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  • Price per stick: ~$2
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Length: 6.5″
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper Color: Natural
  • Wrapper Origin: Ecuadorian
  • Wrapper Leaf Type: Sumatra
 

Firstly, for it’s price, you can’t go wrong. At just under $2 a stick, it’s a great smoke and over here in the UK, it’s literally a steal.

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First things first, they come in bundles of 20, nicely wrapped with a Nicaraguan Government sticker on. The shape and feel of the sticks are good, solid, well made and the usual Oliva-family quality.  The smell is pretty good as well. It’s obvious the cigars haven’t been aged as much as others, but for the price – who cares, that’s what a humidor is for right?

Upon lighting it and giving a couple of them a puff, the draw differs from one to the other and usually getting quite tight towards the end, even with re-cutting.  The smoke flavour is good, however towards the start it tastes a little ‘cigarette-ish’. The cap is also sweetened I think, either that or they use some ridiculously nice tasting sweet tobacco. I think this must affect the flavour, as the smoke does taste sweet, especially towards the first third.

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Overall for it’s size, quality of build and price, you cannot go wrong. I’ll definitely be buying these again but perhaps in the ‘gold’ range to see what they’re like.  Top marks, Oliva! 

  • Looks/Feel: 7/10
  • Smell before burn: 7/10
  • Burn: 8/10
  • Taste of smoke: 13/20
  • +5 for amazing price!
  • Overall: 40/50
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  • Price per stick: ~$4.50
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Length: 5″
  • Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Connecticut
  • Broadleaf MaduroBinder: Cameroon

Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican

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I was excited about trying this cigar as it’s pretty hard to get the CAO brand over here in the UK.  I ordered this cigar along with a bunch of other maduros that are hard-to-find in the UK.

Construction wise before lighting it looks OK. Some veins are here and there, but the main issue was a very dry and almost crumbling torpedo end. It had been stored in a 70%. Humidor and shipped in the most careful packaging I’ve ever seen so it wasn’t down to anything but poor craftsmanship.

Looks and construction aside it smelt very good.  Oily wrapper, tightly packed and a good looking band.  The draw before I lit it was also quite ‘bitty’ and I kept on getting a rather dust like tobacco in my mouth for the first five or so draws.

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I lit it with a blue flame torch and began to puff!  It didn’t produce as much smoke as I’d hoped but it had a good sweet taste which was very pleasant and would be really suited towards more of a beginner smoker. The cigar slowly developed throughout the smoke and all in all was very enjoyable. It’s a nice mild smoke suitable for any occasion I’d say, and one that won’t break the bank either.

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I wasn’t getting many ‘notes’ of flavour through, rather just sweet tasting, enjoyable smoke.  However towards the end it does get slightly peppery and a hint of the old marzipan comes back in. 

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There was one main gripe though.  The wrapper practically came off towards the second third, and in the end I had to take it off.  Not ideal when part of the flavour is coming from the wrapper!  It also just made it a very fiddly smoke, and you don’t want to be worrying about dropping the stick or having bits of dry leaf stuck to your lips after a puff.

 

  • Looks/Feel: 4/10
  • Smell before burn: 5/10
  • Burn: 6/10
  • Taste of smoke: 11/20
  • Overall: 26/50
  • Price per stick: ~$4.50
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Length: 6″ ?
  • County of Origin: Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut – Aged 7 years. Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra. Filler: Dominican

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Firstly, I got this stick in an un-named bundle so I’m not 100% sure all the above figures/description are correct.  Also the Esteban website is not that up to date so it’s quite hard to find the correct info!  This overall though was a great smoke.

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Before the light the wrapper was cracked in some places and also appeared quite stretched across the veins.  This was probably due to the fact that the wrapper has been aged for 7 years and also it took a while to ship to me!  I let it rest in my 70/70 humidor for a couple of weeks of smoking it as well.

The first couple of puffs were great and the was an abundance of pure white smoke.  The stick was noticeably mild as well which was a very nice change from the ever popular ‘strong and spicy’ trend that seems far too common nowadays.  The smoke in some ways formed a film on the inside of the mouth which felt quite ‘oily’, very pleasant.  The mild smoke continued until around 1/2 way through the stick and got continuously stronger from thereon.  It did remind me of a very milky coffee and was really pleasant.  it was one of those mild smoke which still gave you a nice tingling sensation when passed through your sinuses.

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There was a lot of smoke, which is always a plus.

  • Looks/Feel: 7/10
  • Smell before burn: 7/10
  • Burn: 9/10
  • Taste of smoke: 18/20

Overall: 41/50

  • Price per stick: $7.50
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Length: 6″
  • County of Origin: Dominican & Nicaraguan

First things first, this was one of the most oily, dark and rich wrappers I’ve come across so far. The aroma coming off the unlit cigar was fantastic and the construction was also top notch, very solid cigar.  The wrapper sort of overflows over the foot of the cigar which at first made lighting rather tricky by in a way it added a nice touch.

