Tagged "Cigar Aficionado Top 25 Cigars of 2011"


The Oliva Serie V Cigar Review - The Answer to a Ligero-Lover's Wish

Posted by freedomcigars on

[caption id="attachment_424" align="alignleft" width="188" caption="Oliva Serie V Liga Especial at My Discount Cigars"]Oliva Serie V Liga Especial at My Discount Cigars[/caption]

The Oliva Serie V is a ligero-lovers dream cigar! With its rich colors, beautiful oily wrapper and impeccable construction it comes together in great harmony. Created by Oliva Cigar Company (no relation to Oliva Tobacco Co.) is headquartered in Miami, Florida and rolls their cigars in Nicaragua. The company has slowly acquired its place on the map in the cigar industry through their persistence, patience, drive, passion and always putting out a quality product. The Oliva name, with all its lines, has risen to the forefront in cigar production. The Oliva Serie V Liga is a complex blend of Nicaraguan long-filler tobaccos blended with specially fermented Jalapa Valley ligero and finished with a high priming Habano sun-grown wrapper. Because the Olivas are not known for their power, but more for their flavor, Oliva Cigar Co. decided to please the more seasoned cigar smokers who demanded a more muscular cigar with the Oliva Serie V line.

The Oliva Serie V is not only attractive aesthetically with its 4-seam cap, but it is full of diverse and dynamic flavors from coffee, chocolate, wood, nuts and sweet cedar that all frame a substantial leather core. A subtle yet well-balanced spice is present throughout. With the rich and long finish its complexity shines through. The Oliva Serie V Liga is blended to deliver a fuller bodied taste yet it maintains an unparalleled smoothness. Its wrapper a bit toothy with some faint veins and billowy, thick, white smoke, the Oliva Serie V will make you appreciate Nicaraguan cigars on a deeper level.

[caption id="attachment_425" align="alignright" width="251" caption="Oliva Serie V Liga Double Robusto at My Discount Cigars"]Oliva Serie V Liga Double Robusto at My Discount Cigars[/caption]

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Flavor: Full
Wrapper: Habano Sun Grown
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Jalapa Valley Ligero

Oliva Serie V has been named as Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 Cigars of the Year for several of its blends in the past decade, including winning the #22 spot for Top 25 Cigars of the Year for its Oliva Serie V Double Robusto blend (rated 92) in 2011! The Oliva Serie V Liga Especial is very reasonably priced, as are the other 8 vitolas in this line (Belicoso, Churchill Extra, Double Robusto, Double Robusto Tubos, Double Toro, Lancero, Special V Figurado, Toro Maduro 2011 and Torpedo), which makes this cigar not only a top-ranker for Cigar Aficionado, but in our book as well!

RATED 94 BY CIGAR AFICIONADO AND VOTED THE #22 TOP 25 BEST CIGARS OF 2011!

The Oliva Serie V line is available online here at MyDiscountCigar.com.

To learn more about the Oliva Serie V series and the other Oliva lines please visit OlivaCigar.com.

~ Peace, Love, Cigars ~

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An In-Depth Cigar Review of the Oliva Serie V Torpedo by Lucky7 of CigarFan.Net

by lucky7

Oliva Serie V Torpedo

Skip the fluff and jump straight to the review!

Cigar Stats of the Oliva Serie V Torpedo Cigar
Brand Owner: Oliva Cigar Company – Miami, FL
Factory: Tabacalera Oliva S. A. (Tabolisa) – Esteli, Nicaragua
Model/Vitola: Oliva Serie V (Ligero Especial) Torpedo
Size: 6.0 x 56
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Habano Sun Grown)
Filler & Binder: Nicaragua (only specially fermented Jalapa Valley ligero)
Body: Medium to Full
MSRP: $6.75 USD
Cigar Insider Rating: 94 (September 2007)
Cigar Aficionado Rating: 94 (December 2007)
Cigar Aficionado Rating: 93 (2007 Top 25 List – January 2008)

Six other vitola sizes available

  • Double Robusto 5.0 x 54 (robusto grande)
  • Belicoso 5.0 x 54
  • Double Toro 6.0 x 60 (toro grande)
  • Special V Figurado 6.0 x 60
  • Lancero 7.0 x 38
  • Churchill Extra 7.0 x 52

All sizes come in dark lacquered cedar boxes of 24, packaged naked with no cellophane sleeves. The Lancero is the exception packaged in boxes of 36. Although I have not seen one, Cigar Insider states the Serie V also comes in a culebra size available exclusively at special events.

