Noob Reviews #12: Oliva Serie G Cameroon
Noob Reviews: A new smoker’s guide to the best beginner smokes
If you’ve scoured the forums for beginner smokes, you have no doubt come across the Oliva G Cameroon over and over again. It’s universally hailed as one of the all time best starter sticks, as well as an old standby for the seasoned vets. Due to the unusually cold November we’re having here in Pennsylvania, I haven’t smoked in too long and I’m famished. Oliva’s robusto size (4 1/2 x 50) should do nicely.
This box-pressed gem had a wrapper like no other. It was completely devoid of oil, leaving it very dry to the touch, with muted veins and an extremely delicate feel. The cigar itself was light enough that you could forget you’re holding it. Its cold draw was wide open and gave me some tobacco and dry leather. A quick whiff of the Cameroon wrapper and Nicaraguan Habano insides produced hearty barnyard and hay aromas.
From the get-go there was a world of complexity to behold. I was caught in a carousel of chocolate, pepper, toasted nuts and baking spices. On the retrohale I picked up an interesting floral note, something I don’t find too often in my smokes. The finish had a mild bitterness that offset all of these flavors perfectly. As the initial fireworks died down, the smoke wore a groove into an earthy floral flavor on the front, with heavy, dark coffee beans on the backside. Since the draw was so open, I had to adjust how I smoked in order to keep the stick from getting too hot, puffing very gently.
As the Oliva burned down, the baking spices came back with more power and constant, subtle changes. There were some points when this cigar was a bit beyond my palate; the flavors were changing quickly and completely new to me. I’m definitely going to have to smoke this a few more times to fully appreciate it. Later on the finish started to mellow a bit and brought in cream and toasted nuts. The floral note developed further and took on a slight sense of perfume. Eventually the dry leather from the pre-light draw came into the fold, creating a very rare dynamic.
From start to finish this smoke kept me on my toes. Not only did it have a huge bouquet of new flavors for me, but the combinations created unusual and refreshing harmonies, something you generally only find in premium Nicaraguan tobaccos like these. I might even call this a “right of passage” stick, as it will definitely expand noobs’ palates and carry them swiftly into land of flavor bombs. Have you taken the plunge yet?