Review: Oliva Connecticut Reserve F Lonsdale (Preproduction)

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As we have said all week, While chatting with Ian Hummel and Bryan Scholle of Oliva/Studio Tobac fame at the IPCPR Show in Las Vegas earlier in the year, it came to light that Bryan, who rolls cigars at Studio Tobac events, rolls quite a few different combinations of blends for attendees of said events.

As part of my research, I asked Ian about the possibly of any of these specific blends being released, and he said:

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No plans at this time. Just myself and Bryan having some fun and playing around with different ideas we had during events.

The final blend we are reviewing is the Oliva Connecticut Reserve F. The basic idea was to take a regular Oliva Connecticut Reserve Lonsdale, keep the same filler and binder, but replace the normal Ecuadorian Connecticut with the stronger wrapper from the Cain F line of cigars, which is a Nicaraguan Habano.

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But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?

Oliva Connecticut Reserve F 1.png

  • Cigar Reviewed: Oliva Connecticut Reserve F Lonsdale
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A. (TABOLISA)
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano (Cain F)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 44
  • Vitola: Lonsdale
  • MSRP: N/A
  • Date Released: Unreleased
  • Number of Cigars Released: N/A
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1

The cigar itself is a wonderful specimen, with a medium brown wrapper that smells like sweet cedar and milk chocolate. The wrapper has no major veins present, and also has a bit of tooth to it when you run your finger down the length. It is fairly hard when squeezed, with almost no give at all.

 

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The First Third starts with a blast of black pepper, cedar and leather, with a great amount of spice on the tongue…There is some sweetness in the background that gains strength as the third continues, but is not prevalent enough to discern specific flavors yet. The draw is a bit tighter then I like, but starts to loosen up as the First Third comes to and end and the burn is perfect.

Oliva Connecticut Reserve F 2.png

The Second Third looses much of the pepper and spice, although it is still noticeable in the retrohale, but the sweetness has increased quite a bit. It is a wonderful honey sweetness that blends very well with the other flavors (cedar and leather) from the first third which are still present. There is also just a touch of a floral note that ebbed in and out. I can tell the strength of the cigar is increasing at this point, and I am starting to wonder why I did not eat any breakfast before smoking this cigar.

Oliva Connecticut Reserve F 3.png

The Final Third explodes with flavors, taking me totally by surprise:graham cracker, sweet creamy chocolate, floral, leather, aged oak, and I think I even tasted some peppermint on the retrohale. Astounding turnaround flavor wise, and the strength really increased by the end of ths smoke, ending at a full minus. The spice also increased to levels close to the start of the cigar, making the ending quite complex.

Oliva Connecticut Reserve F 4.png

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Final Notes:

  • The flavors were great for the first two thirds, but REALLY took off in last third, which was easily the best of the three.
  • I LOVED the combination of the strength and flavor coming out of this cigar, and I think it is a great choice to combine the powerful wrapper of the Cain F and the mildness of the normal Oliva Connecticut Reserve blend.
  • While the draw was a bit tight in the First Third, it loosened up nicely after that, and the burn was nothing short of perfection for the entire smoke, see the Second Third photo above.
  • There was not much smoke production coming off this cigar, but what smoke there was smelled great.
  • The Final Smoking Time was One Hour and 50 Minutes.

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The Bottom Line: I always found the Oliva Connecticut Reserve (in its original form) to be a nice flavorful cigar, but much too mild for my tastes. The Cain F wrapper does WONDERS to the profile of this smoke, and it is now almost the perfect combination of bold from the wrapper and flavorful from the filler and binder. The Final Third was easily the best, with a wonderful and complex combination of flavors and strength that really threw me for a loop. I really did not want it to end. While Ian told me that these would most likely never go into production, I really hope Oliva reconsiders at some point. Just a great, great smoke.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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