17 Apr 2008
First, I heard cracks at the head as I inserted my punch. Then, I saw the thick stem poking through the filler. After smoking two-thirds or so of the stick, the wrapper broke and eventually just about unraveled. That was when I was finally able to pull the stem out.
At two inches in length, it looked more like something from the live oak outside than a remnant from the tobacco fields. My surgery, through, resulted in a tunnel from head to light and soon rendered the smoke extremely hot and more or less unsmokable. All in all, not a bad cigar.
Seriously, this Oliva Serie O is a good smoke, a six inch by 50 ring gauge that’s a satisfying and affordable Nicaraguan blend of tobaccos grown in different regions of the country. The prelight aroma is absolutely mouth-watering. The taste is woody and nutty, subtle and smooth. If you’re a connoisseur of ashes, you’ll want to check this one. It’s chalk white.
I don’t recall what I paid for this stick, but I think they run around $4.50 to $5. And that does factor into my evaluation. I figure that one way a company like Oliva is able to produce good cigars at relatively low prices is to cut back on some processes, like quality control or finely matching wrapper color on the cigars in a box.
That means every once in awhile I will be forced to fiddle with the cigar or abandon it sooner than I’d prefer – the kinds of situations I would find unacceptable in a high-priced stick. And if such defects were common I’d quit buying any line, regardless of the price. But that hasn’t been my experience with Oliva. In fact, this is the first of its cigars I can recall that presented any real problems.
So I can recommend the Serie O, as I would any Oliva cigar. But I can’t rate it too highly because of the difficulties. It earns a rating of three out of five stogies.
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photo credit: JR Cigars