The Oliveros Gran Retorno is a line of three blends offered by Boutique Blends Cigars. Ten years ago, before there was a Boutique Blends Cigars, there was Oliveros Cigars. During the Oliveros Cigars’ days, the company launched two successful brands – Aging Room and Swag. These brands became the primary brands in the Oliveros portfolio, and eventually, it led to the company rebranding itself as Boutique Blends Cigars. While the Oliveros’ branded cigars never disappeared they did go into the background. In 2016, co-owners Rafael Nodal and Hank Bischoff decided to bring the Oliveros brand back to the spotlight launching the Oliveros Gran Retorno line – a name that was appropriate because it translated from Spanish to “Great Return”. Gran Retorno was launched in three lines – Connecticut, Habano, and Maduro. In 2017, Boutique Blends would enter into its strategic alliance with Altadis USA. At the time, Boutique Blends made the decision to focus on the Aging Room brand and put the Oliveros Gran Retorno on hold. Fast forward to 2020, and the Gran Retorno returns again – this time with an extra-aged blend. Today we take a look at the Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut in the “Swing” (Toro) size.
When Oliveros Gran Retorno was launched in 2016, production was handled out of the El Galan factory in Nicaragua. Along the way, a decision was made to move production to the Plasencia factory. The 2020 Oliveros Gran Retorno line features tobaccos and cigars that have undergone significant aging. The aging of the Oliveros Gran Retorno involved a unique three-stage aging process that first involved aging the tobaccos in traditional bales for 24 months. The cigars then remained “reposado” in the factory Cedar Room for six months before being packed and aged for more than 33 months in their individual cedar boxes in the company’s humidor in Tampa, Fla. This three-stage process involved over five years of aging.
For now we turn our attention to the Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut Swing and we break down this cigar and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut features a Connecticut Shade wrapper grown in Honduras over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The Gran Retorno Habano and Maduro versions are Nicaraguan puros, thus the Gran Retorno Connecticut is the only one of the three releases to incorporate a non-Nicaraguan leaf.
Wrapper: Honduran Connecticut
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Plasencia S.A.
The Oliveros Gran Retorno is offered in the same three sizes for the Connecticut, Habano, and Maduro lines. Each utilize musical names (something Boutique Blends has a history of doing due to Rafael Nodal’s love of music). Each is presented in 20-count boxes.
Swing: 50 x 6
Banjo: 52 x 4 1/2
Fiddle: 54 x 6
The Honduran Connecticut Shade wrapper of the Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut Swing had a light brown color with a slightly weathered root. There was a light amount of oil on the wrapper. There were some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The surface of this wrapper had a slight bumpy complexion to it.
The Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut had a red, gold, and pale yellow color scheme. The upper center of the band has a pale yellow field with gold adornments and red trim. On the field is the text “OLIVEROS” in red font. The lower third of the band is mostly red with the text “GRAN RETORNO” in gold font. On the lower part of the band is a pale yellow stripe with the number “2” in red font.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut Swing. After removing the cap it was on to the pre-light draw phase. The cold draw delivered a mix of cedar, earth, and cream. This wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw, but it certainly wasn’t a negative experience here. Since the pre-light draw is not scored, there was no loss of points here. At this point it was time to light up the Oliveros Gran Retorno Swing and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut Swing started out with a nice assortment of flavors: cedar, cream, earth, baker’s spice, citrus, nut and black pepper. There was no dominant note in the early stages, but eventually the citrus and cream notes moved into the forefront. The other notes settled into a secondary note. The black pepper was in the distant background on the tongue, but more prominent on the retro-hale.
The second third of the Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut Swing saw the citrus and cream notes remain in the forefront. During this phase, the citrus and cream started to diminish while the earth and cedar notes increased. Just past the midway point, the earth and cedar notes displaced the citrus and cream in the forefront. Later in the second third, the black pepper started to increase on the tongue.
The last third didn’t see much change. The earth and cedar were primary. The pepper was more prominent than earlier and the nut, baker’s spice, cream, and citrus notes were still present. This part of the cigar had more muddling of the flavors and the cigar exhibited some signs of harshness. This is the way the Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut Swing came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut Swing exhibited great combustion. This reflected nicely the score of the burn. The cigar had no problems maintaining a straight burn path and straight burn line without an excessive amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm with a salt and pepper color to it. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both had ideal levels.
The draw to the Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut Swing had a touch of resistance to it – which is something that I like. This was also a cigar that produced a nice amount of smoke during the cigar experience.
Strength and Body
When it comes to Connecticut Shade cigars, the Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut was one that was more traditional – delivering a profile on the milder side. This was a cigar that started out with mild strength and mild to medium body. By the second half, the strength progressed to mild to medium, and the body progressed into the medium range.
In terms of strength versus body, the body maintained an edge throughout the smoking experience.
The Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut Swing delivered a solid performance. I liked the traditional aspects of this cigar being on the milder side. From a complexity standpoint, there was a nice amount of flavor nuances and transitions along the way that kept me interesting. The flavor profile performed solidly for the first two-thirds, but the final third of this cigar is where things became somewhat harsh and muddled. There still are more pluses than minuses with this cigar – and at $7.70 per cigar, the Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut Swing has a nice value. This is a cigar I would recommend to any enthusiast. It’s a cigar I would buy and smoke again. It’s also a cigar I would look to smoke in the other two sizes being offered.
Key Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Red Pepper, Cedar, Cherry
Complexity: Medium to High
Strength: Mild (1st Half), Mild to Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop