Oliva Series V Melanio Maduro




Wrapper: Mexican San Andres

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Size: 6 1/2 Inches

Ring Gauge: 5



     Pre-Lite Observations:

The Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro has an elegant appearance which most aptly follows its Sumatra predecessor. The wrapper is extremely smooth and accentuated by thin, yet prominent veins. The pre-lite aroma is subtly complex with notes of earth and floral hay, complemented by a grainy and cocoa foundation. The constructive appearance of this cigar gives way to a slightly firm pre-lite draw, as well as an aesthetically sound box press shape.


    First Third: 

The initial burn presents a less than invasive approach to this cigar. It is extremely easy on the palette and opens up quite well after a gentle burn. Smooth cocoa and licorice are the first formidable notes which push through off the foot. Not heavily concentrated, yet still pervasive. Initially, one might expect to find this stick the perfect coffee house cigar which will pair extremely well for even the most occasional coffee enthusiasts who do not mind an occasional cigar. It is savory and the intensity, while slightly lacking, ramps up once past the 1/4″ mark.

    Second Half:

Into the second half, slight woodsy and peppery notes slip in nicely and take an interesting turn on the flavor. The change is not extremely strong and still yields a high level of interest as the cigar continues to develop a nice envelope. The burn is very sharp and slightly uneven with some manual correction. This cigar is relatively static overall with mild cocoa and licorice undertones. There are some notes of black pepper, but very subtle in its entirety. The burn at this point is very sharp and it needed a few manual corrections. The ash is extremely chalky and firm giving this cigar a nice cool draw.


The finish is highly reflective of the second half. Medium to full, static where cocoa and earth peppery spice are the dominating flavors throughout. It doesn’t seem to fluctuate regularly and maintains a very medium and mellow profile. The draw is much more open at this point where one might expect a more complex and greater finish, however the smoke continues to remain consistently reflective of its initial beginnings.

   Final Notes:

If you are expecting to find a great deal of complexity in this cigar you might want to reconsider other maduros. This is a very well made stick that will give an extremely consistent flavor profile if you are not looking to delve into an overtly complex cigar. It is a very easy going, flavorful cigar that hits the palette in an elegant manner and will undoubtedly have a mellow effect. It is very relaxing to smoke this cigar and will put one at ease of his or her daily battles.



Score (1): 89

Score (2): 88.5

Final Score: 88





Casa Fernandez Miami Maduro

Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva Maduro_Overview


Wrapper: Mexican San Andreas

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitola: Toro

Size: 6 X 54

Cigars Reviewed: 2



Appearance: gritty/slightly oily/veiny/solid construction

Aroma: leather/dark chocolate/spice & oak off the foot

Draw: Effortless

General Observations:

This stick has interesting appeal to the wrapper. Somewhat gritty to the touch, it has a slightly oily and veiny construction. The double band sits nicely against a luscious, dark Maduro wrapper and presents an elegance one should always expect in a cigar. So, not knowing anything else about the smoke this stick boldly presents itself in a manner of speaking; inviting and lending, perhaps, a favorable expectation.

Initial Lite:

Flavor: coffee & dark mellow spice

Smoke Volume: medium to full

Off the lite, fire gives rise to crak’d white pepper, coffee, and oak; mellowing down almost immediately just before the 1/4″ mark. This cigar changes almost immediately after the initial burn sets in and remains very consistent; opening up to a full-medium smoke volume that rounds out the palette nicely. The draw is impeccable and sustaining throughout the beginning. Despite a sudden crescendo that introduces complexity and richness, the maestro has transitioned into a diminuendo that relaxes the palette with a discernible interest.

1/4″ Mark:

Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva Maduro_InchBurn: even & slightly sharp

Draw: effortless

Ash: very chalky & peppery

At this point the smoke has completely mellowed down. Coffee, leather, and dark chocolate dominate a full smoke volume. Though its seems a bit compressed, the smoke keeps well in good proportions. In keeping with this stick one should expect a fairly relaxing smoke that does not impede the senses with unfavorable nuances. Still the draw is just as flawless as it started. The burn is even and the ash is mostly chalky.

