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Staff Reviews

Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Churchill Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

I’m already a big fan of San Andrés wrappers, so smoking an Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro for a staff review is hardly a chore. And I’m smoking one of my favorite shapes: a 7 by 50 Churchill. The best Chuchill cigars burn for just over an hour. The flavor builds at a gradual pace and starts off milder than a shorter size because the heat is further from your palate when you first light up.

In 2014, Cigar Aficionado crowned the original Oliva Serie V Melanio its ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ with a 96-point rating. Oliva Serie V Melanio is finished in a shimmering Ecuador Sumatra wrapper. Serie V Melanio Maduro debuted in 2013 with an oily, ultra-dark-brown San Andrés wrapper leaf. Inside is a medium to full-bodied blend of premium Nicaraguan long-fillers grown from Cuban seeds in the country’s Jalapa region. Oliva Servie V Melanio cigars are named for Oliva family patriarch, Melanio Oliva, who grew tobacco in Pinar del Rio in Cuba in the late 1800s. Melanio was grandfather to Gilberto F. Oliva Sr., who became a tobacco broker following the Cuban Revolution before moving to Nicaragua and growing tobacco there in 1969. Gilberto and his children, Gilberto Jr., Carlos, Jeannie, and José established Oliva Cigars as a prominent Nicaraguan brand over the past two decades. 

Today, Oliva Cigars is owned and operated by J. Cortez N.V., a Belgium-based maker of machine-made cigars who purchased the company from the Oliva family in 2016. The brand has experienced dramatic growth thanks to a portfolio stacked with some of the best Nicaraguan cigars you can smoke, including the original Oliva Serie V, Oliva Serie V Maduro, Oliva Serie O, and more. The company also produces the Nub and Cain brands.

Serie V Melanio Maduro is packaged in elegant boxes of ten cigars, each clad in a pair of gold and brown Oliva cigar bands. The deep hue of the wrapper leaf is especially striking. It’s tough to choose the perfect Churchill from a fresh box as they all look so enticing with their seamless, uniform appearance. Aromas of chocolate cake batter, malted milk, and cedar permeate the air the second the lid is opened. The cigars are placed tight against one another in the box, and, like most Padron cigars, they’re box-pressed and packaged without cellophane beneath a sheet of cedar for enhanced aging. 

The cap is easy to clip. Tasting notes of dark chocolate, pepper, and cedar leave a bittersweet impression with just the right amount of zest when the cigar hits my lips. Within a minute or two the foot of my Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro is fully ignited, and long streams of silky smoke reach my palate in each puff. I pay special attention to the first five to ten minutes of a Churchill because the flavor is guaranteed to change significantly by the end. Initially, Serie V Melanio Maduro is creamy, spicy, and rich. It’s a pleasure to push the smoke out through my nose as the cigar doesn’t intensify much at first.

As I progress through the first half, I tap a straight white ash off the end in inch-long increments a few times. The Churchill is firm and well made but not too dense. The draw is excellent, and the cigar’s construction facilitates an uninterrupted burn when I set it down between puffs. As the second half unfolds, notes of hickory and baking spices reveal a nutty texture, but the cigar doesn’t change as much as I would expect. The spices sharpen in the nose, and the profile becomes earthy. I wouldn’t classify Melanio Maduro as one of the spiciest cigars I’ve ever had – at least not when compared to the Oliva Serie V. However, it furnishes distinct flavors you can only taste in a quality San Andrés wrapper.   

I’ve removed both bands and embarked upon the final third before the texture turns a touch dry, but I think this would be fine if I had a good cognac or port to sip on. Because both spirits are sweet and somewhat dense, the flavor in Olvia Serie V Maduro offers an ideal foundation. The finish is peppery, straightforward, and less intense than other cigars in the Oliva stable.

Melanio Maduro is a solid example of what Oliva does best – they make high-quality Nicaraguan cigars at scale for a fair price, and many of our biggest Oliva fans would emphasize the Oliva discounts Holt’s offers are borderline criminal. Decide if Melanio Maduro ranks among the best Oliva cigars you’ve smoked before, and explore this illustrious brand in one of our bestselling cigar assortments, including Oliva ‘Celebration’ Sampler, Oliva ‘Nocturnal Beasts’ Monster Deal, and the Oliva 8-Cigar Assortment.


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