I received this cigar from La Palina; as always, all reviews are my own.
Over the last month or so I have watched the whole White Collar series, which is mainly about this FBI agent and conman extraordinaire who bust white collar criminals. If you don’t think about it too much it’s a fun show to watch. But there’s something interesting about cons in general, especially cons of the counterfeiting variety. If you want to counterfeit something done by a person (i.e. a painting) or something else natural then it’s best not to be perfect.
Perfection is a clear sign that there is something unnatural about an object. Straight lines? Unnatural. Perfectly proportioned body? Unnatural. Uniformly colored wrapper (especially one that is very dark)? Probably unnatural.
With, say, a painting, you would have to be perfect in mimicking the imperfections of the original. With a natural product it’s better to not try mimickery.
Basically, all the preceding was a setup to say that this wrapper is definitely natural (no dyes and the such); and, truthfully, I never really questioned this wrapper’s authenticity. It was just one of those times that something popped into my head – counterfeiting in this instance – and I needed to indulge myself a bit. Thanks for sticking with me.
Not only is there some variation in the color of the wrapper, from blackish areas to chocolaty browns but there are also some bumps, a small tear near the foot (maybe my fault) and there is a network of small to medium sized veins crisscrossing the surface of the cigar like all those aqueducts on Mars. There’s a certain amount of oiliness on the wrapper (not a lot but it’s there) and the cigar smells nice.
One last thing: I have liked all the La Palina cigars I have smoked in the past; click the link to check them out
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Mexican Maduro
Binder: Honduran (x2)
Price: $171.00/Box of 20 | $47.50/5 Pack
Detecting Antifragility Flame!
Slow burning cigar with a core group of rich flavors including earth, dark sweetness and oats. The juxtaposition of the earth and the dark sweetness is very nice. There is some complexity early on.
Dark sweetness is still hanging around during the second third with some earth popping up every once in a while. The other major flavor is oats and there is a toasted quality that is permeating the whole flavor profile now.
Charred meat comes on during the final third and that earthiness comes back. It’s a good mixture but not as good as the first third was.
Medium bodied with a good draw and a decent burn; this cigar starts off with a mixture of intense flavors and evolves into a toasty stew of flavors that are mostly enjoyable. The major drawback of this cigar, something I touched on earlier in this review, is that it burns slowly; too slowly at times. If you don’t keep at it then this cigar is liable to burn out.
I smoked two cigars for this review and the one that I kept on top of burned well. My suggestion would be to smoke this cigar when you have the ability to dedicate some time to it because it is worth the effort.
Previously, on The Perfect Draw, the original natural Oliva Serie V earned a 94 rating. It was a cigar I immensely enjoyed and I still pick up a few here and there. This means two things:
- I have high expectations for the Melanio version
- I want to smoke this cigar
Fortunately, I have the second point covered as there is a nice, uncut Melanio sitting on one of the stirrups of my Stinky Ashtray. In both length and ring gauge this is a smallish, box pressed cigar with some imperfections on the wrapper. However, the look of this wrapper is pretty fascinating in that the color ranges from medium brown to much lighter shades of brown around the veins. It’s also a fairly oily cigar.
Now onto the first point…
Vitola: petit corona
Length: 4 ½”
Ring Gauge: 46
Price: $80.00/Box of 10 | $40.00/5 Pack
Zombies Can Happen Light!
If you were thinking that there’s something special about the wrapper, maybe it’s some kind of new leaf code named “Melanio,” you would be wrong. Melanio Oliva is believed to be the first person in the Oliva family to grow tobacco (link) and that is where the name comes from. Maybe it is a special leaf, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in some marketing materials you would find that the wrapper is described as being special because that is pretty much de rigueur for cigar marketing.
The flavor profile starts out with dry spice that lingers in the nose, cream and oak. Not a very strong cigar strengthwise but the flavors are nice and mix well together.
During the second third there is a subtle change in the flavor profile as it moves away from the spice and more towards the cream spectrum. Oak is still present and there is a little bit of chocolate in the background as well. It’s tasty and more than a bit different from what you would expect from an Oliva Serie V.
The final third is pretty much the same as the second with the cream and oak. But, the chocolate is gone and in its place is a meaty flavor.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; this cigar is enjoyable. What is really interesting about this cigar is that it really illustrates the importance of the wrapper as a component of the overall flavor profile (even though I’ve heard that there are some slight changes to the filler tobaccos used in the Melanio from the blend in the original V I think what I said holds true and comparing the original to the Melanio would still be an interesting exercise for you).
Whereas the original V features a plethora of robust, even aggressive, flavors the Melanio is much more reserved. Personally, I like the original a lot more but I can see how this cigar would appeal to those who like more medium bodied cigars. I’d assume that if you pick up one of the thicker vitolas the flavor profile would be more reminiscent of the original V because the ratio of filler/binder to wrapper tobacco would be greater.
I received this cigar and another just like it from La Palina Cigars. All Reviews are my own.
Previously, I have reviewed the diminutive La Palina El Diario Kill Bill and I was duly impressed by that little cigar. This one, the Toro, is a little bit longer and has a larger ring gauge. In general, I have a slight preference for smaller cigars but this toro, measuring in at 6′ x 50, is at the edge of my butter zone for length but well within my acceptance level for ring gauge.
