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Cigar Review: Oliva Serie G Cameroon Churchill

9 Jul 2012

I often get asked to recommend a cheap blend that’s tasty enough to be enjoyable yet mild enough for a beginner. One of the first cigars that always comes to mind is the Oliva Serie G.

Now just because this Cameroon-wrapped smoke has a price and flavor profile that makes it approachable for infrequent smokers, that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed by seasoned cigar veterans, too. I (obviously) smoke pretty damn regularly, and for years I’ve kept a stash of Serie Gs in my collection. Why? Because sometimes I want a milder smoke to accompany my morning coffee, and sometimes I crave that Cameroon sweetness. It also doesn’t hurt to save a little money from time to time.

When I reach for a Serie G, I’m usually choosing a smaller size like the Robusto (4.5 x 50), Special G (3.75 x 48), or even the Cigarillo (4 x 38). These are fine morning or mid-afternoon vitolas that won’t take up a ton of time. Every so often, though, I’ll fire up a Churchill, which is the largest Serie G at seven inches long with a ring gauge of 50. It retails for $4 to $6, depending on where and how many you’re buying.

This box-pressed smoke boasts the standard Serie G recipe, including a Cuban-seed Habano binder and Nicaraguan Habano long-filler tobaccos. The Cameroon wrapper is yellowish and pale with a fair amount of veins and various watermark splotches. You won’t find a ton of oils on the wrinkled exterior leaf, but the foot yields a wonderful pre-light aroma of hay and caramel.

After setting fire to the foot, a cool, mild profile emerges that’s dry and a little flat. There isn’t much spice to speak of. Instead, the taste can best be described as toasty and airy. Once the first inch is complete, some of the flavors that I associate with the smaller Serie G vitolas start to enter the equation. These include cream, butter, almond, sweetness, and warm tobacco. The spice intensifies slightly in the final third but I don’t think the Churchill ever ventures out of the mild spectrum.

In terms of physical properties, this cigar performs at the standard I’ve come to expect from Oliva. The burn is straight and requires no touch-ups. The white, finely layered ash holds firm off the foot. And the draw is smooth and easy from light to nub.

Oliva is an excellent manufacturer whose low-key marketing approach often causes the brand to go relatively unnoticed. But if you’re looking for a mild Cameroon smoke, I don’t think you can do much better than the Serie G at this price point. That said, I maintain that the Serie G is much more enjoyable and interesting in its smaller sizes. The Churchill takes a while to get going and, once it does, it doesn’t really hold my attention for the duration of the smoke. That’s why it doesn’t earn a rating higher than three stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

4 Responses to “Cigar Review: Oliva Serie G Cameroon Churchill”

  1. Chris S Monday, July 9, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    This is one of the few cigars that I hadn't been able to smoke even half of. I was overwhelmed with terrible earth tasting flavors and harshness. Won't be picking up another of these.

  2. Archie Monday, July 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Agreed that this is just an OK stick. Smaller sizes in Serie G better for sure.

  3. Ben Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    Just tried this one a couple days ago. I was pretty unimpressed overall, just an ok tobacco that left the back of my throat dry to the point I needed some water. I guess for the cheap price, its an ok stick but its not one I would ever purchase again.

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