Flor de Oliva
Cigars and Independence Day
So we're a little late with this, but it's still July and, hey, better late than never, right? With our young men and women out in the Middle East risking their lives in the name of freedom and democracy, Independence Day is a time to recognize and thank them and the many before them who have sacrificed so much. Thanks to their service, Americans like you, I and our offspring can spend the Fourth of July drinking lemonade, having a parade, enjoying a dip in the pool and smoking a good cigar (for us adults who indulge in the pleasure), complete with an evening of burgers, beer and fireworks. Quite frankly, I cannot think of a better way to spend a hot summer day. As I sat there on July 5, back in the rat race, I reflected on the enjoyable summer rituals of the past day. I can only send a humble “Thank you” to each and every one of the military personnel who defend our country, especially in this most recent and controversial engagement, which makes the job more difficult and sometimes thankless too.
I had the luxury of firing up two cigars on Independence Day, the first out of practical necessity, the second to slow the adrenaline rush after my neighborhood pyrotechnic display and to consider the fact that another Fourth of July had come and just about gone. Anyone who says cigars are not practical has not gone through the holiday with a bunch of neighborhood kids expecting you to entertain them with an arsenal of fireworks. If you have tried to do this with a lighter or matches, you are almost guaranteed to find burn blisters on your fingers today. Here is where the cigar is a practical tool: get yourself a Churchill-sized, long-burning cigar and use it as your fireworks lighter. I always use a cheaper, but decent, smoke in this fashion because I am pretty busy with the fireworks and cannot really appreciate the intricate and subtle taste differences in a great cigar even if I used one. I save the better cigar for the end of the night. Since using the cigar as an oversized “punk,” my thumb and fingertips feel much better the day after the fact. For those of you who don’t necessarily enjoy smoking cigars, you still may want to consider this approach next year.
Thank you U.S. Armed Forces. In your honor, let’s get smokin’!
Flor de Oliva
Size: Robusto, 5 inches long, 50 Ring Gauge
Price: $1.50 to $2
The Flor de Oliva is known to be a “best value.” They are all made by hand with 100 percent Nicaraguan long fillers, and are at a very low price for a long filler, hand-rolled cigar. I have heard that the Flor de Oliva line is the top selling bundled cigar (that is, cigars sold in wrapped bunches without being boxed). The producers, the Oliva family, have been in the tobacco business for many generations and are one of the larger tobacco growers in Nicaragua. Aficionados positively rank some of their more premium cigars.
- Wrapper: Indonesia
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
I purchased this smoke at a local brick and mortar cigar shop, for no other reason than they had recently received a fresh shipment. Knowing the cigar’s reputation as one of the best values in the industry, coupled with the fact that it had been at least seven years since I had smoked one, I figured “what the hell?!” I threw caution to the wind and spent the $1.75 it took to experience this smoke again.
Look and feel
The actual band lacked the ornamental art that the more expensive cigars sport. It was a non-descript, cheap red, white and blue band, but don’t be fooled -- the cigar’s look, feel and construction were certainly as solid, if not more so, than some cigars that cost three to four times as much. The overall presentation made this cigar look much more expensive than it really is. The cigar had the mass and balance of a well-packed cigar.
Aroma and Taste
Both the pre-lit aroma and draw were good following an uneventful cut. Upon lighting, I was greeted with some flavor. It proved to be a medium-bodied cigar that had a couple puffs that were a little rough on the palette, but this was more the exception. For the most part, the cigar had a decent flavor and possessed an evident earthy taste profile, characteristic of the Nicaraguan-grown tobacco from which it was rolled. Overall, I was impressed with the cigar’s taste, given my more than reasonable expenditure. Though the value in this cigar is not just associated with the taste, I was equally impressed with an even, relatively slow burn than needed little maintenance.
RATING: 8.5 (on a scale of 1 to 10)
Many smokers use the Flor de Oliva as their “go to” yard ‘gar, and I can certainly understand why. It is well constructed and has a reasonable taste. An excellent value, it could be considered as a host’s offering at a poker game or a golf outing where the host is trying to keep to a modest budget. This cigar is also a much better choice than the “It’s a boy” box of machine-made short filler cigars from the grocery or drug store.
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DISCLAIMER: At the risk of sounding too much like a TV commercial, I do want to sincerely state: This feature is NOT intended to advocate the smoking of cigars any more or any less than you already do, nor do I intend to influence the non-smoker to begin smoking cigars. Make no mistake about it; CIGAR SMOKING MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.