New Ash: Oliva Cain Habano

The Oliva Cain was introduced last month during IPCPR in New Orleans in both a habano and maduro wrappers. This new blend is another brain child from Sam Leccia of the Nub fame. I met Sam along with Ian Hummel and Josh Rushlo, Oliva sales representatives, at IPCPR in New Orleans and they gave me samples to review. They completely sold out at the show, as the responses from cigar retailers was overwhelming. The cigar is a triple fermented straight ligero cigar with tobaccos from farms in Esteli, Condega, and the Jalapa Valley in Nicaragua. It comes in three sizes:

Today, I’m sampling the habano in the Toro size, which is my second favorite vitola, corona gorda being my first. I will sample the maduro version a little later this month.
Let’s see how it smokes!


This cigar has a great wrapper. Nice chocolately brown with no large veins. The wrapper has a oily feel to it and the cigar is very firm. No soft spots or blemishes on the wrapper. The cap is well wrapped with smooth lines.
Cain Habano Appearance

Pre-light Aroma

The wrapper has a strong spicy, earthy aroma that is quite pleasant. The draw on the cigar after the clip is effortless which is nice and smooth with just the right about of tension. The flavors on the draw are spicy and earthy like the wrapper, but it has a hay aspect to it also. The foot has a stronger leathery note.

First Third

This is a stronger cigar, but what else would you expect from a straight ligero cigar? The cigar has a strong cedary note and the signature Nicaraguan black pepper. There is a nice buttery nutty flavor on the retrohale also. These flavors mesh very well together. The burn is razor sharp and the ash is holding well.
Cain Habano first half

Second Third

The second third has changed a little. One of the largest changes is that I now taste notes of hot peppers. It still has the dominate nutty and cedar notes as the main flavors though. It’s still a pretty damn strong cigar. The cigar also has developed a spice note that really picks up on the retrohale. I’m starting to detect hints of leather also. Quite pleasant considering the strength of the cigar.
Cain Habano second half

Last Third

Not much has changed. The woody note is much stronger though. The black pepper is still every present in the back of the throat. It’s a very spicy cigar. The nuttiness is only detectable on the retrohale. The spices from the second third are all but gone now. Strength is still very much there. The leather has indeed picked up some, but it’s still over powered by the woods and pepper of the cigar.
Cain Habano last half

Overall Impressions

I believe Sam has blended another fine cigar. I still prefer the Nubs to this, but that is just my flavor profile talking. The cigar has really strong flavors of woods, spices, nuts and leather. The burn and draw were superb and the room aroma was very nice as well. I can see why Oliva sold out at IPCPR. I understand the maduro version is even more flavorful and stronger. I’m looking forward to trying that after my experience with the Cain habano. These should be hitting the stores now so definitely go out and check these out and let me know what you think.

Ben Lee

I want to thank Sam Leccia, Ian Hummel and Josh Rushlo for taking the time to talk to me at IPCPR and for providing the samples for review. They are some of the nicest people you will meet in the cigar world. If you are near a Nub/Cain event in your area, make sure you stop by and check it out. You won’t be disappointed. They are also having a contest for a custom Big Bear Paradox. Check out their website to enter:

Cain Cigars
Nub Cigars

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Nice review! My local b&m said they bought 2 of all the different boxes of these because it was the only way to get a certain one – no clue what they were talking about…bit at least we will have them locally for me to try, just in case I want to try and kill myself one evening :)


A really amazing smoke. For all the talk about how strong it is, I found it medium bodied with very good flavor, and just a hint of spice at the mid-way point. Incredibly smooth with great construction. The maduro I found to be full bodied, but not as smooth.

i had this cigar for the first time last night and was in love from the point that i picked it up and held it. i was a little scared, because of the name choice, that this would be a gimmicky smoke, but soon found myself feeling like i had made the best pick out of everyone in the shop (for the time and mood i was in).

i agree with the review above, it’s great (the review). as a kid i remember walking through the woods after a good rain in the fall – that’s what this cigar reminded me of. there was so much to be intrigued with and yet so much the felt comfortable to be around. the oily aspect of the cigar was incredibly pleasant and the buttery aspect of the smoke was insanely wonderful. definitely pick up TWO sticks of this cigar, it’s loveable for sure.

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