My hubby knows me so well. He bought me a birthday present that was just perfect for me; a very thoughtful gift! Check it out:
This gift box proudly proclaims that the Serie V Melanio Gran Reserva Limitada was Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year in 2014, with a 96 rating. They were still talking about it in their Top 25 Cigars of 2016 and in the Churchill version as one of their Top 25 Cigars of 2018, and It comes with a booklet offering some history on Oliva and the Serie V line of cigars. Not much of this is relevant to a review of the cigar, but it is interesting. I learned, for example, that the name of the cigar comes from the family patriarch, Melanio Oliva, and not the dark, smooth matte finish of the cigar itself.
What is relevant are the details of its construction. It is a Nicaraguan habano-seed, hand rolled with some of Oliva’s oldest, most prized leaves from Condega and Esteli, and fermented ligero fillers that “emphasize” the Jalapa region. The wrapper is a proprietary Sumatran seed grown by Oliva in Ecuador. Much less complicated than I might have expected, but sometimes, simplicity is best.
One of my favourite things about this cigar is the box-cut shape. I love a good box cut. In my experience, they often burn straighter and require less correction, which maximizes the full enjoyment of your smoke.
I’d also like to take a moment to appreciate the amazing presentation of this beautiful gift set. It was almost too pretty to smoke. Attractively dark cigars with equally attractive gold labels, lined up in pretty rows in a decorative box, featuring clips that actually snap closed and seal the box properly. You could get away with keeping these in the box and not your humidor for quite some time. Some nice touches I really appreciated included a brown satin ribbon with gold lettering stretching across them, and a smaller brown ribbon hooked underneath one of the tightly-packed cigars for ease of removal. The cedar panel intended for spills was so nice, I didn’t want to break it up!
But, cigars are meant to be smoked, and enjoyed as part of a total sensory experience; not looked at. The pack was firm and tight. The wrapper note was of strong, rich earth and farmyard, with cinnamon notes. It cut easily with a smooth V-cut. Toasting the foot released the scent of a hardwood fire (you know how you can smell the heat and the wood element?)
I lit it up at quarter after ten in the morning. The first few draws were pleasantly reminiscent of a sweet chocolate and leather. The first third slowly revealed more of those cinnamon elements suggested in the wrapper note. There was also a delightful cream element. I was distinctly reminded of a fruffy coffee-shop coffee.
In the second third, which I would say started at about a quarter to eleven, the cigar developed a more bitter chocolate flavour, as is typical. What wasn’t typical was the note of white pepper that suddenly appeared. Absolutely brilliant!
The final third, which started at about twenty to twelve I would say, was dominated by a flavour that was a complex blend of milk chocolate and pepper. I was reminded of Aztec chocolate, a personal favourite of mine. I had to relight a couple of times, unfortunately, which is the only point I would lay against it. I finished the cigar at twenty minutes past noon. Really, a good, long smoke for the value!
Cigars International, who tried these babies “fresh off the rolling table,” said:
Each Melanio is full-bodied and full-flavored, with unique nuances such as black pepper, freshly-baked bread, and unsweetened cocoa. You might also notice some toast and lightly creamed coffee.Cigars International
Cigar Aficionado said upon naming it the Cigar of the Year in 2014:
The Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado has rich, big notes of leather framed by a range of coffee, caramel and woody intonations. It’s a classic smoke.Cigar Aficionado
Well, there’s only one mark possible for this:
My hubby got my gift box of ten at Cigars International (where they’re doing a promo deal that includes an Oliva Top 10 Sampler!) for $86.99 USD. That’s a deal you really ought to take advantage of. You can also get them for $86.99 USD at Famous Smoke. They’re also available in five-packs for $44.99 USD.
And that’s a lady’s perspective!