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The smoke was thick and strong. So much so that sometimes I thought the smoke had a yellow-ish tinge to it. There were definitely the sweet maduro flavours there as well, (not that I could really taste any, because I’m not that pretentious), but they were there.

This is a classic maduro cigar with a lot of potential.  Thick smoke, great flavours, very good build quality and a rich, oily wrapper.

  • Looks/Feel: 8/10
  • Smell before burn: 9/10
  • Burn: 8/10
  • Taste of smoke: 16/20

Overall: 41/50

  • Price per stick: £13.50
  • Ring Gauge: 42
  • Length: 5.25″
  • County of Origin: Cuba

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First of all, what a cigar.  Before I even write this review I must say that this was one of my favourite smokes so far.  I smoked it on a hot summers day on Southbank overlooking the Thames, so not a bad setting!  Oh, and I was also sipping on an ice-cold lager which I’m sure added to the experience!

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Having read quite a bit about the Partagas brand before smoking this I was expecting quite an overwhelming strong peppery smoke.  However from the moment I lit the stick I knew I was in to something special.  There was notes of more a less everything that one should taste from a good cigar from coffee, earth, leather and also a great peppery aftertaste.

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The construction was beautiful, solid, firm and it smelt great.  The burn was perfect with only one need to re-light.  I haven’t really got much to say about this cigar as it was just a very good, solid stick!  Highly recommended.

Overall Score:

  • Looks/Feel: 10/10
  • Smell before burn: 9/10
  • Burn: 7/10
  • Taste of smoke: 18/20

Overall: 44/50

  • Price per stick: £15.50
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Length: 4.8″
  • County of Origin: Cuba

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I had high hopes for this cigar for a couple of reasons, firstly its a Cuban and secondly it’s a very well known brand which is the favourite for a number of celebs.

The build quality was very good and it’s obviously a square-pressed cigar, but aesthetics aside, it’s un-faultable.  It was very firm and had a good weight to it. Cutting was also a breeze with the cap falling nicely into the ash tray.

I was smoking this in an outdoor cafe in Covent Garden after a sweet crepe and accompanied by a cappuccino.  I lit with a turbo blue flame lighter and again, faultless so far.  The first couple of puffs were great and produced copious amounts of smoke.

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The first third was really enjoyable and the ash was holding very well – nothing better than having a large, solid ash stack on the end of your ‘gar.  The flavours were constant throughout the smoke and consisted of rich, complex earthy notes, leather, dark chocolate and a little coffee.  I put the cigar out around 2/3 or 1/2 way through due to bitterness and also feeling quite a nicotine rush.

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There were burn issues starting around the latter half of the cigar, about 30 minutes in or so.  It wasn’t ‘canoe-ing’, however it kept on going out.  Another downside is that the stack of ash was rather ‘flakey’ meaning that the slightest blow of wind or a little nudge and you’d get some ‘cigar dandruff’ on you.

Overall I really enjoyed this smoke and apart from the price, it’s great.  There was no real ‘wow’ factor however and I still enjoyed the Nub Maduro a lot more.

Overall Score:

  • Looks/Feel: 8/10
  • Smell before burn: 7/10
  • Burn: 6/10
  • Taste of smoke: 13/20

Overall: 34/50

  • Price per stick: £8
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Length: 5″
  • County of Origin: Nicaragua

After the success of the Serie V and Nub, I was excited to try another Oliva branded cigar.  First impressions were undoubtedly that it was one of the most square pressed cigars I’d ever come across. Perfect right angles leading to a smooth and long torpedoed end.  The smell of the unlit stick was very attractive also and I couldn’t wait to start the cut and begin smoking.

I lit again with a turbo blue flame lighter and began.  The first couple of puffs were noticeably sweet but again a lot richer in the ‘darker’ notes than say the Nub Maduro. The flavour slowly matured all the way down the cigar and was noticably a lot more spicy and peppery towards the end.  Also, in my review of the Serie V, I mentioned I had notes of marzipan. I got the same notes again but more towards the end of the smoke.

The issue of it being a ‘parellelpipedon’ had no noticeable effects at all, and in a way, I thought it was quite fun to be smoking a ‘square cigar’.

I’m impressed with the Oliva cigars so far as I feel the quality is great and also the price is very reasonable.  You can get a Churchill size Serie G for a couple of bob more and it adds on about 2 inches or so – real bang for your buck!

I I’ll definitely be buying these again.

Overall Score:

  • Looks/Feel: 8/10
  • Smell before burn: 8/10
  • Burn: 8/10
  • Taste of smoke: 14/20

Overall: 38/50