The cigar that I chose for my first review on the Gentleman’s Gazette is the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial, the 2011 release. I think that some background is required here. Oliva released the original Serie V back in June 2007 and it was probably the cigar that received the best press among their blends. Both big names like Cigar Aficionado (the Torpedo vitola got 94 points) and cigar bloggers welcomed this cigar with very kind words. More importantly, the Serie V continued to surprise with its consistency and regular quality – this is still one of my favorite cigars. My humidor would feel empty without one, and I know I’m not alone!
The Story Behind the Serie V Maduro Especial
The Oliva Cigar family knows its way around tobacco – they have been growing tobacco leaves since the end of the 19th century, first in Cuba then in Nicaragua. It would have been foolish of them not to capitalize on the Serie V’s success and, unsurprisingly, the line has been extended to include a maduro version. A maduro wrapper is fermented longer than the natural one, which results in a darker color. A lot of people think that the wrapper color determines the cigar’s strength (a dark wrapper equals a strong cigar) and I’d like to take advantage of this review to dispell this myth. Let’s go on, shall we?
The Maduro Especial has been released annually since 2008, in only one shape. In 2008 and 2009, it featured a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, but since 2010 it is wrapped in a Mexican San Andreas leaf. The filler and the binder are both made of Nicaraguan tobacco. The 2011 release that we are considering today is a 6 inch long toro with a 50 ring gauge. It is available for around $9 a piece.
Appearance & construction
You will likely agree that this cigar looks good. I always loved Oliva’s bands and this one is no exception. The wrapper, although it’s a maduro, is not that dark and pleases the eye with its chocolate color. The veining is minimal and overall this toro seems to guarantee a flawless smoking experience. Indeed, it didn’t disappoint in the construction department. As soon as I toasted the foot, I was greeted with an effortless draw slightly on the loose side. The burn was all right, not razor-sharp but it never needed a correction.
How did it taste?
The cold draw brought rich and slightly bitter notes of coffee and earth. The first third was extremely entertaining, with a spicy beginning, followed by a complex bouquet of earthy, espresso and cocoa notes that felt bitter in a pleasant way (like good dark chocolate, you know). These three flavor groups (earth, coffee, chocolate) are what this cigar is all about. Delicately intertwined, they keep on replacing each other in the second third and result in an intense smoking experience at the finish where the Maduro Especial becomes definitely full-flavored.
Overall, a very enjoyable smoke that can provide you with more than one hour of delight. It will not blow you away with a kaleidoscope of flavors, but I am fairly sure you won’t be bored either.
I want to close the article with a quote of King Edward VII, who was a strong supporter of cigars: “Gentlemen, you may smoke”.