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Oliva Serie V Melanio Cigar Review

General Information

  • Price: $12
  • Made By: TABOLISA 1 Factory
  • Factory Location: Estelí, Nicaragua
  • Dimensions: 5″ by 54 ring gauge
  • Shape: Double Robusto
  • Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa Valley ligero)
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Sun Grown
  • Cold Draw: Nuts, Leather, Spice, Red Pepper, Sweet Fruit, Coffee
  • First Third: Peanuts, Strong Black Pepper, Light Red Pepper, Coffee, Broken-in Leather, Earthiness
  • Second Third: Strong Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Strong Black Coffee, Nuttiness, Sweetness, Woodiness
  • Final Third: Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Black Coffee, Woody Earthiness
Oliva Serie V Milano


Like all things Oliva, the captivating appearance of the Oliva Serie V cigar matches the high-quality smoke within. Of such high quality that in 2017 Cigar Aficionado named the blend the No. 3 Cigar of 2017 with a remarkable 95 rating. The milk chocolate brown Ecuadorian Habano Sun Grown wrapper is well constructed with a good deal of oil to it. There are little to no veins, and the cigar is smooth and firm to touch with no soft spots. 

Oliva Serie V

The color scheme of the cigar’s band works so well with the wrapper that it almost looks painted on, and like everything Oliva touches, it’s timeless and on-trend at the same time. The only way to describe the seams is perfection. The same can be said of the triple cap. Long before this cigar meets my torch, it’s clear to see why it’s so widely celebrated. When I think of classic-looking cigars from a classic cigar family, the Oliva Serie V presentation comes to mind.

Oliva Serie V Lit

The Oliva Serie V cigar is a 5″ by 54 ring gauge Double Robusto that holds a special place in humidors all over the world. 

Taste & Draw

The Oliva Serie V cigar is a full strength complex cigar with a slow and steady burn. It’s relaxing to simply watch the ash grow. The burn line is flawless, and the draw is next to effortless if not effortless. Seriously—this thing practically smokes itself. 

Oliva Serie V in hands

With a generous creamy smoke output, the cigar is dominated by pepper and spice flavors, though these are balanced out nicely by opposing notes. Some serious thought went into developing this blend, which is of little surprise as Oliva makes sure to check all the right boxes with all of their cigars.  

Cold Draw

Nuts, Leather, Spice, Red Pepper, Sweet Fruit, Coffee

Oliva Milano First Third

Ah, yes—it’s cold draw time once again. A cold draw is kind of like pulling back the wrapping on a present to see if you can get a peek at the hidden treasures beneath. After pulling back the wrapper just enough so you can get it back in place without anyone knowing, you might see a letter or color or shape—anything that may hint at the contents. Cold draws are similar in that they reveal only hints, and often those hints aren’t part of the complete puzzle. 

Cutting Oliva Serie V

I take a cold pull. The first notes I’m tasting are nuts, leather, spice, and red pepper. Seeing as this is a Nicaraguan puro like the Padron 1926 Series No. 1 Maduro cigar, chances are we’ll see these latter two take seats upfront once we add fire. But first, I take one last pull and pick up some sweet fruit and coffee. 

The excitement builds. Let’s see what this highly sought-after stick has to offer. 

First Third

Peanuts, Strong Black Pepper, Light Red Pepper, Coffee, Broken-in Leather, Earthiness

Lighting Oliva Serie V

I introduce the Oliva Serie V cigar to my lighter, and right away, I’m tasting peanuts and strong black pepper. The blast of black pepper is reminiscent of that in the first third of the Romeo Y Julieta Churchill

Oliva Serie V Lighting

The red pepper from the cold draw lingers, but it’s pretty far in the background. I take a few more puffs. Coffee and leather notes appear though the leather is less generic than it was in the cold draw. I’d say in this first third, it’s more of a broken-in leather. Tastes great. I keep pulling and taste a rich earthiness flavor. So far, the Oliva Serie V reminds me of the Fuente Fuente OpusX Double Corona in that it’s complex yet extremely well balanced.

Oliva Milano First Third

The filler blend here is ligero from Nicaragua’s Jalapa Valley, which has undergone a special fermentation process. Located on the highest portion of the tobacco plant, ligero receives the most sunlight and is incredibly thick. Ligero delivers potent flavors and billowing clouds of smoke. That’s certainly what’s taking place with this stick, and I suspect things will only progress into something more full of body and strength. 