Quarter to 1/2″ Mark:

Flavor: low complexity but full smoke volume

Burn: slightly uneven

Draw: loose & effortless

Casa Fernandez Miami Maduro_half

Slightly before the half-way mark the cigar is very smooth as it is rich. There is a strong sostenuto that provides a solid foundation to this stick. It is very casual and very pleasing to simply smoke this cigar without any hassle.


Warm cocoa & coffee with dark chocolate…nice fluffiness to the smoke

Draw: effortless

Burn: some unevenness, corrected manually

Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva Maduro_finish

Final Comments:

Despite having to correct some minor burn issues, the construction and draw mechanics of this stick exceeded beyond any normal expectations. This is a slightly less than complex smoke but rich and smooth. Much of the flavor has remained extremely consistent, not relinquishing any strength or presence straight to the finish line.  Altogether, managed quite eagerly a rich bounty one should find pleasing in an everyday manner.


Score (1): 89.5

Score (2): 87.5

Final Score: 88




Sam Leccia White

Leccia White

Sam Leccia White

Leccia White

Wrapper: African Sun-grown

Binder: Ecaudor

Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero & Pennsylvania Seco

Size: 6×50

Shape: Toro

Cigars Reviewed: 1

Cut: V-cut



Appearance: Oily, veiny wrapper with a bookish aroma.

Draw:  slightly tight, but otherwise fine.

This cigar has a light oily, veiny wrapper and a bookish aroma. Weak cap, but otherwise good construction. The first few draws in taste of smoky barbeque and hickory that fade into strong notes of black pepper. Somewhat bookish at times, with salt notes that appear on the front of the tongue about half-way through. It is a full body smoke that delivers tons of complex flavors.

Leccia White 2

Cain F Straight Ligero Tubo Lancero

Cain F Lancero


Cain F Straight Ligero Tubo Lancero

Wrapper: Nicaraguan

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: 7×38

Shape: Lancero

Number of Stoges Reviewed: 1



Appearance: Beautiful rich chocolate wrapper/veiny…solid construction.

Draw: tightly rolled with a firm draw


The first few puffs are leathery with hints of almonds, soon joined by liquorish & pepper that fills the back of the mouth. About a quarter of the way in, the cigar grows surprisingly strong, with steady leather, black pepper and earthy notes through the finish. Dark, gray ash; fairly even burn. Smooth and strong, this is an indteresting cigar that demands your attention from start to finish. Not for the novice, this stick was designed to give the smoker a bit of a challenge without being overwhelmed.     

Cain F Lancero Tubo

Cu-Avana Punisher


The tip of this dark, oily torpedo-shaped Cu-Avana Punisher cigar has been dipped in black pepper oil, which, though mostly odorless, strongly flavors the cigar.

The initial aromas are of sweet chewing tobacco when unlit and a woody campfire smell on lighting, both of which are quickly overshadowed by the intense sensation of black pepper saturating the lips and the tip of the tongue.

The heat begins to give way after about one-third to a medium-bodied cherry sweetness and a slightly sour finish.

On one hand this stick has good construction, with a sharp even burn. On the other hand your friends are likely to be impressed by your ability to smoke through the pain.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan Ligero

Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero

Tatuaje Tattoo Lancero (Un-banded)

  • Tattoo_Image1Cigar: Unbanded/Box-Pressed
  • Shape: Lancero (Box-Pressed)
  • Size: 7 1/2 x 38
  • Wrapper: Habano Rosado Oscuro
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Time in Humidor: 18 months
  • Cut: Straight Guillotine
  • Cigars Reviewed: 2



Appearance: Brendled/Toothy/Smooth/Veiny

Aroma:  Cedar/woodsy/hay/cocoa/floral



The pre-lite draw is somewhat snug, but still pulls quite easily.

My first impression of the Tatuaje Tattoo Lancero given the experience of lancero mechanics is certainly one of hesitation.

Often this is the deciding factor whether one makes the cut or not and should never be influenced even by the rarest of cigars.

The quality and craftsmanship of the lancero must not be hindered by faulty draw mechanics or burn issues despite even the most amazing flavor profiles. Despite these initial observations, the appearance of this cigar is extremely aesthetic.

This is my first box-press lancero, and I am certainly looking forward to burning this one down. The aroma to the wrapper is surprisingly complex with flavors of light cedar, cocoa, woodsy hay, and sweet floral spice.