The Olivas

The Oliva Family has been growing tobacco for a little over 120 years. Melanio Oliva first grew tobacco in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba beginning in 1886. His growing operations were suspended while he fought in Cuba’s War of Independence. On his return, Melanio resumed his operations and in the early 1920’s his son Hipolito took over. Hipolito cultivated the Oliva family fields for several decades but as Cuba became over-run by communists, the tobacco landscape changed. Hipolito’s son, Gilberto Sr., was born literally across the street from Cuba’s Hoyo de Monterrey factory and following in his fathers footsteps, that is where he first worked in Cuba’s tobacco industry. When Gilberto, Sr. took over the family’s business he shifted from growing to brokering tobacco. In the early 1960’s the pressure in Cuba became unbearable and Gilberto, Sr. left in search of growing conditions that would produce that distinct Cuban taste. His travels took him to Honduras, Panama, Mexico and even the Philippines before he finally found his desired fertile ground in Nicaragua and today the Oliva Family is Nicaragua’s second largest grower of Cuban-seed tobacco.

In 1984 Gilberto, Sr. decided it was time to expand into cigar making for other brands and in 1994 began to produce the first Oliva Family cigar line. After success with their frontmarks in the USA, last year the Oliva’s began selling their cigars in Europe and today Oliva lines are enjoyed around the world. Business is booming!

Oliva Family Members
The Oliva Family.
(From left to right, Jeannie, Carlos, Gilberto, Sr., Jose and Gilberto, Jr.)

Management of Oliva Cigar Company activities is still very much a family affair with Gilberto Sr. overseeing growing, curing, and fermenting operations and Gilberto, Jr. deeply entrenched in blending. Cigar rolling falls under the direction of Carlos. Jeannie and Jose manage marketing, customer relations and distribution operations from the Miami office.

The Oliva Serie V

The Oliva’s have been listening to their customers asking, “Where’s the beef? Love the quality of your cigars but we need more power!” Finally their answer is ready. With a soft-release in June 2007 and official release at the 2007 RTDA the buzz on the Serie V has been high volume. Vice President of Operations, Jose Oliva describes development of the Serie V blend as the most challenging undertaking the company has ever embarked upon. In his opinion, a cigar smoker should feel the strength of a cigar in the stomach and head, not in the throat. Striking the right balance of potency with ultimate smoothness was the goal.

With all of the tobacco for the Serie V grown on Oliva Family Farms in Nicaragua it is the strongest cigar they have released to-date. With maximum production anticipated at 750K per year due to limited availability of tobaccos, they will be quickly be at that level and following a Cigar Aficionado rating of 94, it will be a challenge to stay up with demand. I can see the price on these puppies going through the roof.

Cigar.com claims, in order to be an authorized Serie V dealer, tobacconists must undergo special training from Oliva representatives aimed at providing insight to the sheer power of the blend. The Oliva Serie V Torpedo cigar only contains ligero leaf (the strongest variety of tobacco), but is blended so the initial taste doesn’t overwhelm the enthusiast with in your face power. In other words, the Oliva Serie V Torpedo is very strong but can still be enjoyed by individuals who prefer medium bodied cigars. Upon lighting, many may believe the Serie V is medium in body, but as Jose Oliva himself has explained, if you exhale through the nose you will realize the true strength of the Oliva Serie V Torpedo.

Oliva Serie V Cigar Band

Cigar Insider released a vertical tasting of the entire line in September 2007 with the average rating weighing in at a whopping 89.7 points. The Oliva Serie V Torpedo led the pack with an individual rating of 94 points. CI claims, “The Torpedo was an outstanding cigar, with aesthetics, strength, complexity and many flavors that kept the cigar interesting and balanced.”

Cigar Aficionado ranks the Oliva Serie V Torpedo as #4 on the list of the top 25 smokes of 2007. Impressive!

