Gilberto Oliva Reserva (Sumatra)
Cigar Review by Jeff Oda
The first new line to be brought to market by the Oliva Cigar Co. since the introduction of the Melanio in 2012, the Gilberto line Oliva consists of the Connecticut wrapped Reserva Blanc and the Sumatra wrapped Reserva. Both wrappers are available in five sizes: Corona 5¾ x 43, Robusto 5 x 50, Toro 6 x 50, Torpedo 6 x 52, and Churchill 7 x 50. Attractively priced, they run from $5.25 for the Reserva Corona to $6.90 for the Reserva Blanc Churchill, and come packed in boxes of 20.
I previously reviewed the Reserva Blanc toro, which you can read here.
• Wrapper: Indonesian Sumatra
• Binder: Ecuadorian
• Filler: Nicaraguan
• Size smoked for review: Torpedo 6 x 52
• Price: $6.40
Smoking time: One hour, thirty minutes
The Gilberto Oliva Reserva presents itself in a medium brown leaf with a slight greenish tint and a couple of spots of discoloration. Veins are slight along the length of the cigar, but are more obvious toward the sharply pointed cap. The pack is firm, getting a little springy toward the foot. The band differs from the Connecticut wrapped Reserva Blanc in that the Reserva uses a maroon background rather than white. An earthy tobacco scent comes from the wrapper, while the foot shows some barnyard and wood. Clipping the cap, I am presented with a snug draw that gives up notes of sweet cedar and spice and leaves a spicy tingle on the lips.
The smoking experience:
The rather snug draw requires double puffs at first, but eventually opens up to a comfortable level. The first third of the Gilberto Oliva Reserva features sweet cedar and earth, along with natural tobacco and a light aged leather note. Pepper shows up later in this third and the cedar turns to more of an oak.
The second third brings in a more rounded and cohesive feel, while the pepper fades back on the palate and light breadiness and sweet spice moves in further down. Rounding out this section, light-roasted coffee emerges.
In the final third, the coffee turns sweeter and blends in well with the oak, earth, and spice, and a slight char adds to the mix. The Gilberto Oliva Reserva intensifies in flavor as it smokes down, losing some of the sweetness, and gaining in body and strength as it nears the end, finishing at nearly medium-full and medium plus, respectively.
The Gilberto Oliva Reserva is a solid addition to the Oliva cigar portfolio, showing enjoyable flavors. Even if not really high in complexity, the transitions were enough to keep my attention. The construction of the Reserva is very good (the little bit of missing wrapper in the last photo was due to my sliding the band around) and the burn is top-notch, being nearly perfectly even all the way down. Adding to this the great pricing, it’s a cigar that’s easy to recommend.
You can get them from Cuenca Cigars here.
A rich, fruity Imperial IPA proved to be a favorable match for the cigar, but a nice Dubbel or Doppelbock would also provide a great pairing for the Gilberto Oliva Reserva.
Jeff Oda lives in Seattle, WA and is a frequent, if erratic, guest contributor to the Casas Fumando cigar review blog .