Cigar Reviews

2008 Oliva Serve V Maduro Especial

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Seems I’ve been putting off this review for quite awhile now and I’m not sure why. I was just waiting for the right time to review it when I had a good chance to sit down and enjoy. A while ago you might remember I reviewed the the 2010 blend of the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial and had some mixed feelings about it. In that post I had a VERY generous offer from one of our readers to send me one of the highly praised 2008 blends to compare, and I gladly took him up on that offer.

So today’s is review is brought to us by Komodata, one of our many awesome readers, who was kind enough to send me a 2008 Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial. Thanks so much Komodata! Really appreciate the chance to get to enjoy a nice cigar like this.

So this blend was launched by Oliva on October 15, 2008 to follow up on the success of their 2007 limited edition release. There were a couple differences in the release though. Firstly, the name was slightly changed from the original “Oliva Serie V Liga Especial” and the ring gauge was knocked down a bit to 54 but the length was extended to 6.5.

Now the original plan on this 2008 Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial was actually to make it to make it a 54 ring gauge. As the story goes, this vitola it was too strong and overpowering so they actually took out some filler and ligero to make it a 52 ring gauge. All-in-all, 50,000 sticks were made and distributed to approximately 250 retailers, most of those were US but some were sent across the ocean to a few select European retailers. They are pretty hard to come by now a days but there are still a few aging in some lucky people’s humidors. So without further adieu, let’s see how this cigar stacks up!

Cigar: 2008 Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial
Drink: Mill Street Brewery 2011 Barley Wine
Vitola: Torpedo (6.5 x 52)
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa Valley Ligero and long filler
Price: Original MSRP $6.75 (Gifted by Komodata)
Burn Time: 2 hours

• This is a tough looking cigar with a deep dark chocolate brown wrapper, with just some subtle hints of gold here and there
• The is finished nicely with just a few visible lines and the foot looks to be very tightly packed, tons of leaves inside this stick
• Despite looking to be over packed, the cigar has a nice spring when squeezed and is consistent from cap to foot
• The smooth and toothy wrapper has almost no visible veins, very nice looking leaf
• The cut was strong and tough to cut but it came off cleanly with my double bladed guillotine cutter
• I kept the cut short for now and the draw seems to be a bit tight, if it stays that way I may need to clip off a bit more
• I decided to clip off a bit more after the draw didn’t improve through the first third

• The toasting on this cigar was super easy, it lit up evenly with very little effort
• The burn has started out nice and sharp and is moving very slowly, let’s hope it stays this way
• Burn continues to be razor sharp and even through the first third
• The burn has been awesome all the way through to the last third now, not even a tiny touch up required here at all
• It’s also burning nice and slow and is giving me time to enjoy it slowly
• The last 3rd of this cigar seemed to slow down on the burn even most, staying completely even but allowing me to prolong the smoking experience
• There was one small touch up required near the very end, most people might have put the cigar down at that point but I wanted to keep going! haha

Smoke & Ash:
• As I mentioned before, the draw is a bit tight right now so there isn’t a ton of smoke but there is still a fair amount to not warrant chopping off more leaf for the moment
• Resting smoke is practically non-existent, just a little bit right after I take a draw then it’s like it practically turns off
• The ash has a ton of striping and is alternating colors between light and dark grey
• So far, the ash is holding strong past an inch and it has no flaking or signs of weakness
• I had to tap the ash off shortly passed the inch mark since it’s pretty windy and it was gonna end up in my lap soon… lol
• After the little bit of extra clipping the smoke volume increased a tad, but not much
• Ash continued to be strong, even and clean throughout the whole experience
• Smoke volume increased a bit more at the halfway mark, making for a nice full billow from each draw

Tasting Notes:
• The wrapper of the Oliva V Maduro 2008 has mostly an aroma of barnyard scents and a bit of earthiness
• The foot carries the same aroma but tosses in a fresh cedar and grassiness to the mix
• The pre-light draw brings in more of that cedar flavor and maybe just a touch of sweetness
• Initial flavors are interesting, very deep and dark roasted wood and espresso with some hints of clove or nutmeg
• The espresso/coffee flavor is developing nicely already in this first third, very tasty
• Body so far is in the medium range and the retrohale has no bite, but it does have a smooth coffee finish that is darn tasty
• I am getting a bit of dryness on the back of my throat but the creamy finish seems to be balancing that out
• All the flavors are playing nicely together so far with the roasted coffee and cedar notes being the most dominant
• There’s also an interesting aftertaste that I can only describe as something like fresh cut hay (Not to say I eat hay, but it tastes like what fresh cut hay smells like, lol)
• There is some interesting complexity to this cigar if you sit and pay attention to the flavors, some subtle notes I’m picking up in the background include a bit of meaty flavors, a bit of vegetal notes, and even some roasted nuts of some kind.
• The roasted nut flavor is really starting to shine through as I get into the last third and all the flavors are intensifying nicely, also picking up a bit of licorice flavors here and there
• The body continues to stay in the medium range and the huge burst of flavors from each draw is just delicious
• The body did pick up a bit in the last third, maybe to the low end of full, but not overpowering
• The flavors continued to intensify and surprise me to the very end with hardly any bitterness at all, I enjoyed this cigar down to the very nub and even busted out the toothpick to get maximum enjoyment!

