I can at least say the band actually looks pretty good, fitting into both the style of the Nub line and being American themed without going overboard.
Review: NUb USA
It’s the sixth and final review of the STUDIO TOBAC World Tour Sampler 2012 and perhaps the most interesting cigar in the sampler, the NUb USA. The concept is pretty simple: take the NUb 456 size and use some American tobacco.
Brooks already provided a pretty extensive history of the STUDIO TOBAC Limited Edition Sampler 2012:
On April 5, 2012, STUDIO TOBAC launched their 2012 World Tour at Tampa Humidor in Tampa, Florida, which has one of only three Oliva Lounges in the USA. The Tour is meant to introduce people to the STUDIO TOBAC brand and the events include rolling from Bryan “The Show” Scholle, the Ambassador of STUDIO TOBAC, and exclusive samplers offered as a promotional item that can only be acquired by buying boxes of Oliva products at the events.
Each sampler comes with six different cigars, five of which are prototypes. Here are what the sampler boxes that the ST-002 come in look like:
Included in each are (left to right):
- NUb 460 USA
- Cain F Maduro Robusto
- STUDIO TOBAC Prototype Connecticut ST-EFG01
- Cain Daytona Maduro Figurado
- STUDIO TOBAC Prototype Habano Toro ST-002
- Cain Daytona Lancero
And the particulars.
Cigar Reviewed: NUb USA
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A.
Filler: USA & Undisclosed
Size: 4 Inches
Ring Gauge: 56
Date Released: April 16, 2012
Number of Cigars Released: n/a
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
With the rise of the 60 and now 64 ring gauge cigars, 56 seems sadly pedestrian. There’s a super pronounced cap on this example, although that seems to be a unique trait and not something prevalent. While the roll could without a doubt be better, the wrapper is relatively veinless. Aroma is interesting, a bit of leather and some zesty lime. From the foot, the NUb USA amps up the uniqueness with a heavy zesty lime flavor, some white pepper and a more generic tobacco note. Cold draw is open with the zesty flavor mixing with nuts, although it’s much more of a sweeter citrus tone than before.
The first third of the NUb USA starts really open with barely any smoke in my mouth. Initial flavors are a sweet and sour (not the sauce) meatiness followed by cedars, creaminess and nuts. In addition, there’s a unique lemon note on the back of the throat causing me to salivate. Despite a minute of toasting, the NUb struggles to produce smoke and seems almost dead. Five minutes in and the flavor is a generic harsh woodsiness. By the end of the first third it’s creamy with cedar, some earth and a touch of lemon. The finish of the NUb retains the harshness with a touch of creaminess and cedar.
By the time the second third rolls around the smoke production has at least turned itself around even if the draw of the STUDIO TOBAC is at best inconsistent. Flavor is now a sour meatiness with the harshness going in and out. The one redeeming quality of the NUb USA at this point is the finish which features a touch of creaminess, cedar and black pepper. Strength is medium, barely.
The final third somewhat predictably sees whats left of the first two thirds begin to wander off and become harsh and muddled. The NUb never goes out, but it very easily could have. Fortunately, the draw seems to improve for at least the latter half of the second third and initial parts of the final third, but even that quickly disappears. Eventually it seems apparent the cigar is done, so I stop.
- I didn’t attempt a NUb stand. While I’m not an everyday NUb smoker, like I said in the Undercrown Flying Pig review—I’ve had enough to know that it definitely has an effect on the flavor and the way you have to smoke the cigar.
- Strength is medium, perhaps the lightest STUDIO TOBAC-banded cigar to date.
- Trying to find a regular Oliva to compare this to is difficult—there’s not really anything that reminds me of this flavor profile. I will say the aroma and cold draw zestiness are the first time I’ve ever gotten that in a cigar.
- Despite my noted fondness for Lanceros, I actually like the flavor of a few NUbs.
- The NUb USA could not burn evenly, period. Quite a few touch-ups were needed.
- We try to smoke more than one example for a lot of reasons, sometimes it can’t happen. In this case, I don’t feel bad, given the only way to get one is to purchase a box at a STUDIO TOBAC event, something most only get the opportunity to do once or twice a year—meaning there are few people that don’t work for Oliva who have smoked more than five of these.
- When Brooks and I were at TABOLISA a few months ago, the guide told us the most skilled workers roll NUbs. It didn’t really make much sense to me, as it seems like it would be a lot easier to roll than a lot of Oliva’s cigars, particularly some of their sharply box-pressed Torpedoes.
- This is not an American puro, as with most of the STUDIO TOBAC blends, Oliva won’t comment on the exactness of the blend.
- Last week Oliva announced a new limited edition sampler, amongst the cigars included was the Oliva Serie V 460, a NUb.
- The NUb USA was sent to us by Oliva.
- Oliva actually puts a recommended smoking time on the boxes for regular production NUbs, they tend to be somewhat absurd given my normally slow pace. It took me about an hour and fifteen minutes before stopping.
The Bottom Line: There are a lot of American-themed cigars, unfortunately most are quite bad. The Camacho Liberty is an overpriced shadow of what was once the pinnacle of the company’s creativity, the CAO America is my least favorite of the company’s current portfolio, the Alec Bradley American Classic might be passable for a $5 cigar—but it’s far from Alan Rubin’s best. Ironically, the best American-themed cigar is one most Americans can’t pronounce, Tatuaje’s American puro, the La Casita Criolla. Here was an average tasting cigar with poor construction, unfortunately another disappointment for the American-branded cigars. The NUb USA isn’t awful, but it’s a bit off from Oliva’s norm, far from the best NUb and most certainly my least favorite creation to wear a STUDIO TOBAC secondary band.
Final Score: 79