Monday, September 17, 2007

My Weekend Cigar: Oliva Special S Diadema 7x48


By Gary Korb

This past weekend was very interesting with regard to the variety of cigars I smoked. If you include last Friday night, I could add the Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro Monarca. But I'll start with Saturday where I attended an outdoor party in New Jersey held annually by close friends of our family. Their home, which is in one of the more pastoral parts of "The Garden State," provides the perfect setting for at least a couple of good cigars. I don't know about you, but I usually have a hard time deciding what cigars to bring to these events. After some careful deliberation I decided to bring a Partagas Cifuentes Winter Blend Enero, an Oliva Special S Diadema 7x48, and a Padilla Miami 8/11 that had been given to me by a good customer a while back. This was a 6"x60 monster, which must have been a special edition or something, because I've never seen an 8/11 in that size. Plus, it had a 2" band, not at all like the black, gold, and red band on the 8/11.

I smoked two of the three cigars that day, having given away the Partagas Cifuentes to a BOTL who forgot to bring cigars. I had a few more back at the ranch, so I didn't mind parting with it. The Padilla Miami 8/11 was awesome. Flavorful, but powerful. There's a lot of tobacco to smoke through and I really felt it afterwards. But the cigar that really rocked me was my first cigar that afternoon - the Oliva Special S Diadema 7x48, and I say so because there's also a story behind it.

This cigar was one of three Special S Diadema 7x48's Jose Oliva had given me when he came to introduce the brand to a group of us at Famous last year, just prior to its RTDA debut. The Oliva Special S cigars are blended with a Nicaraguan Habano filler, Nicaraguan binder and a flawless, sun-grown Ecuadorian wrapper aged five full years. This series is also the priciest of the Oliva line extensions, so Jose was very concerned about our opinion. If I could describe the cigar's flavor I would say, imagine a Nicaraguan version of a Davidoff Aniversario No.3. The flavor was great, the balance perfect, great aroma and all that, but the first two cigars did not burn well, which I reported to Jose a couple of weeks later. I also told him that I'd prefer to keep the last cigar in my humidor and let it settle before I gave him my final opinion of the cigar. Well as luck would have it, somehow it wound its way down to the bottom of my humidor, and I didn't discover it again until a few weeks ago while rotating my cigars. This last cigar, which I paired with a vodka & tonic, was just as I had remembered it, and even better, for it had not only mellowed beautifully, but it burned perfectly, even with the little blustery wind we had on Saturday. I can now say with confidence that this is truly a wonderful cigar that should be experienced, especially in this unique, old Cuban-style shape.

On Sunday, I took out an unbanded handrolled cigar finished with a Cuban pigtail on the cap that had been in my humidor for at least a year. This one was found along with the Oliva Special S, and I believe it was a Tatuaje I picked up at the Jose Pepin Garcia booth at RTDA Las Vegas last year. It looked like a Tatuaje Cabinet Especiales, but the cigar was closer to 6 inches in length and ring was about a 42. Whatever it was, the smoke was full-bodied and very flavorful with a dark, earthy character and a long finish.

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