Final Thoughts:
I think the sheer number of flavors I mentioned in my tasting notes is a good indication of how complex and enjoyable this 2008 Oliva V Maduro cigar was. It kept me on my toes the whole way through and teased me to pay extra attention so all the subtle notes as well as the ones that were obvious and super tasty. Everything kept in great balance and the smooth creamy finish was a perfect touch to end each draw. Some people had warned me this would be a full bodied smoke but I think it stayed in the medium range for the most part and I didn’t even have a big dinner before smoking this. The age of this particular stick may have contributed to a little loss in body but the flavors were still in full swing. These are obviously super rare to come by these days but if you manage to track one down I’d highly suggest fighting to give it a try, it’s a great experience to add to your cigar journal.

So this was one of my first forays into Barley Wine and I decided to chose a local brewery, Mill Street, based out of Toronto. This happens to be from their 2011 batch. It comes in an awesome bottle which I think is some kind of ceramic or something, along with a nice swing top cap. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I knew it had some high alcohol content(11.5%) so I saved it for a time when I could enjoy it at night. Well to my surprise I was met with what I can best describe as a stout on steroids! It’s so thick and creamy with dark notes of roasted malts and roasted coffee. The creamy finish really sells this brew and I enjoyed the heck out of it(as Tony would say 😉 )! I can definitely say it was an awesome pairing to go with the Oliva V Maduro, the roasted coffee and malt notes matched with the cigar perfectly. Other great pairings would include a stout, port, scotch or a strong coffee.

Daniel T. (a.k.a. Dalamscius) is an IT Professional from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He enjoys cigars, scuba diving, hockey, fishing, nature and anything that challenges his mind. If he's not sitting on his big comfy couch or at work you can usually find him in a boat on top of the water or 100ft under the water enjoying a dive. He is engaged to a wonderful Fiance and looking forward to his wedding. Feel free to contact Daniel anytime via email (dalamscius[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter


  1. czerbe

    April 19, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Big fan of the Oliva V Series and to be honest I have one or two of the maduro versions in my Humi but haven’t tried them yet?!?! What am I waiting for. My only grip with the Maduro versions is they don’t date the sticks and I know I have different years so I will have to take a wild shot at them but I can’t wait to fire them up. Do you think the Age helped or hurt this stick?

    Your Pens Blow!!! Friday its over buddy

    • Dalamscius

      April 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      Corey, hurry up and light one of them up! What are you waiting for? lol
      I didn’t have a chance to smoke a fresh one of these but I can only assume it got better with age cause this was darn good. You may be able to tell yours apart by their vitola, some of them were slightly different sizes depending on the year.

      And we’ll see what happens on Friday, I’m not gonna say anything quite yet… lol

  2. pacman357

    April 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I had 2 boxes on order with a large retailer. Someone in customer service erroneously told me later that mine were on back order. I ordered 2 boxes elsewhere, then ended up with 4 boxes total. Best customer service screw up in my life. I loved this cigar when they first came out. Smoked one about 2-3 weeks ago, first in a very long time…yellow cello, but cigar is holding up very well. Yes, they have mellowed. However, what was once a good cigar is just friggin’ phenomenal now. One of my top 10 all-time favorites ever. I begged the Olivas to make more when I saw them at Cigarfest in 2009. They have, with different wrappers. I’ve enjoyed them to varying degrees, but IMHO, the 2008 is still the best. The 2008 V maduro has, to put it simply, become an experience I enjoy tremendously. Few cigars in my collection (so far) have aged as well as these have.

    • Dalamscius

      April 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      Gotta agree with you pacman, this was a damn fine smoke and definitely put the 2010 and 2011 versions I’ve had to shame. Would be great to see them make this same blend but even so, the crop wouldn’t be the same and it might not turn out as awesome as these. Enjoy the ones you have left! Thanks for the comment.

      • pacman357

        April 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm

        Happy to oblige. Nice to see someone else discoverd what a gem these have become with age. And yes, the other iterations could get better with age. I doubt they will approach the 2008, however. The didn’t have the same level of depth to them when released. However, since I like what the Olivas are doing, and I have V maddies from each of the other years, I am certainly rooting for them. I fear the Olivas may have spoiled some of us with the 2008 version. A cigar that retailed for $8, sold in smaller boxes of 10 (which reduced risk of getting stuck with 19-24 the customer might have been saddled with if he/she didn’t like them), is pretty damned admirable. My hat is off to the Olivas.

        BTW, totally different cigar, but for those who missed out on the 2008 V maddie and can spend about $30 more, a box of 10 Cuban Bolivar Gold Medal is a nice buy. Smaller than the V maddie, and certainly milder, but a little flavor bomb.

  3. pacman357

    April 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    BTW, I could be wrong about this, but I believe the first year, the wrapper was the classic connie broadleaf. I think the 2009 was Nicaraguan, then the 2010 was a Mexican San Andreas. On the 2011, I literally read that it was one of the following: connie BL, Nic, or San Andreas. In fact, several reviews on the 2011 that I read asserted it was one of the three. I suppose the only way to know for sure would be to ask the Olivas. As I say, however, I could be wrong on the wrapper year-to-year.

  4. Peter Glad

    April 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I have one sitting in a travel humidor, I had one about 2 months ago, they are simply fantastic, saving the next one for a special occasion. Great review, spot on.

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