For the sixth consecutive year, Oliva has graced the world with a Serie V Maduro Especial. The 2013 version is a double robusto, the shortest of the annual series and identical to the 5 x 54 vitola in the Serie V’s regular portfolio. 

This is the fourth consecutive year the company has used Mexican San Andrés maduro for the wrapper in place of the Nicaraguan sun grown Jalapa wrapper of the regular Serie V. While almost all of the details of the cigar remain the same—10-count boxes, Maduro Especial bands, winter release—one thing has changed, the company has increased production to 80,000 cigars up from the traditional 50,000 amount it has used otherwise.

The six Serie V Maduro Especial releases are as follows:

Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial

  • Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2008 (6 1/2 x 52) — Connecticut Broadleaf — 5,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2009 (6 1/2 x 52) — Nicaraguan Habano — 5,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2010 (6 x 54) — Mexican San Andrés Maduro — 5,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2011 (6 x 50) — Mexican San Andrés Maduro — 5,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2012 (6 x 50) — Mexican San Andrés Maduro — 5,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
  • Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2013 (5 x 54) — Mexican San Andrés Maduro — 8,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (80,000 Total Cigars)

In addition, the company has released two other Maduro-wrapped Serie V cigars: the Edición Europa 2010 and Diadema.

The boxes look like this:

Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2013 1.JPG 

(Image via Oliva Cigar Co.)

Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2013 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2013
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A. (TABOLISA)
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro 
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Double Robusto
  • MSRP: $8.50 (Boxes of 10, $85.00)
  • Date Released: November 12, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 8,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (80,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The difference between the wrapper isn’t as stark as on some other Serie V Maduro releases. While I noticed how veinless the samples were, I didn’t realize how different this was from the previous five releases. Out of cellophane there is a big aroma of sweet leather, strong red pepper, cocoa and cedar. From the foot the aroma gets much more intense, but without the leathery note. In a surprising turn, the cold draw from the Oliva is relatively mild. There’s some creaminess, a very sweetness and a slight pepper.

I am also a bit taken back by the start of the first third, it’s much more passive than any Serie V of recent memory: soft cedar notes, underlying sweetness and then a harshness 10 seconds into the finish. From the get go, the burn is slow and inconsistent, albeit accompanied by great smoke production and an excellent draw. The cigar is definitely earthy, but with leather, semisweet dark chocolate, red pepper and some additional sweetness. 

Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2013 2

The flavors continue to develop: less dark chocolate, more leather. It’s not my favorite turn, but there’s enough sweetness left over to keep a decent balance. It’s full in flavor, medium-full in body and medium in strength. At times, I get some roasted peat through the nose, but it’s hardly consistent. The burn manages to work itself out on all the samples and the ash holds beyond two inches on one occasion.

Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2013 3

If there were any changes in the final third, I couldn’t not find them The reality is the 2013 edition of the Oliva Serie V Maduro showed no discernible change. It’s still a bit earthy with leather, some generic sweetness and a bit of cocoa—more remnants of the first third than anything else—and touches of red pepper, but it’s really unchanged. 

Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2013 4

Final Notes:

  • We don’t factor price point into scores, this is one cigar that get hurts by that policy. Most retailers will sell a box for less than $80, which is a gigantic breath of fresh air. On top of that, this is cheaper than last year’s release, something also unheard of. 
  • Of all the ideas that are borrowed from one company to another in the industry, I am a bit shocked we don’t see this one used more regularly. It’s such a simple, yet brilliant concept. Take your most popular cigar, make a decent-size batch of them with a different wrapper in one size, release them around the holidays; rinse and repeat.
  • For those hoping for a Serie V Maduro Lancero, I suspect you are going to have to keep waiting, at least under this sort of release system. In order for the release to continue to have demand, Oliva needs to have quantifiable demand. At any price remotely close to $10, trying to move 5,000 boxes of Lanceros in a short period is not going to happen.
  • Earlier this year, the company released the Melanio Maduro, it seems likely that cigar will return.
  • By my count this is the 29th Serie V-banded release, although the Serie V Culebra didn’t actually have a band. 
  • Oliva isn’t really known for triple caps, all three of my samples had obvious ones.
  • While most of the cigars I smoke these days have pretty good draws, the Oliva had amongst the cleanest and most consistent of any cigar.
  • Final smoking time was an incredibly long hour and forty-five minutes. 
  • This is the lightest Serie V I’ve had nicotine-wise.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Best Cigar Prices, Famous Smoke Shop and Mike’s Cigars all have the Serie V Maduro 2013 in stock. Site sponsor Cigar King has the 2012 in stock.
85 Overall Score

I scored this cigar, but I still undecided about how much I do or do not like it. This was a good cigar with nothing to complain about, except it was boring. While I love the concept of the Serie V Maduro, I must say, the cigars have never been something I thought were better than the Nicaraguan Jalapa-wrapped version. As far as ranking within the series, 2009 and 2010 remain my favorites, by a wide margin, and this is probably my least favorite. This is classic San Andrés Maduro to me, maybe on the fuller side of flavor, but it’s just not classic Serie V.

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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.