Smoking Oliva Serie V First Third

As we head into the second third, there is still no sign of the sweet fruit from the cold draw. Let’s see if that note is a deserter or if it finds its way back into the mix. 

Second Third

Strong Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Strong Black Coffee, Nuttiness, Sweetness, Woodiness

Oliva Serie V Second Third

Like the ​​Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9, I’ve seen this stick listed as medium-full strength as well as full strength. To me, this is a full strength blend, though I can see why some say medium-full since the cigar is so well balanced and some of the notes come across as medium. Nonetheless, we’re reviewing the overall blend, and the second third does not fail to impress. 

second third oliva milano

The black pepper is still strong. Right behind it, an appealing cinnamon note has planted its flag, and these two notes together account for a fine smoking experience on their own.

Luckily, there’s more to the story. The coffee flavor is more of a strong black coffee now, and the peanut has morphed into a general nuttiness. We’ve also got sweetness and woodiness working hard in this third. 

Smoking Oliva Serie V Milano Second Third

So far, the Oliva Serie V is showing us exactly why it’s beloved by so many and showered with high ratings and awards.

Final Third

Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Black Coffee, Woody Earthiness

Final Third Oliva Milano

Opening the final third black pepper is still by far the leading character. The cinnamon has picked up, almost equaling the black pepper. Almost. The smoke has remained smooth and creamy throughout the cigar, never once crossing the line into the land of harshness. 

Oliva Milano Final Third
Smoking Oliva Serie 5 Final Third Milano

Nearing the end now. The other remaining flavors are black coffee and woody earthiness. From start to finish, the Oliva Serie V cigar is a testament to why the Oliva cigar family is so respected. The one thing all of us cigar smokers want is consistency, and when you buy Oliva, you know exactly what to expect. If you smoke ten of the same Oliva cigars, you’re going to get ten similar experiences, and that is the consistency Oliva makes happen time and time again.  

Oliva Serie 5 Final Third smoking


The Oliva Serie V cigar is more than worthy of all the accolades it picked up over the years. The cigar’s flavors are true to those of Nicaraguan tobacco, and the well-aged Jalapa Valley ligero takes the stick to another level of Nicaraguan delight. 

Oliva Milano Serie V Sumarry

The cigar opens with a blast of strong black pepper. This black pepper dials back a bit as the smoke progresses but remains in the driver’s seat throughout. Other notes along for the entire ride are coffee and earthiness, though both take on other characteristics here and there. 

Other satisfying notes like cinnamon, woodiness, sweetness, and red pepper make their way into the mix for a rich cigar smoking experience.

Oliva Serie V Cigar Pairing Notes

For a full strength stogie like the Oliva Serie V cigar, I selected a run of dark spirits like bourbon, whiskey, and rum since neither the drink nor the stick will overpower the other. I also added some non-alcoholic pairings. 

  • Jefferson’s Ocean Aged At Sea Bourbon
  • Redbreast 12 Year Cask Strength Irish Whiskey
  • Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Barrel Select Bourbon
  • Med Egan’s Fortitude Single Malt Irish Whiskey
  • Canasteros 21yr Rum
  • Root Beer 
  • Coca-Cola

Oliva Serie V Cigar History

Like many multi-generational cigar families, the Olivas have had their share of adversity. They overcame three revolutions, the 1990s cigar boom, and more to keep their award-winning blends in the hands and humidors of cigar enthusiasts. 

It all began when Melanio Oliva started growing cigar tobacco in Cuba in 1886, though his efforts were paused when he enlisted in the Cuban War of Independence. In the early 1920s, his son Facundo took the reins, and the company did well for decades. When Castro’s communists began nationalizing a number of cigar factories, many of those in the industry were forced to relocate. 

While the Oliva family didn’t own a cigar factory, Facundo’s son Gilberto knew Cuba was no longer the right fit. After leaving Cuba, Gilberto began brokering tobacco, but in the back of his mind was the hope of finding a country where they could grow cigar tobacco that tasted like that of Cuba. Eventually, they would end up toiling the rich soils of Nicaragua before they had to flee the Sandinista revolution in 1979. 

During their time away from Nicaragua, they grew tobacco in Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and elsewhere. In 1995 Gilberto and family found their way back to Nicaragua. It was then that they started the Gilberto Oliva brand, which would become Oliva. 

Today the Oliva Cigar Co. remains one of the most respected companies in the cigar industry. The vast majority of their blends are grown and manufactured in Nicaragua, including the Oliva Serie V cigar, which has established itself as a must-have in any fully stocked humidor.