Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano
Size: 6.5 x 52 Torpedo
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $11.80 in box of 10

Today we take a look at the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro.
Once again, I find myself late to the party by 5 years.
Thanks to my friend Kellie K-H for the single stick. Not two. One. This comment will guarantee an angry email from Kellie accusing me of being an arrogant prick. That’s OK. She is a cool cigar fanatic chick.

Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A
Between 2013-2015, Cigar Aficionado rated this cigar 89, 91, 92, 93, & 94 saying: “Beautifully box-pressed, this Churchill offers a sweet and toasty smoke that starts with warm, bready notes before developing a walnut, toffee, and tea-like quality.”

From Halfwheel.com (June 30, 2014):
“The original Oliva Serie V Melanio debuted at the 2012 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show, and is named for Melanio Oliva, Gilberto Oliva’s grandfather and the patriarch of the family’s cigar business. In December 2012, the company announced there would be a Melanio Maduro, originally slated for Father’s Day 2013 but pushed back to the trade show.

“When it debuted, the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro was available in just one size, a 6 1/2 x 54 torpedo, a size also found in the original line. It used a Mexican San Andrés wrapper in place of the original Ecuadorian Sumatra leaf, while the binder and filler both come from Nicaragua’s Jalapa region.
“Oliva recently added a Robusto and Churchill to the Serie V Melanio Maduro line that shipped in April 2014, both of which will be regular, if somewhat limited production in comparison to the original Melanio. These two vitolas are not a set limited edition like the Torpedo, which was limited to 10,000 boxes.”

Churchill 7 x 50 $11.80
Robusto 5 x 52 $8.60
Torpedo 6.5 x 52 $11.80

No doubt that this is one beautiful stick. Totally seamless. One or two minor veins. A gorgeous, evenly distributed box press. The pointy cap is so perfect that it makes me cry. Very toothy. (Sob). Truly the color of a cup of espresso.

From the shaft, I can smell really dark bittersweet chocolate, malts, stinging espresso, cream, lovely fruit notes, strong black pepper, licorice, and black tea.

From the clipped cap and foot, I can smell barnyard, bittersweet cocoa, malt, caramel, vanilla, nuts, black pepper, fruity like me, licorice, tea, and generic sweetness.

The cold draw presents flavors of black licorice, coffee, chocolate, malt, creaminess, black pepper, rye toast, caraway seeds, and a strong nuttiness.

I know I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t already know about this cigar. 5 years of production. The only person that hasn’t smoked one is my 7 month old grandson…I’m waiting for his first birthday to hand him a 5 pack.

There is a huge plug near the cap and an even bigger one behind the double cigar band. No air is moving. Out comes my PerfecDraw cigar poker and in two swipes, clears the plugs like a hot knife to butter. Have I mentioned the price is now lower?

Heavy cigar as it hangs from my Mick Jagger lips. (He gets new ones before every tour and I bought some old ones on Ebay). I look like a Kardashian.
I piss and moan and whine all the time that I have no luck with the burn on box pressed sticks. Here is the exception. Just a perfect char line.

There is a wonderful sweetness to the tobacco creating childhood memories of all the candy my parents would not let me eat.
Strength is a solid medium.

I forgot to mention that this cigar has something like 6-9 months of humidor time. That’s important. Oliva is pretty much old school blending. Almost everything they blend takes a long time to age properly. Therefore, this poor Jew doesn’t buy for the distant future. I go straight for the New Breed blends occupied by the endless boutique blenders. So many of these guys develop blends that are ready to go in two months or less.

Here we go: Creaminess, fruity sweetness, malts, really strong espresso, black pepper, chocolate milk, pralines, and allspice.

The Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro starts strong. Complexity slams it home in the first couple minutes. Transitions are building…but a short finish at this point.

This redwood tree is going to be a 2 hour smoke…not a 3 hour tour. I met Alan Hale Jr…the captain on Gilligan’s Island during my Eddie Munster project in the 80’s. Nice man and a funny story that I haven’t published in a while. I totally embarrassed myself…naturally. Next time.

