My journey into the world of the Oliva Serie V Maduro releases started back in 2011 when a Redditor by the name of /u/SpeedGeek bombed me with an Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial from the 2011 release. I enjoyed it so much I immediately went out and purchased multiple boxes to enjoy and begin aging.
By the time I reached the 2012 release I had managed to acquire multiple 2010, 2011 and 2012 boxes. It was at that point I realized that what I needed to do was track down the 2008 and 2009 boxes and then do a blind review of every year to find out which was the best.
The blind review portion turned out to be fairly easy for marking the cigars as Oliva, for whatever reason, does not put a year indicator on the band. You would have to check the vitola and the wrapper to differentiate one year from the next if you had them laying around your humidor.
C4ddy took the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 vitolas and mixed them up without me seeing. He then tagged each of them with a colored dot so that we could easily reference them later. He wrote the corresponding year to dot relationship down and then handed the cigars back to me in a 3 cigar and 2 cigar configuration. I was to smoke the first batch of 3 in one sitting and the second batch of 2 cigars in another setting.
I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home. Oliva Serie V Maduro’s are in the medium full to full range of strength and smoking 3 of them simultaneously proved to be quite a bit for me to handle.
I have not yet looked at the page that reveals the cigars and their colored dot, so I thought it would be fun to host a simple giveaway. I’ll be giving away a sampler pack that includes 1 of each of the years releases to the person who first correctly identifies, on Cigar Federation or Reddit, the release year and the colored dot it is associated with. No entries with edits will be accepted so please post carefully. The winner and the correct identification will be revealed at some point before the end of September 2013.
Strong notes of cedar with some spices and a fairly good hit of coffee.
A mixture of cedar and fresh earth.
A mixture of cedar with a light hint of chocolate as a background.
Nothing really stood out here for me to identify which cigar was which. If I had to guess I’d say the green dot with cedar and spice is from the 2010 release, and the blue-red dot with chocolate is the 2008 release but there’s not enough to go on.
C4ddy obviously set this up so that the vitolas of the release wouldn’t be an obvious give away while smoking them together.
All three are torpedo vitolas which will narrow this review down with some simple use of Google. The photography is done in such a way that the ring gauge should not be obvious, even if the color of the wrapper is.
All three cigars are flawless in their construction with the blue dot having tooth covering the entire wrapper and the blue-red dot having tooth over some of the wrapper.
Initial impressions are lots of spice and cedar just like the nose, with the spice being a complete pepper and spice bomb. As the intense spice gives way it becomes quite sweet. It momentarily becomes earthy at the 10 minute mark but that earth falls away fairly quickly. The combination of sweetness, cedar and spice with pepper makes this the most complex of the 3 Oliva Serie V Maduros in the first third.
I feel like this might be the 2008 release. I would mark this down as my favorite so far based solely on the first third.
Earthy with some light spice coming through on the post draw. The spice intensifies for a few minutes and then gives away to some sweetness. I found the spice and sweetness waxed and waned throughout the first third.
Although the flavors here aren’t very complex, I would consider this the strongest in flavor and strength for all three Serie Vs.
Some light spice and light earthiness in the first third. At the 10 minute mark some sweetness pushes through but it falls away after a few minutes. It becomes more earthy as the first third closes out.
I would consider this the least complex of the three cigars as the first closes out.
There is still loads of sweetness going into the second third. More earthy flavors break through as the middle third establishes itself. I’m getting hints of cinnamon at the halfway mark. The earth is still there as I make my way to the last third with some sweetness coming through just as it closes out.
As the other two Oliva Vs start to ramp up in complexity I find the green dot falls in complexity.
As I move into the second third on the blue dot I find the flavor complexity picks up significantly from the first third. Savory and sweet with no spice or pepper going into the middle. I would say that the blue dot starts to overtake the other 2 in my favorite category. It is still very sweet and the complexity continues to build throughout the entire middle.
By the end of the third the blue dot has become my favorite of the three.
Still not much flavor complexity going into the middle third. I’d describe the flavor profile is somewhat flat. It does become slightly spicy in the second third but the intensity is far less than the other two. Seemingly out of nowhere it becomes extremely sweet, then earthy. The earthy flavors fall off as the middle third falls away.
The blue-red dot is still the least complex.
Very earthy as the final third starts. Really not much else going on here and I’m quite disappointed given how well the first third began.
The strong sweetness that was previously present falls away in intensity and there’s some full bodied earth flavors that build in intensity here. Earth isn’t normally a flavor profile I enjoy but I find the last third to be the most complex and extremely enjoyable as I finish it.
Very earthy in the last third with a little bit of sweetness that comes through after the last third settles.
Definitely the least complex and weakest in strength across all three Serie V Maduros.
I found it challenging to keep all 3 cigars burning throughout the 3 hour and 15 minute review session. I consistent took a draw in order as much as I could. All three cigars burned quite evenly.
The draw on the green-dot was wide open. Produced the most amount of smoke of all 3 cigars by far.
The draw on the blue-dot was extremely tight, almost completely closed at the halfway point. I had to take aggressive draws to keep it lit throughout.
The draw on the blue-red dot was in the ideal zone.
Oliva has managed to keep the pricing consistent after 5 years of releasing the Serie V Maduros. It wasn’t until 2012 that the line saw a meager price bump of 5%, although I didn’t see this reflected at most of the B&Ms I checked for stock. Singles of any release year was almost exactly $9.45. The limited production runs came in boxes of 10 and depending on where you were in the release cycle ranged from about $85-$95.
Even at the top end of the pricing this is a remarkably good value. Most premium cigars and especially limited release cigars will push over the $10 a stick price point.
The green dot Serie V Maduro started out the best but ended up fading throughout each third until it became quite earthy and harsh in the final third. This was my second favorite cigar.
The blue dot was the surprise winner here. It quietly started and continued to build in flavor complexity and finished the best of all three.
The blue-red dot Serie V Maduro never seemed to hit its stride. It is still a very good cigar but when reviewed against the other two it is overshadowed. One thing to mention is that the blue-red dot did finish better than the green dot with harshness at all.
My least favorite of the three.