Walk into any number of cigar shops in the United States and you will undoubtedly see a good selection of cigars from Oliva Cigar Co. The company is a staple offering for many retailers, with its offerings headlined by the Serie V line, which includes the original Serie V as well as the Serie V Maduro, Serie V Melanio and Serie V Melanio Maduro.

But no matter how full a U.S. retailer’s shelves are with Oliva cigars, there will always be some cigars that don’t make it onto their shelves because they are simply destined for non-U.S. markets. One such series of cigars is a limited edition of the Serie V Melanio that debuted in 2017 and has generally been an end-of-the-year release.


Like the regular production Serie V Melanio line that debuted in 2012, these limited editions use an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and filler. For the 2022 release, the company selected a 6 1/2 x 44 lonsdale vitola, though, unlike the box-pressed regular production vitolas, this one is round, something that has been a common trait among this subset of Serie V Melanios.

This is the sixth consecutive year Oliva has released a Melanio for international markets.

  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2017 (6 x 60) — 2017 — 1,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2018 (5 x 50) — 2018 — 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2019 (6 3/4 x 48) — 2019 — 2,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2020 (6 x 54) — 2020 — 3,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2021 (4 x 60) — 2021 — 3,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Año 2022 (6 1/2 x 44) — 2022 — 4,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)

Also notable for the 2022 release was that the release got a new name, shifting from Edición Limitada to Edición Año, and that the 2022 release was by far the biggest with 40,000 total cigars produced. As for pricing, in Germany the Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Año 2022 is priced at €22 per cigar, which was about $21.86 when the cigar was released but is now about $23.50.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Año 2022
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 44
  • Vitola: Lonsdale
  • MSRP: €22 (Box of 10, €220)
  • Release Date: November 2022
  • Number of Cigars Released: 4,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

I can’t remember the last time I smoked a Melanio, so I don’t quite remember the typical color of the leaf, but this feels a bit more vibrant and mottled than I remember. That mottling gives it some visual depth, and while I don’t pick up much in the way of oiliness on my fingers, something about the wrappers makes them look a bit glossy. Speaking of visual depth, the veins and seam lines do the same thing, leading me to maybe look a bit more closely at the cigars than I would otherwise, and doing so reveals a few spots of damage, generally along seam lines. The cigar is rolled to a density that is softer than average, almost a firm sponginess. It also has spots where certain sections feel softer than others, for instance, the lower half of the first cigar felt a bit softer than the upper half. The aroma off the foot is a bit woody, making me think of what damp bark would smell like if I were to blend it up, as it’s almost a bit pulpy in how it hits my nose. There’s just enough black pepper to tingle my nose bit, which it does through a fairly lingering sensation. The cold draw ranges from ideal to a touch firm and offers a softer profile than I got from the aroma. The first thing that comes to mind is some kind of plain gum, which is odd because it has been years since I have had chewing gum of any kind. I could make the case for a bit of pencil and eraser, were you to find yourself chewing on one, again something I haven’t done in years if not decades. Beyond that, I could make the case for some plain cookie dough or even some sugar cookies, but what I find most interesting is that each of the three cigars smoked for this review seems to offer its own unique flavor.

The Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2022 starts with a creamy undertone and a fairly sharp wood lead note and a mix of pepper in a supporting role. The first puffs hit my palate like the first sip of certain bourbons, and the more I think of that comparison the more I get a bit of a bourbon barrel. Two of the three cigars have a bit of a funky taste that I can’t quite place, as it tastes like it’s something related to the woodiness, but there’s just enough chalkiness to have me rethink that. The profile shakes it off fairly quickly, usually by the half-inch mark, but it’s not the best first impression I’ve ever had a cigar give me. Once it is out of the profile, the woodiness and pepper merge nicely and find themselves enveloped in a bit of creaminess with just a touch of earthiness around the edges. Retrohales add some body to the smoke as well as a bit of pepper, making them a welcomed and worthy partner to puffs. The first third is medium-plus in flavor intensity, medium in body but medium-full with retrohales, and still mild in strength. Construction is pretty good on the whole, as there are no problems with the draw, smoke production, or burn line. If anything, the ash has a tendency to flower and flake a bit, but nothing that gets too messy.

A bit more woodiness starts things off in this section, while retrohales swap a bit of black pepper for a bit of woody fragrance, which is very enjoyable and fairly unique. It also seems to bring about a bit of a juicy pine flavor in the flavor, which pivots the profile just a bit. There is a bit more of the funkiness that I picked up earlier, leading me to check the head of the cigar for any tar, but there isn’t any, so it appears to just be a subtle shift of the flavor, which shifts to a bit of mint. I’m surprised that there isn’t more earthiness in the profile as I approach the midway point of all three cigars, as I generally think of the Serie V family being rooted in that flavor. While black pepper was lighter in retrohales earlier, it has returned to prominence past the midway line, tagging out the fragrant wood so it can get back in the ring. The final puffs of the second third may be my favorite, as it feels as if the flavor has finally come into balance. That’s not to say that it was ever truly out of balance, but much like if you’ve ever used the manual focus on a camera, you know there is a difference between being close to in focus and being at tack-sharp focus. The woodiness has dialed in, the creaminess has moved into a great accent flavor, the pepper is present but not dominant, and there’s a bit more of the woody fragrance in the aroma. Construction is certainly good, as the draw remains smooth and smoke production is solid. The burn line does get a bit wavy, but it’s not problematic, and as long as I give the cigar regular puffs, combustion isn’t an issue.

The final third of the Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Ano 2022 maintains the change that came about towards the end of the second third, with my biggest note being that the flavor seems to be coasting a bit and maybe losing a bit of overall vibrance either through familiarity or a simple reduction in intensity. It seems like every couple of puffs, the intensity and definition of the flavors dials back a touch, but that doesn’t do much to affect my enjoyment adversely. The final two inches or so see the biggest change, as the flavors begin to fray just a touch, not falling out of balance or anything like that, but rather they lose the smoothness that they had in the back half of the second third and through much of the final third. It’s almost as if all the components have given their best and now I’m left to deal with the final remnants. It’s still enjoyable, but it’s not the exclamation point on the experience that I might have otherwise wanted. Construction remains very good and I have little to complain about in any area. Flavor is medium-plus, body is medium-plus and strength is medium-minus.

Final Notes

  • The Serie V Melanio line is named for Melanio Oliva, the patriarch of the Oliva family who grew tobacco in Pinar del Río, Cuba and was instrumental in finding suitable land in Nicaragua on which to grow tobacco.
  • In January 2023, Oliva announced that it was releasing the Serie V Melanio Double Robusto as an exclusive to Casa de Montecristo stores nationwide. Unlike the regular production sizes, this exclusive is round, just like the Edición Limitada/Edición Año.
  • Personally, I don’t have a strong preference between round or box-pressed cigars. The bigger the ring gauge, the more I appreciate how a box press helps minimize the size, however.
  • One of the more interesting experiences I have had when it comes to box-pressed cigars is smoking Illusione’s 888 and 888 Slam, which are round and box-pressed, respectively, side by side so as to see the difference between the two. Box-pressed vitolas generally require a bit of filler tobacco to be removed, thus changing the blend a bit.
  • By my count, this is one the thinnest vitolas in the Serie V Melanio line, with the Serie V Melanio Lancero the thinnest.
  • Brooks Whittington reviewed the Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2019, the only other in the series to be reviewed on halfwheel.
  • I didn’t get much in the way of strength from the Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Año 2022, which was more than fine by me.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 50 minutes on average.
88 Overall Score

The Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Año 2022 is certainly on par with what I think of the Oliva Serie V Melanio line offering, though I will admit that I was expecting a slightly heavier and earthier profile. The company bills the Serie V Melanio line as being "robust and rich," which isn't quite what I found here. But outside of a few hiccups with some funkiness, the cigar offers some very enjoyable flavors and an easy smoking experience. The real question is whether this size offers that much more than the regular production sizes that it warrants the price and extra effort it takes to procure them, a question that for me is answered with a no. But that's not a knock on this cigar, rather a good reminder that there are plenty of more readily available sizes waiting in any number of retail humidors right now.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.