Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Cigar Review

September 18, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

I reviewed the Oliva Serie V Melanio a little while ago and I enjoyed it. I mean, it wasn’t the best cigar I’ve ever had but it was pretty good. Better than that really. Will the wrapper change make a difference for the better… or worse? (Technically, I guess there could be a push.)

With a darkish black/brown wrapper, which is velvety to the touch, this box pressed torpedo (the only vitola they offer according to their website) looks expertly put together. Firmly packed with a bit of oil on the wrapper, I can’t see much wrong with the way this cigar looks. Sure, there’s that one rogue vein near the head of the cigar but that’s not going to cause a problem for the draw or anything else that actually matters in terms of taste and whatnot. The prelight draw is a bit tight but, based off of the other one I smoked, that will not pose a problem.

Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Cigar

Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro (click picture to go to Oliva’s site)

Cigar Stats
Vitola: torpedo
Length: 6 ½”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Mexican Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano
Price: $110.95/Box of 10 | $58.00/5 Pack

Better Call Saul Flame!

A hard, bright spice is the first I noticed when I started this cigar. There’s also a strong peppermint flavor going on, which is unique in my cigar smoking experience. In the background we can also find some cocoa and some other complimentary flavors. It’s really an interesting mix and it wasn’t what I was expecting when I first tried this cigar.

It’s weird but in that good, Memento sort of way. (I would try to wring every last drop out of the Memento comparison but I don’t think a cigar review would be that enjoyable to read backwards.) Peppermint is the main flavor I’m getting during the second third followed by spice, some dark (but definitely background) wood notes and a bit of rich earthiness on the aftertaste.

Peppermint basically disappears during the first part of the final third as an ascendant barbecued meatiness takes over. Some sweetness does come on at the tail end but it would have been better if it had been around for the full third to provide a nice counterbalance to the somewhat off putting barbequed meat flavor.

Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn, the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro is a worthy addition to the Melanio line extension. It was a very interesting cigar during the first two thirds and I sincerely enjoyed how the peppermint played off of the other flavors. The final third, on the other hand, was a bit of a dud. Still, I think the first two thirds are worth it and, with some age, I’m sure the final third will round out nicely. Did I like it more than the original Melanio? Yes, but barely.

91 points

Olivia Serie V Melanio Cigar Review

January 11, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

Previously, on The Perfect Draw, the original natural Oliva Serie V earned a 94 rating. It was a cigar I immensely enjoyed and I still pick up a few here and there. This means two things:

  1. I have high expectations for the Melanio version
  2. I want to smoke this cigar

Fortunately, I have the second point covered as there is a nice, uncut Melanio sitting on one of the stirrups of my Stinky Ashtray. In both length and ring gauge this is a smallish, box pressed cigar with some imperfections on the wrapper. However, the look of this wrapper is pretty fascinating in that the color ranges from medium brown to much lighter shades of brown around the veins. It’s also a fairly oily cigar.

Now onto the first point…

Oliva V Melanio

Cigar Stats
Vitola: petit corona
Length: 4 ½”
Ring Gauge: 46
Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $80.00/Box of 10 | $40.00/5 Pack

Zombies Can Happen Light!

If you were thinking that there’s something special about the wrapper, maybe it’s some kind of new leaf code named “Melanio,” you would be wrong. Melanio Oliva is believed to be the first person in the Oliva family to grow tobacco (link) and that is where the name comes from. Maybe it is a special leaf, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in some marketing materials you would find that the wrapper is described as being special because that is pretty much de rigueur for cigar marketing.

The flavor profile starts out with dry spice that lingers in the nose, cream and oak. Not a very strong cigar strengthwise but the flavors are nice and mix well together.

During the second third there is a subtle change in the flavor profile as it moves away from the spice and more towards the cream spectrum. Oak is still present and there is a little bit of chocolate in the background as well. It’s tasty and more than a bit different from what you would expect from an Oliva Serie V.

The final third is pretty much the same as the second with the cream and oak. But, the chocolate is gone and in its place is a meaty flavor.

Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; this cigar is enjoyable. What is really interesting about this cigar is that it really illustrates the importance of the wrapper as a component of the overall flavor profile (even though I’ve heard that there are some slight changes to the filler tobaccos used in the Melanio from the blend in the original V I think what I said holds true and comparing the original to the Melanio would still be an interesting exercise for you).

Whereas the original V features a plethora of robust, even aggressive, flavors the Melanio is much more reserved. Personally, I like the original a lot more but I can see how this cigar would appeal to those who like more medium bodied cigars. I’d assume that if you pick up one of the thicker vitolas the flavor profile would be more reminiscent of the original V because the ratio of filler/binder to wrapper tobacco would be greater.

90 points

Vindicator Cigar Review

July 10, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

Full Disclosure: I received some of these as samples from Famous Smoke Shop. All reviews are my own.

I received this cigar (and four of its buddies) from Famous Smoke Shop a few months ago and they have stayed on my mind to some degree or another ever since. It’s not that this is either a great or a horrible cigar, it’s just not exactly what I had expected.

Vindicator is made by Oliva; and we all know that they make some excellent cigars. For example, an Oliva Serie V made one of my Top 10s one year. While not exactly as prestigious an honor as, say, winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom or a Blue Ribbon at the County Fair, it’s still something. So, at least the Vindicator has a good lineage.

