Cigar Review – Viva Republica Jason Holly – IVY Dudley


Jonah 4:6 – Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort.  So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant.



The Ivy cigar is the creation of Jason Holly and Viva Republica Cigars.  Released in April of 2016, the Ivy is a break in the more aggressive styles of Viva Republica’s line of cigars and provides an experience intended to revive memories from days gone by. Jason Holly was a student of the Ivy League College, Harvard.  He would find time to smoke cigars in Harvard Yard and found out that John F. Kennedy did the same.  An iconic picture of Kennedy smoking a cigar in the Yard inspired Holly to create the Ivy.  This elegant yet robust cigar is meant to honor and show respect to JFK, Harvard Yard and the cigar smoking experience.


Wrapper – Ecuadorean Habano

Binder – (Double) Cameroon and Dominican

Filler – Dominican (Cibao Valley) and Nicaraguan (Esteli’ and Condega)

Vitola. –  5 X 50

Average Price. –  $13.25 / single

Manufactured  –  La Aurora SA (Dominican Republic)


The Ivy has a rustic and old school appearance.  There is a reddish hue to the golden brown wrapper and it is enhanced nicely by the label which is reminiscent of a time gone by. Even the paper used for the label give the cigar a rugged yet classical look.  The Dudley is a 5 X 50 vitola that feels very comfortable in the hand.  The wrapper is slightly oily and there are some veins throughout which contribute to the rustic yet sophisticated nature of this cigar.

Draw and Light

I began with my preferred method of preparation which is a punch for most any cigar that is a 48 or larger ring gauge.  Using a large circumference punch was accomplished easily with very little resistance and no dry cracking or extreme softness was felt.  The draw was easy and there were hints of wood and leather prior to the light.

Using a triple jet butane to light the cigar I did notice that it took a little more care to make sure the cigar was sufficiently toasted.  I attributed this to a thicker wrapper and double binder combination. I suspect this will be a longer burning cigar than I may have anticipated.

First Third

My first couple of draws immediately revealed leather and black pepper.  However, it did not take long for very pleasant floral notes to come forward while the pepper calmed.  The retro confirmed the floral notes and was not as peppery as I thought it might be.

Settling into the first part of the smoke, I tasted dark cocoa and an unexpected saltiness on the finish.  I was pleasantly surprised by the saltiness and found the mix of leather, cocoa, floral and salt to be quite unique and interesting.  There was way more complexity right out of the gate than I had thought there would be.

Second Third

As I was finishing the first third and going into the second, I picked up on a slight “pipe tobacco” flavor. This floated in and out but never came into the forefront too much.  Even though the pepper had definitely receded, a hint of white pepper still remained in the background.  The leather and floral notes had definitely taken over by the second third of this surprising cigar.

The Ivy remained burning well and although a bit of edgy points on the wrapper were slow to simmer on the burn line, overall the cigar smoked well.  Again, I attribute any slow burning issues to be related to the combined thickness of the wrapper and double binder.  It was nothing that caused me to have to touch up or keep relighting though as it seemed to take care of itself as the smoking experience proceeded.

Farther into the second third I noticed that the floral notes had muted and there was a little hint of nuttiness mixed in but very briefly.  What surprised me again, was the change in flavours.  A “meatiness” came forward that tasted like a good steak cooking on a wood fire.  Just a hint of smokiness along with saltiness made me want to light up my grill and get a steak going!

The burn continued to be slow and steady with a cool touch as I finished the second third.  The ash holds nicely through the smoke and produces a nice amount of smoke yet not over abundant.  Even with the increased movement due to taking pictures of the Ivy and repositioning my hand and cigar, the ash never broke off on its own.

Last Third

Just as I was getting comfortable with the flavours at the end of the second third, the floral notes re-emerged and mixed with a slight mineral taste.  That didn’t last long, maybe 4-5 puffs, before the leather, wood and floral notes took over again and brought this cigar into the home stretch.

Tasting Notes

Leather, floral, smoked wood, nuts, mineral, dark cocoa, salt

*Overall Rating  –  90

The complexity of the Ivy blew me away.  Very different than anything I had ever smoked, I found this to be a cigar that made me pay a lot of attention to it.  Ironically, I’m not sure that I relaxed like a wanted to with this smoke.  I seemed to just settle in when the flavours would change unexpectedly. The foundational notes of leather and floral remained consistent throughout although to varying degrees, while everything else around them seemed to continuously change.  Be prepared for the unexpected  –  this is one complex smoke.  It will leave you feeling pleasantly surprised, happy and content that you just had a truly unique cigar!

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2 thoughts on “Cigar Review – Viva Republica Jason Holly – IVY Dudley

  1. Spot on review and well worded. I picked up on the exact same flavors and was pleasantly surprised by the salty flavor. Always enjoy your reviews. Keep them coming.


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