I was saving my Oliva Master Blends III Robusto for a special occasion, since I had heard such great things about it. So I packed it into my small leather cigar case to bring with me on a trip to Kelowna with my guys. I accompanied it with an Alec Bradley Black Market Select, which I was going to smoke if the guys wanted a cigar, since we each had one of those. But they weren’t interested, so Oliva it was.
The Master Blends III (2006) is a chocolate shaded, rough-wrapped cigar with obvious veins and an attractive pastoral-themed label. I was intrigued by the promise. Its wrapper note was of espresso and barbecued steak.
Here’s what Cigars International had to say:
Every year, the Oliva family cultivates a limited amount of fine tobaccos to create a rare, one-time-run of super premium cigars. The blend of this cigar is based solely on the leaves harvested, which often results in an entirely new cigar from year to year. Normally, these cigars have been privately reserved for ‘family use’ only. The scarcity of leaves acquired for this line, the Oliva Master Blends, has prevented the cigar from being released to the public. But, thanks to improved growing methods and quality control, yield now allows us to enjoy the fruit of the Oliva family’s labor, with a limited number of cigars produced each year.
Good news, the Oliva Family has announced the third release of the Master Blends Series – a limited edition cigar featuring the finest tobaccos cultivated within recent harvests. Available in 4 choice sizes, the Master Blends III cigar (MB3) is very limited in quantities and designed to cater the distinguished palate. MB3 is constructed with a luscious sungrown broadleaf wrapper leaf and a Nicaraguan blend of Habano-seed, ligero tobaccos. The result is a beautiful, dark brown cigar that’s bursting with complex, balanced flavor that satisfies the palate with a rich, bold, full-bodied finish.
Inventory is extremely limited.
MB3 received an outstanding, ’92’ rating. Here’s what the experts had to say:
“A pressed cigar with an oily, chocolate brown wrapper. A good draw imparts a good balance of earthy, creamy flavors. The spicy finish hints of brown sugar.”
So I couldn’t wait to punch the solid double cap and puff away.
But I found that the initial draw tasted like aromatic tongue bite (and nothing but!) I blinked at the stick in disbelief. A few more draws released flavours of barbecue briquette smoke, mud, clay, leather, and sour, 24-hour old German military coffee. This couldn’t be right! What was wrong with me? I had recently recovered from a cold . . . could that have been the problem?
I passed the cigar forward to the gentlemen in the front seat and asked them what they thought. And they, too, pronounced it bitter and acrid, I realized as they were smoking that the oils of the stick – which, I confess, were indeed as thick and lingering as you might want from a fine cigar – were fixing that horrible acrid bad-coffee flavour in my mouth so that it wouldn’t go away.
If that weren’t bad enough, I had to draw hard to get the thing to produce this awful smoke; which also billowed copiously around the car. It went out about a third of the way in. I left it because I was going into a store, but when I came back out and resumed my trip, I couldn’t bring myself to relight it. That awful bitter, bottom-of-the-coffee-pot acidity was still lingering in my mouth!
So, total fail. Did I get a bad batch? Did it turn sour due to mistreatment somewhere along the line? I don’t know. I will probably try it again in the future because I’m not inclined to believe that a cigar that was rated so highly could be so frankly horrible without some extenuating circumstance, but this one was a disappointing dud. I give it:
And only because its construction was everything you might expect from a good cigar. Too bad about the taste!
I got mine as part of the Oliva Five Card Stud Sampler from Pipes & Cigars. You can also get it at Cigars International for $47 USD for five of them; though in this lady’s perspective, I can’t imagine why you would want to!