The telltale sign of a good blend is the upward trajectory of excellence. It starts well and then just climbs that ladder that brings pleasure and excitement to the palate. Like licking prune juice off of my wife’s lips.

Time has been good to this cigar. It is so smooth that it’s like sipping the finest Kentucky bourbon.
Flavors develop instigating that long finish that was missing earlier. The flavor profile is like a strand of DNA with intertwining elements twerking on the pleasure zone of my brain. Did you know that as you get older, the pleasure zone in your pate enlarges? It must be true as TMZ said so.

I believe I hit all the major flavors. Now complexity takes over and it’s the Mad Hatter Tea Cup ride. I’m swirling. Remember, just say no to drugs. This is your brain. This is your brain lying on the floor because your wife accidentally crowned you with a cast iron pan.

Smoke time is 40 minutes. I’m going to need a blow up doughnut for my ass by the time I finish this review.

The Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro makes its move now. Fireworks and big complexity are scrambling like a ferret being chased by a gaggle of geese. (Sometimes I surprise myself with the stupid shit I say).

I’m not sure why Cigar Aficionado’s range of reviews rated this blend from 89 to 94. I mean, c’mon…WTF? It’s either a great cigar or it ain’t. Make your minds up.
I get the mag and find myself scratching my head at the cigar rating portion. Do these guys smoke a J before writing down their reactions to all those cigars?
In other words, this cigar blend is definitely in the 94 nether world; not 89. An 89 is what they give to $5 Torano cigars.

I over use these words but until I find a Thesaurus that provides better adjectives, I must continue to say how nuanced and subtle the underlying flavors are. Almost indistinguishable and not allowing my palate to truly understand them. It’s what a lot of smokers say…”I don’t taste no stinkin’ pumpkin pie…I just know what I like and what I don’t like.”

I would prefer to just sit quietly while watching camel porn on my laptop and not try to dissect the blend. Just enjoy what is being doled out by a fine cigar.
I read a lot of reviews that declare they taste fresh grapes. I concur. It is quite lovely.
Getting to the halfway point takes an hour+. Slow as she goes.

Strength is medium/full.

Buffalo Springfield is on the cable TV classic rock channel. “For What It’s Worth.” I saw them right after their first hit came out in the 60’s. Front row seats at Melodyland in Anaheim for $3.50. It was the first time I’d heard a band play that loud…maybe even beating Spinal Tap for that honor. It was great! In those days, you could just wander into the acts’ dressing rooms and say hi. So my buddy Skip and I did just that. Holy shit…those boys could drink.

I’m back.

Sometimes I wish I could write like a lot of cigar reviewers. They manage to sum up the entire experience in a paragraph or two. I’m not saying that’s lazy…but it sure doesn’t tell me much; except that the cigar tastes earthy, woody, and leathery. If I could do that, I could finish my review in 30 minutes and then sit back and watch dirty movies on Cinemax.

OK. Laugh at me now…the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro is a very complex flavor bomb. So many twists and turns. Makes me long for those early days where I worked at a carnival as the bearded lady.

I did review the original Melanio and gave it a rave review. I love the Maduro even more. Ever notice that some smokers do not like Maduro blends? I know lots of folks that just can’t handle the richness and strength that most Maduros provide. This reinforces my hypothesis that describing a kitchen sink list of flavors is just my experience. Our palates are like fingerprints. Everyone is different. I taste tomatoes. You taste tamatoes.

Construction is spot on. Even the char line is behaving.
Great cigar. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Smoke time is one hour 35 minutes.

Bliss. Relaxing on a nude beach full of beautiful women. A boner when I stroke my cat’s fur. Pulling a condom over my head in the morning to scare Charlotte. Playing bass in Led Zep.

Last time: Creaminess, malts, cocoa, coffee, licorice, lime citrus, grapes, nutmeg, a light touch of licorice, smooth black pepper, and black tea.

The finish is long and luxurious. (Getting the stink eye from my cat as he sits across from me staring in a very disapproving manner.) I gotta get him laid.

