OLIVA SERIE V DOUUBLE TORO
Length: 6” Ring Gauge: 60 Wrapper: Ecuador Sun Grown Strength: Medium-Full MSRP: $11.25
The Oliva family of cigars may be one of the most popular brands of premium cigars in the US, but the blend that established them as a truly exceptional cigar maker is the Oliva Serie V. Before it was released, the company had been hurtling toward critical mass with consistently good ratings in the industry’s premier cigar publications. But their cigars had not been seen as truly premium. Oliva desperately wanted to show the world that they had the tobacco and the talent to compete with the world’s best premium manufacturers. Oliva Serie V was so much better than anything they had released previously, it dropped a lot of jaws. There is no doubt that the Oliva Serie V is the brand that changed people’s perception of what the company was capable of producing.
The Oliva Serie V is one of Oliva’s most popular cigars, and it has earned that title for good reason. It’s an exceptional blend of tobacco that is both flavorful and approachable. Oliva Serie V use a blend of specially fermented and aged Jalapa Valey ligero for the filler and binder. A High priming Habano Sun Grown wrapper from Ecuador was selected to complete the blend. The result is nothing short of exceptional. Tasting notes include complex flavors of coffee, earth, and chocolate with hints of earth and pepper. Oliva Serie V is the kind of cigar you find yourself coming back for over and over again.
UNDERCROWN MADURO GORDITO
Length: 6” Ring Gauge: 60 Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro Strength: Medium-Full MSRP: $11.25
In the cigar business there are a few indicators that you may have a hit on your hands. You may see it in exceptional sales numbers or rave reviews from industry publications, or the people responsible for rolling the cigars themselves smoke too damn many of them. The latter is exactly what happened at Drew Estate and the rollers who make their prestigious Liga Privada line. When the company saw the balance sheet and noticed how many LP’s they were smoking, they approached them with a unique proposal – blend your own cigar using similar components and you can smoke as many as you like. They did and their creation was so good that it became a regular production line. Undercrown Maduro, as it’s now known, incorporates many of the same tobaccos, but from different vintages and primings.
Undercrown Maduro was blended on the factory floor by Drew Estate’s torcedors (cigar rollers) using exceptional, rare tobaccos usually reserved for DE’s Liga Privada line. Using different vintages and primings, they were able to create a wonderful medium to full strength cigar using Nicaraguan Cuban seed and Brazilian Mata Fina fillers. A T52 stalk cut binder was selected and a beautiful San Andreas Maduro wrapper was used to cap off the blend. The result exceeded all expectations and quickly became a top seller. It’s a lush, smooth smoke featuring flavors of cocoa, earth, and cedar with hints of sweetness, cream, and pepper.
ASYLUM MEDULLA OBLONGATA MADURO (ROUND)
Length: 6” Ring Gauge: 60 Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro Strength: Medium-Full MSRP: $8.50
Christian Eiroa of CLE cigars has a kind of side hustle in the cigar business. While he focusses most of his time growing his excellent CLE and Eiroa brands, he shows a bit of his dark side in a brand called Asylum. He created this brand as a separate entity from CLE/Eiroa with his longtime friend Tom Lazuka. Tom loved large, full body cigars and wanted to have a line that was all about those big ring beauties. Beyond that, when Tom traveled as a cigar salesman in the midwest, he noticed that big ring cigars were always out of stock and there wasn’t a large selection of them. When they created the Asylum line, they figured the bigger the better. They have cigars that go up to a gigantic 80 ring gauge. As the brand has evolved, they’ve added new versions of Asylum, and now they offer cigars as small as a 50 ring gauge too.
The Asylum 13 Medulla Oblongata Maduro is a medium-to-full strength cigar crafted to Tom Lazuka’s palate. It is offered in either round of box-pressed versions that feature the same blend, but we’re going to focus on the round version here (Medulla). The blend utilizes Honduran-grown tobaccos for the filler along with a Jamastran Corojo binder also grown in Honduras. Topping the blend is a beautiful chocolate brown Maduro wrapper from San Andreas, Mexico. This big ring beauty is bursting with flavors of cocoa, espresso, and pepper along with hints of earth and leather. If you’re looking for big ring cigars with lots of flavor, Asylum should be on your radar.
PERDOMO RESERVE 10TH ANNIVERSARY SUN GROWN SUPER TORO
Length: 6” Ring Gauge: 60 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Strength: Medium Plus MSRP: $9.75
It’s hard to believe, but the Perdomo Reserve brand has been on the market in one variety or another for over 20 years. Before the craziness of 2020 set in, Nick Perdomo already had a vision of what he wanted this new iteration of the Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Sun Grown to be. While the Connecticut version (dubbed Champagne) has and continues to be a runaway success, the Sun Grown version of the cigar never quite lived up to success of the Champagne. So Nick does what he does best and innovates. He updates the packaging throughout the 10th Anniversary Reserve line featuring bold colors to compliment the cigars they adorn. Most importantly, he re-blends the Sun Grown from the ground-up to be superstar. It burst onto the scene with great acclaim and was even Cigar Authority’s 2020 Cigar of the Year.
The Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Sun Grown Super Toro is a splendid Medium Plus bodied cigar that will envelop your tastebuds with wonderful flavors. It’s a unique blend in the Perdomo portfolio as it uses 6-year aged Cuban-seed Nicaraguan tobaccos for the filler and binder. The wrapper is a Nicaraguan grown 6-year aged Cuban-seed Sun Grown leaf that has been aged in Bourbon Barrels for 14 months. Tasting notes include layers of woods, dark chocolate, and espresso with hints of cocoa and honey. The Super Toro shape allows the flavors to generously roll across the palate for maximum enjoyment
UMBAGOG GORDO GORDO BY DUNBARTON TOBACCO & TRUST
Length: 6” Ring Gauge: 56 Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Strength: Medium-Full MSRP: $9.50
To say that Steve Saka of Dunbarton Tobbaco & Trust is particular would be an understatement. He likes what we likes, he says what he likes, and he does what he likes. His motto for his brands (and he even named a line for this) is Sin Compromiso or without compromise. When he had purchased a crop of Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper for his Mi Querida line, there were some leaves that he deemed too ugly to use on this premium offering. This was tobacco of superior quality and tasted, but didn’t possess the uniformity that he required. As an avid fisherman, Saka decided to use this tasty tobacco to create the ultimate fishing cigar as Connecticut Boradleaf is very durable and holds up to the elements well. To compete the fishing theme, he named the cigar Umbagog after his favorite lake in New Hampshire.
The Umbagog Gordo Gordo is an unassuming looking cigar that will delight you palate. What it lacks in flair and looks, it more than makes up for in the flavor department. While Steve Saka and Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust have come to be known for the quality and looks of their cigars, the Umbagog Gordo Gordo is a bit different. Using less than perfect looking Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers, Saka blended this cigar with ultra-high quality Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos to deliver a flavorful cigar at a great price point. Tasting notes include flavors of espresso, dark chocolate, and earth with hints of leather, nuts, anise, and sweet vanilla. Umbagog is as flavorful and well-constructed as you would expect from Saka despite their appearance and lower price point.