Free Will Cigar Look & Feel
- Wrapper Hue: Milk Chocolate
- Rolling Consistency: Straight
- Spring: Very Firm
- Aromas: Barnyard, Chocolate, Cream
At first sight, the Free Will presents a chocolatey wrapper with a very slight sheen; naturally, there are some veins, but none are prominent enough to suggest there will be issues while smoking.
The roll is very straight and consistent. Pressing on the cigar at this point provides a bit of resistance without the usual springiness that one looks for. Furthermore, there does seem to be a bit of a hard spot towards the head, so I’ll have to see if it mars the experience after I’ve started smoking.
The foot of the Free Will greets the nose with an earthy barnyard base, rounded out by a gentle sweetness akin to chocolate that is further supported by a lush creaminess.
Free Will Review
After I received the box of 20 Corona Gorda cigars from CigarPage, and before trying out the Free Will, I stored them in my desktop humidor at around 74°F with 69% Boveda humidity packs for about four weeks.
- Draw: Some Resistance
- Aromas: Hay, Vanilla, Coffee
The hard rolling consistency mentioned above translated to the dry draw, which is proving to be difficult. It’s certainly not plugged, but the filler does seem tightly packed. Nevertheless, I’m not too concerned here, as there’ve been many times before where the a resistant dry draw resulted ina cigar that burned perfectly.
On the other hand, such resistance in the dry draw has muted the aromas I can detect. There are largely notes of hay and coffee with some sweet vanilla, but none are very strong. Additionally, I was surprised to find that the chocolate notes that were so notable in the foot aren’t present here, though they may be overlapping slightly with the vanilla notes.
1st Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Leather, Earth, Vanilla
In the first third, the Free Will has a medium smoke output, though the flavors are robust. Notably, there are notes of leather and earth that are smoothed out by sweet vanilla.
Despite a bold start, the nuances of these flavors are difficult to delineate and are slightly overshadowed by the strength of the cigar. Similarly, the retrohale does not reveal many hidden layers; it’s strikingly straightforward with spice notes.
At this point, I’m quite enjoying this strength as I lean towards more substantial smoking experiences. This also transfers to my preference for foods, where I prefer more flavorful and spicy meals as opposed to milder and more nuanced ones.
2nd Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Earth, Milk Chocolate, Brown Sugar
Transitioning into the second third of the Free Will, a subtle evolution in the flavor profile becomes discernible; the flavors have warmed up, becoming much more prominent and balanced with the strength as opposed to earlier in the cigar.
There are distinct sweet notes of sugar and chocolate that build upon an earthy base. There is a clear evolution from the first third that I find very pleasing and surprising.
Final Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Nuttiness, Leather, Coffee
Into the final third, the cigar hasn’t necessarily evolved in any substantial way, and certainly not as noticeably as it did from the first to second thirds.
I found some subtle nutty notes with bitter coffee, though the leather experienced throughout is most prominent.
The strength has remained elevated throughout the session; this is to be expected from the center-cut Condega leaves used in the filler. I’m pleased with it, though I can see how towards the end of the cigar, it could become overwhelming to those who tend to shy away from full-bodied cigars
- Ash Backbone: Strong
- Burn Angle: Wavy
- Temperature: Cool
- Draw: Ideal
- Final Smoking Time: 60 Minutes
Throughout the session, the ash backbone of the Free Will was very strong. As you can see in the pictures, I smoked it in a very nice South Florida park and, while there was a constant breeze blowing, I was still able to hold some substantial stacks.
Ash Stack On Oliva Free Will Cigar
The burn line was slightly wavy, even from the first third, though I refrained from touching it up and it did not degrade into a canoe or other burn issue. I suppose the wind could have played a part in the burn line not being completely straight, but nevertheless, there were no issues.
Indeed, the construction of the Free Will was exemplary – a good reminder that, though it may not be branded as such, this cigar was made by Oliva.
I mentioned earlier that I was concerned with the draw during the dry draw, but this did not translate into any smoking issues. I was able to draw the cigar perfectly when it was lit, and it remained cool throughout.
The Free Will cigar comes in a black wooden box with a silver foil logo on top. There are additional stylized elements “behind” the logo on top, as well as silver printing on the front of the cigar box. The inside of the lid is lined in a black felt material that’s also adorned by the Free Will logo.
The cigar itself has a single paper band which in this case appears to have rose gold elements. Other than this, the box and cigar are relatively simple.
Given the price, which is about $94 for a box of 20, I think the details of the box are enough. They’re certainly not overwhelming, but you’ll have to go far up the price scale to get a much more detailed box & band.
Personally, I’d rather have an underwhelming box and a phenomenal cigar rather than the inverse, and I think that’s how I’d describe the Free Will – all the attention has gone into the cigar blend, which was specifically designed to be a strong and bold cigar, and they’ve achieved it.
The price also makes the Free Will ideal as an everyday cigar. More specifically, I found this a great smoke to reach for at the end of the day, perhaps if you’re short on time and want to make the most out of a single smoke. Accordingly, there are likely better cigars to take to a formal function, especially if you plan on sharing with others, given that its strength may be offputting to some, especially if they’re not used to smoking cigars.
Pairing Recommendations With A Free Will Cigar
When it comes to pairing the Free Will with a spirit, CigarPage specifically recommends Southern Comfort whiskey. I’ve not tried this myself, as I didn’t have some SoCo lying around, but I can see how the fruity & sweet notes of the whiskey could pair well. Additionally, you’ll want an easy spirit to go along with the strength of the Free Will cigar.
When it comes to food pairings, I’m sure the Free Will would pair well with grilled foods and especially smoked meats, where the flavor of the wood is prominent in the food. These smokey notes tend to be strong if not overwhelming, and I think they’d be well balanced by the Free Will.
As expected, and also as designed, the Free Will is a strong cigar that may not agree with all smokers’ palates. However, I quite enjoy full-bodied cigars and the Free Will delivered everything it promised. In spite of its strength, the cigar is very smooth throughout which makes for an excellent smoking experience.
While I found that the cigar doesn’t evolve significantly, I’ve also read online that the Free Will specifically benefits from resting for a few months. My box is only about a month old, so I’ll give it some more time. For most cigars, a few months in the humidor can do wonders, and I’m interested to see how the Free Will will fare.