Oliva Serie V Melanio Cigar Review

After reviewing both the Oliva Serie V and its maduro counterpart, we decided to continue our exploration of the series. Therefore, this article will cover the celebrated Oliva Serie V Melanio as we review it according to the following considerations:

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  • Brand: Oliva
  • Range: Serie V Melanio Gran Reserva Limitada
  • Reviewed Vitolas: 5 x 52 Robusto
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa Valley Habano
  • Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A. (Tabilosa)
  • Handmade: Yes
  • Body: Medium – Full
  • Estimated Smoking Time: 75  Minutes
  • Pricing: $9 / Single [Shop On CigarPage]

The Oliva Serie V Melanio is easily one of the brand’s of most famous blends. Released in 2012, it is named after the family’s forefather, who grew tobacco in the 1880s in Cuba before serving in its war of independence. His son, Hipolito, continued growing tobacco.

Oliva Serie V Melanio Look & Feel

Gilberto, Melanio’s grandson, was a broker rather than a grower. He travelled around different cigar-producing countries to find land that resembled the Cuban soil that he knew and loved. He eventually settled in Nicaragua and today has created the brand that we all admire.

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Oliva Serie V Melanio Look & Feel

  • Wrapper Hue: Coffee Bean
  • Rolling Consistency: Mostly Straight
  • Spring: Firm
  • Aromas: Ambergris, Cocoa, Cinnamon

The Serie V Melanio has a distinctive box-pressed shape. Its roll is consistent overall but there are a couple of soft spots. Box-pressed cigars tend to be rolled more loosely so they can be moulded into their shape. However, the spring is nice and firm.

In terms of its colour, it has a nice coffee bean hue and delivers an oily sheen under the light. Interestingly, it’s said to use the same albeit more mature wrapper leaf as the Nub Sumatra. The veins are quite refined and it doesn’t have any overly rustic imperfections.

I found the aromas to be quite mild. However, I did detect a couple of notes that I found particularly interesting. The first one being ambergris, a natural musk that’s technically whale vomit. It also has a little bit of sweet cocoa as well as a hint of cinnamon.

Oliva Serie V Melanio Review

Oliva Serie V Melanio First Third

The Melanio cigars used for the review were stored in a Boveda acrylic humidor for a period of three weeks. Their humidity was maintained with Boveda 69% packs and they were closely monitored with a Boveda Butler.

Pre-Lighting Experience

  • Draw: Mild Resistance
  • Aromas: Tonka Bean, Nutmeg, Fudge

When you cut the cigar, you’ll find that it has a very nice draw. It is not too tight, nor is it to open. The flavours are much richer than the aromas on the foot, and I experienced gourmand tonka bean, nutmeg spice, as well as a sweet fudge finish, which leaves a pleasant residue on the lips.

1st Third Smoking Experience

  • Notes: Rosewood, Curcuma, Black Pepper

What I found to be particularly interesting was that the first third is surprisingly delicate and distinctively medium in body. It reveals a very fragrant opening of rosewood and curcuma spice, which is particularly prevalent on the retrohale. Dashes of black pepper add a bit of bold substance to the profile.

2nd Third Smoking Experience

Oliva Serie V Melanio Second Third

  • Notes: Pistachio, Molasses, Nutmeg

The second third displays an interesting transition that you’ll likely notice at the halfway mark. Salty pistachio takes the forefront but is softened by thickly oozing syrupy molasses.

A hint of nutmeg is unveiled mostly in the retrohale. However, it does accompany the molasses, producing a rich spicy and syrupy accord.

Final Third Smoking Experience

  • Notes: Espresso, Cocoa Nibs, Agarwood

The cigar settles in the final third but remains verbose with a solid body. Its texture is thicker and more savory than before. I experienced espresso with slightly bitter cacao nibs, as well as some resinous and slightly balsamic agarwood.

The overall palate is much more complex than the original Serie V. In fact, I found it to be a very different experience. Although there were some similarities, especially with the hints of black pepper and some of the spiciness, it is far from the same cigar.

The mouthfeel was particularly pleasant and was very creamy all the way through. It wasn’t just velvety but it had a certain succulent texture to it. The astringency and the balance of this cigar is overall very harmonious.

Although, that being said, it does focus at the centre of the tongue rather than spreading to all the edges. In the beginning, it’s slightly towards the front, but it creeps up and then settles right in the middle of the palate throughout the rest of the cigar.

