Cigar Review by Steve Royston (guest)
Cigar Photography by Jay L (cigarphoto.net)
This week we are photographing and reviewing the Federal Cigar 93rd Anniversary Reserve No. 2 - the latest exclusive 6 x 52 box-pressed torpedo for the Federal Cigar (*New Hampshire-based chain owned by Rick Gadway). This year’s commemorative cigar comes from well respected Oliva Cigar Company and has mysterious ties to Oliva Master Blends 1 and Oliva Master Blends 2. In addition, the Federal Cigar 93rd Anniversary Reserve No. 2 has been sitting on the shelf as a potential project for the past ~10 years. It will be available for purchase on March 15th, 2014 at the Federal Cigar’s 93rd Anniversary Party.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
With the looming 93rd Anniversary of Federal Cigar in New Hampshire, let’s take a look at this year’s commemorative cigar. First off, when I heard that this year’s cigar was going to be a “found” stick from the Oliva aging vault, my ears perked up. I mean, come on, an Oliva from the early Master Blends years? 10-11 years of sleep? Sign me up. Let’s begin. The most distinct aspect of this cigar is its look. A gorgeous, sandy brown sun grown wrapper with very minimal veins. The slight press is very attractive as well. An obvious difference, this year, is that they labeled it with a custom Federal Cigar band, which is very well done.
A ¼ inch cut gives way to a perfect draw for my liking. Just a slight tug. The cold draw is very mild with subtle barnyard notes. The light up is toasty and slightly creamy. A nice punchy spice on the retrohale. Half an inch in, there isn’t any change on what comes across the palate. Still very toasty and slightly creamy. The retrohale is where all the action is so far. The spice has stepped back just a little, but still has a little punch to it. It’s been backed up by a nice cedar bouquet. The finish has the softest touch of mocha to it and a faint clove spice. So far the burn is razor sharp and the ash is fairly even, pale gray with just a few dark spots. Passed the first inch, the upfront flavors are starting to pick up some steam. The toasty notes have shifted slightly to a breadier flavor. That clove spice from the finish has pushed its way more toward the front. The mouth feel has a very fine, silky grit to it; the kind that makes you want to keep sliding your tongue across the roof of your mouth. I am a cedar junkie and this cigar is delivering right now. The retrohale spice has toned way down and the cedar has come way up and has developed a slightly honeyed sweetness. This, combined with the bready and creamy characters, are really making a harmonious combination. After the halfway mark, black pepper is picking up across the palate and stays fairly distinct through the finish. It’s an interesting addition to the other flavors that have been coming through, which have stayed consistent at this point. Thus far, the cigar has been fairly firm to the touch. Now that I am coming into the finale the temperature is starting to rise a bit and the cigar has softened just a little. Not objectionable at this point. However, as the cigar has progressed, the spice has shot up and has a little bite to it. Again, not objectionable for me, but I could see many people ending the smoke at this point.
To close I will say that this cigar was very good. It was solid medium strength and full flavored throughout. I would suspect that in its early days, this cigar had some pretty good kick to it. Subtle hints of that still remain, but 10-11 years of age have tamed it down. It’s an aesthetically beautiful cigar from head to toe. Construction, draw, and burn were all near perfect. I prime example of the quality that Oliva has been, and is still able, to deliver. Until next time, happy smoking.
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