Oliva Serie V Churchill (NC)

(Size: 7″ x 52  —  Time: 2hrs 20mins)

Oliva is part of that group of brands based out of Nicaragua, developed by Sam Leccia, which include Nub and Cain. The Oliva range lacks the eye-catching marketing ploys of the ‘sweet-spot’ Nub and ‘straight ligero‘ Cain, what it does have though, is a strong following off the back of generally excellent products. Always well regarded by Cigar Aficionado magazine (I won’t become embroiled in the advert to score ration debate…) and spoken of highly by BOTLs, I was looking forward to this Oliva Serie V Churchill. It’s not really a Churchill, in my opinion, as it’s slightly too long, and way too thick. But, for the sake of argument, I shall classify it as such.

Appearance /15

One of Oliva’s strong points – their cigars, almost without fail, look good enough to eat! The Serie V Churchill has a wonderful, dark, oily wrapper with a wonderful lustre to it. Whilst there were no veins to speak of, the seams were fairly obvious, though that is largely due to the build up of dark, rich oils near the joins. The triple-cap was expertly applied. The only minor issue was that despite being great to the touch along the body, the foot seemed just a tad underfilled. 14

Smoking Characteristics /25

The pre-light aroma is really chocolatey and rich. Lighting this cigar was a little hassle, taking a couple of attempts to get it going properly. As the cigar progressed, the ash which formed seemed weak, and was fairly ugly in appearance – grey, flakey, mottled and with a lot of coning. The burn itself was passable during the first half, but after half-way it became quite poor. Whilst it burned fairly evenly throughout, it kept needing to be re-lit throughout the second half. After more than two hours, I finally gave up after it went out three times in as many minutes. There was probably another ten or fifteen minutes left (and the stated time at the top reflects this). 19

Flavour /25

Straight off the bat this Serie V Churchill with a big six over long-on: bang! Pepper and cedar. Wow, a powerful and dominating start (I prayed to [insert your favourite deity] that it wouldn’t carry on like this – I’d be out for the count in a matter of minutes). It certainly made you realise you were in for an event… The power quickly eased off, thankfully, though the pepper and cedar hung around, this time with some flavours which were slightly herbal (perhaps asparagus like?). Around the one-third mark, these flavours start to subside a bit, and in place of asparagus there is just a hint of fennel, which accents the main flavour – ‘green’ coffee, with undernotes of chocolate. This develops further just after the halfway stage (as the lighting issues begin): fennel becomes a little more grassy, and there’s plenty of citrus flavours with chocolate on the back end of the draw. 22

Overall Impression /35

It’s hard to be too positive about a cigar when you have such an issue in the second half with keeping the damn thing alight… That’s not to detract, however, from the generally interesting and fairly balanced flavour profile. The start aside (which was like being struck with a small house), it had strong flavours, and a solidly medium ‘body’. Then, there is the joy you derive from just looking at this cigar… Overall not bad at all – get one that stays alight and you’ll likely have an enjoyable two-and-a-half hours. 31

Grand total… 86/100

Enjoying a cigar at the Barbican in Plymouth: Myself and Ellison

Me smoking an "Oliva Serie V Churchill"

Ellison smoking a "Carbon Copy P Churchill"

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