Onyx Reserve

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Onyx Reserve

Here we are once again for another Monday review. Up this week is an Onyx Reserve in the Mini Belicoso size (52 x 5.00). It features a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper, Dominican Binder and a three country blended filler which includes tobacco from, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Peru.

The wrapper of this stick is blotchy and a mixture of Dark and Light brown shades. The surface is covered in small oily spots that give it a rough texture. When pinched, I found the stick to feel fairly decent. The stick was not overly firm and did not have any spongy spots.

After the inspection I clipped the torpedo shaped cap and got down to business. The pre light draw was decent with little resistance. Once I felt satisfied with the draw I began to toast and light the foot. It took a little work to get the stick completely lit, but after a minute or so, I had things burning nice and even.

Throughout the first third of the stick, the draw was good but produced little smoke. The body was in the medium range while the finish was mildly dry and short on the palate. The base flavor was that of your typical Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro, delivering a mild nutty flavor with tones of coffee.

As I worked my way deeper into the stick, I found the burn to be slow and even. The ash was firm and mostly light in color, but had specks of black throughout. The room aroma was medium and smelled of rich tobacco. The mild nutty flavors were fading and were replaced by woody tones. These flavors blended well with the coffee base and made for a decent smoke.

After about a half hour, I reached the final third of my Onyx Reserve. The woody flavor was fading and were replaced by a harsh metallic flavor. The finish was becoming creamy and rich while the body picked up and reached the fuller side of medium to full. The volume of smoke also picked up. I was now getting mouthfuls of smoke, but in return was getting a cigar that became very easy to overheat.

By the time the stick was and inch and a half long, the harsh metallic flavor became too much and I was forced to put out the stick prematurely. Overall I think that this cigar is average at best. It seemed to be missing that extra something that tips a cigar over the edge of just being a run of the mill smoke.

In my experience with this stick, I would not turn it down if one was offered to me or if I found one buried deep in the humidor, but I would not go out seeking another.

enjoying cigars since 2005

14 thoughts on “Onyx Reserve

  1. Walt,

    Thanks for another great review.

    About ten years ago, the Onyx was one of my go-to smokes, with a consistent (and enjoyable) bittersweet chocolate flavor. But when I tried another one a few months ago, it was nothing like the Onyx I remembered and loved. I seem to recall reading that the manufacturer changed the blend, substituting the Peruvian leaf for the (I think) touch of Mexican tobacco in the original, making the smoke harsh and too powerful for my taste.

    If you or any of your readers could shed some light on this, I’d be most grateful.


  2. Walt,

    You mentioned Punch in your review… another really great value smoke is the Punch Elite EMS… these can be had for under $38 a box of 25 from JR cigars… they are sort of a Corona gorda, 5.25 x 45… with a sun grown wrapper… try them out if you like Punch.

  3. Walt,

    Nice review. I think you got lucky. The last one of these I smoked was a big disappointment. The draw was so bad I got tried of fighting with it about 1/2 way through. The flavor profile was pretty good but it was just too much work to smoke. I don’t think I’ll buy another one any time soon.

  4. You guys put my thoughts into words. In my opinion, the main problem is the draw. I’ve had a couple of these and they have all had a less than satisfactory draw. I also noticed a typical maduro nutty flavor, but I was not overly impressed by it. I would have to say that Onyx is something to try, but don’t set your hopes high.

  5. I have to say that the MINI BELICOSO is one of the best cigars for the price tag. And I…unlike Walt, do seek them out regularly.

  6. I smoke one of these about once per month and I believe the “metallic” taste people are sensing is really more of a carbon-sort-of-thing that reminds me of soda bubbles up my nose. Maybe it’s why this cigar goes so great with an old-style root beer. I think the carbon-effect is somehow connected to the white-pepper (some say ‘chemical’) note common in Connecticut wrappers.
    I’m not saying this is a great cigar, but for the $ it’s a good value.

  7. Walt, I’m a nube to your site but you are now on my favorites list forever! I read your review on Havana Honeys as a prelim to buying a gift for a bud who likes Vanilla flavored cigars. (I’m weaning him gently!) Aside from confirming the info I DID know, your review was informative and educational as I learned some facts I’d been unaware of. All-in-all, a solid review. THIS review on the Onyx Reserve, however, was an amazing review! I had purchased the Onyx on a whim while browsing a case in a local smoke shop. I dropped it in my humidor for about 2 weeks before bringing it out to smoke after dinner. (I read your review AFTER I had smoked the Onyx.) Your review was, point by point, an identical review of my experience with the Onyx. Thank you for a dead on articulation of my thoughts as I smoked this cigar. I’m looking forward to comparing additional reviews of cigars I have already purchased as well as the exciting prospect of discovering new cigars based on your other reviews.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, but I can’t take credit for the Havana Honey review. That, I believe, was done by Jerry.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the review and look forward to seeing you commenting in the future


  8. i was at a shoprite in town and i was suprised to see they had a decent cigar kiosk i didn’t have much to spend and the onyx mini’s looked tempting needless to say they were pretty harsh nice smoke for the first half of the cigar but after that it was pretty much as you described never again

  9. First off, I am a newbie when it comes to cigars. Up until a few months ago, I’ve had one here and there but nowadays it seems like I can’t stay away, eager to keep trying new brands and aged or new cigars. I tried my first Onyx tonight, and I can say after a few months of really trying to be critical of what I smoke, found this to be one of my favorites. It had a very unique taste that wasn’t too harsh but had a very bold flavor. I prefer to have mine with a glass of ice water, and that turned out to be just what I needed to accompany this robust, flavorful cigar. I can say that I will be ordering at least another 5-er of these guys in the near future. Oh and I guess I should throw out there that this cigar had such a flavor that it would fit somewhere between an Oliva G and an Indian Tabac Super Fuerte (Still my favorite!).

  10. For me, the Onyx reserve doesn’t get all of the respect it should for its price.

    Personally, as a full bodied Maduro, it has some very subtle flavors and the construction is nice and solid.

    I rate the Onyx Reserve at 90, but obviously, there’s no accounting for taste…

  11. I happened to receive a fruitiness of the cold taste, it persisted throughout the stick on the undertones. The predominant flavor was a strong leathery taste. The tender fruitiness massaged my palate like the lotioned palm of a spanish mistress.

  12. Was checking out a local shop and saw an Onyx, hadn’t had
    one in about 3 years so I was curious if what you said still held
    true; metallic taste, and as I recall a fairly bitter end. To my
    surprise, it was either aged or Onyx has worked on their blend,
    because it tasted good. No metallic taste at all, good burn,
    chocolate, coffee, nuts, cream. Still a bitter end around an inch.
    Sure for the price point I could get quite a few cigars that blow
    it out of the water, but hey for an impulse buy I’m happy

  13. I remember my first Onyx and it was given to me by a good friend. He told me then that it had about a year of rest to it and when I smoked it I was instantly a fan. I tend to be a real believer in the ‘resting process’ so a cigar can be at its best. I bought a couple of boxes in 2009 and have smoked these sparingly and with good reason…they are amazing! The years of rest on these have given them a taste of cedar like the aroma of a great humidor and mixed with coffee and cream it rivals a lot of super premium cigars out there. I’m actually going to smoke one tonight and looking forward to another great 2 hours of smoking pleasure.

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