
Due to the success of the Serie V, Oliva decided to release a slightly more refined and high-end version with a tweaked blend. This luxurious cigar has become their most beloved product and a hall of famer all its own. They named the cigar the Serie V Melanio after Melanio Oliva, the founding member of the company. The Melanio has been named to the Top 25 list four times, including being named the #1 Cigar of the Year in 2014, an incredible achievement.
The Melanio uses the same aged filler and binder tobaccos as the original. The big difference is the addition of a vintage Ecuadorian-grown Sumatra wrapper. This leaf gives off notes of coffee, oak, and leather as well as the coffee and sweet notes that are apparent in the original Serie V. This is an elegant and refined smoke and an absolute must-have for a cigar smoker.