Panacea Green Robusto Monday, Nov 8 2010 

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf
Binder: Dominican Habano
Filler: Triple Ligero Blend(Piloto Cubano, Olor Dominicano, and Nicaragua)
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 50 Ring

I have been working my way through a sampler of cigars sent to me by Paul Bush of the Flatbed Cigar Company that contained each of their four Panacea cigars. I chose to try them in the order that they were released since the inception of the company and the brand. I started out with the mild and delicious Panacea Black Connecticut, followed that up with it’s brother the Panacea Black Maduro, and then smoked the large and robust Panacea Red 560. So now I come to the last cigar in the sampler. The Panacea Green is the blend I have been looking most forward to. It is the newest edition to the Panacea brand. According to their website they worked on this blend for over a year before it finally debuted in February of this year.

The Panacea Green is a three ligero blend covered in a mottled brown Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper that has a nice oily sheen.  The band is a bright leprechaun green.  To be honest, it is not the prettiest of bands which detracts a bit from the aesthetics of the good looking wrapper leaf.  The cigar was firm and well filled and a test of the draw before lighting reveal a nice even pull.  From the very first puff on this cigar I was impressed and intrigued.  It has a wonderful spice to it that is very well balanced with notes of toasted tobacco and leather and a robust earthy finish.  he construction was impeccable.  The burn was nice and even and the ash seemed to hold on forever.  I only tapped the ash on this smoke 3 maybe four times and only for my comfort.  It seemed like it would have held longer than I was leaving it.   The flavors seemed to build in intensity as I progressed through the smoke.  There were notes of wood, leather, caramel, and tobacco.  In addition there was always that fantastic, unique spice that captivated me at the very start.  I cannot say for sure, but I am attributing it to the wrapper.  I wish I could be a better job at describing it.  Whatever that spice was and however it might be described, I really enjoyed it and the cigar as a whole.  I found it to be an excellent cigar, and one that I certainly want to smoke again.

Oliva Serie V Belicoso Sunday, Dec 27 2009 


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

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 @

Cain Maduro Torpedo Monday, Nov 9 2009 


Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero (Jalapa, Esteli, Condega)
Size: Torpedo 6.0″ x 54 ring

My previous review was of the Cain Habano Robusto.  In that review I detailed a bit about the makeup and story of the this straight Ligero cigar so click on over and check that out as well.  Today I am smoking the Maduro Torpedo.  I was trying to find some more information about this wrapper and was unable to find anything definitive about it.  I have seen it referred to as a Nicaraguan Maduro, a Mexican Maduro, and even a Brazilian Maduro wrapper.  I am not sure which it is at this point.  I am not inclined to agree with the Brazilian label though.  As Maduro wrappers go this one doesn’t have much tooth to it, and in my experience, the Brazilian maduro is on of the toothiest maduro wrappers I have seen.  That is just an opinion and a guess though.  It could very well be Brazilian, I just don’t know right now.

The wrapper on the Cain Maduro  is dark and mottled with a few prominent veins running across its surface.  It has a slight tooth and oily appearance.  This cigar starts off very similar to the Habano.  I ti s smooth and creamy, medium bodied without much power.  It has a very nondescript, sweet maduro flavor to it .  I began to wonder if this one would pick up in the last third like the Habano did, but it did not.   It was very one dimensional.  The flavors never changed and it never developed any power.  It was surprisingly light for an all ligero cigar and flavor wise it was pretty boring.  The Habano version was much better.  This cigar just never did anything for me.  I’ll be smoking the Habano again, but I don’t have any interest in revisiting the maduro.

Rating – C

Cain Habano Robusto Tuesday, Oct 27 2009 


Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler:  Esteli Ligero, Condega Ligero, Jalapa Ligero, and a small amount of “other tobaccos”
Size: Robusto 5.70″ x 50 ring

Cain – Straight Ligero.  For those that know what Ligero is, you are probably thinking “damn”.  Ligero is the highest priming of tobacco on the plant.  These are the leaves at the top of the plant that get the most exposure to direct sunlight and the elements.  Ligero tobacco is the thickest leaves and the strongest in terms of nicotine.  It is also generally considered the most robust in terms of flavor.  Most cigars only use a small percentage of ligero tobacco blended leaves from other primings on the plant.  The blending of the different leaves is done to produce specific flavors that the blender want as well as to give the cigar balance in flavor, strength and construction.  Now the Cain is not really 100% ligero.  It is actually around 82% or 84% (I have heard both numbers bandied around) ligero.  This is still way more ligero than is typically found in a cigar, but the addition of the non-ligero tobacco is done for construction and combustion reasons.  Ligero is the thickest leaf and as such is the slowest burning and hardest to keep lit.  The other tobacco used helps to balance things out a bit to allow the cigar to burn properly.  All that ligero still affects the burn though.  This cigar burns awfully slow but more on that later.

The Cain comes in two different wrappers.  Habano and Maduro.  There is also a Cain “F” which is a special souped up blend that is even more powerful and robust that the regular Cains are reported to be.  These are the creation of Sam Leccia and Oliva Cigar Co. who also brought us the Nub.  They are available in three sizes that I know of:


  • Robusto 5.7″ x 50 ring
  • Double Toro 6.0″ s 60 ring
  • Torpedo 6.0″ x 54 ring

The “F” is only available in a Robusto and I believe is a limited edition.  On to the review…

The wrapper on the Cain Habano is the color of milk chocolate with a leathery look. It has lots of small veins and a slight tooth. The draw is a little firm but not unpleasant. It smokes slow and cool… very slow. I was completely surprised by this cigar at first. It was not at all like I was expecting it to be. Much was made of the fact that it is almost entirely made up of ligero tobacco. Because of that I was expecting a rich, earthy, peppery and robust smoke with a lot of power. In actuality, it begins as a medium bodied smoke that was smooth and creamy with out much of a nicotine kick at all. My specimen has no spice or pepper at all. It started off smooth and creamy with notes of cinnamon and a subtle sweetness that I want to describe as apple. Like a Rome apple or some other cooking type of apple that isn’t overly sweet. It also had an undertone of toasted tobacco. I was half way through smoking the Cain Habano and I was thinking it was a very unique smoke but it was not at all complex. In fact thought it a bit one dimensional, but still the flavors were unique and very enjoyable. The last third is where this cigar comes alive. Suddenly I began detecting a little bit of a peppery bite to the flavors and then the cigar quickly transitioned into that robust earthy, spicy smoke I was expecting and I also started to feel its power.  Although I wouldn’t necessarily describe this cigar as a “power house” it does back a nice little punch that kind of sneaks up on you.  My experience with the last third of the smoke makes me say that this is not a cigar for beginners.  Less seasoned smokers might get a little green from it.  Someone who is used to stronger and more robust cigars won’t really be phased by it. I had a bit of problem keeping it lit and it tried to tunnel on me a couple times. It took me almost an hour and a half to finish it. Like I said, it burned very slow.

At first I thought I was smoking Abel, but it was all a lie as Cain revealed himself in the end.  I enjoyed this cigar and it was interesting how it completely changed character on me there at the end.  I will be smoking more to see if this experience is consistent or not for me with this cigar.  It was also quite remarkable to me how long it took to smoke this cigar.  This was perhaps the slowest burning cigar I have ever smoked.  It took me almost two hours to smoke this nearly toro length robusto and I am not known as a slow smoker.  The Cain Habano is a good smoke that is worth a try and something I will probably keep in my humidor in small quantities for times when I want a change of pace from my Tatuajes.

Rating – B

Some other takes on the Cain Habano:

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