Oliva Serie V Melanio Robusto Review

The Oliva Serie V Melanio is a tribute to Melanio Oliva who first started growing tobacco in 1886.  While it wasn’t a company or large business, this is essentially how Oliva started.  Even though Oliva has gone through various changes, the Oliva came to be because of it’s leadership throughout the years.

Oliva’s Website:

Melanio Oliva first grew tobacco in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba in 1886. His growing operations were suspended while he fought in Cuba’s War of Independence. After returning from war Melanio resumed his operations. In the early 1920’s Melanio’s son Hipolito Oliva took over the growing operations. Hipolito cultivated the Oliva family fields for several decades. As Cuba became over-run by communist the tobacco landscape changed. Hipolito’s son Gilberto Oliva shifted from growing to brokering tobacco. In the early 60’s the pressure became too great and Gilberto traveled from country to country in search of the distinct Cuban taste. His travels took him to Honduras, Panama, Mexico and even the Philippines. Gilberto finally found fertile ground in Nicaragua. Today Gilberto along with his family are Nicaraguas second largest grower of Cuban-seed tobacco.

Sizes  (ten count boxes/box pressed):
Churchill  “7 x 50″
Torpedo  “6 1/2 x 52″
Figurado  “6 1/2 x 52″
Robusto  “5 x 52″
Petit Corona  “4 1/2 x 46″

 

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Oliva Serie V Melanio Robusto
Wrapper:  Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder/Filler:  Nicaragua
Size:  5 x 52
Vitola:  Box Pressed Robusto
MSRP:  $9.50
Time In Humidor:  20 Days
Number of Cigars Smoked:  2
Smoke Time:  1hr 10min
Drink:  Water
Location:  Tasty Tobacco Shop

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Construction/Appearance:

The Serie V Melanio has a lightly colored chocolate wrapper with darker brown spots scattered throughout the cigar.  I like the feel of the box press and didn’t notice any soft spots on the sides.  From my experience, box press cigars tend to exhibit more instances of underfilled areas than a normal vitola.  The cap is fairly seamless and not distorted by the shape of the cigar.  The Melanio does feel light in my hand, maybe similar to the weight of an Ortega Serie D from when I last reviewed it.  I definitely like the double bands with the second one stating Melanio.  If you somehow overlooked the 10 count boxes, lighter wrapper and box pressed shape to still confuse this with the regular production Serie V, the band should clear all doubt at this point.

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Burn/Draw:

The cut across the head was average as some tobacco fell loose.  The cold draw felt firm but not really tight.  After easily lighting the box pressed Robusto, the burn started out erratic and needed one correction in the first 1/2 inch.  However, from that point on, the Serie V Melanio burned even without any signs of wavering.  The draw continued to be firm but it was full and more than adequate.  The smoke had a chewy texture to it and there was an average amount of smoke in the air while reviewing.  The ash lasted a little over an inch with a beautiful gray appearance and smooth texture.  It certainly wasn’t fragile as it stayed intact even when I gently tapped it into the ashtray.

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Flavor/Aroma:

The aroma from the wrapper exhibits notes of cedar and aged tobacco and the foot gave off rich flavors of chocolate mixed with sharp spice notes.  In the initial draw, large amounts of  pepper surprise me right off the bat along with some aged tobacco and mild spices.  The first third brings in some sweeter notes almost floral even grassy in nature though coffee and pepper work themselves in as well. Right now, the flavors are pretty good but aren’t necessarily displaying themselves in a balanced approach.

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The second parts continues with a peppery dominance on the front with toasted notes in the middle and pepper lingering for a while on the finish.  I do get sporadic notes of leather and even some bitter chocolate notes but as stated, they don’t make their presence known enough.  The strength is slowly building from a medium and approaching full while the body feels like solid medium.

The last third displays some stronger coffee notes combined with a sweeter flavor most similar to caramel.  Bitter notes are also present and while they may be part of the show, I’m not quite the biggest fan.  In the last inch of the Serie V Melanio, wood and pepper are very prevalent.  The strength of the cigar reaches full before I put the Melanio down.

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Final Thoughts:

  • The construction was very good on this cigar which led to an excellent burn and draw.  While I don’t overvalue the appearance of cigars for reviews, this is an beautiful cigar to look at while smoking.  I enjoyed the box press shape and the double bands aren’t overwhelming.
  • Even though the Serie V Melanio reaches full strength by the end, novice and veteran smokers alike should be able to enjoy this vitola.  Novice smokers may feel the need to put it down before reaching the last third, I don’t see that as a tremendous loss since the cigar displays it’s full array of quality flavors in the first 2/3rds.
  • The abudance of quality flavors in this cigar is not to be taken lightly.  However, I feel the presentation of them fell somewhat short of what I expected.  The Serie V Melanio presented various flavors that I enjoy but the proper dosage of them was incorrect, at least for me.  This might correct itself in a different size or with more time to rest.
  • I’ve seen this cigar rated very highly from various reputable cigar reviewers online and while my experience was enjoyable, I wouldn’t quite put it on the same level as the other reviews.  My only assumption (take this with a grain of salt) is the cigars reviewed by me were purchased at local cigar store while the others were given a single cigar at the 2012 IPCPR.  From past experience, blends do change from the IPCPR to what is sold to retailers on occasion.
  • I had to make a decision between purchasing the Serie V or Serie V Melanio, which would I choose?  Both of them.  They are two different cigars with two different wrappers.  They don’t smoke similar in flavor nor look similar in appearance so I feel they fill the needs of different niches.  In my limited experience, I find the Serie V more enjoyable but I haven’t quite tried the various sizes offered in the Melanio so take that as my initial assessment.
  • While the price point may be higher than most people are comfortable paying, I certainly feel it’s a cigar worth trying.  I plan to keep maybe a “fiver” on hand to see how they age even though a box would only be a ten count.

Rating:  88

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