Oliva Master Blends 3 Cigar Review

Following Charles-Philippe’s review of the affordable Gilberto Oliva Reserva, I decided to take a look at the Connecticut Blanc version to see how it compares.

In this article, you will discover the Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc as I cover it according to the following points:

You can use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to learn more.

Overview

  • Brand: Gilberto Oliva
  • Range: Reserva Blanc
  • Reviewed Vitolas: 6 x 50 Toro
  • Wrapper: Indonesian Sumatra
  • Binder: Ecuadorian
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Handmade: Yes
  • Body: Medium
  • Estimated Smoking Time: 70  Minutes
  • Pricing: $5 / Single [Buy Now]

Compared to the original Reserva mentioned in the introduction, the Reserva Blanc is a much more conventional blend. On this occasion, it features an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper rather than Indonesian Sumatra. Meanwhile, the rest of the blend is similar or the same as before.

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Cigar Blanc Look & Feel

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Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Look & Feel

  • Wrapper Hue: Caffè Latte
  • Rolling Consistency: Mostly Straight
  • Spring: Firm
  • Aromas: Tonka Bean, Cinnamon, Milk Chocolate

The first thing I noticed with Reserva Blanc was that the body had a much better construction than CP’s observations of the regular Reserva. There are fewer soft spots, which weren’t quite as discernible. As for the spring, it’s firm but not as hard as the Reserva, either.

It has a nice caffè latte hue overall but you can occasionally pick out a couple of bruises in the wrapper, which may have been caused by rushed fermentation. It doesn’t give quite a sheen per se, but you can detect some oils through a subtle haze of shine.

Furthermore, its veins are far more refined than the Reserva, which were quite coarse. In terms of the aromas on the foot and body, you can expect tonka bean, cinnamon, and milk chocolate.

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Review

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Cigar First Third

As is the case with all our reviews, the cigars were acclimated for at least three weeks before being tested. I used a Boveda acrylic humidor with 69% Boveda packs. Meanwhile, the moisture levels were monitored regularly through a Boveda Butler.

Pre-Lighting Experience

  • Draw: Ideal Resistance
  • Aromas: Cinnamon, Buttercream, Brioche

It appears that CP’s draw issues experienced with the original Reserva didn’t carry over onto the Blanc. Although I had also heard of loose draws, I didn’t find that this was the case with my samples.

The aromas of the dry draw were an extension of its scent on the foot. There were flavours of cinnamon, buttercream, and brioche. Overall, a yeasty profile!

1st Third Smoking Experience

  • Notes: Green Tea, Molasses, Walnut

The Reserva Blanc first unleashes a bold Connecticut flavour, which consists of cream and white pepper. It tingles the nostrils on the retro-hale, but then it starts to die down and settle.

At this point, it reveals notes of green tea, molasses and walnuts. It has a certain nutty substance to it, but overall it’s quite herbaceous and a little bit sweet.

2nd Third Smoking Experience

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Cigar Second Third

  • Notes: Peanut, Brioche, White Pepper

Interestingly, the flavours really became mild and its body significantly decreased just before the cigar transitioned to the second third. During this time, it was reminiscent of a Davidoff No.2.

However, after a couple more puffs, it suddenly became bolder again and started delivering a bold body and flavour profile. Meanwhile, the aforementioned green tea and herbaceousness had all, but gone.

Instead, I experienced some peanuts, particularly with their skins still on them, which created a bitter quality.

Nevertheless, there was some brioche, so the yeastiness that was detected on the pre-light suddenly decided to come into the fore here. And there was some white pepper, especially on the retro-hale.

Final Third Smoking Experience

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Cigar Final Third

  • Notes: Rugbrød, Salted Caramel, Pecan

On this occasion, the transition was consistent and without any surprises. The yeasty brioche faded in exchange for Danish rugbrød rye bread, which accorded nicely with an accompanying note of salted caramel.

Meanwhile, the nutty theme continued and after experiencing peanut and walnut, it was now more reminiscent than pecan.

As a result, I’d argue that this cigar is more complex than the Reserva. CP found it to be lacking in nuance whereas the Reserva Blanc offers a tableau of flavour with a distinctive life-cycle that consists of interesting changes.

That being said, the mouthfeel was still somewhat coarse. Although there were some flavours that could be compared to cream, it wasn’t reflected in the texture. This lacking mouthfeel could be felt in the cigar’s balance, which edged closer to the front of the palate.

Afterwards, the finish is quite fleeting rather than lingering, much in the same way as the original Reserva.

As for the residual scent in the room, Connecticut cigars tend to be mild and quite forgiving on furnishings and the curtains. However, the lingering smell wasn’t quite as pleasant as a Davidoff No.2, JC Newman Brick House Double Connecticut, or even the Nub Connecticut.

Overall Burn

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Cigar Burn

  • Ash Backbone: Strong
  • Burn Angle: Overall Straight
  • Temperature: Cool
  • Draw: Ideal Resistance
  • Final Smoking Time: 70 Minutes

Where the Reserva Blanc is particularly impressive is in its construction. Although there were a couple of soft spots and I had heard about some loose draws, the draw remained consistent with just the right amount of resistance in my experiences.

Similarly, the temperature was very cool. Furthermore, the backbone and the angle of the burn were excellent. There was no discernable flakiness and you can easily produce solid stacks of fine white ash.

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Overall Experience

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Cigar Box Opened

In CP’s review of the Reserva, he was disappointed by the flat bottom of the otherwise oval band. Indeed, the Reserva Blanc has the same issue. However, although the design is the same, the off-white colour has a far more premium appearance!

The brown and ivory colours are nicely offset by the gold, which makes it a far more attractive band to admire despite the flat bottom.

As for the box, it is very similarly styled to the Reserva as well. It’s reminiscent of a Cuban cigar box in that it’s made out of cardboard that has been covered in stickers and decorations in a stylish and ornate manner.

While the red Reserva box wasn’t overly inviting, the Reserva Blanc is much more appealing. The attention to detail is more evident and stands out nicely against the cream background.

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Cigar Box Inscription

When it comes to the value of the cigar it’s just as good as the Reserva. The Reserva was cheaper by around 50 cents per stick. Although it’s a little pricier, the Reserva Blanc offers excellent value for money.

Furthermore, you can find the boxes at heavily discounted rates online. Some retailers will sell a box of 20 Churchill cigars for just $69. Therefore, it’s a great affordable option when stocking up.

As it’s an affordable Connecticut cigar that’s more attractive than the regular Reserva, the Reserva Blanc is going to be very versatile. It’s a great option for weddings, especially. They’re easy to smoke so you can bring a box and distribute them among the guests even if they’re not frequent cigar smokers.

Similarly, it’s a pleasant stick to bring along to a barbecue with friends. In both cases, you can be generous without overly hurting your wallet.

Otherwise, it’s a great cigar while doing other things in a similar way to the regular Reserva. In fact, it’s probably the better of the two as it’s somewhat milder. Whether you’re working at your desk, in a workshop, or walking the dog, it’s a great little companion.

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Pairing Recommendations

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Cigar Pairings

An easy and obvious choice would be a nut mix. A bowl of nuts with dried fruit would go remarkably well with the cigar throughout each third. You could also opt for milk chocolate to help compensate its somewhat coarse texture and mouthfeel.

Alternatively, consider smoked salmon with buttered rye bread and a drizzle of lemon juice. Its acidity will contrast the cigar’s dry savoriness in a mouthwatering way.

As for beverages, I’m not much of a beer drinker. CP suggested IPA or Pilsner. However, I’d be more inclined to choose a Coca-Cola or even root beer. For coffee drinkers, you could also opt for a cappuccino.

Personally, I’d probably have a Spanish-style Solera-aged rum such as the Santa Teresa 1796 or Ron Zapaca 23.

Closing Thoughts

As with the regular Gilberto Oliva Reserva, the Reserva Blanc is a great companion for when you’re doing other things. Feel free to take it to some laid-back special events and it won’t break your heart if you neglect it or give away too many.

Alternatively, hold on to them for other activities such as working or going for a stroll.

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"Easy to smoke and pleasant to take along with you when doing other things, the Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc is a pleasantly affordable smoke."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★★

Further Reading

If you enjoyed reading this cigar review, feel fry to check out more related content:

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