In July 2012, we broke news of a new event-only sampler that would be coming from Oliva that would feature five never before released cigars, four of which come from existing lines and one of which would be a concept blend.

The event-only sampler has become a staple in Oliva’s marketing plans, primarily in their STUDIO TOBAC line, which has created samplers for their 2011 and 2012 World Tour events. Like those samplers, this Oliva sampler is given to customers purchasing a box of Oliva cigars, but unlike the STUDIO TOBAC events, not every Oliva event will feature the samplers.

Oliva Special Edition Sampler Box
Oliva Special Edition Sampler

Following the discontinuation of the Oliva Grand Cameroon, the Oliva Serie G debuted in 2006 in its natural form, which uses an African Cameroon wrapper. Shortly thereafter, the Serie G Maduro came along and built upon what would be considered its closest predecessor, the Oliva Grand Maduro

All the sizes of the Natural and Maduro versions of the Serie G are box-pressed, which makes the round shape of this cigar its unique factor and why it was included in this sampler.

With this new Belicoso Round, the Oliva Serie G Maduro line-up looks like this:

  • Oliva Serie G Maduro Presidente (8 x 52)
  • Oliva Serie G Maduro Churchill (7 x 50)
  • Oliva Serie G Maduro Torpedo (6 x 52)
  • Oliva Serie G Maduro Perfecto (5 1/2 x 54)
  • Oliva Serie G Maduro Belicoso (5 x 52)
  • Oliva Serie G Maduro Belicoso Round (5 x 52)
  • Oliva Serie G Maduro Robusto (4 1/2 x 50)
  • Oliva Serie G Maduro Special G (3 3/4 x 48)

These event samplers were first given out at an event at Match Lounge on December 21, 2012. Again, not every Oliva event will have these available, so it might be worth checking with your local retailer before showing up and being disappointed.

Oliva Serie G Maduro Belicoso Round 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Oliva Serie G Maduro Belicoso Round
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A. (TABOLISA)
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Cuban-seed Habano
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Habano
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Belicoso
  • MSRP: n/a
  • Date Released: December 21, 2012 
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar  (1,000 Total Cigars)*
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1

*Oliva says the initial run was less than 1,000 samplers, though they left open the possibility of making more.

The wrapper is a dark brown reminiscent of wet soil, although the leaf isn’t particularly oily or shiny. The veins are small, the seams are clean and the wrapper has some texture to it though it certainly isn’t toothy. The pre-light aroma has notes of earth and leather with a touch of dark fruit sweetness in the background and an even fainter touch of pepper. Air moves well through the cold draw delivering a complex flavor that is woody and sweet with leather and spice in minor roles.

The Oliva Serie G Maduro Belicoso Round begins the firs third with an earthy, almost slightly acidic coffee note that coats the tongue and hits the back of the throat. There’s a good bit of spice at play early, with a touch of sweetness that is comparable to blackberry jam on overly toasted wheat bread. While the cigar has no problem burning and producing smoke in the first inch, smoke production when the cigar is at rest is almost nil. By the time the burn line has moved about an inch up and the first clump of ash drops off, the flavor seems to be balancing itself out by shedding some of the acidity and replacing it with more of the dark fruit sweetness.

Oliva Serie G Maduro Belicoso Round 2

With the attempt at balance comes a bit of predictability and complacency, as the start of the second third doesn’t deliver a huge shift of flavors. Try as it might, that twinge of harshness never disappears and evokes a flavor of harsh coffee at times. The burn of the Oliva Serie G Maduro Belicoso Round remains good, with a sharp burn line and slightly below average quantity of smoke. Fairly intense flavors of soil and chalk take the cigar into its final third, with that sweetness that helped provide balance earlier nowhere to be found.

Oliva Serie G Maduro Belicoso Round 3

The twinge-inducing sound of a cracking tobacco leaf brings on the final third as the wrapper leaf starts to lift off of the cigar; fortunately it is fairly small and there isn’t much cigar left to smoke, so it doesn’t interfere with things too much. It becomes clear that the harshness isn’t going away, and the Oliva Serie G Maduro Belicoso Round just isn’t going to settle into a comfortable and smooth flavor profile. Earthy pepper and a coffee note pick up in the final two inches and carry to the cigar to its finish.

Oliva Serie G Maduro Belicoso Round 4

Final Notes:

  • To take a really cynical look at this cigar, the fact that it’s round means that it didn’t have to go through the box-pressing process, making it an easier cigar for Oliva to produce. The size already exists in regular production, so it would be easy to knock this cigar as not being all that special.
  • There were maybe ten puffs where I could describe the cigar as smooth and non-irritating, primarily in the transition from the first third to the second third.
  • The cracking wrapper in the final third was a shock as the cigar had performed flawlessly to that point.
  • I don’t know how many people can claim they have a position in the box-pressed vs. round debate; I don’t think I do at the end of the day.
  • Two cigars that come to mind in the box pressed vs. round debate is Illusione’s ‘Slam’ line, where the 888 and 4/2g were both released in box-pressed versions.
  • A few days after smoking this cigar, I purchased a regular production Oliva Serie G Maduro Belicoso from a local retailer. There wasn’t an ounce of harshness and it was all that I remembered it to be, making this experience that much more puzzling.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by Oliva
  • Final smoking time is about one hours and 40 minutes.
  • The only way to get the Oliva Serie G maduro Belicoso Round or any of the other cigars in the sampler is to attend an Oliva event that is featuring them. Just a note: not all Oliva events will have them, so it is best to confirm before you go if you are wanting to pick one up. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
82 Overall Score

To say I was disappointed in this cigar would be an understatement. The Oliva Serie G, whether it be in Natural or Maduro – has always been one of my go-to safe selections: consistent, good flavors, rarely a technical problem and something I could always count on for a good smoke. The harshness that this Serie G Maduro Belicoso Round just couldn't shake was puzzling, because the flavors that I usually associate with the Serie G Maduro were all there yet couldn't be enjoyed because of the back of the throat irritation that this cigar produced. Whether I just got a funky one or the change from box press to round makes that big of a difference I may never know; I just hope I don't come across it again when I fire up another Serie G Maduro.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.