  • General Observations
  • Complexity: strong with mello cedar spice
  • Mouthfeel: dense/rounded
  • Flavor: cocoa/peppery/creamy
  • Draw: Effortless
  • Burn: Slightly un-even
  • Ash: white & chalky

 Inch Mark

Initial Impressions: Mellowed spice with prominent cedar/leather and creamy cocoa; full-medium bodied at this point with increased or otherwise ramped up mouthfeel; nice even burn.

The first inch of the Tatuaje Tattoo is mellowed with creamy cocoa and mild piny spice. Certainly the dominating flavor encompassing is leathery cocoa, although the front end spice seems to carry me away a bit beyond the coffee undertones.

At times, it does seem to overwhelm the palette. and stays fairly strong. Overall, a full-medium beginning to what appears to be a great start. The draw is somewhat snug, but still open and the burn is nice and even.

3/4″ Mark

  • Flavor Variance: cedar/crak’d pepper/cocoa; very creamy and extremely well-balanced.
  • Burn: sharp; some auto-correction
  • Draw:  Effortless

The cigar has become clearly more defined and there is a considerable amount of flavor that has opened up.  The spice has definitely mellowed out completely and has introduced a bit more sweet cedar and hay with some cracked pepper. Extremely well-balanced though the coffee and leather still pervade as the dominating flavor. Most lanceros can be deceiving in terms of strength, however this lancero is particularly well-balanced and mellow. Not to say this cigar doesn’t pack a punch because it does. It is certainly more complex by comparison.


Mild spice appears/creamy notes of hay and cedar/dominant flavor at this point: coffee.

tatuaje image_9

Final 1/3rd to Finish

  • Spice ramping up slightly; leather and coffee dominate.
  • Had to correct the burn a couple times but easily managed.
  • Finish: coffee/cocoa/leather/sweet cedar 

The flavor has become somewhat less intense. Much of the leather and coffee, the dominating elements, have toned down considerably.

Pushing thru the end we get a nicely balanced blend of sweet cocoa, hay, coffee, and somewhat earthy tonality. The finish extends these elements to a fuller complexity not expected, complimented by peppery undertones.

The burn to finish was slightly uneven, yet still very sharp despite a slightly warmer draw where much of the flavor remained unimpeded.


Score (1): 91

Score (2): 89

Overall Score: 90

Illusione mj12 Maduro

Illusione mj12 Maduro

Illusione mj12 Maduros.

In many circles, wrapper from the San Andreas Valley in Mexico is considered to be the best leaf for flavor when put through the maduro fermentation process.

The natural properties of this cover leaf produce an earthy-sweet aroma when smoldering and adds a spicy nutty dimension to the illusione blend, rather than covering up the blend complexity with a dominant maduro-style flavor.

  • Strength: Medium
  • Body: Full
  • Tobacco origin: Nicaragua/Mexico
  • Size: 6 x 54
  • Shape: Toro Gordo
  • Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro Wrapper
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo/Corojo
  • Filler: Nocaraguan Corojo
  • Cut: V-Cut (Cross)
  •  Cigars Reviewed: 1


Appearance: Dark brown, slightly oily wrapper with some blotchiness; touch and feel is somewhat rough with small, yet highly prevalent veins.

Illusione MJ12 MaduroAroma

The wrapper has a very pleasant aroma with a combination of sweet floral hay, leather, and dark chocolate.

Draw: Mere effortless

This cigar starts somewhat harsh just off the initial lite layered in spicy black pepper and leather. The pull and smoke at the start is very easy and fully rounded. Rich dark coffee notes and toasted espresso immediately overwhelm the first inch of this stick. Overall the beginning is richly balanced, yet somewhat over powering by the peppery spice.

Just past the first inch mark this cigar immediately begins to mellow out with less peppery undertones and leathery spice; becoming more full with roasted dark chocolate and sweet leathery hay.

The draw and burn at this point is still effortless and slightly uneven, yet manageable. The ash is somewhat lacking in consistency and slightly flaky, but the draw remains relatively cool.

Into the last third just before the band, the spice begins to ramp up just slightly; introducing dry woodsy hay. The dark chocolate and cocoa are still extremely prevalent , yet more pronounced and very well balanced to an extremely flavorful finish.

