I had an interesting discussion about retrohaling last week. When asked how often and how much, people responded in a wide variety of ways.
- Some retrohaled only a couple of times every third, and a small minority not at all.
- Others retrohaled the entire length of a cigar on every puff.
- The majority seemed to retrohale somewhere between every puff to every 5th puff.
- Notable comment on technique: “Take a puff. When about 80% of the smoke is out of your mouth, put your tongue flat up on the roof of your mouth. With your mouth open, blow a little through your nose. If you do it right, you will get little to no smoke out your nose, but your palate will dance with all the flavors.“
- Comment on sipping versus herfing: “Every so often. A little bit of the puff. And if you take puffs of varying length and force, from a little sip to a big ol HERF, you’ll get different flavors. Also if you aim the cigar into different parts of the mouth center tongue, sides of tongue, roof of mouth…) you’ll sometimes get more variety“.
Interesting new tips to learn from. Anyway. I’ve got a wedding in a few hours and some time to kill, so today’s smoke is the Oliva Masters Blends 3 Liga Maestra. Bought a 5er of these from Famous Smoke as part of my first haul.
The Master Blends 3 was introduced in 2006 and was Oliva’s flagship series before being overtaken by the V Series in 2007. Feedback from the community is overwhelmingly positive and they get snapped up quick every time there’s a sale.
Vitolas offered in this blend include:
- Churchill (7 x 50)
- Torpedo (6 x 52)
- Double Robusto (5 x 54)
- Robusto (5 x 50)
- Corona Gorda (6 x 46)
For this review I’m smoking my second MB3.
- Strength: Full
- Shape: Double Robusto
- Size: 5 x 54
- Filler: Nicaraguan ligero
- Binder: Nicaragua habano
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Broadleaf Sungrown (Maduro)
You can clearly see the different colours of the filler and binder in this close up shot.
Appearance and construction: This is an extremely compacted box pressed double robusto. Firm and solid to the press, a lot of tobacco is packed in. Wrapper is dark and looks like it’s been rolled together seamlessly. Wrapper is toothy and feels rough and touch, there’s no risk of wrapper damage by sliding the band. Large veins are present along one edge of this cigar.
Aroma and cold draw: Strong pungent earthiness, dark chocolate, honey sweetness. Hints of wet autumn leaves and liquorice. I opt for a V-cut, and the resulting draw is perfect.
Got Phil Collin’s greatest hits on. This is prime-time, we about to get lit!
- Greeted with strong flavours of dark chocolate, sweetness, and toast
- White pepper hints, but retrohale is smooth from the starting gates.
- Generous production of thick white smoke
- Secondary aromas leather, cedar, grass, nuts, which are more prominent in the retro.
3:48pm 0.5cm in
- Ash is looking solid as expected, ashline is a little wonky
- Cream, dark roast coffee, white pepper now more prominent. Fantastic.
- Overall very tasty and enjoyable with rich oily sweetness, dark chocolate and coffee the dominant drivers
- Cream and toast secondary drivers, followed by hints of leather, nuts, cinnamon.
- Oddly at times, I’m getting an aftertaste in my mouth that’s a mix of watermelon rind and rosewood. Hangs around for 15-20 minutes.
- Approaching the second third, ash falls off. Ashline continues to be wonky, and a couple of minor touchups needed. I blame myself for not dryboxing this cigar beforehand – these burn issues did not occur with my first MB3!!
- Creamy sweet marzipan slowly pulls up alongside the chocolate & roast coffee, but never taking the spotlight.
- Otherwise, the flavour profile is consistent with the first third.
- Herfing brings out a mineral flavour on the first puff, and a citrusy flavour on the second.
- Body is full flavoured with a moderate tannic finish.
- Strength is medium.
- Getting a bit of vanilla and floral hints here in the middle of the second third. Floral aroma doesn’t hang around long.
- Herfing definately brings out something like citrus or sour fruit.
- Dominant flavour profile continues to be consistent, its a great partnership between the chocolate and dark roast coffee, with cream and toast in support.
4:58pm 3.5 fingers to go
- Closer to the end of the second third, I’m sensing the grassiness coming back
- Also, the dark roast coffee seems to be winning over the chocolate.
- Overall the main falvour profile seems to be less vibrant as this new grassiness is taking place. Suspect the moisture is increasing, along with a sense of mustiness. Definately a dumb mistake to not dry box…I was too keen to fire it up!
- Strength is stepping up to medium full.
5:14pm 2.5 fingers to go
- The flavour deviation around 5pm have lessened, but the aftertaste is still somewhat musty. I blame not dry boxing, because the problem seems to go away when I fix the canoeing and the burnline.
- The main flavour profile persists, but more a focus on the roast coffee. A new mineral flavour coming in but this is undercut by the grassy mustiness.
- More and more touch ups required to fix the canoeing, again reinforcing my mistake of not dry boxing. Flavours appear to return after each touch up.
- Herfing now starting to bring out bitter notes. This is too much, I’m pulling the pin with 2 fingers to go.
5:22pm. Total time 1hr 44m.
The Oliva Master Blends 3 is a rich, oily, sweet and earthy cigar that provides dominant notes of chocolate and dark roast coffee, supported by secondary flavours of cream, toast, and hints of sweet spices, white pepper, leather, cedar, vanilla, nuts. Smooth and complex blend of flavours.
Construction-wise, a dense cigar with a lot of tobacco packed in. Rough and toothy maduro wrapper with the body is rock solid to the press. Smoke production was white, thick and generous throughout the experience.
I’ve smoked two of these now and overall, I found the Master Blends 3 to be an excellent cigar with strong sweet earthy flavours that I enjoyed very much.
Would I buy it again? Hell yeah!
Would I buy a box? Yup. Just laid some hard-earned with Holts on their MB3 Monster Deal.
Would I smoke it every day? If I were an everyday smoker, would be happy to smoke it a few times a week.