Cain F 550 Wednesday, Jan 5 2011 

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Triple Ligero (Esteli, Condega, Jalapa)
Size: Robusto 5.75″ x 50 ring

A full-bodied, full-strength cigar.  Typical Nicaraguan profile of spice, earth, and leather.  Some coffee notes as well.  Finishes the same as it starts and remains consistent throughout.  Just straight forward flavors in a very robust package.  Excellent construction, with a even burn and an excellent draw. Not a bad smoke, but nothing special either.  Not much more to say about this one except to apologize for forgetting to take a picture.

Time for a Top 5 Update Friday, Aug 27 2010 

I was browsing around my site the other day reading some old reviews and just checking out some of the areas of the blog I don’t look at everyday. While on my click-a-bout I came across my top 5 smokes page and noticed it had been a while since the last update to my list of favorite cigars. I reflected a bit on what was included in the list a decided is was time for an update. It had been long enough since the last up date that I consider this a major revision so now we have Matt’s Top 5 Smokes v3.0. So if you are at all interested in what my current favorites are, go check it out.

Win a Box of OpusX Love Affairs Saturday, Mar 13 2010 

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It is time again for my annual fund raising drive for the Ride for Kids and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation of the US. This is the third year in a row that, thanks to some very generous people in the cigar industry, I have some spectacular cigars to give away as a thank you for your support of my efforts and of this wonderful charity that does so very much to help sick kids. This year you could win a box of Opus X Love Affairs, Hemingway Short Stories, Nubs, or a Cain F sampler pack.  Also up for grabs is a 5 pack Tatuaje sampler which will include a “Frank”, a 5 pack of Opus xXx, or a 5 pack of Oliva Serie V Belicosos.  Keep reading to find out how. (more…)

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:

Oliva “O” Ovation Maduro (Old Embroidered Band) Tuesday, Mar 24 2009 

Oliva Serie O Maduro

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper:Connecticut Grown Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Double Corona 7.0″ x 50 ring
Courtesy of Smokinson @ The HerfHut forum

I will refrain from rehashing all the background on this smoke here since I talked a bit about the old Oliva “O” cigars in the review I did just prior to this one on the Oliva “O” Bold Omni. I’ll just quickly thank Smokinson at The Herf Hut Cigar Forum again for his generosity in sending me this fine, aged maduro. I’ll also quickly touch on the fact that this is a cigar with some nice age on it. It has been several years since the Oliva “O” with the embroidered band as been produced. Like most avid cigar lovers, I really enjoy smoking a well aged cigar. So… lets get to it.

The maduro wrapper on this thick double corona is beautiful. leathery with some small veins running throughout, it looks delicious. The cigar is well filled and given its ample size it has a nice heft to it making it nice to hold. The wrapper is applied perfectly but the cap is a little sloppy although I’ve seen worse. It has a very good draw and the foot took a light readily.

Right off, this is a very different cigar from the “O” Bold. It is light and smooth and creamy from the first puff. It also has a very pronounced sweet maduro flavors. The Bold started off with a peppery kick. This maduro is medium bodied with nice toasty and creamy flavors of coffee and earth all wrapped up in a great maduro sweetness. It produces thick, snow white clods of smoke and the burn is perfect. I find it somewhat reminiscent of a Hemingway Work of Art Maduro. At the halfway mark it starts to pick up. It got more robust and developed some black pepper which seemed to mask the sweetness. It was less creamy, the flavor a bit dryer but still very earthy. That is how the cigar finished as well. It was a very good, enjoyable smoke that was smooth and well balanced.

Rating – B+

Oliva “O” Bold Omni (Old Embroidered Band) Thursday, Mar 19 2009 

Oliva O Bold

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Corona Gorda 6.0″ x 46 ring
Courtesy of Smokinson @ The Herf Hut Cigar Forum

So there I was minding my own business, walking out to the mailbox to get the latest pile of junk that had been delivered so I could throw it all in my trash ( I hate junk mail), when… KABLAM! I open the mailbox just to get “smacked” by a fine Brother of the Leaf over at The Herf Hut Cigar Forum. It came out of the clear blue sky. I was a victim of a sneak attack by Smokinson. In this random act of generosity was a selection of excellent smokes, two of which jumped out at me immediately.  In the package were two very nicely aged Oliva cigars.    The Oliva “O” cigars underwent a sort of re-branding a few years back.  It is now called the Serie O and the band and packaging has been completely redone.  Smokinson sent me two of the old “O” cigars, one of the Bold, and one Maduro from back before the re-branding.  Originally released in 2001 the Oliva “O” cigars were renowned for their presentation as well as for being a quality cigar.  They were very unique because the sported embroidered velvet bands rather than the traditional paper bands, and the boxes were unusually shaped as well, close resembling of all things, a toilet seat.  It is hard to find much detail on these  cigars at this point as it has been several years since this version of the “O” has been made.  Because of the age and the fact they are no longer made, this “O” Bold is a special treat and a very generous gift.  So I want to take this opportunity to once again thank Smokinson for his generosity and for sharing these cigars with me.  The “O” Bold that I am smoking today is a Nicaraguan Puro.  I am a very big fan of Nicaraguan cigars so I am looking forward to lighting this one up.

The wrapper is a dark, mottled brown and it seems to be very well filled.  The embroidered band makes for a very nice presentation.  The first few draws were very full and peppery.  It mellows out right away settling into a nice flavorful medium bodied smoke.  It has a classic Nicaraguan flavor, a strong core of toasted tobacco with some coffee notes.  It is surprisingly smooth yet still robust and a little chewy, signs of a well aged cigar.  It produces thick clouds of white smoke and the draw is absolutely sublime.  The draw could not be any better for me.  I noticed one odd characteristic of this smoke.  It produced a kind of numbing effect in my mouth.  Almost like a menthol feel but there was nothing in the flavor or aroma that was even remotely “menthol like”.  It was odd but not really bothersome.  At the halfway mark it developed strong leather flavors with just a hint of nuts layer over a consistent core of toasted tobacco.  The last third is all pepper and tobacco.  It maintains its smoothness and chewiness through the entire smoke, again a hallmark of a well aged stogie.  The “O” Bold is a fantastic medium to full bodied smoke.  A classic Nicaraguan through and through.  It is a shame they discontinued this smoke.  I wonder when I smoke a cigar like this, that is clearly a very good cigar, why manufacturers discontinue them rather than sticking with a winner.  Maybe it’s just that they don’t have the tobacco for it anymore. Either way it is a shame these aren’t made any more.  This is a solid smoke that has aged very well.

Rating – B+

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