Nicaraguan cigar powerhouse Oliva Cigars has expanded its landmark Serie V line with Oliva Serie V Melanio, a premium-priced line expansion named after Melanio Oliva, believed to be the first in the cigarmaking family to grow tobacco. News of the creation broke on this website in July, prototypes of the cigars were shown to retailers over the summer at the cigar industry trade show in August, and the final cigars began reaching retailers this autumn.
Cigar Insider conducted a vertical brand tasting of all five sizes of the line in the November 13 issue. The top-scoring smoke of the group was the Figurado, which measures 6 1/2 inches long by 52 ring gauge and has a suggested retail price of $14. The smoke scored 92 points in our blind tasting, outstanding on our 100-point scale, and earned the accolade of Humidor Selection. A Humidor Selection cigar is one that our editors believe to be of superior quality that will likely reach its full flavor potential if aged for a time in a humidor.
The cigars are made from a blend of Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos and wrapped in tobacco grown in Ecuador from Sumatra seed.
Melanio Oliva grew tobacco in the 1800s on a small farm in San Juan y Martinez, Cuba, some of the best tobacco lands in the world. His grandson Gilberto Oliva Sr. is the patriarch of Oliva Cigar Co., maker of millions of handmade cigars per year in Nicaragua, and his great grandson Jose is the president of the company, overseeing operations from its U.S. headquarters in Miami Lakes, Florida.
The original Oliva Serie V debuted five years ago, and it has been a tremendous success for the company. "It was the best that we could make, and ever since then we thought of a follow-up," said Jose Oliva over the summer. "It had to be as unique as V was."
The Oliva Serie V Melanio comes in five sizes: Robusto, Churchll, Torpedo, Petit Corona and Figurado. They retail for $8 to $14 per cigar and are the most expensive in the Oliva portfolio.
For the comprehensive vertical brand taste test, see the November 13 Cigar Insider.