From the website …..

Oliva Serie V Website Photo

Serie V is a complex blend of Nicaraguan long filler tobaccos. Blended with specially fermented Jalapa Valley ligero, and finished with a high priming Habano Sun Grown Wrapper (high priming being closer to the top of the tobacco plant and therefore soaking up more sun). It is blended to deliver full body taste while maintaining an unparalleled smoothness. This flavorful blend exhibits complex tobacco with rich coffee and dark chocolate tones. A subtle and well balanced spice is present throughout.

Bottom line up front …..
Although not the powerhouse I was expecting, the Oliva Serie V Torpedo is a beauty to behold and a premium quality full flavored smoke with balance and finesse sure to become a favorite for many cigar smokers. Definitely the richest and strongest Oliva Family cigar on the market today! My only concern is if the Oliva’s can keep up with demand and thereby maintain the reasonable price-point. As of this writing they are very hard to find in-stock.

Pre-light
The Oliva Serie V Torpedo sports a silky smooth Colorado maduro wrapper with no veins to speak of and a small tooth evident over its length. The chubby torpedo is a very solid, tightly packed 56 ring with the conical cap packed too tight IMO. Handsome to look at, the stick feels very nice in the hand. Scent from the wrap is very mild tobacco except toward the foot where there was a slight touch of barnyard. A good whiff of the foot tingled the olfactory and caused a tobacco sneeze. The bunching at the foot shows a healthy amount of dark ligero as advertised (about now the drooling has begun!).

One of the three cigars smoked for this review had a lengthwise crack in the wrap about one and one half inches long located about a half inch from the foot. It caused no burn problems but was unsightly and worrisome. Not sure the stick was properly cared for prior to coming into my possession. This always concerns me when a review is in the offing. I would rather smoke the best sticks and offer a review on the merits. That is part of the reason I smoked three Serie V cigars prior to writing the review. The other part is I just love smoking cigars and probably would have smoked five if they were around.

The clip took some hand strength as I had anticipated. On the first stick I removed about a half inch (half of the torpedo cone) and the draw was very tight. Flavor in the pre-light draw was interesting with a light sweet grass and nuts on the palate. After lighting, the first few pulls on the draw were still too much work so I clipped a bit more (toward the cap end just below the shoulder of the cone) and the draw opened up to perfect. Don’t be shy when clipping this one and you will be rewarded with a fine draw. Remove most of the torpedo cone.

The Smoking Experience
The aroma from the toasting foot is exquisite. Due to the amount of ligero in this Oliva Serie V Torpedo cigar, the lighting takes a little more effort. Toast the foot really well before beginning to pull for the light. Initial pulls were very smooth and creamy. So much so I found myself thinking, where’s the bang associated with ligero. No worries. It was coming. I just had to exhibit a little patience. Like the pre-light draw, initial flavors were of sweet grass and nuts with a little pepper on the tongue. About a quarter inch in the ligero twang on the nose arrived in force. At the one inch mark the blend smoothes out to a base of creamy toasted hardwood and earthy leather with slightly sweet notes of vanilla/caramel with some spicy nuances. Over the first 2 thirds the flavor is consistent and then builds in intensity with the entrance of some cocoa and espresso flavors. The finish starts crisply short but builds over the length of the cigar to a long one with distinct flavors of dark, unsweetened chocolate and black coffee.

The ash is light gray and very smooth. Stack of quarters effect is barely visible. It held for me to about two and a half inches and took several solid taps before it fell. Interestingly, the ash is the same color for the wrap and the filler indicating well fermented tobaccos.

Oliva Serie V Ash

The burn is slow and cool with a few bumps developing in the burn line but no torch corrections necessary. The Oliva Serie V Torpedo cigar is a dream for smoke rings as the volume of smoke is incredible.

In addition to the wrapper anomaly discussed above, I had other wrapper splits and unraveling in all three cigars for this review. Amazing to me, none of the problems caused the burn to waver but they did detract a bit from the smoking experience. I’m not sure this isn’t a phenomena typical to habano wrappers in general. I’ve had several treat me this way. Just a very sensitive and fragile wrapper leaf.