In terms of life-cycle, this is a very interesting cigar, with different moments throughout the whole experience. As I said, the most distinctive transition was at the halfway point and not necessarily earlier in the second third.

The finish is quite long and lingering. It does last on your palate for a good half hour to 45 minutes, which means, if you’re accompanying this with a beverage, you can still savour some of the notes even after you’ve finished the cigar.

As for the residual scent in the room, I found it to be particularly present, especially when compared to the original Serie V, or its Maduro counterparts. In fact, I found it to be quite fragrant and it didn’t linger for too long.

Overall Burn

Oliva Serie V Melanio Final Third

  • Ash Backbone: Strong
  • Burn Angle: Mostly Straight
  • Temperature: Cool
  • Draw: Consistent
  • Final Smoking Time: 90 Minutes

The Melanio is superbly constructed and delivers excellent combustion. I enjoyed a pleasantly consistent and balanced draw all the way through each cigar that I tested.

Similarly, it provided a cool smoke and it didn’t heat up whatsoever. The burn angle is straight without any touch-ups even down to final third. The ash backbone is also very strong and showcases its steel-grey purity.

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Overall Experience

Oliva Serie V Melanio Cigar Box & Presentation

What I find particularly interesting with Oliva is that the whole Serie V line is consistent in its use of branding. The primary band’s only difference is that on the sides you have “Gran Reserva Limitada” whereas the original Serie V uses “Liga Especial”, and the Serie V Maduro states “Maduro Especial”.

To fully distinguish itself, a secondary band sits below and repeats “Gran Reserva Limitada”. These bands are quite large so secondary one tends to be removed early on into the experience if smoking a robusto.

The box is quite ornate and presents just ten cigars. Unlike the original Serie V, which has a functional appearance, the Melanio box is more attractive with a wooden exterior and cedar lining.

In terms of value, this isn’t much more expensive than the original Serie V. In fact, I was surprised by how little price difference there was. A double robusto Oliva Serie V costs $9 whereas the Melanio Robusto retails at $10,60.

For just an extra $1.60, you can have a more complex and intriguing experience. I believe Paul also bought a couple of boxes of the Melanio and he got them on sale, too.

I would probably reserve the Melanio for more special events than the classic Serie V. You could certainly take this to a wedding. Although it is quite complex, it is also very beginner-friendly. Additionally, it’s more versatile than the original and can be easily smoked at different times of the day.

Indeed, it would be a great cigar as an aperitif or even a digestif before or after a meal. You could also enjoy it at a cigar lounge, and kick back with a fine drink.

Pairing Recommendations With An Oliva Serie V Melanio Cigar

Oliva Serie V Melanio & Flor de Cana Rum

First of all, in terms of food pairings, I would initially suggest cured ham or antipasti with this cigar. As I mentioned earlier, the cigar is an excellent aperitif, and indeed you could pair it with a pleasant starter, especially if you’re having a barbecue. Indeed, it would go very well with black forest ham or prosciutto.

Alternatively, if you want something sweeter, go with a dark chocolate. I would suggest something perhaps more artisanal such as a creation by Argencove, which is based in Granada, Nicaragua.

Finally, perhaps you could go with a pepperoni pizza, especially given that the pepperoni is going to have quite a spicy profile to it, which would go well with the cigar.

As for beverages, I would first and foremost consider a Highlands single malt scotch. A well-aged single malt Scotch would likely provide you with a suitably compatible level of complexity.

Alternatively, rather than a cognac, which is what I suggested with the Oliva Serie V, I would potentially go here with an Armagnac. A Bas-Armagnac tends to be fruitier with a greater level of character and is a little bit more artisanal. I believe that those would create a nice level of contrast when paired together.

And finally, if you like coffee, espresso would be my serving suggestion. Consider a medium-roast rather than something too mild or too dark.

Closing Thoughts

As we’ve already reviewed the original Serie V and the Serie V Maduro, it’s quite interesting to see how different the Melanio is in comparison. Indeed, it is somewhat milder, but also produces a much greater level of complexity.

I believe that the Melanio is effortlessly above and beyond the other two and it’s understandable as to why it’s so well known. At first, I didn’t really appreciate the difference until I compared them side by side.

If you’re looking for something that is a little bit more special than the original Serie V, I would certainly recommend that you tried the Melanio. Indeed, it is simultaneously complex and beginner-friendly, but just as rewarding for a veteran cigar enthusiast.

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"A versatile and complex blend that will reward all cigar smokers no matter their level of experience."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★★

Further Reading

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