Friday, April 18, 2008

Retro-Smoke: Flor de Oliva 5X50 (Sumatra)

Those who are most familiar with my cigar smoking routine might ask me, "Why are you writing about the Flor de Oliva 5X50 as your 'Retro-Smoke?' You smoke them all the time."

It's true. In fact, I picked up a fresh bundle last week. I usually rip through a bundle in short order, but the cigar in question today was one of several Flor de Oliva 5X50 Sumatra that I stashed in my humidor just over a year ago. As good as these cigars are right out of the bundle, the year-aged version I savored a few days ago was absolutely exquisite; like an entirely different cigar altogether.

One of the reasons I've stuck with Flor de Oliva cigars has been their consistency - not to mention they're one of the best cigar buys you'll ever find. They draw well, burn well, have a great aroma, and the sweetened caps offer a pleasant counterpoint to the dark and delicately spicy Nicaraguan tobaccos. I've also tried every shape in the line, and my palate just seems to gravitate to the 5X50.

Getting back to the one-year-aged 5X50, the cigar retained its rich, earthy, medium-bodied profile, yet was much smoother and creamier. The spicy element had faded somewhat, but the aroma had a much more floral character, like it had bloomed during its prolonged hibernation. A cigar that cost me about $1.20 had metamorphosed into a "$5 cigar."

Five years ago, when I first started smoking Flor de Oliva, a Famous coworker told me we had a customer who would order a couple of Flor de Oliva bundles and keep them in his humidor for a year before smoking them. At the time I thought it was kind of silly, but now I know why.

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