Smoketime ~85 minutes.

My take …..
I find Oliva Family cigars are generally mild to medium and a little less potent than I prefer. Although the Oliva Serie V Torpedo is most definitely stronger, it was not the monster I was expecting with all the hype and the “Ligero Especial” moniker. I would call it medium to full bodied but for $5, a fine flavorful smoke. I enjoyed it very much. The $5 price tag must have carried allot of weight in CI 94 rating which was a little high IMHO. Most definitely a quality smoke for the price and I can see it becoming very popular in regular rotations if the Oliva’s production can match demand. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

MSRP is $6.75 per stick. The Oliva Serie V Torpedo is a fine cigar and with the high CA/CI rating don’t hesitate to pull the trigger if you find them available.

I had an online vendor call me and say “We don’t know how your order for these snuck through since we are currently out-of-stock. You must have pressed the submit button just before we updated the website.” @*&#*^^^!%@$$#!!

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Thank you Lucky7 for taking your time to write such an excellent review of the  Oliva Serie V Torpedo!

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The Dunhill Signed Ranged, A Cigar I Personally Stand Behind

Posted by freedomcigars on

Oh, this cigar gets us very excited! Cigar Aficionado has named the 92-rated Dunhill Signed Range Toro the #19 Top Cigar of 2011 (and the #10 cigar of the year in 2007), and rightfully so!  At the risk of sounding biased, the Dunhill Signed Range is by far one of our favorite cigars and it is certainly a very difficult cigar to acquire any information on and sometimes equally hard to purchase.  We are fortunate enough to carry 3 of the sizes (it comes in at least 6 sizes total when you can find it): Robusto (4 1/2 x 52), Toro (6 x 50) and the Torpedo (5 1/2 x 52T).

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Flavor: Medium
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Cameroon
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic

[caption id="attachment_417" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Dunhill Signed Range Cigars at My Discount CigarsFlavor: Medium"]Dunhill Signed Range Cigars at My Discount Cigars[/caption]

British American Tobacco selected Carlos Torano to take over the production of the Dominican Dunhill Signed Range line and have also launched the newest line of Dunhills, the Nicaraguan Signed Range, which filled the demand for a more fuller-bodied cigar. The Dunhill Nicaraguan Signed Range line was introduced in 2007.

We can't stress enough how creamy, smooth and flavor-packed the Dunhill Signed Range is! Handmade in Nicaragua under the close supervision of the Torano family the Dunhill Signed Range cigars feature Nicaraguan wrappers, Cameroon binders, and aged Nicaraguan and Dominican filler leaves for a medium to full-bodied creamy smoke bursting with nutty, coffee, dark chocolate, cedar, caramel and slight peppery notes!

Besides the incredible smoothness and most delicious flavor profile of the Dunhill Signed Range, what makes it doubly enticing, especially for collectors, is that each box is individually numbered and features the signatures of the inspectors as well as some of the rollers responsible for that unique batch. The Dunhill Signed Range cigars are definitely not given enough credit or attention and we hope that you take our word for how very special, tasty, and unique these cigars truly are and splurge for a box (if not a full box, then at least try the 5-cigar sampler) of this treasure!

[caption id="attachment_418" align="alignleft" width="112" caption="Dunhill Signed Range Cigars at My Discount Cigars"]Dunhill Signed Range Cigars at My Discount Cigars[/caption]

RATED 92 BY CIGAR AFICIONADO AND NAMED THE #19 TOP CIGAR OF 2011!

The Dunhill Signed Range is available for purchase online at MyDiscountCigar.com.

~ Peace, Love, Cigars ~

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Lisa, of Her Humidor Cigar Reviews, Shares Her Experience of the Dunhill Signed Range Short Robusto

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I don't know if it's just me but does any one else have a problem with on-line retailers sending you the wrong cigar? Maybe they see the name and think that just because I'm female they think they can get away with it. For example, instead of the Esteban Carreras 1961 corona, I get the Carlos Torano 1916 corona. Now granted they both have Spanish names and dates in their name but still...

