By now you’ve likely heard about the second installment of the STUDIO TOBAC World Tour and the accompanying six-cigar sampler available only at the events and only with purchase of a box of Oliva or STUDIO TOBAC cigars, as we’ve reviewed three of them and the tour is over a month along.

Here’s what Brooks had to say:

On April 5, 2012, STUDIO TOBAC launched their 2012 World Tour at Tampa Humidor in Tampa, Florida, which has one of only three Oliva Lounges in the USA. The Tour is meant to introduce people to the STUDIO TOBAC brand and the events include rolling from Bryan “The Show” Scholle, the Ambassador of STUDIO TOBAC, and exclusive samplers offered as a promotional item that can only be acquired by buying boxes of Oliva products at the events.




Each sampler comes with six different cigars, five of which are prototypes. Here are what the sampler boxes that the ST-002 come in look like:





Included in each are (left to right):



The Cain F line was represented in the 2011 sampler by the Cain F Lancero, which was widely considered to be the prize of the sampler and which has been reviewed here, here and reduxed here. There was also a Cain FF Torpedo 654 included, a cigar billed as a fuller-bodied and stronger alternative to the regular Cain F. As you’ll recall, the Cain F Lancero went on to be a limited release cigar unveiled at the 2011 IPCPR trade show.

This year the Cain F gets a Maduro wrapper joining the Cain Daytona in getting the Maduro treatment.


Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s light this stick up.


  • Cigar Reviewed: STUDIO TOBAC Cain F Maduro Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: n/a
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: n/a
  • Date Released: 2012
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1

There’s just a bit of crystallization on the wrapper, which is very soft, smooth and velvety. The cigar itself is firm without being rock hard, and the cold draw is smooth and easy with some sweetened coffee and milk chocolate. There’s are-some notes of dry tree bark, a bit of spice, and some sweetness that initially registers as cocoa powder on the pre-light aroma making for an interesting and engaging combination.


As soon as the flame hits the foot in the first third, an entirely new collection of aromas come jumping off the cigar – barnyard, beef jerky and grilled meats being the most memorable. Unfortunately those flavors don’t jump onto the palate, as that gets a dry, woody note with a faint bit of pepper on the back end. The burn line of the Oliva also starts to go askew fairly quickly: despite an even lighting it races up one side of the cigar. Smoke volume is also woefully low in the first third, at least for my preferences. Towards the end of the first third, part of the ash started to lean and break off like it was being chopped down by a lumberjack. For a line of cigars known for strong ash, this was a surprising sight. The flavor remains a bit dry and thin through this first portion.


With the ash finally succumbing into the ashtray, the second third begins with a noticeable shift in flavor that starts to add some of the richness and depth of flavor that had been lacking in the first third. While the flavor doesn’t reach the complexity or level of intrigue that the smoke at the outset of the Cain F Maduro has, it certainly gets better. There is yet to be the stereotypical Maduro sweetness, however. If anything, it’s a very mild sweetness that doesn’t stand on its own but softens the strength of the ligero. Smoke volume has picked up a bit as well.


In the final third, the flavors really start to ramp up, almost red-lining a bit as there’s just a touch of heat and harshness coming through. While any traditional notes of Maduro sweetness have yet to appear, there is a very enjoyable meaty juiciness making an appearance in the final two inches or so. The heat and harshness back off just a bit in the home stretch, partially aided by a reduction in draw speed. The flavors stay the course with spice and juicy meat as the closing notes.



Final Notes:

  • The back of the STUDIO TOBAC band has the website printed on it. Even though an increasing number of manufacturers are using this space, it’s still a piece of real estate that could be better used to promote a brand or engage the consumer.
  • The only way to get one of these cigars is to purchase a box of Oliva or STUDIO TOBAC cigars at a World Tour event. You can find the calendar of upcoming tour dates here.
  • STUDIO TOBAC is basically a brand within a brand, as it’s dubbed “a collection of (Oliva’s) most innovative minds.” It was formally launched under the STUDIO TOBAC moniker in late 2011.
  • For those that really love STUDIO TOBAC, there is a forum dedicated exclusively to it.
  • The ash issue still puzzles me a bit, as STUDIO TOBAC has made quite a name for themselves on the strength of their ash. It reminded me of a few things – including a baseball bat splintering after getting a fastball in on the hands.
    STUDIO TOBACO Cain F Maduro Ash
  • Final smoking time is one hour, 20 minutes.



The Bottom Line: I had felt a bit let down by the Cain F line until the Cain F Lancero came out last year, as it was the cigar that finally delivered the flavors and strength the Cain F line seemed to promise. This experiment of a Maduro wrapper on the Cain F didn’t do much to endear me to the line, though there are points where it’s certainly an enjoyable cigar. Had my palate been treated to the same notes that came off the cigar when it was lit up, I’d likely be trying to make deals to get some more of these – but that never happened and as such I’m left to file this away into the ‘good but not particularly memorable’ category. As a skeptic when it comes to the merits of putting a Maduro wrapper on an existing cigar to create some magical new flavor, the Cain F Maduro faced a difficult task in impressing me and it simply fell a bit short.

Final Score: 82

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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.