I have both the 2011 & the 2012 samplers, and like many limited edition cigars, I have a hard time smoking any of these! I should at some point, and your reviews are pushing me toward lighting one of these up ... occasionally! :-)
Review: STUDIO TOBAC ST-002
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 Tobacco
- Cain F Maduro Robusto
- STUDIO TOBAC Prototype Connecticut ST-EFG01
- Cain Daytona Maduro Figurado
- STUDIO TOBAC Prototype Habano Toro ST-002
- Cain Daytona Lancero
Here is a photo of the STUDIO TOBAC ST-DS001 (top) from last year’s sampler and the STUDIO TOBAC ST-002 (bottom) from this year’s sampler:
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
Cigar Reviewed: STUDIO TOBAC ST-002
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A.
Wrapper: Undisclosed Habano
Size: 6 Inches
Ring Gauge: 50
Release Date: April 5, 2012
Number of Cigars Released: n/a
Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1
The STUDIO TOBAC ST-002 is not the most attractive cigar with a reddish brown wrapper featuring multiple small black spots and veins present. It is fairly smooth to the touch and smells strongly of barnyard, leather and aged wood. When squeezed it appears firm, but not overly so and it does have few soft spots.
The STUDIO TOBAC ST-002 starts off the first third with strong flavors of leather, earth and oak with the leather being dominant at the beginning. There is a nice sweetness underneath the flavors, but it is not strong enough for me to really place as of yet. No spice present at all, but there is just a tiny amount of white pepper on the retrohale. Construction is wonderful with a perfect draw and burn for the entire first third. The smoke is interesting, what I would call an oily texture, it really coats my mouth every time I take a puff. Strength starts off at a mild medium and is increasing noticeably by the end of the third.
Coming into the second third of the Oliva and the flavors, while pretty much the same as the first third, mellow out just a tiny bit. The leather note takes a back seat to the earth and the sweetness ramps up quite a bit. I also taste just a little chocolate, but it is gone pretty quickly after its debut. Spice and pepper are now sadly totally absent, but what is left is a nice, rich, creamy profile. Construction remains wonderful and the strength continues to increase, ending the second third at slightly higher than medium, but only getting stronger.
The final third of the ST-002 continues the creamy and earthy trend from the second third, but I am definitely getting more of a dark coffee note to go along with the leather, oak and tiny amount of chocolate. The sweetness that had been fairly strong part of the profile dies down to a background note again, but I am tasting a floral note that I did not notice in the first two thirds, albeit a faint note. Still no spice or pepper, but the construction is amazing until the last puff. The strength ends just south of Full, never quite going over the line, but that is fine with me.
- STUDIO TOBAC project is basically a brand within a brand within Oliva Family of Cigars.
- Unlike 2011, STUDIO TOBAC has announced there will be no giveaway as part of the World Tour, although the official STUDIO TOBAC vehicle is a Ford F-150 Raptor SVT.
- The smell of the wrapper instantly took me back to my childhood, when I used to visit my uncle on a horse farm in North Carolina. They had a tack shop that I hung out in all summer and when you walked in the door in the summer, the combination of smells (barnyard, leather and aged wood)is almost exactly what I smelled on the wrapper.
- Although they look similar, the two sample boxes are quite different. Last year’s version had the cigars stacked vertically while this years are stacked horizontally, but both have a sticker on the outside of the boxes that details the cigars that are included inside.
- Although I knew that this cigar uses a Habano wrapper, it honestly was not quite as strong as I was expecting, compared to other Habano wrapped cigars I have smoked in the past.
- The Daytona Lancero is the only cigar in the sampler that has been released before, in the Exclusive Collection, which included four each of the Daytona Lancero and Cain F Lancero, as well as a Culebra with an as yet unknown blend.
- The ST-DS001 (STUDIO TOBAC Dark Side) from the first sampler used a San Andrés Maduro wrapper from Mexico. Both the ST-DS001 and the ST-002 are the same length, but St-DS001 is a 52 RG while the ST-002 has a 50 RG and uses a Habano wrapper.
- There are actually six Oliva Cigar Lounges in the world, three in the U.S. and three in Europe:
- Tampa Humidor (Tampa, FL)
- Cross Street Tobacco (Baltimore, MD)
- Cigar Factory Outlet (South Norwalk, CT)
- Den Bosch (Holland)
- Berlin, Germany
- Düsseldorf, Germany
- I absolutely loved the smoke coming off of this cigar, as I said above, it had an oily texture to it that I normally associate more with Sumatra wrappers like in the Tatuaje NHC Capa Especial.
- I cannot say enough about the construction of the STUDIO TOBAC ST-002. The draw was perfect from the start, the burn line was almost perfect for the entire smoke, and the ash held on for almost half the total length and would have probably gone further if I was not concerned about it falling on me and had not tapped it.
- The only way to get one of the ST-002 is to go to a STUDIO TOBAC event and buying a box of Oliva product. Oliva has a calendar of all the scheduled events here.
- The final smoking time was right at one hour and 25 minutes.
The Bottom Line: I knew absolutely nothing about this cigar before I smoked it, other than it was made by Oliva, used a Habano wrapper, the name and that came in the STUDIO TOBAC sampler, so I was not sure what to expect. What I ended up with was a wonderful, flavorful, medium-full cigar with pinnacle-like construction. The profile is not quite as complex as I was hoping, but the flavors it does have it has in spades; extremely rich and distinct. Having said that, I really wish the spice and/or pepper had stuck around longer, even in the small amounts it had in the beginning, but that was just not to be. Overall, a very good cigar that I truly enjoyed and wish I had more of; definitely worthy of being included in the sampler.
Final Score: 90