Friday, October 17, 2008

Retro-Smoke: Oliva Master Blends 2 Churchill


Earlier this week I alluded to the cigar I'm writing about today: The Oliva Master Blends 2 Churchill. I've had this cigar in my humidor for about three years, and must admit that I was a bit sad at the thought of lighting it up, since it was not only my last, but maybe one of the last of these cigars on earth. Since Oliva only made these in limited edition, they've become extremely elusive.

Introduced in 2005, the "OMB2" has been my personal favorite among all three Oliva Master Blends selections. Like the OMB1 and OMB3, the Master Blends 2 cigars have rare, estate vintage Nicaraguan Habano tobaccos, but the OMB2 wrapper has a flawless, Ecuadorian sun-grown Sumatra wrapper marked with the laser engraved tattoo under the arch in the band. (For some reason, they didn't do this for the OMB3.) The cigar, which measures 7" x 50, also had a semi-box-pressed, oval-like shape to it.

OK, enough back story. Here's the 411 on the smoke: It was one of the best cigars I've smoked all year. The cigar was very firm; no soft spots whatsoever, yet drew easily and lit evenly. You could also tell it had been rolled perfectly, because the Ligero was dead center, forming an extremely firm cone as the cigar burned. Speaking of which, the cigar burned perfectly, too, resulting in long, fine, grey flannel ashes, and an exquisite aroma.

The smoke was medium-bodied for the most part through the first two thirds. Rich flavors of dark tobacco, sweet cedar, nutmeg, and a delicate note of cinnamon dominated throughout. The cigar gained in strength and spiciness during the last third, ending with a savory, full-bodied finale. I paired it with my usual Taylor Fladgate Reserve 2001 Port, and it was a match made in heaven.

If you can get your hands on the Oliva Master Blends 2 Churchill, or one of these cigars in any size, do it. Make sure you buy a box so you can enjoy them over time, too. I can tell you from this experience, that with at least three years more aging on them, they're a great investment.

~ Gary Korb

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