Oliva Serie V Melanio

The 2012 IPCPR Trade Show saw Oliva Cigar Company showcase a new line as a part of its popular Serie V family – the Oliva Serie V Melanio.  With a lot of new releases in the cigar industry over the past twelve months, Oliva has been pretty quiet.  However, for 2012, Oliva has opted to add what can be considered an ultra- premium line into their portfolio with the Melanio (it will carry an SRP from $8.00 to $14.00).  The Melanio is not a line extension, but a new blend.   There was a lot of anticipation with for the Melanio coming into IPCPR. I recently had a chance to smoke this cigar as it made its way into the brick and mortar shops, and this is a cigar that has lived up to its billing.  In fact, this might be one of the finest cigars to come out of Oliva Cigars.

Here is some information we provided when we previewed the Oliva Serie V Melanio:

The Oliva V Melanio is expected to be a core line cigar with production
limited to 500,000 or less per year.  The Melanio gets its name from
family patriarch Melanio Oliva.  Melanio Oliva was a tobacco grower in
19th century Cuba.  He is believed to be the first Oliva family member
to grow tobacco.

Let’s break down the Oliva Serie V Melanio and see what this cigar delivers.  I will disclaim this cigar experience was based on a single smoking experience.

Blend Profile

The Melanio differs from the core Oliva Serie V line in that it utilizes a Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper (the core Serie V uses an Habano Sun Grown wrapper).   The blend also features Nicaraguan tobacco from Jalapa.  The fillers are said to be some of the most aged filler tobacco from Oliva.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The Melanio also differs from the core Oliva Serie V in that all of the vitolas currently available are in a box-press shape.

Churchill 7 x 50
Figuardo 6 1/2 x 52 (Double torpedo)
Torpedo: 6 1/2 x 52
Robusto: 5 x 52
Petit Corona 4 1/2 x 46
Robusto 5 x 52

Appearance

For this cigar experience, I smoked the Petit Corona vitola The box-press of the Melanio is a firm one. Compared to many other box-press vitolas, I would categorize this as a “flatter” box-press.  The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper has a light coffee bean color with some dark spots.  There are virtually no veins or wrapper seams that are visible.  The complexion of the wrapper has a silky look to it.

There are two bands on the Melanio.  The first band is the classic brown, gold, and red Serie V band.  That band also features the text “Gran Reserva Limitada” etched in gold on a gold stripe.  There is a secondary band that says “Melanio” in gold font on a brown background.  Below that text it says “Reserva Limiada” in a smaller gold font.  There are red, gold, and brown stripes on the secondary band.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my cigar experience with the Melanio Petit Corona, I went with a straight cut into the cap of the cigar.  The pre-light draw was extremely pleasing as I was treated to a combination of coffee, wood, and cedar notes.  With a very satisfactory dry draw, it was time to fire up the Oliva Serie V Melanio and see what this cigar would deliver during the smoking experience.

Flavor Profile

One thing that was very noticable when I lit the Melanio was a sharp pepper aroma.  There was also a pepper blast to start – along with some notes of coffee.  When the pepper blast subsided, the coffee notes moved into the forefront and the pepper took on a secondary role.   There was also a very distinct floral note on the after-draw.

As the smoking experience of the Melanio progressed there was a slight up-tick in the pepper notes toward the end of the first third.   When the Melanio moved into the second third, the floral notes dissipated and the pepper notes began to close in on the coffee notes.

As the Melanio moved into a last third, the pepper notes were in control.  When the end of the smoke was reached, it had a spicy profile.  At the same time, the notes were not harsh.  The resulting nub was cool in temperature, and firm to the touch.

Burn and Draw

When you examine the Melanio, you can see this is a well-constructed cigar.  For the most part, this was reflected in the attributes of burn and draw.  The burn line remained sharp from start to finish with minimal touch-ups.  The resulting ash remained firm throughout the smoking experience.  The cigar had an ideal burn rate.  I felt the burn temperature got a little warmer in the second half.  I eased up on the draw a bit to prevent the cigar from burning too hot.  This might have contributed to some of the spicier notes, but overall really didn’t have an adverse effect on the flavor profile as the spicy notes were not harsh.

The draw was outstanding – making the Melanio a joy to puff on.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, I felt the Melanio does a very good job at delivering the right amount of kick.   The nicotine profile puts the Melanio into the middle of the Medium to Full area of the strength spectrum.  As for the flavors, the Melanio delivers some very robust flavors.   I assessed the Melanio to be medium to full-bodied for the majority of the smoking experience.  Toward the end of the cigar, I felt the flavors (particularly the spice notes) moved the Melanio into full-bodied range.  For the most part the Melanio does a good job at balancing the attributes of stength and body.  At the very end, I did give the body a slight edge over the strength.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Oliva Serie V Melanio is a very good cigar.  This petit robusto delivered some very nice flavors.  I’m very curious to see how some of the larger size vitolas smoke with this particular blend as my gut tells me these vitolas will deliver a varied experience.  The Oliva Serie V core line has a very loyal group of followers among cigar enthusiasts and I believe the Melanio will become a favorite among them.   This cigar is probably one I’d steer the experienced cigar enthusiast too – although, I would not discourage a novice cigar enthusiast from trying this cigar.  This is definitely a cigar I would smoke again.

Summary

Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full (Full at the end)
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: Memorable
Score: 93

Source: The cigar for this assessment was obtained from a friend.