September 27, 2023 1:22 pm

Oliva Serie V

“It is the most relaxing thing. Every time I get to a point where everything is coming at me, I would rather just sit back and smoke a cigar and relax.”

—Michael Jordan

What Makes It Special

The Oliva family has been producing handcrafted cigars since 1886. Their main Tabolisa Factory is located in the heart of Esteli, Nicaragua, where they produce this Oliva Serie V expression. This cigar features an Ecuadorian Habano leaf, which gets its varying spicy and sweet flavors from the rich volcanic soil and minerals in Ecuador. This soil is known for growing the most oily and pliable tobacco. The cigar’s sweet Jalapa Ligero long fillers and spicy Nicaraguan binder will provide a “distinct flavor and kick” that Nicaraguan tobacco enthusiasts love. The cigar was Cigar Aficionado’s Best Cigar of the Year in 2007, and a well known favorite among cigar enthusiasts of all levels.

“Serie V is a complex blend of Nicaraguan long filler tobaccos. Blended with specially fermented Jalapa Valley ligero, and finished with a high priming Sun Grown wrapper. This flavorful blend exhibits complex tobacco with rich coffee and dark chocolate tones. A subtle and well balanced spice is present throughout.” ~ Oliva Cigars

Serie V

Brand: Oliva
Vitola: 6×56 Torpedo
Filler: Jalapa Valley Ligero
Wrapper: Sungrown Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaragua
Age: 6 years
Body: Medium
Price: $10

Visual / Pre-light Draw

There is a noticeable light dusting of plume on the medium brown oily and toothy Habano wrapper. There is fresh hay and subtle cocoa on the side sniff and earthy cocoa on the dry foot odor. The elegant gold red and brown band displays Oliva over Serie V, and Liga Especial on the sides. There is no spice on the palate when prepping the head for a nice straight angled cut. The dry draw produced bold raisins and oats. 

First Third

After a proper slow soft lighting of this elegant looking cigar, there are immediate and perfectly pumpkin spiced coffee notes on the foot smoke odor and first puff. The cigar’s very balanced draw has beautiful undertones of vanilla and baking spices. The retro-hale is smooth as can be, with light vanilla and soft spice on the finish. Then a nice transition to light baseball mitt leather over soft cocoa. Then another subtle transition to chocolate covered marzipan, a flavor note I typically get from memory, but only on quality cigars. The slow and even burn in this first third is complex, with light undertones of fresh hay over developing vanilla extract. The cigar’s white ash is perfect and holding strong. The band slides right off toward the head of the cigar, and there is a slight hint of citrus approaching the second third.

Second Third

That perfect ash just fell off with dignity. Then more cocoa and transitions to heavily creamed coffee flavors. There is even creamy cocoa on the foot smoke odor. The cigar’s boldness remains medium, and that spice has disappeared entirely, as the cigar becomes creamier and thicker on the palate. Then light hints of fudge brownies reveal themselves. Time to introduce this beautiful cigar to my favorite Glen Grant 15. This is definitely a fruity dessert cake bomb pairing that is out of this world.

The experience also pairs well with the groovy and lengthy out of this world jam, called Bosca Bosca (Bag of Bones) by Talaboman, Alex Boman, and John Talabot. An appropriate lengthy nine minute jam for this lengthy smoke!


Final Third

The ash’s second chapter is still holding, while nice thicker and creamier notes of leather coat the palate. There are some dark chocolate undertones, and the full flavored retro-hale is still smooth with no spice. The cigar’s draw really opens up and then that ash finally succumbs to this Chicago breeze. Everything is coming together like a creamy chocolatey cake mix. There is some noticeable char on those leather notes, the flavor becomes bolder, while the cigar’s strength remains medium. Time to hit repeat on this lengthy track because this cigar’s slow burn and experience seems never ending. Then comes more notes of darker chocolate covered marzipan with caramel undertones and bolder leather. This is a very complex mocha bomb flavored final third, which I nubbed using my CigarMedics NubTee. 


This first batch, “batch strength” pure ex-bourbon bottling of Glen Grant 15, at 50% ABV, is a dense dessert style dram. On the palate there are nice notes of vanilla cake frosting, chewy fruit flavored candy, some nice maltiness, oak, with nice cinnamon spice and black licorice on the medium finish. 

The Pairing

Glen Grant, located in Speyside’s northern village of Rothes, has been owned by Campari since 2006, and is the leading single malt sold in Italy. This distillery’s water comes from the Glen Grant Burn and Caperdonich well, which rises and flows from the quartzite hills on the west side of the distillery. Glen Grant is known for their tall steam stills and lyne arms that descend into purifying tanks, producing a very light new make spirit.

This first batch, “batch strength” pure ex-bourbon bottling of Glen Grant 15, at 50% ABV, is a dense desert style dram. On the palate there are nice notes of vanilla cake frosting, chewy fruit flavored candy, some nice maltiness, oak, with nice cinnamon spice and black licorice on the medium finish. 

​Puffing on the cigar to whiskey, the char of the cigar and spice of the whiskey compliment each other, bringing out the cigar’s creamy citrus flavor and fruity notes of the whisky. This part of the pairing is like taking a sip of coffee followed up with a bite of vanilla cake that has fruit filling. The whisky ramps everything up then mellows all the cigar flavors to sweet citrus candy. Also, the coffee notes of the cigar are ramped up by the spice of the whiskey. It’s like enjoying a sweet candied peppermint spiced coffee.

Sipping the whiskey to the cigar, we get more fruitiness that becomes candylike, like the old school pink Duble Bubble gum in that yellow wrapper with the blue twisted ends. There is more creamy vanilla, reminiscent of cheesecake, covered with a thin layer of leathery vanilla frosting and strawberry on top. 

This is a beautiful and perfect summertime pairing. The light and fresh citrus fruits are followed up with a creamy vanilla custard or cheesecake, topped off with an iced mocha coffee. This dessert-like pairing is refreshing and will give you the perfect summertime buzz.

Acknowledgment & Live Pairing

Thank you to Oliva’s Illinois Account Manager, Brian McGuire, Glen Grant’s Global Whisky Advocate, Robin Coupar, and Whisky Whistle’s Mark Kaufmann for joining us on The Great Cigar Pipe Show. This episode truly reveals the parallels between the whiskey and cigar industries, while bringing this incredible pairing to life. Be sure to check it out here:

Visit OlivaCigar.Com to learn more about their amazing cigars.

Photography by: James Archie

"Whisky is liquid sunshine."

George Bernard Shaw

“The light music of whiskey falling into a glass – an agreeable interlude.”

James Joyce

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