Back in 2006, with public interest in stronger, Nicaraguan tobacco steadily increasing, the Oliva Cigar Co. released the immediately popular Serie V line. Six years later, in an effort to pay tribute to the Oliva family patriarch, Melanio Oliva, the company released the Oliva Serie V Melanio. Then, in 2014, Cigar Aficionado named the Melanio figurado their #1 Cigar of the Year, and two years after that we’re finally getting around to reviewing it.
CIGAR STATS: Made by a small group rollers and blended at the Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A. in Esteli, the Oliva Serie V Melanio features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan tobacco from the Jalapa region for the binder and filler. The following vitolas are all box-pressed and come in 10-count boxes: Petit Corona (4½ x 42), Robusto (5 x 52), Figurado (6½ x 52), Torpedo (6½ x 52), Double Toro (6 x 60), and Churchill (7 x 50). Prices range from $8 to $15.
APPEARANCE: This is one gorgeous cigar. The Sumatra wrapper is silky smooth and extremely oily with tight seams and minor veins. The taper at the head and foot makes you pay close attention when cutting and lighting so as not to start from the wrong end.
THE SMOKE: The Melanio opens smoothly with nuts, a caramel sweetness, and very little spice. Cedar and a bit more pepper emerge during the mid-section and the strength increases quite a bit. Leather and pepper dominate the final third with an underlying nutty sweetness balancing out the flavor profile. The flawless construction produces a perfect draw and burn line with plenty of smoke output.
VERDICT: Rarely do I agree with Cigar Aficionado but, in the case of the Oliva Serie V Melanio figurado, they got this one right. This is a phenomenal cigar that every connoisseur should try at least once … or ten times. For more information about the Melanio, or the entire line of Oliva cigars, visit: www.olivacigar.com – Jason Zahner