Cigar Review: Gilberto Oliva Reserva by Oliva Cigar Company

  • Gilberto_straightVitola: Robusto
  • 5” x 50 ring gauge 
  • ~$6.00
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

I recently took a look at the Gilberto Oliva Blanc, the first of two new releases from the Oliva Cigar Company after about 5 years of inactivity when it came to new releases. In that review, I gave a lot of the same background that I would give in this review…so go there and read that background section first if you haven’t already…I’ll wait.

Back? Great! The Gilberto Oliva Reserva uses a Sumatra wrapper leaf over an Ecuadorian binder and Nicaraguan fillers…or the same basic country-of-origin description as the Blanc, but with a different wrapper.

The Reserva comes in the same 5 sizes as the Reserva Blanc, thought the price tag is slightly higher. I bought mine at Burns Tobacconist and this is the third or so stick from this blend that I’ve smoked.

Prelight

I almost have to tell you to read the Prelight section on the previous review, too…these cigars pretty much have the same look and feel, with just a different color scheme. It’s different than what we’ve come to expect from Oliva…so different that it might be difficult to even know these come from the same company. The Reserva uses a dark red color in the band rather than cream.

The wrapper leaf on the Reserva was slightly darker than medium-brown, had a slightly oily look and feel to it and smelled of ripe earth and wood. The foot was earthy again, but in a sweeter way; there was also a touch of dark coffee aroma on the foot.

After clipping the cold draw was good and tasted quite sweet with almost a cola flavor riding over earth and wood notes.

Gilberto_angleFlavor

I lit up the Gilberto Reserva and was greeted by an almost syrupy sweetness right off the bat. Behind that there were notes of earth and a grassiness that was very similar to the Blanc version of this cigar. After a few puffs, some additional cedar notes came through on the palate. The retrohale was nutty and creamy, with just a touch of pepper spice. By the time I finished with the first third, the main flavor I was getting was cedar, along with a little sweetness.

Burning my way through the second third, the cedar notes became more pronounced, to a point where it was almost astringent. Sweeter flavors ebbed away, while grassiness and earthiness kept steady and pepper spice increased slightly.

In the last third, the cedary notes started to become more coppery, which is something I get fairly frequently from Ecuadorian Sumatra leaf. That continued on and dominated the last part of the cigar.

Construction

All samples of the Gilberto Reserva I have smoked have been solid construction-wise: even burn line, strong ash, and perfect draw.

Value

There’s no doubt this is a bargain-priced cigar. I felt it performs decently…but never out-performs…for its price. That being said, my rating for “value” is based on whether I would buy it again…and I honestly don’t think I would.

Conclusions

The Oliva Gilberto Reserva is another good cigar…for the price. But I didn’t feel like it was worth more than the price paid, which is something I look for, especially in the days following AJF’s New World and New World Connecticut. I’m sure there will be fans of this blend (and the Blanc version), but I feel a bit let down by Oliva. Their other blends are not that much more money and tend to be much better, so it makes me wonder where these end up fitting in.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 3.5/5
Value: .5/1
Total: 8/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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