I got my bass gig with Curved Air in London by responding to an ad in Melody Maker. Did you know that Brian May got his guitar gig with Queen the same way? And when Sir Paul formed Wings, he advertised for a drummer in Melody Maker by saying: “Wanted. A good drummer for Paul McCartney-like band.” The drummers auditioned with a bunch of strangers while Paul sat in the back of the auditorium. He picked a few and those lucky souls got to audition with the man himself. Pretty cool.

The Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro is a fantastic blend. One tends to forget how good some catalog cigars are after they’ve been on the market for 5 years. We find ourselves seeking out new things. And forget the old. Now I’m glad I’m the last guy to review this spectacular cigar. It provides an electric shock to the memory banks.

The last third is killing it. We’ve all smoked $12 sticks. Most are excellent. Some…not so much. This bunny is worth the price. Especially when you get a solid two hours of enjoyment from it.

This is one of the most complex blends I’ve smoked in a while. Having all that humidor time has turned this tobacco sausage into a masterpiece.

You can read my 2014 review of the original Oliva Serie V Melanio. I stole its rock story for yesterday’s review.
Top notch construction. No wrapper issues. A char line that is rock solid.
Because the blend has been out so long, you can find deals everywhere.
Clearly, this blend reminds me of just how good a cigar can be.
Final smoke time is 2 hours 10 minutes. Whew.


And now for something completely different:

I had lost everything due to the Eddie Munster project in ’84, an embezzling partner at the recording studio, and Rocshire Records being shut down by the F.B.I. for embezzling. So I got out of town by managing a very good four piece band called “The Kind.” If I had a dollar for every band in the US that called itself that, I’d be a rich man.

The band (who was based in South Lake Tahoe) came down to SoCal where I met them. In fact, the leader was an old high school buddy. They had a great sound and did songs from Peter Gabriel to the Charlie Daniels Band. That’s because the leader played guitar and electric violin. Add a bass player of course. A good drummer. And a keys player that could get any sound he wanted out of that thing. And they sang like birds in harmony. So rare for a four piece band to have the ability to all be lead vocalists.

So a big prank, by the boys in the band, was planned. We had settled into our digs in Tahoe. A big house owned by the band leader’s wife’s parents. Big woodsy cabin with 4 bedrooms, big kitchen, spa, and surrounded by giant trees. The perfect place to smoke a doob while watching the sun go down.

I did a lot of hiking around the trails of Tahoe to keep busy. I was miserable. I had worked 15 hour days 7 days a week for years on my musical projects and now I didn’t know what to do with myself. I found the perfect perch that overlooked the giant lake. It took me a good hour to hike there and I never had to share the silence with anyone. I’d bring a note book for things that came to my head; and a doob or two.

The band played out all the time, not just weekends. Very popular band.
This is where my future wife Charlotte comes in….
She ran the bar at one of the better clubs. This woman, I was told, had a master’s in psychology from Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt.
Her father was a well-known psychiatrist in Fulda, Germany. He had his own clinic for children with Down Syndrome.
Charlotte got married right out of college to a German cop. But a year later, he was killed in the line of duty.

She had too much empathy, it seems, and only did the psychology thing because she was pushed into it by her father’s bidding.
After her husband died, she chucked her education and became a flight attendant for Lufthansa. By the time she was 27 she got her green card and made the US her home.

I was already dating a bevy of beauties in Tahoe. No shortage of good looking young women attracted by musicians.
Everyone in the band wanted to be matchmakers for me.

There we were…sitting in a booth downstairs where the band was to play that night. It looked like a cave and held about 300 people.
We were exhausted from humping the gear. So we took a beer break. We sat in one of those huge half round booths that sits 8 or 9 people.

In walks Charlotte. She pushes the guys over to make room and sits down with us. Everyone yelled out her name. She liked The Kind and was glad to see them.
I was introduced. And boy, I was impressed.

I never held back that I was a Jew. But before the subject would come up, my band mates volunteered that for me. Charlotte said nothing and just casually took a puff from her cigarette looking very much like a 1930’s movie star.

Charlotte was not only a German but a Catholic as well. They thought this was very funny and wanted to see how I would react to this.
I discovered that Charlotte holds court where ever she is. This was not a shy, sweet, demure woman.
She cursed like a teamster. Every other phrase was: “What the fuck!” Except with her German accent, it came out like: “Wad da’ fock!”

