Oliva Serie O – Maduro
Take a Spring Break – Plan one, have one, but don't be fooled
Like every spring for the last seven years, I make a pilgrimage to South Florida to visit my brother for a long weekend. We hit the beach, smoke too many cigars, drink way too many beers (vodkas, rums, etc.), but it serves to decompress me and rejuvenate the soul. Well, this year, I decided to invite some old friends, some that I grew up with and others who I have become good friends with in my adult years. The prep and logistics for pulling this off proved to be a little work, but it was something I truly enjoyed planning and -- in the end -- pulling off! There were eight of us who traveled to the Miami area, and we had a number of folks, who were already in the area, join us. Needless to say, we all reverted back to our college days and the attitude of those days, and just had a blast! As I have said before in this column, Miami is certainly a venue fitting for this type of event and it is my favorite "party" city, partially due to its relative cigar-friendly nature.
However, I must warn those of you who might consider doing this sort of thing next year, especially if you who don't get around that much. In Miami, everything is not what it appears; I hope this is not a shocking revelation to most of you. If it is, you may want to take a spring break elsewhere. A phenomenon occurred this year that was new to me. One night, the whole group of us went out to one of the swankier bars in South Beach, a long-time favorite of mine. Not long after getting settled in, I sensed something a little unusual. A young, attractive 20-something woman smiled at me and would occasionally flash a glance my way, showing some clear interest. Twenty minutes later, the same thing happened - but a completely different girl this time. I had a few drinks in me already, (well, more than a few), but I knew that I wasn't hallucinating. Now don't get the wrong idea, for a 40-something guy I am no ogre (in my biased opinion). Back in the day, women who were in the same league as these two were fair game (naturally, before I got married), but all the booze in Miami was not going to get me to believe that these young ladies found my more "mature" looks that intriguing, especially with some of the younger gentlemen running around, who looked like they did nothing but hit the gym and tan on the beach all day.
Naturally, I had to share these events with the group. To my surprise, this same phenomenon was being experienced by a number of others in the group. My brother, a long-time resident of South Florida, shared his Miami wisdom: these "ladies" were likely Russian hookers looking for some "fat cats" with fat wallets to help drive some income for themselves in these tough economic times. It was now oh so clear to us, mostly guys with simple Midwestern roots. It was also a little humbling to learn the truth. But on the other hand it was also quite funny that we could be mistaken for "fat cats" loaded with money. In hindsight, there we were, in our new Tommy Bahama knock-off silk shirts, mine with a couple of seemingly expensive cigars tucked in the breast pocket, getting the VIP treatment due to the bottle service we opted for, because buying by the drink was determined to be more expensive. We did look and act like "fat cats" for one night, and we had some fun doing so.
With the vast majority us being classic family men, we would never consider buying what these girls were selling. In the end, the foolers were the ones who were fooled, although by accident. On the other hand, it made for some good conversation and laughs among the boys (which is all the fun we intended to buy on this trip anyway). So, enjoy an old-fashioned, college-like spring break next year. Dress the part, load your silk shirts with cigars, but be careful – don't allow yourself to get fooled.
So, take one of those cigars out of your silk shirt and let's get smokin'!
Oliva Serie O – Maduro
Size: 6 inches x 50 ring gauge
Price: $6 to $7
The Oliva Cigar Company is one of the larger tobacco growers in Nicaragua, and shares a similar story as many of the great cigar brands -- leaving Cuba following Castro's rise to power.
I've smoked a number of these over the years and they are ones that I will always come back to smoke again. Most recently, I smoked one in Miami during my last spring break on a hotel balcony overlooking the pool and the ocean. I sipped on a cold Bud Light, on a nice afternoon as I took in the surrounding sights.
Look and feel
In general, the Oliva Cigar Company presents a well-constructed, attractive cigar to the market. This maduro-wrapped beauty had a chocolaty look, with its fermented outer skin and its classy, but simple, bands. The outside wrapper was smooth to the touch and was nicely packed, obviously cared for well before I got my hands on it. The "O" series cigar was Oliva's most recognized, until the recent addition of the richer and stronger Series "V," which I would also recommend to those who prefer a more robust smoke. The cigar stayed lit and burned fairly evenly, even despite an outdoor breeze and with humidity in the air. I thought this was an impressive indication of the quality of both the tobacco and the construction of the cigar.
Aroma and Taste
The aroma was a little difficult to fully evaluate it on this breezy day, but it certainly did not exhibit anything that I found to be unusual or to my dislike. The first puffs gave you a common spiciness, just to let you know that you were smoking a real cigar. The primary flavor was mainly coffee-like notes, but more of a coffee with cream. It was pretty mild and most of the spice dissipated pretty quickly after the first couple of puffs. At the midway point, the flavors seemed to pick up in intensity and stayed that way until the end. Upon exhaling, you were left with somewhat of an earthy finish.
RATING: 9.1 (on a scale of 1 to 10) – This is a cigar that even an experienced cigar smoker could appreciate. However, a relative novice should be able to enjoy it too, because it is classified as a mild to medium cigar. For the money, it is an excellent and affordable choice for all cigar smokers. I plan to get more of these in my humidor in the near future.
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"[Love] is like a cigar. If it goes out you can light it again, but it never tastes quite the same." – Lord Wavell, British field marshal