Small batch Brazilian medium-roast coffee in hand, I sit on my brother-in-law’s back porch, preparing for what is sure to be one of the highlights of the week. It has been a hot minute since I last held a Serie G Maduro from Oliva, and I honestly have forgotten how much these mocha-colored cigars offer.
The particular specimen in my hand is of the squat Robusto size, which contrary to popular rolling techniques for the style, is fairly small in diameter, and is box-pressed. Cigar cutter in one hand, I inspect the little dark cigar, remembering all of the good times I have had with Oliva’s products over the years.
For the uninitiated, a maduro cigar brings forth thoughts of strong tobacco and overwhelmingly intense flavors. But as you shall soon discover, judging a wrapper by its color doesn’t always warrant an accurate assessment, and the Oliva Serie G Maduro Robusto is a perfect example of this fact.
By definition, the Spanish word maduro can mean any number of the following: Ripe, ripened, mature, adult, or fully-fledged. Nowhere does it say that it means intense, or strong.
Fire up an Oliva Serie G Maduro Robusto and you will see precisely what I mean. That, or just read the following few paragraphs and decide if a maduro cigar is right for you. Either way, the Oliva brand’s tobacco cultivation, curing, fermentation, aging, and production operations are on a level of their own.
Relying upon a cigar wrapper hailing from Mexico for its external cladding, Oliva's Serie G Maduro is a fine little box-pressed specimen when obtained in Robusto form. A bit on the tightly rolled side, but by no means a rock-hard stogie.
Being of the Connecticut Broadleaf variety (like almost all forms of modern maduro cigar), the Serie G sports a veiny, oily wrapper, with a coarse cap and a color that resembles mocha.
Take a sniff from the open-ended foot of the cigar, and you will likely notice familiar aromas like leather, licorice, dark cocoa, and loamy garden soil. A prelude to the perfect gourmet coffee and cigar pairing.
Cap and head severed from the short shoulder of the Robusto with the help of a double guillotine cigar cutter, unlit draws offer hints of spice and lots of the same notes detected on the nose. An inviting start to a smoking session.
Tobacco Nerd Note: The Oliva Cigar brand of today may be a cornerstone of the Davidoff portfolio, but its roots still lie deep in the volcanic soil-rich mountains of Nicaragua. For more than half a century, this legacy cigar brand has been formulating some of the best premium cigar blend options money can buy. Today, Oliva is Nicaragua’s second-largest grower of Cuban-seed tobacco.
Foot set afire, the first half of the Maduro Serie G Robusto burns beautifully and immediately begins to build a pristine ash. It is not nearly as strong tasting nor as leathery as its aroma implies, which for fans of mild-to-medium cigars is surely most welcome.
From a cigar flavor understanding standpoint, mild hints of licorice come through right away, so fair warning to those of you who are not a fan of this potent taste. Fortunately, this premium cigar blend contains both Nicaraguan filler tobacco and an Indonesian binder to compliment the Mexican maduro cigar wrapper. So the flavors you detect may not contain any note of licorice.
Retronasal exhales showcase the medium strength levels Oliva promises, along with a round, slightly oily mouthfeel. Earthy and richly layered, with very little bitterness, the Serie G Maduro does not accumulate strength on a large scale as the first half of the smoke progresses.
Tobacco Nerd Note (continued): Long before Davidoff of Geneva ever came into existence, and obtained the Oliva brand, a man by the name of Melanio Oliva was busy tending to his first crop of tobacco in Cuba. The year was 1886, and little did he know that this sweat equity would pay off in spades down the line when Melanio’s grandson would move the entire operation to Nicaragua following the Cuban communist revolution.
The Second Half
Reaching the halfway point of the Serie G Robusto brings forth rich espresso notes. Ushered straight to the forefront, I reach for a second cup of Brazilian coffee, as subtle splashes of tobacco spice tickle my taste buds.
With its long finish, all that leather and earth you detect early on begins to form a very flavorful second half, with the Serie G hitting harder with each passing puff. It’s not a very strong finish, just a full-flavored one with lots of layers.
As for construction and combustion, the Serie G Robusto retains its tight box press shape beautifully throughout its duration, allowing a very clean, ultra-square white ash to build. It may not be this particular cigar’s most prominent feature, but it sure as hell makes for a novel addition to the smoking experience.
Drawn down to its grand finale, the Robusto Serie G Maduro from Oliva offers a rich, yet consistently medium-strength finish. Flavors have intensified, yet the distinct taste of char and potency that you get toward the end of certain cigars is not all that notable. It’s still there, Oliva has just done such a great job with this premium cigar blend that it is masked and made milder by the heavily fermented tobaccos contained therein.
Coffee and cigar spent, I sat back in the porch chair on my brother-in-law’s patio, assessing what I had just encountered.
All and all, Oliva’s Serie G Maduro is an outstanding little cigar type, with the Robusto size offering a clean 35-45 minute burn. Despite having started off feeling a tad tightly wrapped, this box-pressed, dark brown beauty creates plenty of puffing pleasure. Not once was there a dead spot or an issue with the draw.
Living up to its promise of creating “unique flavor notes,” the Serie G’s Mexican-born maduro cigar wrapper, Nicaraguan Habano filler leaves, and robust Indonesian binder make for one wonderful premium cigar blend.
And although Oliva markets the Serie G Maduro for its cedar and spice notes, these attributes pale in comparison to the earthiness and mocha-like complexity the cigar encompasses. Thus making the Robusto size (in our opinion) one of the more ideal after-dinner short smokes for pairing with coffee.
Shape: Box-Pressed Robusto
Wrapper Shade: Maduro
Ring Gauge: 50
Smoke Time: 35-45 minutes