Up for review today is the Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado. You probably know this as the cigar that won Cigar Aficionado’s #1 Cigar of 2014 with a rating of 96 and some very high praise. The cigar is familiar to me for this reason, but also because Oliva was one of the first brands I took to as a new cigar smoker without a big budget for cigars. In particular, the Oliva Serie G was a big favorite of mine, and later the Serie V robusto.
All that to say, the cigars I smoked for this review certainly weren’t the first Serie V Melanio Figurados I’ve ever had. And that raises an important question:
How does the flavor, complexity, and construction of the cigars I’ll smoke for the review compare to my experiences in years past?
The question of consistency is an important one. It isn’t hard to commission a blender to put together a good tasting cigar. What is hard is to put together an award winning blend and then replicate it perfectly year after year. After all, tobacco is delicate and can change significantly. So the mark of a true great in the cigar world is whether or not a company can keep the same quality over time.
With that said, I’m excited to revisit this cigar and see how it fares.
- Cigar Reviewed: Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: Figuardo (6 x 52)
Appearance and Construction
The Oliva Serie V Melanie figurado really does strike me at first glance as a celebratory cigar. The shape itself is obviously a unique one, with the tapering all but guaranteeing a lot of flavor change throughout the smoke. The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper that drapes over the cigar is just about flawless, with barely visible veins and seams. On top of the that is the gold, red, and tobacco colored double banding.
The draw has just the right amount of restrictiveness, and the cold draw reveals a twinge of spice, earth, and cedar notes.
Flavor and Smoke Characteristics
The Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado opens with medium bodied smoke loaded with coffee, almonds, cedar, and touches of white pepper. Augmenting all of this is a really delicious vanilla floral note on the finish. It’s the same vanilla/floral note I’ve enjoyed in years past, and tasting it again is a bit like seeing and recognizing an old friend. Smoke production starts a bit lower than I’d like, but once the tapered end has burned and the ember widened, the cigar produces ample smoke. On the body side, I’d place the opening in the mild-medium range, though the strength of flavor is considerably higher.
At an inch and a half in, I’m well past the tapered end and the flavor profile is changing markedly, moving in the direction of a more salty/savory profile, though thankfully still balanced out by a nice vanilla note. Dominant notes on the palate are fresh bread, almonds, and bitter dark chocolate. It’s a surprising profile mainly because of its delicacy. It doesn’t pack an up-front punch like the regular Serie V, but you feel the strength on the back of your palate throughout.
At this point, it’s evident that the Oliva Serie V Melanio figurado is still the same cigar that I remember from smokes long past. It’s a good feeling.
When the cigar hits the second third, the body kicks up a bit, bringing with it a lot more of the vanilla and floral notes that I enjoyed in the beginning of the smoke. The profile is still complex and elegant, but I’m happy for the additional strength. The wood note has also morphed a bit into something akin to sugared popcorn, which is extremely enjoyable. I should also say that, up to this point, the burn has been totally straight and the ash has held on average for an inch to an inch and a half.
Moving in to the final third, body and strength both increase to medium full. The flavor balance shifts as well, with wood, white pepper, and floral notes at the helm. The last couple of inches pick up considerably along with the heat of the smoke, providing a good opportunity to set the cigar down.
I’m a bit late to the party with this review but I can wholeheartedly concur with Cigar Aficionado’s rating on this cigar. The Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado delivers a complex, balanced, and elegant flavor profile that tells a long, delicious story throughout the course of the smoke. This is a cigar that should easily dominate the $12 – $15 price range. It provides a smoking experience that easily rivals that of much pricier smokes.