A project first abandoned in favour of developing the Oliva Serie V, the Connecticut Reserve is an uncharacteristically mild cigar for the brand. In this article, you will discover the Oliva Connecticut Reserve as I review it with the following talking points:
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- Brand: Oliva Cigars
- Range: Connecticut Reserve
- Reviewed Vitolas: 5 x 50 Robusto
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabolisa 1, Nicaragua
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Mild-Medium
- Estimated Smoking Time: 65 Minutes
- Pricing: $7.10 / Single [Buy Now]
As mentioned above, the Connecticut Reserve was nearly never released when discussions started in 2007. Indeed, the market of time had a greater interest in fuller-bodied cigars and so the Serie V was released instead. Despite mild cigars being a riskier product, the Connecticut Reserve was finally released in 2009.
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Oliva Connecticut Reserve Look & Feel
- Wrapper Hue: Fino Sherry
- Rolling Consistency: Perfectly Straight
- Spring: Firm
- Aromas: Straw, Cinnamon, Caramel
The Connecticut Reserve features a nice and straight role with a firm spring. There are no discernible soft spots. It’s construction is excellent and its colour is reminiscent of Fino Sherry.
It has a nice moderate sheen of oils that reflect in the light while subtle white veins blend into the wrapper leaf. The aromas of the foot consist of refreshing straw, a hint of cinnamon, and caramel.
Oliva Connecticut Reserve Review
As we systematically do with every review, the Oliva Connecticut Reserve samples were stored in a Boveda acrylic humidor with 69% RH Boveda Packs. This was done for a period of three weeks to make sure that they were properly acclimated before the review. They were also monitored with a Boveda Butler.
- Draw: Ideal
- Aromas: Milk Chocolate, Vanilla, Cinnamon
The draw is in the ideal but the resistance in the airflow is stronger than average. However, this will probably loosen up as you smoke it. Alternatively, massaging the head will sufficiently open up the draw.
Its prelight flavours are very rich. We’re looking at an accord of milk chocolate and vanilla, which is surprisingly reminiscent of milkshake. Meanwhile, a dash of cinnamon adds a hint of spice.
1st Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Salted Pistacio, Brown Toast, Grilled Almond
The combustion in the first third is excellent with solid ash and a straight burn line. It’s not quite as creamy as you would expect from a Connecticut cigar. While there is some creaminess in the mouthfeel, it’s quite nutty in flavour and leaves a salty residue on the lips.
The nuttiness comprises of a grilled almond and pistacio accord. Meanwhile, brown toast delivers an intriguing yeasty note. Furthermore, there’s a particularly zesty character, too. Yet, this doesn’t quite express itself as a note but more of a sensation for now. However, it’s not quite complex – at least, not yet!
2nd Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Coffee Ground, Brazil Nut, Brown Toast
The burn line gets a little wavy in the first third but it soon corrects itself. There’s always a good stack of ash, too.
The flavour profile has significantly evolved to take on a greater amount of nuttiness. The zestiness is still present but milder than expected. Otherwise, the brown toast flavour has persisted and grown in presence.
A Brazil nut note contributes to the nuttiness but also imparts an element of bitterness. This bitterness is only extended by an additional note of coffee grounds.
Final Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Rye Bread, Pepper, Liquorice
Indeed, the burn remains excellent and reveals beautiful ash and a perfect line. As for its flavour, it’s deeper and more verbose in the final third. It’s still slightly bitter but not as much as earlier. Instead, the flavours have rounded to become deeper.
Its bouquet consist of rye bread, which has evolved from the preceding rye bread. As a result, it’s yeastier and thicker than previously. Meanwhile, liquorice produces a balanced combination of sweet and bitter notes. Finally, a subtle note of pepper expresses itself in the retrohale.
The Connecticut Reserve isn’t particularly complex but quite easy to smoke. Its mouthfeel is far from coarse but it’s not quite as creamy as you’d expect from a Connecticut shade wrapper. Similarly, it’s a tad dry in terms of astringency and I’d recommend that you smoke it with a beverage.
That being said, apart from a bit of excess stimulation on the lateral front, the palate stimulation is balanced overall. Otherwise, its lifecycle is developed and it features a moderate finish that lingers shortly after finishing.
- Ash Backbone: Very Strong
- Burn Angle: Perfectly Straight
- Temperature: Mostly Cool
- Draw: Ideal Airflow
- Final Smoking Time: 65 Minutes
As mentioned throughout the experience above, the burn is impeccable. It has an almost perfect construction with an ideal draw, straight burn line, and solid ash. Indeed, the draw loosens up while you smoke it and it quickly becomes comfortable.
Meanwhile, the cigar can heat up a little towards the final third but it generally stays cool.
The band is white, clean, and has a nice presentation. It’s similar to the Serie V but the colour is somewhat different to indicate the mild body in comparison. The presentation is ornate without being ostentatious.
Meanwhile, the box is conventionally elegant. A classic solid wooden box, it features a double latch at the front as well as a visible dove-tail construction. Any ornamentation has been branded onto the box and the cigars are covered by a full-sized cedar splint. It is also delivered with a miniature catalogue.
Expect to pay around $7.10 for a single while a box of 20 can be retailed for around $120. Therefore, buying a box will allow you to pick them up for $6 each, which presents great value overall.
The Connecticut Reserve is a versatile cigar that can be enjoyed throughout the day. It’s pleasant for the morning but can also be easily enjoyed in the early afternoon. If you’re a beginner and want to try a mild cigar that is slightly fuller-bodied than most Connecticut shade, it’s a good option to try.
Otherwise, it’s an affordable option for weddings. Given that it has a white band, its presentation lends itself well to the event. Furthermore, it’s affordable and good enough for beginners to try.
Oliva Connecticut Reserve Pairing Recommendations
Consider freshly-baked pretzels to extend the cigar’s yeasty and savoury characteristics. Otherwise, Liquorice Allsorts, an English confectionary, will interact well with the cigar’s sweet and spicy flavours. If you wish to offset the Connecticut Reserve’s mouthfeel and make it creamier, try pairing it with milk chocolate.
Finally, Pastis could be an interesting beverage for those who enjoy anise flavours. Alternatively, opt for another long drink like IPA or real ale. Not only will beer bring out the cigar’s yeasty flavour but it will also keep your palate hydrated. Similarly, Coca-Cola would be a great choice.
Finally, coffee drinkers ought to consider caffè latte, café au lait, or even cappuccino. As with the milk chocolate, it will help render the mouthfeel creamier.
A sprightly Connecticut cigar with personality, zeal, and flavour, Oliva’s Connecticut Reserve is a great option to have in the humidor. Its affordable and versatile so it’s not one that will go unsmoked for long!
"A versatile cigar for daytime smoking, sharing with friends, or enjoying on your own."
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