Oliva Hellion Habano
Length: 7 inches
Manufactured in: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaraguan long-fillers
Appearance & Construction (15)
Heft: Cigar is firm when pressed or rolled in the fingers, no soft spots, hollow points nor bulges in the filler. Wrapper has a definite tooth to it, not as much silky as perhaps more of a suede feeling about it as you run your finger down the wrapper.
Cigar maintained its pre-light heft during smoking, without developing any soft spots. The cigar feels good in the fingers and when rolled it still feels full.
Appearance: Cigar has a very pleasing overall appearance; the wrapper does have a couple larger veins in it but not anything that would detract from the physical aesthetics of the cigar. Wrapper has a nice chocolate color to it, not as dark as a Maduro.
The wrapper did have a small blemish towards the foot where the wrapper was ripped and exposing the binder – my assumption is that this may have been damage occurred when placed in cello as the other sticks from the box do not appear to have the same blemishes. Cigar appears to have a smooth, tight very uniform roll from head to foot without splits or cracks at the foot. Overall beautiful appearance.
Construction: Pre-light the cigar has very good overall construction, no soft spots or hollow points, wrapper has mostly small veining, no bulges or bumps in the cigar. Cutting is uneventful with no fraying or peeling of the wrapper at the head.
Lighting is very easy and achieved with only one match, and the cigar starts with a very uniform burn. About a half inch in the burn started to become uneven and quickly resulted in about a 45-degree diagonal burn across the cigar. The construction of the cigar maintained its pre-light appearance without any unraveling, splitting or cracking. Head of cigar remained together without fraying or peeling during smoking.
The ash of the cigar was a very dark gray and fairly tight looking. The first ashing occurred at about 1 ½ inches in, likely due to the uneven burn. In the second third of the cigar the burn evened out and remained even throughout the remainder of the cigar. Second ashing occurred at about 2 ½ inches and ashed one more time in the final third at about 2 inches.
Total Appearance and Construction: 12/15
Pre-Light aroma: This cigar has an almost incense smell about it which is very pleasing, reminds me of a cross of sandalwood incense with notes of pepper and hints of cocoa and tobacco – very pleasing aroma which has me excited to taste the cigar.
Pre-Light Flavor: The pre-light draw has produced a taste of sweet tobacco with hints of pepper and wood – quite pleasing on the tongue.
Beginning flavor: At light the cigar produced a flavor profile of pepper and hay which lasted about an inch into the cigar before giving way to mostly pepper with notes of wood through the first third. Towards the end of the first third there was a definite profile of pepper on the nose and tip of the tongue at exhale, but not overpowering. The strength profile started as a mild-medium, more mild bodies than medium, and lasted almost half way through the cigar.
Continuing flavor: At the beginning of the second third the flavor profile has blended into a mix of pepper and wood with subtle hints of honey. The honey only lasted to about the half way point of the cigar, giving way to a predominant pepper with wood and straight tobacco flavors. The strength profile has evolved to a medium by this point. Continuing through the second third of the cigar there are notes of spice that have started to enter the blend.
Ending flavor: The final third of the cigar has maintained the pepper and wood profile, not overpowering in any regards, the smoke is quite pleasant and honestly relaxing. The strength profile has remained as a medium body. Approaching the end of the cigar the flavor profile has pepper and spice increasing, giving a very noticeable aftertaste of spice and pepper on the tongue and lips, with subtle notes of wood and tobacco in the background.
Total Flavor: 23/25
Smoking Characteristics (25)
Light: Cigar was exceptionally easy to light, very fast and started even. Cigar did not require a relight during smoking.
Draw: Draw was smooth and easy, smoke flowed at an effortless rate on the draw making for an easy, relaxing smoke.
Smoke: Smoke was creamy and had a very pleasing aroma with sweet honey notes.
Texture: Smoke texture is very smooth with a thick texture.
Balance as smoked: The balance of the flavors on this smoke was very well crafted starting with a pepper and hay flavor on the light which blended into a pepper and wood profile about an inch into the cigar. The strength of the cigar started as a mild-medium and by the end of the first third had evolved to a medium bodied smoke which remained through the finish. The flavor profile blended very well, with the new flavors subtly blending in with the previous before becoming the dominate flavor. This cigar was definitely blended quite well.
Total Smoking Characteristics: 23/25
Overall Impression (35)
This was a pleasant smoke overall – the flavor profiles blended nicely without any sudden or drastic changes. As far as strength is concerned, the cigar is advertised as a medium-full however it is my experience that it is more of a mild-medium to start and tops out as a medium bodied smoke half way through to the finish. The flavor profile and the aroma put off by the smoke is very pleasing and the smoke is quite relaxing. The construction of the cigar was pretty good, except for a minor flaw in the wrapper the biggest issue was the uneven burn that occurred soon after lighting and lasted to about halfway through the stick. Coming from a top shelf manufacturer I think this cigar could have been better, but all things considered it is still a fine smoke.
Total Overall Impression: 32/35
I would rate this cigar as a second shelf cigar – not Oliva’s best and certainly nowhere near a Serie V, but for a cigar store exclusive, this cigar was blended and rolled quite well. The flavor profile and strength of the cigar make me think that it would be paired well with a bourbon or whiskey on a nice afternoon. If you are looking for a full flavor stick, this won’t quite wet your appetite, however if you’re looking for a relaxing smoke with a medium body than this cigar fits the bill. Overall, this is a cigar that I would keep in my rotation and I look forward to seeing how much this cigar can improve with a little more time to rest in the humidor. In the end I would give this cigar an A rating with a final score of 90/100.
Cigar Informer Grade: 90/100