Inferno 3rd Degree by Oliva | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan (Ligero, Viso)
Size: 6 x 50 “Toro”
Body: Full
Price: $4.75 MSRP (Currently on Sale at Famous Smoke for $3.65)
(Remember: With the KATMAN promo code, you get 15% off any purchase over $75.00.)




Photo courtesy of Famous Smoke Shop:


Today we take a look at the Inferno 3rd Degree by Oliva.
This is a new house brand from Famous Smoke Shop.
Thank you to Cory Grover, of Famous Smoke, for the samples.

The Inferno 3rd Degree follows the Famous Smoke 2012 release of Inferno and the 2014 release of Inferno Flashpoint.
It seems I’m the last reviewer to review this cigar. I found 2-1/2 Google pages full of reviews. And all Famous supplied cigars. I must have been an afterthought…maybe an afterbirth?

From Famous Smoke Shop web site:
“Inferno 3rd Degree Cigars are here to stoke the ember of our collective passion of cigars by lighting our taste buds on fire with an assault of complex flavors, and a blast of 4 alarm strength. This Oliva original cigar is an all Nicaraguan stogie featuring only premium triple-fermented tobaccos, all encased in an eye-opening Habano seed wrapper.”

The wrapper’s appearance varies greatly from one stick to another. One is nearly seamless with very few veins and a couple big veins.
Another has veins that look those from a body builder’s arms. Not to mention, it is extremely lumpy and bumpy with depressions in the stick where the filler is not adequate.
I pick the nice looking stick to review.

It does have a triple cap; rare on inexpensive cigars. The oily wrapper is the color of a reddish tinted dark pecan wood. The wrapper is silky smooth.
The cigar band is simple and if not for the little number 3° in a circle with different color stripes, this could easily be confused with the original.

Robusto: 5 x 50 $4.55 MSRP
Toro: 6 x 50 $4.75 MSRP
Double Toro: 6 x 60 $5.15 MSRP
Churchill: 7 x 50 $4.95 MSRP
No prices reflect current On Sale pricing.
Comes in boxes of 20, 10 packs, 5 packs, and Singles. All on sale. And with a box purchase, you get a free 5 pack.

From the shaft, I smell wonderful dark cocoa with marshmallows, oak, spice, fruit, dark espresso, and sweetness.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell super dark chocolate candy bar, very strong spice, peppermint, coffee, oak, and sweetness.
The cold draw presents flavors of creaminess, cinnamon, spice, chocolate, oak, and honey.

This will be my first cigar of the samples sent. I believe I received them a few weeks ago; not sure.
The draw is excellent.
First flavors up: Big dose of creaminess, chocolate, spice, lots of malts, coffee, honey, floral notes, and oak.
Delicious right out of the gate. Good sign.
Strength is medium body.

The peppermint aroma did not translate to flavor. Too bad. But Charlotte, from across the room actually asks me what I’m smoking? “It smells good.” I’m plotzing. You know how many times I’ve heard that from her? Maybe twice in a gazillion years.

And then, in the back of my throat, (with the stick resting in the ashtray), I can just barely taste a nuance of peppermint. If I had shut up and let my palate do the work, I might have tasted this before writing I didn’t taste it. Make any sense? Sorry. I’m insane. Alzheimer’s. I crack myself up sometimes.
The malts become very strong, nearly overtaking other main flavors.


The red pepper turns everything topsy turvy. Wow! A pepper bomb! My eyes water, my shnoz runs, and my ears are leaking brain capacity. I love it!!
I’m very impressed that the Inferno 3rd Degree has started aggressively so quickly.

If the Inferno 3rd Degree continues on this path, I will be forced to highly recommend it. And would love to own some myself. My kind of blend. Nothing fancy but substantial flavors and good balance and nice finish. With plenty of power and spice.

I didn’t choose the stick that looked under filled or just pushed in. I do believe that it may have some warehouse clown’s thumbprint on it from grabbing it too hard because the one I’m smoking is solidly packed. A very slow smoke. And the bumpy stick feels just as solid so I take back that I think it is under filled.