But why “Vindicator”? It sounds like a cigar Dirty Harry would smoke in between killing punks. Without going too much into the review this cigar is nowhere near as hard edged or intimidating as Mr. Harry. What it is is a decent looking cigar. The wrapper isn’t too vivacious, rather a dull shade of brown, but it looks well made and there isn’t too much visually displeasing about this cigar. Even though it’s not particularly oily it isn’t dry either. For such a cheap cigar it does look like some effort was put into it, which I like to see.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: robusto
Length: 5”
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $60.00/Box of 20 | $5.00/Single

Twitter Stock Predictor Torched!

It starts out alright. There isn’t much in the way of complexity but the flavors that are there are decent. Ranging from wood to hay these flavors aren’t very strong.

In addition to the wood and hay during the second third a bit of nuts is added into the flavor profile mix. It’s a good mix but I would appreciate it if the flavors were stronger. If the flavors do not get stronger this cigar’s flavors will just feel watered down… and a little burnt.

During the last third things do get better. A floral note gets added to the mix and it gives the wood a nice sweetness. Overall, there isn’t much special to this cigar but it is serviceable.

The draw was good and the burn was okay only requiring a couple of minor touch ups and it was a medium bodied cigar. None of the flavors were above average but, for the most part it was an okay cigar. The flavors were a little watered down for most of the first two thirds but came on a little more after that. If you are looking for a cheap alternative that is medium bodied, has good smoking characteristics (draw and burn) and some good noticeable flavors, this cigar is worth a try.

85 points

Oliva Serie V Cigar Review

July 25, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review · 2 Comments 

Very good looking cigar. The mottled near-black finish of the wrapper has veins running every which way but not in enough quantity to scare me. Oily? Yes, but not very. Consistently packed from cap to foot with enough tobacco to give just the slightest amount when I check for soft spots.

I forgot to mention a medium sized, oblong hole that appears three inches from the foot of the cigar. It runs 1/8th of an inch long by 1/16th of an inch wide at its widest point. Shouldn’t be too much of a problem as far as the flavor is concerned but I am keeping it in mind for the overall score (in other words, not a huge deal). Actually, now that I think of it, I cannot remember seeing a hole in any other of the Oliva Serie V wrappers that I have had.

The pre-light draw is reminiscent of the last Serie V I had. This one has a better draw and the mix of spice and chocolate is inverted with spice being a much more prominent factor in the flavor profile. It has been at least two minutes since I took the pre-light draw and I can still feel the spiciness on my tongue. My anticipation grows.

Cigar Stats
Length: 7″
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Nicaragua – Habano Sun Grown
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua – Jalapa Valley Ligero
Price: $8.50/Single | $175.00/Box of 24

Bar Rescue Torch!

Bitter chocolate and a certain amount of earthiness greet my palate first. Then comes a bitter spiciness, which is something that is good in an interesting sort of way. It’s an interesting flavor combination but I am going to withhold judgment for now. Shortly after the first rush of bitterness it gracefully fades into the background leaving a mixture of spice and earthiness to take the lead.

The aroma for this vitola is identical to the previous one; rich chocolate cake. The pre-light draw was not a misnomer because the draw is just as good now as it was before the cigar took the flame.

Strength is something that I am acutely aware of early on in the cigar’s progression. Unlike with some of the smaller vitolas in the V line the strength apparent here is much more serious. I am less than a half inch into the cigar and if it progresses much further in the strength category I may go into convulsions and start talking in tongues! That, of course, is pure hyperbole – I love the strength of this cigar – the more the better!

Before getting into the second third of this cigar the flavor profile has imperceptibly shifted away from that chocolate flavor. Spice and a grassy earthiness have now completely taken over. The spice is more temperate now – the strength has undergone no such change. All of this has taken place over the first third of the stick.

Walking away from a cigar for more than a couple of minutes usually leads to it dying – not so in this case. Doing so has given my palate some time to normalize and refresh itself and the cigar has ever so slightly changed. Now, at the halfway point, it is spice, grass and a hint of chocolate. All three work together in harmony. The spice is, and has been, a warm spice of varying strengths; each version a joy.

Time is not something I really think of in terms of cigars. But this one is an extremely slow burning cigar. It’s been over an hour since I first lit it and I am only halfway through it now. I have been sipping it, enjoying all its nuances, which is why it is taking so long. There really is no other way to go at this cigar though. If you don’t have the time to truly enjoy this cigar then you are better off leaving it in its humidified lair until a large enough chunk of time produces itself.

The remainder of the cigar is consistently great. Breaking into the final third is a saltiness accompanied by a decent helping of meat. A hint of leather creeps its way into the final bits. The burn is also good; it has been fairly even throughout. Give yourself up to three hours to smoke it, though. You will not be disappointed.

94 points

Oliva Connecticut Reserve Short Cigar Review

December 14, 2009 · Posted in Asides, Short Cigar Review · Comment 


Silky, light brown Connecticut wrapper. Oily, veiny and there are a couple of dark color splotches. The feel of the cigar is a little spongy.

For this review I am smoking the churchill (7″ x 50) vitola. It costs about $7.00.


A burnt oak flavor is the first and main flavor to start off and it is pretty good. It burns evenly and the draw is great.

The cigar stays very consistent throughout. Oak is the mainstay and, if you like that flavor a lot, then you will like this cigar a lot. It ranges from burnt to sweet but it’s oak all the way.


For the Oliva Connecticut the complexity is confined to its oak flavors. It’s a fine cigar and an enjoyable enough cigar. Now, if you are thinking there are going to be a lot of flavors then you need to look elsewhere.

3 points

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