Oliva Connecticut Reserve Toro Review

When I usually reach for a cigar from my humidor, it is almost always a Cuban. It’s not that I’m snob or anything, but I find, more often than not, I like the Cuban taste over Dominicans, Nicaraguans, and so on. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t found some wonderful non-Cuban cigars that I equally like, one being the Oliva Connecticut Reserve that I’ll be reviewing today.

Oliva is generally better known for their full-bodied cigars such as the Serie G, Serie O, and Serie V. The Connecticut Reserve is a special line of Oliva that is meant to appeal to mild-bodied cigar smokers who aren’t looking for an over-powering cigar. The Connecticut Reserve comes in five sizes: Churchill, Lonsdale, Robusto, Torpedo, and Toro. This review will cover the Toro vitola.

Also an interesting tidbit is that you will not find anything about the Connecticut Reserve on Oliva’s website except on their ratings page, not sure why that is.

Oliva Connecticut Reserve Toro

Origin: Esteli, Nicaragua
Format: Toro
Size: 6
Ring: 50
Box Date Code: n/a
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Made: Handmade
Strength: Light/Medium
Smoke Time: ~45 minutes
Price: ~$5/each

Construction

For the price, these cigars are absolutely gorgeous! Solidly constructed and firm when squeezed, the Oliva’s Connecticut wrapper has a nice caramel color with no visible discoloration or blemishes.

Inspecting the foot, it looks well rolled with a good amount of tobacco. The Oliva Connecticut Reserve has, what looks like, a double-cap on the head. There are very small veins  throughout the wrapper and for the value, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better looking cigar. I think this is probably one of the best looking cigars I’ve had.

This cigar in the Toro format certainly feels long in my hands, given my general preference for Robusto sized cigars. The burn is decent, requiring the occasional minor touch-ups to keep the burn even, and stayed lit when I had to put it down for restroom breaks. The salt-and-pepper ash stays planted to the cigar anywhere from 1-to-2 inches before breaking off.

One thing I’ve found is that the wrapper leaf is extremely thin and can easily tear or rip if you’re not gentle with it, so take care when removing the cigar band.

Flavor & Taste

The best part of this cigar are the flavors and taste. Prelight taste is muted with just a bit of sweetness one would expect from the Connecticut wrapper and once lit, the predominant flavors of toasted almonds and creamy butter explode on your palate for a wonderful experience. The first time I had the Connecticut Reserve, I was blown away at how flavorful it is. Originally penned as a light-bodied cigar, I’ve found the Oliva Connecticut Reserve is more of a light-to-medium-bodied cigar, that is hardly overpowering. My buddy, who I gave two to try, has said: “This is the cigar I would give to someone who is new to smoking cigars.”

The flavors don’t really change much as the cigar progresses, but the taste does get smoother with a hint of bitterness starts developing at about the 2/3rd mark which I think helps balance the sweetness of the Connecticut wrapper.

Value

The Oliva Connecticut Reserve is definitely worth a box purchase. You can find these guys for like $5 or less online. I got lucky and scored a 10-pack from JoeCigar.com for $2.99 a cigar! Well worth it.

Conclusion

I can’t really find anything bad to say about this cigar. For the price, the taste, and the looks, this cigar is a winner in my book.  This is a great morning or lunch cigar, something light that won’t make you sick and works just as well as an after dinner cigar. A number of times if I’m enjoying a cigar with my buddy and I finish before him, I’ll light up a Oliva Connecticut Reserve and it works out perfectly.

If you haven’t tried an Oliva, definitely try one! If you’re looking for a cigar that has a lots of flavor but not over-powering, try the Connecticut Reserve and even if you’re accustomed to stronger bodied cigars, try one of these anyways as you might find it compliments your taste.

Be sure to checkout these other great reviews:

Oliva Connecticut Reserve Toro Gallery Pics

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Best Seller

While many will agree that the Fuente Fuente Opus X cigars are great-to-excellent smokes, its hefty price tag makes it difficult to enjoy more than for special occasions. Fortunately, Arturo Fuente makes a number of very good, affordable cigars, one being the Hemingway line. Named after renowned author, Ernest Hemingway, who actually preferred Russian cigarettes ((http://www.cigaraficionado.com/Cigar/CA_Profiles/People_Profile/0,2540,15,00.html)). This line features a number of Perfecto vitola cigars such as the one being reviewed today: the Best Seller. With a name like that, this cigar has lots to live up to.