Isn’t it thrilling to read this idiot’s review in real time? No going back and correcting myself so I don’t look stupid. If I behave stupid, well then…you get to see the real me. Not a copywriter.
Plus, due to stream of consciousness style of writing, you get to read a 25,000 word novel.

Orange citrus enters the picture. Nice tartness that balances well with the generic sweetness.
And then either a touch of caramel or toffee. I have trouble remembering the difference.
I have trouble remembering if I put underwear on in the morning.

The stick moves towards medium/full.

This morning’s music selection is “The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Live” from 2001. With my great headphones, it is kicking ass. The drummer is my high school mate, Stephen Hodges. We played in bands together right until I left for Europe in the early 70’s. He went on to fame and has played with some killer big time bands. And still does as well as teach music at the college in Long Beach.

He got a lot of attention early, and discovered by Tom Waits, because he used a real 36° diameter marching drum for his kick drum. He was nearly hidden behind that thing.

I’m finding some real complexity. Characteristics keep changing like on the wheel of fortune. I’m getting nice floral notes, then the fruity sweetness, then the big time malts, then chocolate, etc.
Strength is definitely medium/full with 1-1/2” burned

Smoke time is 25 minutes.
I’m doing the bop in my chair as I listen to this kick ass music. I love the blues. All I played the last 20 years or so. The hell with classic rock cover bands. Or tribute bands.

Here they are: Spice, chocolate, creaminess, malts, floral notes, fruity sweetness, raisins, black cherry, coffee, oak, caramel, and the lightest touch of peppermint.
I really like this cigar. Thank you Cory.

Cory also sent me the behemoth CAO Flathead Steel Horse Bullneck. 6.5 x 66. I don’t know how anyone managed to review this cigar fairly without several months of humidor time. Fortunately, a reader sent me a few of its little brother; the Apehanger: 5.5 x 58. I smoked one the other day and the last half was pretty good so I shall review it towards the end of January. And tell you this is what Cory sent me.


The shift is beginning to occur to full body as I feel a bit light headed.
Transitions aren’t as plentiful as I would like but the Inferno 3rd Degree still tastes good.

Here are the usual suspects: Chocolate Rye Malt, Crystal/Caramel Malt, and Honey Malt. (See Malt Chart).

Honey seems to morph from the caramel womb.
It’s alive! Run! It’s alive!!

The halfway point.
Smoke time is 35 minutes.

Oh yeah…OK now…yeah…The Inferno 3rd Degree has reached very, very full body.
It’s just like the late 60’s again. The pictures on the wall are melting. I see my dead relatives motioning me to the bright light. Whew. And I’m only halfway through. Oy Gevalt!!


But then a blast of flavors occur. Transitions are running wild and need to be herded into a corral before they run off.
Coffee, malts, floral notes, honeysuckle, and creaminess are doing the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Or the Tea Cup ride. Either one guaranteed to make you blow chunks. I was such a wuss growing up in Long Beach. Going to Disneyland all the time. Once on each of those rides taught me a lesson. Don’t go on them again.
I find myself levitating. I’m about a foot off the ground.
Now this is a good cigar!

Probably should have eaten something.

I think I’m going blind. Oh wait. My eyes were closed.

The Inferno 3rd Degree is veering towards a third act flavor bomb status.
The peppermint becomes very strong now. No subtlety. Way out front.
Actually, it’s not peppermint. It’s wintergreen.

Man, Oliva did us smokers a real solid with this blend. Who needs La Bomba? The Inferno 3rd Degree makes that blend seem like a Macanudo.
Remember the warning underneath the box lid of the La Bombas? Ha.

The Inferno 3rd Degree should come with a defibrillator. (Why am I having pain in my left arm?)

Just checked the weather. It is -15° at 9am. Double Brrr….We just beat the 3rd Degree by 18°.

This is two reviews in a row that are Famous Smoke house blends. Both excellent cigars. I was just getting into the groove with Famous and before I can blink, it will all be over.

