Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Torpedo
Size : 6.0″ x 52
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Sun Grown
Filler : Nicaraguan Habano
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : $7 each
The Oliva Special S is the Oliva’s top shelf offering in their regular production lines. The limited production Master Blends are the other top shelf line from the Olivas. One thing I noticed on the Oliva site is that they have an aging recommendation for their cigars. The Special S apparently should be aged for five years. I find this a little strange, because to the best of my knowledge Oliva does not date their boxes. I could be wrong because I haven’t bought a whole box of Oliva’s since I bought my box of the original Master Blends several years ago. However, if I’m right and they do not date their boxes, the aging recommendation seems kind of silly to me because there is no real way to know how old the cigars are at the time of purchase. I guess you’d have to start counting from when you bought them. Anyway, as far as I know, this Special S is nowhere near 5 years old. It has been in my humidor for about 2 months.
The Special S is a handsome looking cigar with an elegant presentation. Unfortunately I failed to take a picture before I put the cigar to flame and this one certainly deserved a photo display. I was unable to find an adequate picture anywhere on the web to share with you here. Thanks to the cigar band collection at StogieFresh.com I am at least able to display the band. In addition to the elegant band you see above, the majority of the cigars length is hidden in a cedar sleeve that is decorated at the foot with a deep brown band printed with the words “Special S” and the Oliva “O” logo in shiny gold lettering. The overall effect is a beautifully presented cigar. I have heard a rumor the the Special S’s days are numbered and that there are plans to discontinue this line. I have not been able to find anything to confirm that. I also heard the Master Blend 3 will become a regular production cigar, effectively replacing the Special S as Oliva’s regular production, top-shelf smoke. Again, these rumors are from a single source and I haven’t been able to find any more information on this to confirm it. If it does turn out to be true and you are a fan of the Special S, you may want to think about stocking up.
Even though the Special S sports some nice duds, the cigar can hold its own in the beauty department even if it were naked. The Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapped used on these smokes is flawless. Smooth with only very tiny veins, it is milk chocolate in color, has an oily sheen, and is perfectly applied to a well filled cigar. I clipped the tapered head with my trusty Palio and tested the draw. It was too tight so I trimmed a bit more off the head in hopes of opening up the draw a little more. It didn’t seem to help so I was left to hope it would loosen up a bit during the smoke. As it turns out it didn’t. The cigar wasn’t plugged and it was certainly smokable, but I had to pull harder than what feels comfortable to me. By the end, my jaw was tired and I developed a bit of a headache because of the tight draw. Other than the draw, which was probably a fluke and not common, there were no other construction related issues. The burn was perfect and the ash firm and well formed. Flavor wise this cigar was pretty good, but nothing I would call “Special” (pun intended). This was a very smooth smoke, medium bodied, and medium in strength. I tasted good flavors of leather and coffee and there was a bit of spice on the finish. The cigar never changed, never did anything to make me think wow, just good solid flavors that remained consistent from start to finish. Near the end it became difficult to keep the cigar lit because of the overly tight draw so I put it down a little sooner than I probably would have otherwise.
The Special S is a good smoke that is refined and smooth. Construction seemed excellent except for the draw problem and the flavors are very enjoyable but one dimensional. I would hope for a bit more from what is supposed to be a premium cigar.