Another switcharoo done to me is the Dunhill Signed Range Short Robusto Dominican for the Dunhill Signed Range Nicaraguan. This time I can't complain because not only was this cigar more expensive (being discontinued), but it also tasted fantastic.

The Dunhill Signed Range cigar line was released first in Great Britain in 2001 then released in the U.S. in 2002. Originally the cigars were manufactured at the Cuevas and Torano factory in Navarette, Dominican Republic. The Dunhill Signed Range cigars were created to cater to the popularity of more fuller bodied cigars compared to the mild blend found in their Dunhill Aged cigars. The tobacco used in the Dominican produced Signed Range is a Connecticut seed Ecuadorean wrapper, Pennsylvania broadleaf seed binder, and a Columbian and Dominican filler. In 2007, production was moved to Nicaragua and the Torano factory based in Esteli. The manufacturer states that this was a "quest to find the best super premium cigar blend". The Nicaraguan Signed Range contains a Cuban seed Nicaraguan wrapper, African cameroon binder, and Nicaraguan and Dominican long filler tobaccos.

If you buy a box of these Dunhill Signed Range cigars you will notice that they are numbered and feature the signatures of the people responsible for creating the cigars. The torcedor (cigar roller), escogedor (sorter), empacador (packer) and the ultimo control de calidad (quality supervisor) all hand sign each box they are responsible for.

The band on my Dunhill Signed Range cigar gives away the fact that these were produced in the Dominican Republic. In fact, the toro sized Signed Range Nicaraguan that I ordered at the same time shows the correct label. The Dominican band has a more modern simplistic look compared to the Nicaraguan which has the "Dunhill" name in cursive with "since 1907" underneath it.

The Dunhill Signed Range cigar was well constructed. The wrapping was nice and tight and held on during the entire smoke. The wrapper color I would describe as a smooth "paper bag" brown with some small veins through out. The cigar felt firm and nicely packed. The pre-light draw was free and felt perfect with a very slight minimal resistance. The flavor on the pre-light draw was a creamy sweet tea. The wrapper itself smelled like sweet earthy tobacco and the foot like sweet black tea. The cap was nicely formed with two seams and cut easily with a Palio cutter.

You get a nice volume of smoke with each draw. Immediately you taste nice toasted wood flavors with a slight bitter tinge and warm spices in the background. The flavor starts off mild but tastes very balanced and smooth. You also get a little whisper of cream and vanilla. The burn starts off a little lopsided but nothing too drastic. The burn line is nice and sharp and the ash formed is very compact and light gray in color. Eventually, you taste a more cinnamon on the finish. The mildness makes this cigar seem like an ideal smoke for your morning coffee. The smoke leaves a nice trace of sweetness in the mouth. The resting smoke is very pleasant and exudes warm spiced tobacco.

At the one inch point, the Dunhill Signed Range cigar develops more creaminess like roasted nuts and spice. Plus the flavors become more pronounced and tastier. In the second third, the flavors remain smooth and you get the same toasty wood and spices plus a much longer finish of cedar and light leather along with nuts and vanilla. There is definitely nice complexity in this cigar. At this point the Dunhill Signed Range cigar is solidly medium but beginning to develop into the full range. Still no bitterness or harshness. The flavor is deep and rich at the two inch sweet spot with a nice caramelized vanilla sugar residual finish.

The final third displays an interesting pronounced cedar and leather body which just dominates the palate. I also notice more clove spice which is really nice and some pepper. The back of my throat can feel a little heat as if someone sprinkled pepper on my cigar behind my back. The Dunhill Signed Range cigar is in the full range in the last third. The flavors stay smooth and the finish is now marathon long. It also stays surprisingly cool even though you are down to the nub.

Even though this cigar is a bit pricey at $10.85 for a short robusto (4 and 1/2" by 52 ring gauge) for which I actually paid $9.75, I would consider buying the Dunhill Signed Range cigar again because of it's elegant flavors and complexity. I'm interested in tasting the Nicaraguan Dunhill Signed Range to see if it is better or just as complex. I mentioned that I also received the toro sized Signed Range which is Nicaraguan so I should be getting the opportunity to compare these cigars very soon.

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Thanks Lisa B. for your great review! It's a pleasure getting another woman's point of view!

 

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