On December 18, Alliance Cigar started offering its third manufacturer exclusive vitola under the DeSocio name, this time in the form of a new Oliva Serie V Melanio. Like the rest of the line, the 6 1/2 x 54 Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio is box-pressed and sold in boxes of 10. However, unlike the rest of the Melanio vitolas, it is limited to just 5,000 total cigars, with an MSRP of $12 each. 

The blend of the Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio is the same as the other sizes in the Melanio line: Nicaraguan tobacco for the binder and fillers and a wrapper made up of Ecuadorian Sumatra. A 6 1/2 x 52 maduro version was released earlier this year which uses the same filler and binder tobaccos as the regular line, but switches out the Ecuadorian Sumatra with a Mexican San Andrés wrapper.

We published a news story about the Melanio DeSocio release earlier this month:

Tom Sullivan, president of the New York-based distributor, told halfwheel the Melanio DeSocio will be offered to retailers beginning today, as well as through Sullivan’s online retail business, Superior Cigars.

This is the third cigar to carry the DeSocio name following the Alec Bradley Tempus (6 x 54) and Flor de las Antillas (5 3/4 x 54). DeSocio is the last name of Sullivan’s maternal grandmother, a name which his mother is the last of the family to bear. Sullivan’s grandfather, the late Mr. DeSocio, was a cigar smoker.

As with the rest of the Serie V Melanio line, the cigar will be sold in boxes of 10 with pricing starting at $12 per cigar. The Melanio DeSocio is limited to 500 boxes.

This is the seventh size to the regular Melanio line following the debut of the Double Toro in Europe. Oliva also introduced amaduro version of the cigar over the summer.

In a news story about the Flor de las Antillas DeSocio, Tom Sullivan talked a little about the meaning behind the DeSocio name:

DeSocio is Sullivan’s maternal grandfather’s last name. His mother is the only living DeSocio family member so Sullivan decided to use his cigar business to keep the name alive.

“The stories I’d hear all the time from my aunt and uncle, particularly when I started in the cigar business, ‘oh, he’d be proud of you,’” said Sullivan. Sullivan’s grandfather, an Italian immigrant, was a cigar smoker.

The boxes of the cigar look like this:

Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio Box 1

Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio Box 2

Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio Box 3

Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio Box 4

With the addition of the DeSocio, there are now eight different vitolas in the Oliva V Melanio line. They are: 

Oliva Serie V Melanio Vitolas

  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Petit Corona (4 1/2 x 46) — $8.00 (Boxes of 10, $80.00)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Robusto (5 x 52) — $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95.00)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Torpedo (6 1/2 x 52) — $13.00 (Boxes of 10, $130.00)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado (6 x 52) — $14.00 (Boxes of 10, $140.00)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Churchill (7 x 50) — $13.00 (Boxes of 10, $130.00)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Torpedo (6 1/2 x 52) — $13.00 (Boxes of 10, $130.00) — 10,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (100,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Double Toro (6 x 60)*
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio Toro Extra (6 1/2 x 54) — $12.00 (Boxes of 10, $120.00) — 500 Boxes of 10 (5,000 Total Cigars)
*Not Pictured 

In addition, there are now three different releases from three different manufactures using the DeSocio name. They are:

DeSocio Vitolas

  • Alec Bradley Tempus DeSocio (6 x 54) — Regular Production
  • Flor de las Antillas DeSocio (5 3/4 x 54) — $8.60 (Boxes of 20, $172.00) — 500 Boxes of 20 (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio (6 1/2 x 54) — $12.00 (Boxes of 10, $120.00) — 500 Boxes of 10 (5,000 Total Cigars)

DeSocio Boxes

Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • MSRP: $12.00 (Boxes of 10, $120.00)
  • Release Date: December 18, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Like the rest of the Melanio line, the Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio is covered in a mottled milk chocolate brown wrapper that so smooth it is almost slick to the touch, despite the lack of oil. The box-press is significant, but not extreme, and there is not one vein noticeable on the entire cigar. Aroma coming off of the wrapper is a combination of faint barnyard, dark chocolate and earth, and the cigar is slightly spongy when squeezed. 

The Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio starts out with a dominant rich creamy cedar note in the profile that adds touches of leather, espresso, nuts and bread at various points during the first third. There is a very nice milk chocolate sweetness that is noticeable underneath, as well as a slight black pepper on the retrohale that seems to be getting stronger as the first third continues. The burn is slightly wavy, although not even bad enough to correct, and the draw has a wonderful amount of resistance. Strength-wise, the DeSocio ends the first third slightly below the medium mark, and while it is getting stronger, it is not doing so very fast.

Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio 2

The rich and creamy cedar note continues to dominate the second third, but at about the halfway point, the milk chocolate note shifts abruptly to more of a hazelnut sweetness that combines wonderfully with the other flavors of espresso, leather, earth and bread. There is a bit of saltiness that has been added to the profile, and the black pepper on the retrohale has increased as expected, although it is still far from overpowering at any point. Construction-wise, the burn has evened up nicely, and the draw is still extremely impressive, while the smoke production has dropped noticeably from its high point in the first third. The strength has not gone far, and is only a solid medium by the end of the second third.

Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio 3

Flavors start to layer on top of one another, as somewhat tart citrus note is added to the profile in the final third, although it is intermittent and never even close to a dominant note. The hazelnut sweetness has been reduced from its high around the halfway point, but it is still a major player, and still strong enough to combine with other notes of espresso, dark cocoa, creamy leather, earth and nuts. Both the burn and draw continue to impress me, with no issues whatsoever with either one, and the smoke production has increased noticeably as well. The overall strength ends just slightly higher than medium, about where I expected, and I am able to get the nub down to less than an inch left without any major bitterness.

Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio 4 

Final Notes: 

  • Tom Sullivan had told halfwheel that he expected to announce a fourth DeSocio project before the end of the year, but so far it has been kept under wraps.
  • The DeSocio is the first retail exclusive for the Oliva Serie V Melanio line.
  • As with the rest of the Melanio line, I absolutely love the box press on this cigar. It is just so much easier and more pleasing to smoke a larger ring gauge cigar when it is used, and really should be considered more often.
  • As mentioned above, there is a 6 x 60 Double Toro vitola in the Melanio line that was originally slated to be a Europe only release but will now be sold in the U.S., supposedly this month. While the price tag for that cigar was over $30 in Europe, the price that it will sell for here is expected to be significantly lower and it will be a regular production size.
  • While I understand the need to stick with an easily marketable size, I really wish that the DeSocio was a more significant change vitola-wise than what is already available in the Melanio line, as it is just one ring gauge larger than the already released Melanio Torpedo, and is really not that far off from the Figurado. 
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 40 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were supplied by Superior Cigars, who is a halfwheel sponsor.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio, you can buy them from site sponsor Superior Cigars. In addition, Superior Cigars still has a limited number of the Alec Bradley Tempus DeSocio and Flor de las Antillas DeSocio in stock as well.
90 Overall Score

Ever since it was first released at the 2012 IPCPR show, I have loved the Serie V Melanio blend for its complexity and construction, and I am happy to say that the Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio carries on that tradition. The profile is creamy overall for the entire smoke and the hazelnut sweetness and citrus that flits in and out combines quite well with the other flavors that are present, while the finish is nutty and lingers on the palate. Construction is excellent overall, and the strength is high enough to notice without being overpowering at any point. While I still enjoy the Figurado and Petit Corona vitolas a bit more, the DeSocio is a wonderful addition to the Melanio lineup, and the full flavored blend is easily better than the regular V in almost every regard.

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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.