Last week I packed up my gear and headed across town to Kensington Tobacconist for yet another blind cigar tasting. Just like during the Jameson Black Label and Red Label tasting, the guys loosened up and had a good time. After about an hour of smoking, all cigars were extinguished and I was left with the following results.
Brand: Flor de Oliva – Gold
Ring Gauge: 50
Price: $34.95 per bundle of 25
Flor de Oliva cigars are a product of the Oliva Family of Cigars. The brand was launched in 1996 and consists of first rate quality tobacco.
Each cigar is hand rolled using quality long filler tobacco from Nicaragua as well as a Nicaraguan binder. The wrapper is available in four varieties which include a Sumatra (Indonesian), Maduro (Connecticut), Connecticut Shade (Ecuador), and Corojo (Nicaraguan).
The Flor de Oliva Gold is described as the Mild to Medium bodied cigar of the bunch and is available in four sizes. The sizes include a Robusto (50 x 5.00), Toro (50 x 6.00), Double Corona (50 x 7.00), and a Torpedo (52 x 6.50).
Just like in previous tastings, as soon as the guys got the cigars in hand, they quickly removed it from the cellophane sleeve and immediately got down to business. The consensus was that the Ecuadorian grown Connecticut Shade wrapper was smooth and free of any obvious flaws. When held to the light, a light oily sheen could easily be recognized. When handled, the cigar was smooth in texture while being firm when pinched.
Once everyone had their cigars opened up, everyone seemed to have a pleasant draw with a little resistance. The flavors on the cold draw were reported as earthy, cedar, and floral. The same floral tone carried over as an aroma to the exposed foot and wrapper leaf.
As the guys moved through the pre-light inspection, cigars were set aflame and the tasting was officially under way. No one mentioned having problems lighting and all cigars exhibited an even burn line throughout the first third. Across the board, the draw was good and produced an ample amount of smoke with each puff.
The first comment made was how light the cigar was in terms of body. Starting at 1:00 PM puts some of these cigars at a disadvantage, as this one showed clear signs of being a morning, with coffee, cigar. When asked about the level of nicotine, the guys commented that it was almost non-existent and that the cigar had a clean taste and feel across the palate.
When asked about the distinct flavors in the smoke, the response varied a bit throughout the room. Some of those varied flavors included a mild spice, pepper, and cedar. The finish was described as mildly creamy and smooth.
The burning characteristics and construction of all cigars were top notch. In one instance a small crack developed at the head of a cigar and did not worsen throughout the first third. The burn line was even while producing a light colored ash that was firm and compacted. The burn rate seemed a little fast for some while being on par for others.
After roughly twenty-five minutes of smoking, the group reached the second third of their cigar. At this point the body had progressed further into the mild range and was being appreciated more. The finish was developing into more of a creamy texture with some residual spice.
The flavors from the first third were beginning to develop a bit more and were quickly becoming richer and more complex. Some of the added flavors mentioned included earthy tones and a little more spice. The finish was noted as being creamy, short on the palate, and a little heavy on the back of the tongue.
The guys seemed to get the impression that the cigar was now burning slower than before. The burn line remained even while producing a pleasant draw with plenty of smoke in each puff. The resting smoke was reported as light and the one flawed cigar did not become any worse at this point.
When we reached the final third of our cigars, a total time of about forty-five minutes had passed. Just like before, the body was creeping up a bit and finally managed to get into the mild-medium range. The guys felt as though the finish was becoming a little heavier on the palate while remaining creamy. The strength, in terms of nicotine, remained low and almost unnoticeable.
Looking over the notes taken, there doesn’t seem to be much in terms of new flavors. The only mention made was that the flavors developed and exhibited more character at this point. When asked what beverage would go best with this smoke, the answer was coffee across the board.
The single flawed cigar worsened a bit while one other developed a crack near the head. Everyone was sporting a solid ash and even burn. The draw was pleasant and produced lots of thick smoke with each puff. When asked what the guys felt the cigar was lacking in, the answer was flavor, but most likely due to the time of day.
Overall the guys were happy with this cigar. When informed what the stick has an MSRP of around $2.50 per stick they were very surprised. On their questionnaires, they had an average guess of it being in the $4.00 to $6.00 range.
I think that as a result of this blind tasting, the guys will certainly be purchasing the Flor de Oliva Gold the next time they are looking for a modestly priced Connecticut Shade wrapped cigar.
Participants: From left to right
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Check out Walt’s review for another look at the Flor de Oliva Gold