I was told, later, that I sat there quietly with my jaw hanging open. Never heard a woman swear like that.

To this day, we argue about who asked who out but, really, she asked me out a few weeks later.

I had just met this nice Jewish princess who lived in the very upscale Carmel-by-the-Sea. She was rich, good looking… and rich. I had gone out with her and loved that she was rich. And a spoiled brat. But I was inebriated with Charlotte.

Back to the club…
After an hour, Charlotte split.
And the table broke out into laughter.
I had to break our first date because the band was going into the recording studio. And I was producing.

We got together a few days later and since she knew Tahoe, she took me out to a fancy Swiss restaurant serving great German food. Very expensive. She had to pay for everything as I was broke. The Eddie Munster project decimated me.

The Kind played out for around $500 a night. I got $100. And they played maybe 3-4 times per week. So I was living on $300-$400 per week in 1984.

At dinner, Charlotte ordered a bottle of wine. I didn’t tell her I didn’t drink but I did so to impress her. I got so schnockered I could barely stand or see straight.
Afterwards, she took me to Harrah’s Casino on the north shore which is in Nevada.

The all black rock n roll band, The Bus Boys, was playing. I knew them. We had recorded in the same recording studio in West Hollywood for months. We even played on each other’s songs.

So here was my chance to impress her.
During their break, I grabbed her and went on stage to re-introduce myself.
They had no idea who I was.
I had to run by them a list of names until they said, “Oh yeah, we remember.” I think they were just being polite.

I was so embarrassed. I actually had jammed with them and done some recording on their tunes and they couldn’t remember me. Of course, they could have been high at the club and that might be the reason they didn’t remember me.
Yeah, that’s the reason. Sigh.

We stayed in Tahoe from May until September. I got bored living like a pauper and The Kind had begun to no longer interest me.
I convinced Charlotte to come back to Long Beach with me.

I was so bored with the band. They wouldn’t listen to me. I was their manager with light years more experience…So frustrating. So, I jettisoned them.

We packed up everything into my Nissan Maxima station wagon and headed south.

I swallowed my pride and asked my father for a job at his structural steel fab shop. I had my engineering degree so I was made a project manager. I was a structural engineer but never used those tools for design…so boring. Instead, I project managed big steel projects. More exciting than sitting in a room working on equations.

Charlotte and I were poor. We got a bachelor/studio apartment. You know…no bedroom.
And while we lived there, we got married on February 8, 1985.

We were so poor that we had our wedding in the clerk’s office in Indio, CA. My dad lived in Palm Springs but we had to go to the county seat in Indio to get married by a justice of the peace. The office had a large window that stretched the entire length of the office. They were fresh out of courtrooms to do this in.

On the other side of the massive window was a line of people paying their traffic tickets….all watching. For our honeymoon, we stayed in a condo my dad owned in Palm Springs. And we were thrown a party. Pretty pathetic.

We had hoped to renew our vows and do it the right way but could never afford to do so.
So I don’t know who the last laugh was on; but that was 33 years ago this month.
Time really flies. (Actually, it feels like 43 years).

11 months after becoming betrothed, Charlotte gave birth to Katie. Our one and only child.
It’s been a long road. There have been ups and downs but it’s been a real marriage. Companions for life.

Char pic


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4 replies

  1. Great review brother The Oliva Family is a jewel in cigar industry.. This is a fantastic smoke especially for an educated palate.. Phil just like to say welcome back, we all missed you. Health,happiness and plenty of cigars for you..


  2. Thank you Frank…I missed me too.
    Not only was I ill, but I couldn’t smoke. It was like Dante’s Divine Comedy of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven…minus the heaven.
    I was so sick, my doc told me I only had 6 months to live. I told him I couldn’t pay. He said, “OK. You’ve got a year.”
    Badda Boom!

  3. Nope, no angry email. But I only had 3 of these left, and as much as I love you, you’re lucky you got THAT one!

    At least it was well rested. Arrogant prick.

    KIsses, Uncle.

  4. You so funny! Still have those bruises from riding the pole all these years?

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