The flavor profile is pretty damn good. And with only a few weeks of humi time. Very unusual for Oliva. Normally, their blends take months. New Breed love.

The construction, despite its funky appearance has been top notch. The char line only required one minor touch up.

Once again, my argument that a really good cigar need not cost $12, has come to fruition.
I check Cigar Monster, and while it doesn’t have either the Inferno 3rd Degree or the Carnage, it has a really nice selection of good cigars. “If I were a rich man…”

A side bar…Many thanks to Jim Grande for the care package yesterday. Most certainly appreciated.
The Inferno 3rd Degree is a blend I can highly recommend.

Famous Smoke has a sale on now and savings are between 23%-33%. Now is the time to strike.
And don’t forget the Katman promo code for 15% off $75 purchases. The Churchill MSRP is normally $4.95. With the sale, they are $3.80. With the 15% promo code, they are $3.23 per stick. Ridiculously crazy.

I was sent the original Inferno a few months ago, and while a good cigar, the Inferno 3rd Degree is a quantum leap. Never had the opportunity to smoke the Inferno Flashpoint.

The nicotine is not as strong as expected. But still a third to go.
Make sure if you snag some Inferno 3rd Degree cigars, eat a hefty meal first.

Transitions are hot and heavy now. Excellent balance. And a very nice finish. Lip smackin’ good.
Raisins really come to the surface now. The minty element has all but disappeared. Probably killed off by the full body.

Smoke time is 50 minutes.
I’m truly impressed with the construction. I’ve been having trouble with some of my very few good cigars. The burn lines needed a ton of corrections. Not the Inferno 3rd Degree. Makes a big difference in the enjoyment of a cigar.

Newbies: Do not try this at home.
The sun comes out. It is blinding outside with the sun reflecting the snow.


The Inferno 3rd Degree is just touching the hem of becoming a flavor bomb.
The nicotine has died down…either that, or I have brain damage.
The complexity is full throttle.

I don’t understand the reviews that thought this was a blah blend. It is the farthest thing from the truth. I guess you have to chalk it up to the palate.

But if you have a good palate, then you will certainly dig the Inferno 3rd Degree. No one tasted the flavors I do. A couple came close. But that’s OK. Famous saved the best reviewer for last.
When you buy some, make sure you tell Famous the Katman sent you. Even better, buy a box and use the promo code. They will know for sure.

I can count on one hand the cigar blends as good as the Inferno 3rd Degree for the ridiculously low price.
My only astute observation is that Oliva should have put out a Corona. That would have been a real ball buster. Although, maybe Oliva was thinking about saving lives by not releasing it in a smaller size.

This has been a really good time. Never lost interest.
The end of the stick stays firm. No heat or harshness. But it does see a big uptick in spiciness.
Thank you Cory.
Final smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.


NOTE: Peter Leviten. Please email me. I have some questions. Thanks.

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5 replies

  1. Stay away from that Leviten character. He’s a real whackjob. : – )

  2. Yeah, I know. He sent me a photo of himself wearing a Cossack get up and a tu-tu. That’s just not right. 🙂

  3. Not really a communication on this cigar. But great review. I’ve been disappointed so many times with house blends that I avoid them . Good to know there are some pure breds in the sea of dogs.
    Actually I wanted to put my 2 cents in about the Henry Clay tattoo.
    My local B&B has had a box here for over a year but I avoided them because of your review. Then last week I picked one up in the shop and it smelled so good I had to try it. Wow . and I’ve smoked 3 altogether now. Apparently they get much much better when aged. I recommend you trying them again after they rest for about a year. You may be pleasantly surprised.
    Some suggestions for other blues listening would be anything by Sugar Ray and the Bluetones. Steve Guyger. Charlie Musselwhite. And check out Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish.

  4. I’m an old blues aficionado. There aren’t many blues bands that have gotten by me.
    Unfortunately, at this point in my life, my memory is shot and so many great bands have been relegated to the dust bin of my failing brain.

  5. Well now you have some food for thought.

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