Oliva Serie V Lancero
Long, thin cigars don’t often appear in Cigar Aficionado’s Top 10, but this year, the Oliva Serie V Lancero impressed us with its focused flavors and unrelenting intensity. Made in Nicaragua, the Lancero is essentially everything we love about the Serie V line, only concentrated into a slender format, resulting in a very dense, amplified smoke that hits the center of the tongue with a solid earthy note and then blossoms beautifully across the palate, leaving precise impressions of pistachios, nutmeg and chocolate-covered almonds.
While thin cigars like lanceros are prized by connoisseurs, they’re not necessarily top sellers in cigar shops, as the market presently favors thick ring gauges. In factories, small mistakes on the rolling table can mean a lancero that doesn’t draw. But Oliva continues to produce this slender format despite market trends. It’s found its audience and this is partly due to the remarkable consistency. The blend here is entirely Nicaraguan with the wrapper naturally playing a larger role in the overall effect of the cigar.
Oliva has undergone some major changes in the last few years. The company transitioned from a family-owned operation into a corporate entity and a new factory in Nicaragua meant increased production capacity. Changes like that don’t usually bode well for cigar companies, but Oliva has been a delightful exception.