20100108-Arturo-Fuente-Hemingway-Best-Seller-Bui4Ever-002

A. Fuente Hemingway Best Seller

Origin: Dominican Republic
Format: Perfecto
Size: 5
Ring: 43/55
Wrapper: Cameroon
Filler: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Made: Handmade
Strength: Medium
Smoke Time: ~30-40 minutes
Price: $5.99, box of 25 or $6.35, 5-pack

Construction

While not a fan of Piramide/Torpedo or Perfecto vitolas, I can certainly appreciate the skills necessary to roll such a unique shape. The wrapper is a nice looking rustic Cameroon leaf with minimal veins and a light oily sheen. For the price, its rolled very nice with few, if any blemishes and sporting a double cap that is too often hastily applied.

The burn is very even requiring only a minor burn correction. The ash is flaky with mostly gray and the occasional black spots. The ash holds firm for two inches easily before succumbing to pressure.

20100108-Arturo-Fuente-Hemingway-Best-Seller-Bui4Ever-004The Hemingway Best Seller is well packed and tightly rolled, no soft spots throughout when squeezed, with a slight spongy feel. I have nothing but excellent draw from the Hemingway Best Sellers I’ve smoked.

It looks deceiving large in photos, but when you actually hold a Best Seller in your hands, you’ll be surprised at how small it is. At 4-inches long, it’s shorter than the Robustos I’m accustomed to and smoke time on average is 30-40 minutes, a great after lunch or on-the-run choice.

The cigar band is an attractive fusion of red, gold, and black gorgeously designed with the Fuente seal.

Flavors and Taste

20100108-Arturo-Fuente-Hemingway-Best-Seller-Bui4Ever-017

The reviews I’ve read mentioned how much of a flavor firecracker this little guy is and after smoking a couple already, I can’t say I totally agree. Pre-light draw has a peppery taste with a slight bit of wood. Once lit, the flavors do start off fairly quickly, but I never got any of the flavors that wowed me. Right off the back you are treated to a nice sweet taste because of the Cameroon wrapper which progresses to a woody and peppery taste as the cigar progress. Once you get to the nub, the wood flavors start getting overpowered by the peppery taste.

[showads]

All-in-all, the flavors weren’t bad, but not terribly exciting either. I wouldn’t go out of my way to find more, but would pick up a few sticks if the price is right.

Here’s a great explanation by Matt from MattsCigar.com on the Perfecto vitola:

The other reason I like the shape is because it lends itself to a more complex smoke. When the cigar starts off narrow, there is less filler mixed with the wrapper and so the wrapper plays a larger role in the flavors of the smoke to start. As you progress through the smoke and the burn starts to widen into the thicker part of the cigar you are burning more filler and the wrapper’s role is less dominate and the flavors begin to change. It’s not long before the cigar begins to narrow and the flavors begin to change again. It makes for a complex, attention holding, fun smoke. This has been my experience with the Hemingway cigars including this Best Seller.

Value

20100108-Arturo-Fuente-Hemingway-Best-Seller-Bui4Ever-010I purchased the Hemingway Best Seller in a 5-pack sampler for $32.75 from Famous-Smoke.com, as I wanted to give these a try but not commit to a box purchase just in-case I didn’t like them and they’re not too bad. I’m not sure that I would pick up a box, but a couple of 5-packs would be good to have. Many of the reviews I read also mentioned that the Hemingway Best Seller is worth, at best, ~$4.00 per stick, and I would probably have to agree.

Conclusion

This is certainly a decent tasting cigar, when found for under MSRP price. It doesn’t take very long to enjoy and has decent flavors making it ideal for enjoying in the colder winter months or an after lunch treat. At the very least, the Perfecto shape is an interesting conversation starter at any cigar lounge.

Also note, the Hemingway Best Seller is the larger version to the very similar looking Hemingway Short Story, and I’ve heard the flavors are very similar.

Be sure to read these other great reviews on the Fuente Hemingway Best Seller:

Gallery Pictures