Cigar Focus – Oliva V Melanio Torpedo

A nice mix of sweet and spice in this great cigar. Not only does it rate an 89 on Halfwheel but now you can buy 3 and get 1 free at your local Cox’s!

Cigar Reviewed: Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Torpedo
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: TABOLISA
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Size: 6 1/2 Inches
Ring Gauge: 52
Vitola: Torpedo
Release Date: July 2013
Number of Cigars Released: 10,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (100,000 Total Cigars)
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
On its own, the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro doesn’t look that much darker than the original Melanio, but when you hold the two side by side, the difference is readily apparent, as the Maduro is much darker than its original brethren. The wrapper is smooth but with some distinctive texture at the head, minimal veins that look like they’ve been pressed flat and a bit of tooth. There’s a sneaky amount of spice tucked away in the pre-light aroma, as a sweet jam note is the first thing to greet you before a mob of pepper comes out from the shadows. There’s a bit of wheat toast in the equation as well that lends a dry crispness to the aroma and provides a bridge between sweetness and spice. The cold draw is surprisingly firm, compounded a bit by the narrow head of the torpedo shape. Flavors are a bit lacking here, as a subtle note of tobacco sets a baseline that sits largely on its own. While the foot of the cigar looks to be a bit underfilled, the head of the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro looks almost overfilled, and the cigar is uniformly firm from top to bottom.

While it’s not overpowering, the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro has a healthy bit of spice in the first few puffs and offers a decent bit of concentrated earth notes to create a robust first impression. With the burn line about half an inch along, the flavor picks up but the intensity almost backs off a bit, as what gets added is flavor on the periphery: it’s almost just pure, light-bodied smoke, and it doesn’t really add much to the overall profile. Clay, earth and a touch of mineral notes combine to form a taste of soil that shows the terroir of the Mexican San Andrés wrapper very well.

In the second third, a woody undertone starts to guide the flavor profile with the pepper reentering the equation with a sneaky vengeance, going right after the nostrils and the top of the throat. The flavor at the midpoint isn’t overpowering but is very engaging and begs you to pick apart the notes it offers. Just past the midpoint, my palate registers a flavor that is much richer in soil and clay than what was present earlier. A solid black pepper note carries the cigar into its final third and sets up a flavor that will give my taste buds something to reckon with. While the thought of a Maduro wrapper often conjures up thoughts of sweetness, there is none to be found here, as the Maduro process brings out the notes of earth notes much more than any kind of sweetness.

The final third of the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro ratchets up the complex earth note, with a dry note of clay and brick dominating the palate and a peppery note providing the underlying kick. It’s medium-plus in both body and strength at this point, and really seems to be honing itself in flavor wise for the final puffs. The earth and pepper keep the body at a medium-plus to just shy of full level, almost red lining the medium-plus note as it didn’t seem able to shift into a higher gear of richness, fullness and complexity. The cigar doesn’t seem to want to burn much more with about an inch and a half left, as the combustion really slows and frequent relights deliver only minimal return.

Final Notes:

In the first third, the ash starts to flower quite significantly and peel away from the core. Quite an interesting shot:
Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Torpedo Shark AshApparently in the Dominican, the shark ash is considered good luck.
Interestingly though, the ash hangs on fairly tightly despite its flowering. Ever the nervous asher, I literally had to bang on the ashtray to get it to detach.
Oliva has released the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial as an annual release since 2008. This is better than some of those releases (2010 and 2011) but nowhere as good as the 2008, 2009 and 2012 versions.
The vitola for the Serie V Maduro Especial has changed year to year, with a Torpedo vitola in the first three releases and a Toro vitola for 2011 and 2012.
The Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial switched to a Mexican San Andrés Maduro wrapper in 2010 and has used it ever since. Prior to that, a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro and Nicaraguan Habano Maduro had been used.
Oliva said this should be an annual release.
The original Oliva Serie V Melanio was offered in five sizes: Robusto, Churchill, Torpedo, Petit Corona and Figurado. Had it been up to me, I would have love to have tried this in the Petit Corona and Figurado sizes. The Torpedo is a perfectly fine vitola and has become somewhat of a signature for the Oliva Serie V, but I generally find it lacking a bit for my preferences.
Given that it says Maduro on the secondary band, there should be no chance of you confusing the two after some rest in your humidor.
The secondary band’s color scheme is also different from the original Melanio, with an all gold background in place of its predecessor’s brown background.
This was Oliva’s only release at IPCPR 2013.
Additionally, the Maduro wordmark stands out a bit better than “Gran Reserva Limitado,” which appeared on the original Melanio. That line has moved up to the main Serie V band.
The initial release of the Oliva Serie V Melanio sold out in a matter of minutes, and I have a feeling this version will be another very quick seller.
There were some rumors that the Oliva Serie V Melanio was supposed to be Master Blends 4, though those rumors were denied by several sources. There is still no Oliva Master Blends 4, and there is little if any speculation about when it might be released.
The cigars for this review were provided by Oliva Cigar Company.
Final smoking time is about one hour and 40 minutes.