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Staff Reviews

Flor de Oliva Staff Review

Grant T. Thompson's picture

Grant T.

I’m smoking an affordable and consistent 6 by 50 Toro from Flor de Oliva, a value brand blended and handcrafted at the illustrious Oliva Cigars factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, where dozens of award-winning cigars are made, including the 96-rated Oliva Serie V Melanio, 95-rated Serie V, and the 92-rated Master Blends 3, as well as the Nub and Cain brands.

Because I work at Holt’s, I don’t have to travel far from my desk to find binge-worthy cigars that meet my strict criteria for taste, quality, and dirt-cheap prices. As a matter of fact, an extra door was installed to our palatial humidified warehouse mere feet from my office chair so I can enjoy immediate access to towering aisles of the finest bundles known to man. And I’ve smoked them all. And I’ve smoked them all for a song. When folks call me “the Don Juan of Discounts” behind my back, I strut down the hallway like a proud tightwad. I’m never ashamed of saving a buck.

I’ve already sung the praises of Flor de Oliva Gold, a Connecticut-wrapped cigar, in an earlier staff review, and what most folks don’t know is that the Oliva family cut their teeth making value-priced bundles long before they started cranking out the critically acclaimed boxes they make today. Along the way, the Olivas learned to amass massive reserves of premium tobacco to sustain demand and cover their production in the event of inclement weather like a hurricane. The formula has led to immense success, and I am a bona fide benefactor of their efforts. On any day of the week, you’ll find multiple bundles handcrafted by Oliva with a quick glance in my coolerdor.

The original Flor de Oliva blend is drafted from a juicy amalgam of premium long-fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua draped in an oily Sumatra wrapper leaf. Flor de Oliva cigars outperform any common yard ‘gars you’ll put them up against. They start at just over three bucks apiece, and, because they come in bundles, you’re not wasting a penny on packaging.  

When I pluck a Toro fresh from the center of new batch and slide the cellophane off, the red-white-and-blue cigar band beams like a beacon for bargain-seekers across the free world to flock to. I can’t wait to snip the cap off. A few cold draws unleash hints of cocoa powder and pepper with a nice woody preview of what’s ahead. After I’m satisfied with the prelude, I eagerly but gently blast the foot with my trusty Jetline New York Triple Torch until a nice even cherry glows like a stoplight. 

Tasting notes of cedar, Dutch chocolate, and baking spices mingle with fleeting hints of vanilla. Flor de Oliva reveals an unexpected creaminess, and the wrapper is sweeter than expected which minimizes any bite, an occasional occurrence with many inexpensive cigars. As the Toro develops, the draw is sublime and stimulates my senses with ample clouds of luscious white smoke. In the meantime, a healthy ash stabilizes and insulates the foot for maximal smoothness in every puff I take. I tap it off three or four times over the course of thirty minutes.

By the time I’m traversing the nub, nearly an hour is off the clock, and the finish is every bit as tasty as the beginning. Sweet and spicy notes of leather, coffee bean, and chestnut weave in and out with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. Aside from one touch-up with my lighter, the whole entire Flor de Oliva Toro burned like a dream and finished as smooth as a scoop of homemade ice cream.

The next time I’ve got a man cave full of pals, I can’t wait to break out a bundle of Flor de Oliva. The original version is exquisite, and after revisiting this tasty and affordable brand, I realize it’s gotten lost in the shuffle because there are so many economical Oliva blends to shop these days, like Oliva Gilberto Oliva Reserva and Serie G, not to mention our deeply discounted assortments like the Oliva ‘Celebration’ Sampler and the Oliva ‘La Familia’ Monster Deal. Put them all on your wish list ASAP.

Until next time, long ashes to you!


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