January 20, 2010

Review: Oliva Connecticut Reserve

For my mid-week smoke, I wanted again something mild in body but still strong in flavor.  After reading some reviews online, I decided to pick up the Oliva Connecticut Reserve in a robusto size. Oliva, known for some great full bodied smokes (like the praised V line), created the Connecticut Reserve to fill their customers' need for a lighter experience. I believe this particular cigar was released at the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009.  To learn more about Oliva cigars, visit the official website here. Let's light this guy and see how it goes.

Specifics (taken from stogiereview.com)
Vitola: Robusto
Length: 5
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Origin: Esteli, Nicaragua
MSRP: Aprox. $4.50
Smoking Location: House of Cigar, Columbus, Ohio
Beverage: None


When looking at this cigar, the first thing that stands out is it's beautiful wrapper.  The Connecticut wrapper is very smooth and has minimal veins. It shows a nice oily sheen when held to the light and has a nice milk chocolate color. It felt slightly spongy yet solidly-packed when pinched. There was little-to-no aroma coming off the pre-light cigar. After clipping the cap, the pre-light draw was very loose and produced almost no flavor.

First Third

This Oliva Connecticut Reserve cigar lit very easily and evenly and produced tons of thick, room-filling smoke. The initial flavors from the cigar were earthy with a mild black pepper taste that sat nicely on the tongue. At this point, the draw on the cigar was looser than I prefer, so I hoped it would firm up as it burned lower into the stick. The finish only lasted a few brief seconds and the body, as advertised, showed mild strength.

Second Third

Into the second third of my Oliva Connecticut Reserve, the earthy flavors were pretty much the only tastes coming through.  The spice that was in the first third had disappeared, which left me wanting more depth. The cigar was still producing tons of smoke, which I enjoyed, but the draw continued to be looser than I prefer. A positive for the cigar was the ash. It created a very strong ash that took a few knocks on the ashtray to remove. After that first ash had fallen, I felt pretty confident I wouldn't be wearing any stray ash as the evening progressed.

Final Third and Final Thoughts

There isn't much to say in my final third of my Oliva Connecticut Reserve review that hadn't already been said in the second third.  The cigar still produced lots of thick smoke and a light earthy flavor. The spice that I encountered in the first third never reappeared, which left the smoke somewhat uneventful. The mild body of the cigar was consistent, having never changed from the first puff to the last and the draw never firmed up, as I had hoped. At one point, my cigar went out and required a re-light, but relit at once and the volume of smoke was still there.

My overall thoughts on the Oliva Connecticut Reserve is that of a very consistent mild-bodied cigar with one primary flavor. Based on quite a few other reviews of the Connecticut Reserve, I had hoped a few more flavors would've surfaced to keep things more interesting, but this particular stick just didn't produce them for me and it left me a little bored.

Would I buy it again? I would be hard-pressed to buy this cigar again, even at it's current low-tier price.  There are just too many other mild-bodied cigars that I enjoy more. Is it fair to judge the Oliva Connecticut Reserve just by smoking one stick? No, probably not, but with my tight cigar budget,  it's hard to purchase another just hoping for a better experience.

Would I buy a box? No



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