In 2008, Oliva released the first incarnation of the Serie V Maduro Especial, which used a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, to great critical acclaim. They followed that up in 2009 and 2010 with other releases, that mostly did not seem to live up to the standard that the Original Release had set, although sold well.

Fast forward to 2011, and Oliva has decided to make this year’s release of the V Maduro Especial line the first release that is not a torpedo vitola, opting for a toro. The wrapper is also the same San Andrés Maduro as the 2010 version, but the ring gauge is smaller—a 50 this year instead of 54—and the blend has been tweaked a bit, as it is every year.

Says Ian Hummel, Oliva Regional Sales Manager:

There has been an overwhelming request for a new size in the V Maduro. This year we are giving the customers what they want. The toro size was chosen because it still keeps the full bodiedness of the V, but the blending tweak into a 6×50 toro really helped the wrapper and filler ratio shine. It maintains a full bodied flavor, with a rich, chocolate flavor from the San Andreas Maduro wrapper.

Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2011 1.png

  • Cigar Reviewed: Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2011
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A. (TABOLISA)
  • Wrapper: San Andrés Maduro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $9 (Boxes of 10, $90)
  • Release Date: Early November 2011
  • Number of Cigars Released: 5,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1

The cigar itself is a great looking specimen. Obviously well-constructed, it has a very dark reddish brown wrapper that is quite toothy to the touch. It is hard when squeezed, but does have some give) and has a triple cap. The wrapper smells strongly of barnyard, espresso and dark chocolate. The predraw notes include a spicy leather.

The first third starts off wonderfully, with strong flavors of espresso, dark chocolate, leather and earth. I can taste just a hint of sweetness in the background, but it is a dark sweetness, like you get when eating VERY dark chocolate. There is also a nice amount of spice that creeps in from time to time during this third, and it really sets the flavors off.

Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2011 2.png

The second third has the same major profile (espresso, dark chocolate, leather, cedar), but adds an interesting floral note that comes and goes. There is also quite a bit more spice, especially on the retrohale.

Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2011 3.png

The final third shifts a bit again, with a great sweetish nutty note that was really strong for about ten puffs, then slowly ebbed out by the end of the cigar. The spice from the second third died out almost totally around the start of the last third, although I still got a blast every now and then on the retrohale. Nice, easy ending to the cigar, and it did not get hot.

Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2011 4.png
Final Notes

  • I find it very interesting how much I liked this years version of the cigar compared to last year’s version, especially considering that they are so close to the same blend. The blend is tweaked each year. In fact, the only other difference is the vitola. But there is a huge difference in taste between the two years releases.
  • This is what I would call a dark, rich profile. Earth, dark, bitterish chocolate and espresso are major players in the overall profile.
  • While the first third was a bit flat—spice wise, not flavor wise—the spice really ramped up in the second third, then died down for the last third.
  • This is the first time that the V Maduros have been a parejo, i.e. not a torpedo.
  • The construction was excellent, and the draw was perfect. I touched up the burn a few times, but it would have been fine without me touching it.
  • The final smoking time was one hour and 25 minutes on average.
91 Overall Score

I was really impressed at how rich the flavors and profile was for this release. I have liked all of the incarnations of the Serie V Maduro, albeit some much more than others, and last year's release was the weakest of the four in my opinion, but this one seemed to have an added "something" in the profile that put it over the top for me compared to last year. This is most likely due to the different vitola and the tweaking of the blend that was used, just a great, classic Maduro profile of earth, dark chocolate, espresso and leather. I liked this version better than the last two and definitely will be buying a box, but honestly, I still think the 2008 release is king.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.