For years, Oliva seemed to internally teeter back and forth about whether it would take two of its most popular brands—Serie V and NUb—and combine them into one cigar.

It eventually came to fruition in late 2012 with the introduction of the Studio Tobac World Tour Sampler that appeared at events during 2013. Each sampler contained five cigars, one of which was the Serie V NUb 460. That cigar would eventually go on sale as a standalone item, though it seems like it’s no longer widely available.

Last year, Oliva announced the fifth version of its Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada series, an annual tradition where the company makes a limited edition Melanio vitola for its international markets. This year’s cigar was a 4 x 60 Serie V Melanio, priced around €20 ($23.10) per cigar. In other words, the company made a Melanio NUb.

While it initially seemed like the U.S. wouldn’t receive a Serie V Melanio NUb, shortly after it announced the international exclusive, Oliva began selling a different 4 x 60-sized Melanio to its U.S. retailers. That cigar is the Oliva Serie V Melanio 4×60, which also measures 4 x 60, but the U.S. version is box-pressed while the international version is round.

There are some other minor differences: the international version comes with a ribbon on its foot, the U.S. version is a lot less expensive, and the American cigar is a much larger production run.

  • Oliva Serie V Melanio CRA Freedom Sampler Fall 2021/Edición Limitada 2021 (4 x 60)— 3,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio 4×60 (4 x 60) — 8,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (80,000 Total Cigars)

As it turns out, the U.S. also got a version of the round 4 x 60 Melanio. Oliva used a round 4 x 60 Melanio for its contribution to the CRA Fall 2021 Freedom Sampler, though it does not have a ribbon like the international version does.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Oliva Serie V Melanio 4x60
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 60
  • Vitola: NUb
  • MSRP: $13 (Box of 10, $130)
  • Release Date: November 2021
  • Number of Cigars Released: 8,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (80,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

It looks like someone cut off part of an Oliva Serie V Melanio Double Toro, but I suppose that’s the point. The orange-tinted wrapper that I’ve come to associate with the Serie V Melanio is present, though most of it is covered it up by paper thanks to the two cigar bands. The cigars appear well-rolled, though I wonder if they should be a bit heavier. It’s been years since I last smoked an actual NUb, but it seems like there could be a world where these cigars would be heavier. The aroma from the wrapper is medium-plus with scents of leather, saltiness, barnyard and hints of blueberries. I pick up a more intense profile from the foot, which has lots of bubble gum scents over some bread. It’s quite smooth and enjoyable, but there’s not much in the way of the number of flavors. The bubble gum flavors are also present in the cold draw, joined by a less sweet floral flavor, red pepper and something that reminds me of vanilla. Flavor is medium-full and each sample has a draw that is a touch open.

That open draw is the first thought I have once the cigar is lit. It’s not too open to where I think it will cause serious problems, but I wish that I had a tighter draw so that it would be more predictable. While I get a below average volume of smoke in the first puff, I’m able to pick up some muddy earthiness, barnyard, saltiness, black pepper, burnt caramel, saltiness on the middle of the tongue and white pepper right at the tip of my tongue. About 20 minutes after the cigar is lit, it’s time to remove the secondary band. Flavor-wise, the earthiness has become more vibrant and is the strongest non-pepper sensation. A mixture of red and black pepper is more or less as impactful as the earthiness—some puffs are more pepper-laden than others—and the other flavors include caramel, herbal flavors and a bit of a generic roughness. The finish has earthiness, herbal flavors, black pepper, mineral flavors and some sweet caramel underneath. Retrohales are more intense than the flavors in the mouth and I pick up flavors that remind me of cherrywood, charred meatiness, black pepper and red pepper. The finish sees the red pepper get stronger, while artificial plastic smells vary between rubber and both a new car smell. Flavor is full, body is nearly full and strength is medium-full. While I wish the draw was slightly tighter on each cigar, construction is otherwise fine.

The Oliva Serie V Melanio 4×60 seems to do quite a bit of rearranging of its flavors, but in the end, the descriptions are pretty similar even if the end result is a different-tasting cigar. There’s a more vibrant earthiness flavor accented by a generic sweetness and black pepper. As the profile transitions into the finish, a big bread flavor takes over before the earthiness comes back along with black pepper and a touch of creaminess. There’s an incredible contrast between what happens when I push the smoke through my nose versus just leaving it in my mouth. Retrohales have earthiness, sourdough bread, creaminess, oregano, white pepper and hints of bubble gum. Unlike before where the retrohales were too punishing for me to do be doing with any regularity, I can do it every third or fourth puff without feeling like my senses are being overwhelmed. Flavor is just south of full, body is full and strength is medium-full. The draw is still too loose for my liking and I find myself needing to make corrections to the burn on two of the three cigars.

Before I know it, I look down and realize there’s about an inch left of the cigar. I’m not sure if the burn rate increased in quickness during the latter half, but I’m a bit surprised to be at this point so quickly. Part of that is also probably because even with just an inch left, the Melanio 4×60’s flavor profile doesn’t have the signs of a cigar that is getting too hot. Earthiness remains the main flavor, but a decent bit of oak really changes the profile. There’s now a fair bit of white pepper—noticeable, but not as strong as the pepper sensations in the first and second third—along with a touch of that rubber flavor. The finish continues to have sourdough bread act as a transition, though it sticks around and overwhelms the earthiness for the spot of leading flavor. In addition, there’s some herbal flavors and some harshness, the only real sign that this cigar is almost entirely burned through. Retrohales continue to get tamer as the cigar progresses. Oak leads a mixture of red and black pepper, though there’s also a generic bread flavor that helps to tie things together. The finish has a gritty toastiness and some black pepper. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-full. The draw continues to be a bit too open for my liking, but I’m only required to make burn corrections on one of the three cigars.

Final Notes

  • I find it somewhat interesting that Oliva doesn’t want to call this the Melanio NUb.
  • This may be tough for many of you to imagine, but when NUb was introduced, the sales outpaced expectations so much that Oliva was backordered on a number of the SKUs for quite some time.
  • While I thought the draw was open, I wouldn’t be surprised if Oliva said the draws I experienced are within the range of what the company wants for this specific size. My hunch is that the people who regularly smoke the NUb cigars probably want the open draw and are going to puff on this much more aggressively than I will.
  • The artificial plastic smells in the first third were weird, but consistent. On the first cigar, I thought that maybe I had left the band on too long and that was causing the weird flavors. But on the other two cigars, I removed the band well before there was a chance that it was going to start burning and still found the flavors.
  • Oliva Cigar Co. advertises on halfwheel.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was around 90 minutes for each cigar.
  • Site sponsor Famous Smoke Shop lists the Oliva Serie V Melanio 4×60 in stock.
87 Overall Score

This is not the best representation of the Oliva Serie V Melanio blend, or at least not what I generally like about the blend. While I found the Melanio NUb to be a good expression of what Oliva once marketed the NUb vitola to do—immediate full flavor in a small package—the aggressive pepper flavors overshadow the nuances that I’ve come to enjoy in many other Melanio cigars. That being said, I suspect many will enjoy this for being a powerful Nicaraguan cigar that delivers a generally full profile in a compact package.

Avatar photo

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.