The Oliveros Gran Retorno is a line of three blends offered by Boutique Blends Cigars. The name “Gran Retorno” means “Great Return.” When it comes to the Oliveros Gran Retorno, it’s actually a second “Great Return.” To understand this we need to go back into the history of 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. Gran Retorno was launched in three lines – Maduro, Connecticut, and. 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 Maduro 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.
With our further ado, let’s turn our attention to the Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing and we break down this cigar and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro features a Nicaraguan maduro wrapper over all Nicaraguan tobaccos. The Gran Retorno Maduro as well as the Habano are 100% Nicaraguan puros. 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 Maduro, Habano, and Connecticut lines. Each utilizes 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 Nicaraguan wrapper of the Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing has a roasted espresso color with a slightly toothy surface. There is some oil on the wrapper. There are some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
The Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut has a blue, gold, and pale yellow color scheme. The upper center of the band has a pale yellow field with gold adornments and blue trim. On the field is the text “OLIVEROS” in blue font. The lower third of the band is mostly blue 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 blue font.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing. After the cap was clipped, it was time for the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered a mix of earth, leather, and dried fruit. Overall this was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to light up the Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing delivered a mix of coffee, earth, cedar, and black pepper. Early on the coffee notes moved on to the forefront and had a deep roasted coffee flavor. The earth, cedar, and pepper notes settled into the background and were joined by a mixed fruit note. On the retro-hale, there was also an additional layer of black pepper.
During the second third of Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing, the coffee notes remained grounded in the forefront. Some of the richness that was present with the coffee notes in the first third diminished. In the background, there was a slight increase of the cedar and pepper notes. The earth and fruit notes also were present in the background.
The last third of the Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing still saw the coffee notes in the forefront. The pepper notes had made their way up to a close secondary note. Rounding out the flavor profile were the cedar, earth, and fruit notes. This is the way the Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn to the Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing started out low maintenance, but as the cigar experience progressed, there were more touch-ups needed to maintain a straight burn path and a straight burn line. The resulting ash had a silver-gray color. This wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it wasn’t loose or flaky either. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw of the Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing was open, but not loose. Normally I do prefer a little more resistance on the draw, but in the end, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The flavors delivered by the Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing were medium to full in body from start to finish. As for the strength level, the Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro started out medium and progressed to medium to full in the second half. In terms of strength versus body, the body held the advantage throughout the entire smoking experience.
The Oliveros Gran Retorno Maduro Swing marks a nice return for the Oliveros brand. This is a solid Nicaraguan puro that one can enjoy at a very affordable price. It’s a cigar that has rich, but not overpowering flavors. I don’t think many people have a “cigar rotation,” but if one was to make one, this is a great candidate maduro – nice flavor and just enough complexity and boldness to keep one interested. This is a cigar I would recommend to a seasoned cigar enthusiast. I’d also recommend this to a novice looking for something “medium plus.” As for myself, this is a cigar that I intend to smoke again and buy multiples of to keep in my humidor. At 90 points, it scores enough to earn a Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence delegation.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Earth, Fruit, Cedar, pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop