In 2012, Oliva introduced a new line that had been in the works for a number of years, the Serie V Melanio. The new cigar was named for Melanio Oliva, the patriarch of the Oliva family who grew tobacco in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, and was also instrumental in helping the Oliva family find suitable ground in Nicaragua for growing tobacco after they moved to that country.

The regular Melanio line is made up entirely of box-pressed sizes and it remained that way until 2017 when Oliva announced the first Melanio Edición Limitada, a 6 x 60 gordo vitola that was not box-pressed. Unlike the aforementioned regular production Melanio, the new Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2017 was limited to just 1,500 boxes of 10 cigars that were sold exclusively by retailers based outside of the U.S.

In addition, while the blend was the same as the regular Melanio —namely, an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper covering a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua—the cigars in the Melanio Edición Limitada line differentiate themselves by being round instead of box-pressed.

Oliva followed that initial Melanio Edición Limitada with a 2018 version the next year—a 5 x 50 robusto—before announcing the Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2019 that would be shown off during the InterTabac Trade Fair taking place in Dortmund, Germany.


The Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2019 marked two firsts for the series. First, it’s a 6 3/4 x 48 diadema, marking the first time that a non-parejo size has been used for an Edición Limitada. Second, it’s the largest release to date at 2,500 boxes.

It was rolled at the Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A. factory and began shipping to stores in October priced at €18 ($19.94) per cigar in Germany.

There have now been 13 different Serie V Melanio releases:

  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Petit Corona (4 1/2 x 46) — August 2012 — Regular Production
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Robusto (5 x 52) — August 2012 — Regular Production
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Torpedo (6 1/2 x 52) — August 2012 — Regular Production
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado (6 x 52) — August 2012 — Regular Production
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Churchill (7 x 50) — August 2012 — Regular Production
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Robusto Extra (5 1/2 x 50) — January 2013 — 200 Cigars (Nicaraguan Cigar Festival 2013)*
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Double Toro (6 x 60) — November 2013 — 500 Boxes of 10 + Regular Production
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio Toro Extra (6 1/2 x 54) — December 2013 — 500 Boxes of 10 (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Robusto Extra (5 1/2 x 50) — January 2014 — 200 Cigars (Nicaraguan Cigar Festival 2014)*
  • 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)*

*Not Pictured

Note: The Melanio Double Toro debuted in Europe as a limited edition in November 2013 before becoming a regular production item in the U.S. in early 2014.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2019
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 3/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Vitola: Diadema
  • MSRP: $19.94 (Box of 10, $199.40)
  • Release Date: October 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: 2,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2019 is an extremely attractive specimen with its gorgeous reddish espresso brown wrapper that features just a bit of tooth. While there is some mottling on one sample, the other two cigars are flawless in that regard, but all three are noticeably spongy when squeezed. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of creamy peanut butter, cedar, leather, earth, hay and raisins, while the cold draw brings flavors of aged cedar, cocoa nibs, peanut shells, hay, sourdough bread, gritty earth, vanilla sweetness and a touch of black pepper.

The foot of the Melanio Edición Limitada 2019 lights easily enough, which allows two main flavors to emerge almost immediately: dark bitter chocolate and aged cedar. Secondary notes of anise, hay, popcorn, cinnamon, peanuts and a touch of citrus flit in and out, while a very distinct raisin sweetness combined with black pepper dominates the retrohale. In addition, there is a fairly obvious—albeit not very aggressive—metallic note on the finish, although it seems to be fading as the first third burns down. Construction-wise, the draw is a bit loose but not problematic after a straight cut, and while the burn is wavy, it is not even close to bad enough to need touching up so far. The overall strength starts off fairly mild before reaching a point halfway between mild and medium by the end of the first third.

While the aged cedar note continues to be a major player, the dark chocolate flavor easily takes over the dominant spot during the second third of the Oliva Melanio Edición Limitada 2019, followed by notes of espresso beans, leather, hay, sourdough bread, peanuts and earth. Thankfully, the metallic note on the finish is long gone by the halfway point, while the retrohale continues to be dominated by a combination of raisin sweetness and black pepper. In terms of construction, the draw continues along its excellent path, but the burn has become problematic enough that I am forced to touch it up a couple of times. The overall strength has really not increased all that much, and as a result, the Melanio fails to hit the medium mark by the time the second third comes to an end. 

Interestingly, the dark chocolate and aged cedar notes switch places in the profile during the final third, with the former easily becoming the dominant note, although the latter remains a major part of the profile. Additional flavors of hay, leather, peanuts shells, freshly roasted espresso beans, cinnamon and a bit of floral are noticeable in various amounts, along with just a touch of citrus and spice on the finish. While the raisin sweetness and black pepper from the previous two thirds are still present on the retrohale, both are noticeably reduced from their high points in the first half. Both the draw and smoke production continue to impress, and while the burn is far from razor sharp, it does not need any additional attention from my lighter. Finally, the strength increases just enough to hit a solid medium by the time I put the nub down with a bit more than an inch remaining.

Final Notes:

  • The story of Melanio Oliva and his life is fascinating, and you can read up on it on Oliva’s website here.
  • Earlier this year, Oliva began including a QR code in each box of Serie V Melanio that allows smokers to learn various facts, including information about the people who bunched and rolled the cigars and the origin of the tobacco.
  • Interestingly, Oliva released a cigar in the exact same round vitola back in October 2012, specifically the Atlantic Cigar 15th Aniversario Diadema. That cigar was one of four different blends from four different manufacturers to celebrate the retailer’s 15th year of business.
  • In October, Oliva announced that the 6 x 54 Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2020 would be shipping to international retailers this month.
  • Overall construction was excellent, with only one cigar needing one touchup in the second third and nice, easy draws after straight cuts.
  • Oliva advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 48 minutes.
87 Overall Score

Oliva's combined Serie V and Serie V Melanio blends constitute one of the most prolific brands in the modern cigar age and there have been a number of releases that have scored very well on halfwheel. While the Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2019 is nowhere close to some of the more legendary members, it is one of the more enjoyable releases I have smoked recently with a profile that includes both aged cedar and dark chocolate dominant at different points and an ever-present raisin sweetness on the retrohale. Having said that, there was a very obvious metallic note present on the finish that caused issues with the balance in the first third of each sample, which brought the total score down, and each of the cigars I smoked had to be touched up at least once. In the end, the Oliva Serie V Melanio Edición Limitada 2019 is a worthy addition to and well worth trying out, assuming you can find them.

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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.