Oliva Serie V Belicoso Sunday, Dec 27 2009 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Habano Sun Grown
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Jalapa Valley Ligero
Size: Belicoso 5.0′ x 50 Ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Two years ago when I tried my first couple samples of the then new Oliva Serie V, I was impressed by what I thought was a very tasty cigar but a little frustrated by construction issues I experienced with each one of them including the stick I smoked for my review of the Double Robusto.  I didn’t let those construction issues turn me away though.  Over time I kept revisiting the Oliva V in various different vitolas and ultimately the Belicoso really won me over to the point that  the Oliva Serie V Belicoso was second only to the Tatuaje Havana Cazadores as my most often smoked cigar this past year.  I guess that is a bit of a spoiler in terms of what is to come in this review but there you have it.

The Serie V Belicoso is a stout looking fellow.  Its tapered head creates the illusion of it being shorter that it really is.  At first glance you might suspect it is a relatively short smoke, but the truth is you’ll need more than an hour to work your way through this thick, slow burning stogie.  It burns slow, cool, and and even with a firm, dark gray ash.  I have found these to have a consistently nice draw offering up the perfect amount of resistance.  They are impeccably constructed and consistent from stick to stick and box to box.  The wrapper is a deep rich brown color and it is smooth and oily looking with only a few small veins.  The wrapper on the Series V seems a little darker to me now than it was when they were first released in 2007.

The V Belicoso starts off with a blast of pepper and earth.  It is a surprisingly smooth and creamy considering how robust it is.  A Medium to full bodied smoke, it has an earthy twang complimented by leather, black coffee and oak.  Mid way through it developed flashes of vanilla and nuts on the finish.  The last third actually mellows a bit and is dominated by creamy notes of wood and leather.  The V is a great complex smoke that never disappoints.

Rating – A

You can get Oliva Serie V’s @ CigarsDirect.com

Redux: Fuente Fuente Opus xXx Saturday, Nov 28 2009 

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a.k.a. The Power Ranger
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Chateau de la Fuente Rosado
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Short Belicoso 45/8” x 49 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Probably one of the most famous and sought after cigars not made on the island of Cuba, the Opus X is the first Dominican Puro to garner such high acclaim. The various sizes consistently produce high ratings from cigar reviewers everywhere. And as is often the case when someone or something achieves such a high level of success, it has fostered a kind of love-hate relationship with avid cigar smokers. Like the New York Yankees are the baseball team so many love to hate, the Opus is a cigar that in addition to high praise, it also elicits some vehement dislike from some in the cigar world who believe the cigar is over hyped and over priced. I have never heard anyone say it was a bad cigar though. Like or dislike the line for whatever reasons, everyone seems to agree if you set aside the hype, the price, and all the other outside “stuff” and take the cigars just by themselves, the OpusX line of cigars are pretty good smokes. (more…)

Bolivar Belicoso Fino Friday, Jul 11 2008 

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Country: Cuba
Year: Unknown

This cigar was given to me as a Christmas gift from a very generous friend of mine in Denmark. Bolivar is one of the more famous Cuban marcas and the Belicoso Fino one of its most popular sizes. I enjoyed this smoke while on vacation at the beach this week. It was a beautiful coastal Carolina evening as I sat on the screened in porch at my families condo. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed every aspect of this special cigar so I paired it with a cool bottle of water. Bolivars are among the strongest cigars the Island puts out. Here is a little blurb about the marca from Habanos, SA.

Simon Bolívar was one of the great historic figures of the 19th Century who liberated much of South America from Spanish rule.

The Bolívar brand was created in 1902 and is based today at the Partagas factory in the heart of Havana.

It is perhaps not surprising that a Habano named after such a powerful figure is blended to match his might. Bolívar is among the strongest, most full bodied of all Habanos. It boasts an unrivalled richness of flavour in its blend of Vuelta Abajo region tobaccos that makes it one of the most sought-after marques amongst experienced smokers.

The Bolivar Belicoso Fino is a handsome looking cigar. Wrapped in a light brown, leathery leaf it has some small veins running across the surface along with a slightly larger puckered vein that seems to be a trademark of a Cuban wrapper. The cigar is firm its entire length and has a nice heft to it. It seems to be packed full of tobacco. The cigar has a musty barnyard aroma. After clipping the head, a pre-light draw delivers a leathery flavor to the palate. The draw is excellent providing just the right amount of resistance.

The BBF, starts of a little mild and easy going, unusual for a Cuban Bolivar. It is woody with subtle notes of what I will call spiced fruit. I had a hard time coming up with a descriptor for the flavor and I’m not sure I have it right but that’s the best I could come up with. About half way through it begins to pack a bit of a punch. It is full bodied and robust. The woodiness takes on a distinct cedar flavor with a slightly sweet undertone to it. I picked up flashes of fruit and pepper as I made my way into the last third of the smoke. The finale continues to be a full and robust smoke with lots of earth and wood, and a strong spice on the finish. The Cuban “twang” that is often associated with cigars from the island was present throughout the smoke.

Although a full bodied cigar, the BBF is not as full or strong as other Bolivars I have tried. I think that this vitola is an excellent introduction to the marca for a smoker new to Cuban Bolivars. It is a wonderfully complex smoke with refined, well defined flavors. It is a good cigar for a special occasion, or any occasion.

Rating – A

The Cigar Spy recently smoked one of these.  Checkout his take on the Bolivar Belicoso Fino.

Partagas Serie P No. 2 – 6 1/8″ x 52 Wednesday, Aug 29 2007 

Country: Cuba
Box Code: ??

It’s been a while since I’ve had a cigar so I’m coming out gang-busters tonight. A very special cigar that was given to me by a good friend and fine BOTL. The Partagas Serie P No.2 was introduced in 2005 along with its cousin the Serie D No.4 Reserva. Partagas is one of the most famous and best selling Cuban marcas and is also know for having the widest range of lines and vitolas with a little bit of something for everyone. Partagas has cigars ranging from the mild to the full bodied powerhouse, but every one of them is reputed to have what is commonly referred to as “Partagas Spice”, a flavor profile that is the signature of the brand.

The PSP No.2 is a beautiful cigar with a smooth chocolate wrapper and a sublime earthy aroma. The first puff was a blast of harshness but it almost immediately changed to a smooth earthiness wrapped in classic Partagas spice. One thing that jumped out at me about this particular Partagas was that there was a creaminess to it I never experienced in other vitolas I’ve smoked with the exception of the much smaller Partagas Short. As the smoke progressed the Partagas Spice faded into the background and notes of caramel and nuts intermingled with its Cuban earthiness. It’s an amazingly complex smoke that demands your full attention. The cigar started to pickup again towards the end. It was all spice and earth the rest of the way. I rank this among one of the best Cuban cigars I have ever had the pleasure to smoke. The burn was good and the ash held firm but was a little papery on the edges. What a great cigar to have after an extended break from smoking.

Rating – A+

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