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Staff Reviews

Oliva Serie V Maduro Toro Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

I am smoking Oliva Serie V Maduro in a 6 x 50 Toro. The blend debuted in the fall of 2008 as an annual limited edition follow-up to the company’s original 95-rated Oliva Serie V. Oliva fans eagerly awaited the arrival of Serie V Maduro at their local retailers, but the cigars sold out quickly. In 2019, Serie V Maduro became part of the brand’s regular portfolio and now you can buy it year round. 

The Oliva Cigar Company is one of the biggest success stories of the last twenty years. Like many cigar-making families, the Olivas hail from a deep Cuban heritage. Late family patriarch Gilberto Oliva and his son, José Oliva, built their brand into a substantial enterprise before selling it to a European-based maker of cigarillos, J. Cortès Cigars N.V., in 2016. J. Cortès has preserved the brand’s legacy while expanding the company’s operations significantly. They’ve invested in new facilities and farms to increase production and it’s paid off. Today, Oliva is a leading Nicaraguan brand in premium retailers around the globe, and Serie V Maduro is one of many great cigars the company produces on a grand scale.

Oliva Serie V is drafted from an oily and dark San Andrés Maduro wrapper leaf over a robust blend of premium Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos in a collection of traditional shapes. One look at the Toro I am about to fire up and you can easily appreciate the cigar’s appeal. The wrapper is toothy and glistens while a preview of woody and sweet aromas emanate from the unlit foot of the cigar. The shape is dense but gives slightly when I gently roll it between my finger and thumb. The only visual complaint rests in the cigar’s band. There’s nothing wrong with it except that it’s exactly the same as the original Serie V band, which is a criticism echoed by others who would prefer more distinction between the two cigars.  

I prefer a straight cut in most cases, especially with a stronger smoke like Serie V Maduro, because a looser draw is less intense. Sweet notes of hickory and pepper stir the palate as soon as the cigar is in my mouth. The flavor is buttery and rich but its zesty kick merits a drawn-out light as I strike a couple of matches at the foot. Lighting the cigar slowly prevents it from overpowering the palate. Oliva cigars are known for containing copious amounts of Ligero – leaves from the upper section of a tobacco plant that possess more spice and oil.

Oliva Serie V Maduro reveals deep notes of wood, mocha, and smoked almond. It’s just as strong as the original Serie V, but the added touch of sweetness the Maduro wrapper contributes conceals the cigar’s raw zest. Serie V Maduro comes off as a more approachable, but don’t be fooled. You’ll want to eat before you smoke it, and choose a spirit with some oomph if you want something to sip on. A peaty scotch or vintage port make perfect sense. Notes of nougat, buttered toast, and hickory convene as the cigar heats up.

As the middle of Serie V Maduro approaches, notes of paprika, pepper, and mocha layer the palate while heady aromas fill the room. The blend is oily and concentrated, but it’s got just enough sweetness to keep its spicy character from commanding the entire spotlight. A touch of Szechuan rears across the top of the tongue. Serie V Maduro resonates the way a fireplace hearth fills a cold room. The texture is welcoming and the smoke is crisp through the nose. Loads of dark cocoa and espresso merge with a hint of mesquite in a long, creamy finish.

If anything, Oliva Serie V Maduro is a late bloomer in the brand’s portfolio – but that is strictly due to its limited availability until a couple years ago. Now that you can smoke it at premium Oliva retailers across the country, there’s no excuse not to try one. It’s finishes in one of the best Mexican wrappers grown today. Compare Serie V Maduro against other top Oliva blends like the original Serie V and the brand’s first ‘#1 Cigar of the Year,’ Serie V Melanio. Just make sure you eat first.


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