Overall Rating: 89

San Cristobal

San Cristobal_Guajiro

San Cristobal is a boutique cigar handcrafted in Nicaragua by the Garcia family. Blended entirely from rich, well-aged Nicaraguan tobaccos, these cigars feature dark, oily Nicaraguan wrappers.

The flavors are rich and full-bodied, exhibiting a perfect balance between strength and complexity. Hearty notes of earth, cedar and spices are accompanied by lighter notes of walnuts, espresso, black cherries and dark chocolate.

Each cigar is constructed impeccably and finished with a traditional Cuban Triple-Cap. San Cristobal is available in 9 sizes; packaged in cedar chests of 21 and 22.

  • Size: 6.625 x 46
  • Shape: Corona Gorda
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Cut: Double-sided


The Guajiro size is unique sporting a pigtail cap. The band is completely aesthetic in appearance and rests nicely against a lushes dark habano wrapper. The wrapper is veiny, dark and oily…toothy and slightly rugged.

The Burn:

The San Cristobal has a consistent burn.  The ash was nice and white, and slightly flaky. The burn line was nice with little attention needed on touch ups. The draw was consistently effortless once it began to open up not even a quarter way in.  So over all the construction of the cigar received high ratings for sure!


By the end of the first third, the cigar is already presenting a vast array of sweet leather spice and subtle notes of cocoa and hay. Over the course of the entire cigar, these seem to be prominent and favorably unforgiving until the final inch. There were subtle transitions between dry creamy hay and spicy pepper, but fully rounded and complex until the final third. Overall the flavor profile was both extremely complex and well-balanced through and through.


Final Rating: 89



Oliva Serie V Melanio

ov1From the Oliva website

Melanio Oliva first grew tobacco in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba in 1886. His growing operations were suspended while he fought in Cuba’s War of Independence. After returning from war Melanio resumed his operations. In the early 1920’s Melanio’s son Hipolito Oliva took over the growing operations. Hipolito cultivated the Oliva family fields for several decades. As Cuba became over-run by communist the tobacco landscape changed. Hipolito’s son Gilberto Oliva shifted from growing to brokering tobacco. In the early 60’s the pressure became too great and Gilberto traveled from country to country in search of the distinct Cuban taste. His travels took him to Honduras, Panama, Mexico and even the Philippines. Gilberto finally found fertile ground in Nicaragua. Today Gilberto along with his family are Nicaraguas second largest grower of Cuban-seed tobacco.

Serie V Melanio Gran Reserva Limitada:

The Melanio Gran Reserva features long filler blended tobaccos of Oliva Nicaraguan habano that emphasizes tobacco from the Jalapa region, an area known for a more nuanced leaf than the Esteli or Condega regions. This carefully aged Jalapa blend produces a particularly flavorful smoke.

The wrapper is a proprietary seed grown by Oliva in Ecuador. The Melanio is a tremendously smooth cigar made up of hand picked, aged tobaccos that overflows with flavor


Size: 5 x 52

Shape: Robusto

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Cut: V-Cut  (vertical)


Appearance: alluring double band design setting nicely against a very smooth and slightly veiny sumatra wrapper

Draw: slightly loose

Aroma: sweet/floral & earthy


This cigar starts off gently and hits the pallete in a very delicate manner. Overall, it is a medium-bodied, complex and extremely well balanced smoke. Immediately noticeable are contrasting flavors of sweet floral grassiness and subtle notes of cracked pepper during the initial lite; delicate and complete. A few draws inward and immediately the smoke is fully grasped and complimented by hints of sweet cocoa and leathery spice. The draw is incredibly loose and effortless with a solid even burn.

Well into the second half of this cigar mellow spice is followed by distinct notes of woodsy hay, rich and savory which linger nicely on the back of the pallete. Picking up in strength, the cigar becomes much smoother and creamier, but somewhat reflective of complexity during the first third of the cigar. Draw and burn still extremely consistent, still medium-full bodied with no noticeable decline in complexity.


Oliva Series V Melanio_robusto











With the ash falling off for the first time, the final wave of the cigar is consistent yet noticeably heavier as compared to the first half with some developing coffee flavor. The burn is still very even while a cool draw complements a nicely balanced finish. The Serie V Melanio is perfect for any cigar enthusiast. It has excellent construction and flavor complexity any cigar smoker can enjoy. It is a must try for any smoker!

 Overall Rating: 91