The wrapper is a medium to a dark-medium color and has more than a few veins marring the surface. When touched, it is immediately evident that this wrapper has more than the average amount of oils on it and is relatively tightly packed. Not a beautiful cigar but the shape and construction look good.
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo ’99 Rosado
Binder: Honduran Criollo ’98 (x2)
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 and Criollo ’98
Price: $200.00/Box of 20 | $10.00/Single
BSG: Blood and Chrome Conflagration!
Even though the prelight draw was a bit tight, once this cigar was lit the draw was good. The flavors you should expect during the first third include: dark, molasses sweetness trapping spice in a misty cloud. That spice is especially evident in the retrohale as it does not leave and just increases with each puff you take. There’s also some dry, dusty earth swirling around.
During the first third there was a bit of sweet, fruity sweetness but there’s a lot more during the second third. Retrohaled spice has dissipated but isn’t gone. What I’m especially liking about the taste of this cigar is the consistency of the smoke, which is very fine and granular.
Earth and an edge of sweetness. The spice is pretty much gone during this final third. It’s still a good cigar but the flavors have lost a bit of their intensity, which has to do with the fact that this cigar has been resting in my humidor for many months now. The rest has made the flavors marry better.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn, this cigar is solidly good throughout. In my estimation this cigar is not as good as the Kill Bill was but, still, the toro is a very enjoyable cigar.
Rustic cigar with a strong box press going on. It is very oily and is not without some minor imperfections including: stretch marks, a couple small holes in the wrapper, bumps along the sides and, well, that’s it. Throw all of that negative stuff out though because, in the end, that stuff doesn’t really matter (to me at least).
What does matter? This is one of three cigars in this release of the Cojonu line. For more of an explanation on that you can head on over to Cigar Coop’s breakdown to learn how to spot the difference between Habano, Capa Especial and Reserva versions of this cigar. Don’t worry, it really isn’t that complicated.
Length: 6 ½”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
It starts out subdued but enjoyable. There’s a bit of hot spice (close to pepper) and soft spice (cinnamon) along with some bread (wheat). Everything works well together but it isn’t an amazing mixture of flavors. Also, the cigar has been threatening to go out if I don’t take a puff every 30 seconds or so. The draw is fine but it’s just threatening to give up on life.
Fortunately, during the second third, the cigar stays lit without necessitating my constant attention. It wasn’t a big pain to begin with but not having to worry about it is better.
The second third’s flavors are a bit better for me than the first third’s. Oak with sweet spice adding a strong secondary influence. There’s also this slightly bitter and washed out chocolate lurking in the background like that creepy neighbor who is peaking over the fence leering at the hot chick sunbathing but she doesn’t mind so it works (I mean the chocolate flavor works, you should never be a peeping Tom, that’s just wrong).
Slightly bitter and washed out chocolate gets an upgrade to slightly bitter milk chocolate during the final third. The sweet spice is still around.
Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn, this cigar features a decent amount of evolution with a flavor profile that I think most will find agreeable. Besides this cigar not wanting to stay lit during the first third there really aren’t any glaring deficiencies with this cigar. There aren’t a lot of really high points either. Instead, this is a solid cigar performing admirably from beginning to end.
This particular Viaje is a perfecto shaped cigar with a bottle nosed shaped tip. That’s a fairly unique shape nowadays and I do like the look of it. As you might guess with Viaje, this is a limited edition cigar (For more info check out Cigar Coop).
But limited edition, or, as is the case here, “Collector’s Edition,” doesn’t mean good. I’ve liked some Viajes (Skull and Bones Red 2012 WMD) and I haven’t cared for some others (TNT 2012); that’s just natural.
This cigar does look nice and, as I mentioned before, is a perfecto. I think due to the difficulty in rolling this kind of cigar the wrapper does have a couple of minor stretch marks around veins. It’s also a little bumpy in some areas with the most obvious misshapen parts being around the bulge near the foot. None of this is off-putting, though.
It’s also a very oily cigar and the Nicaraguan grown wrapper tobacco is medium brown with some darker flecks and lighter splotches (this isn’t a demerit in my book because tobacco is, after all, a natural product). I’ve smoked one before at a herf and now let us see if this thing is worth the price tag.
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99
Price: $225.00/Box of 25 | $10.00/Single
Tree of Life Fire!
It’s a fairly spicy cigar with a decent amount of intensity. The spice is a cross between sweet and floral but the main part of it is black pepper. There’s also some cedar and earthy flavors roaming around as well. What I like most about the first third is that the flavors work well together and are very clean.
The spice loses some of its sweetness but keeps its floral and black pepper essence. Cocoa has come on and has a slight bitter tinge to it that gives extra life to the flavor profile. It’s a (good kind of) weird mixture of soft, floral spice and earthy, bitter cocoa. I’m liking it.
During the final third the main flavor is that black pepper with a solid backing of bitter cocoa and earth flavor combination. The flavors are fairly strong during this third as has been the case throughout. Perhaps the flavors were a bit stronger during the first third but not by a large margin.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn, this cigar was easily able to keep my interest from the beginning to the end. It wasn’t a particularly special cigar but it was good in its own way. The combination of the spice and earth and bitter cocoa was interesting. If you are a fan of Viaje you probably won’t be disappointed by this cigar.