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Staff Reviews

Oliva Serie V Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

Oliva Serie V has been a cigar in my rotation for many years. When I first got into cigars, Serie V was the cigar that I would rely on if nothing else jumped out at me at my local cigar shops. With the wide variety of top-notch cigars available nowadays, the Serie V seems to get lost in my shuffle. However, whenever I have a tough time deciding what I want to light up, I still go for a Serie V.


The company’s modern family patriarch, Gilberto Oliva, passed away in 2017. Gilberto’s son, José Oliva, has been the face of the brand for years, including throughout the company’s 2016 acquisition by J. Cortès, a large European company better known for its production of machine made cigars. José Oliva presently serves as a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives.

Over the past ten years, Oliva Cigar Company has become a premier Nicaraguan brand. Oliva has cracked the ‘Top 10’ in Cigar Aficionado’s annual ‘Top 25 Cigars of the Year’ on more than one occasion. In 2014, the brand scored a ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ title with Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado. In 2017, they landed at #3 with Oliva Serie V Belicoso. The company also produces the popular Nub and Cain brands. For this review, I snagged an Oliva Serie V Belicoso.

The one thing that always stands out about the Oliva Serie V is the quality of the wrapper. The reddish-hued Habano wrappers are always exactly the same shade throughout an entire box of Serie V. Oliva goes above and beyond when it comes to color sorting their cigars. The cigars always appear flawless. The wrappers are seamless and the caps are perfectly smooth. Underneath is a bold combination of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos, all grown on fields owned by the Oliva family.

I notice strong pre-light tasting notes of pepper and cedar with flavors of cream, coffee, and chocolate on the cold draw. Upon sparking up the Serie V Belicoso, I am greeted with a perfectly balanced profile. Although I was expecting a large blast of pepper, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall zesty taste of the smoke. There were also some strong hints of wood and coffee beans with a very mild cocoa-like sweetness. This profile is the reason why I love to revisit this cigar. As the blend slowly progresses, the pepper tends to pick up slightly while the coffee notes seem to fade.

The second third of Serie V switches a bit. All the flavors from the get-go are still present, but with varying degrees of complexity. The spiciness really kicks in and becomes the focal point of the flavor profile, while the sweetness is limited to a very subtle background note. As I near the halfway point, there is another blast of coffee with a newly introduced leather note.

As the final third of Oliva Serie V approaches, each puff provides more and more pepper. Luckily, sweeter notes of cocoa and cedar return to keep the profile balanced. The end of the cigar brings out additional notes of coffee. Overall, the taste was just as I remembered it: powerful.

Oliva Serie V has to be one of the most consistent cigars on the market. Every single time I smoke a Serie V, I get exactly what I expect: power and flavor. I can probably count on one hand how many bad Serie V cigars I have smoked over the last decade. Thankfully, this was not one of them. Construction was impeccable, the draw was superb, and the burn was perfectly straight. As I like to say, eat before you smoke this cigar, it is on the fuller end of the spectrum. I would say it clocks in around an 8 out of 10 on the strength meter. Put Oliva Serie V on your radar when you’re looking to add a popular after-dinner cigar to your rotation or explore other top Oliva cigars to find the cigar that’s right for you.


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