Review: Oliva Serie V Diadema (2012) (Prerelease)
In September of 2012 at the Inter-tabac 2012 trade show in Dortmund, Germany, Oliva brought two bundles of a new 9 x 52 Diadema in the Serie V blend. The cigars were created at the request of one of Oliva’s European distributors and are now in production, with a release set for next month.
Last week, I broke news on the cigar:
While it was not on display at Oliva’s booth at the European Inter-tabac trade show, Oliva has a new massive Serie V, a 9 x 52 Diadema. Oliva first introduced the size in the now discontinued Special S. Like the Special S, the 9 x 52 Serie V will be packed in boxes of ten with pricing expected to be ranging from €15.00-19.00 per cigar.
A representative from Oliva told halfwheel that 300-400 boxes will be heading to Germany and Holland sometime between the end of this month and early November.
This is the Serie V’s fourth and largest Diadema, as well as the second for Europe following 2010′s Den Bosch edition.
Here’s a picture of the Special S and Serie V 9 x 52 Diademas:
By my count, the regular Serie V line now has 15 announced vitolas:
- 460* (4 x 60)
- Belicoso (5 x 54)
- Churchill Extra (7 x 52)
- Diadema* (6 x 46)
- Diadema* “Den Bosch” (7 x 48)
- Diadema* (7 x 49)
- Diadema* (9 x 52)
- Double Robusto (5 x 54)
- Double Toro (6 x 60)
- Edición Europea 2010* (4 1/2 x 50)
- Lancero (7 x 38)
- No. 4* (5 x 43)
- Special V (Figurado) (6 x 60)
- Torpedo (6 x 56)
*Indicates Limited Edition.
And the particulars.
Cigar Reviewed: Oliva Serie V Liga Especial Diadema (2012)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A. (TABOLISA)
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Sun Grown
Size: 9 Inches
Ring Gauge: 52
Est. Price: €17.50 (Boxes of 10, €175.00)
Release Date: November 2012
Number of Cigars Released: 400 Boxes of 10 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)*
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1*As noted above, the number of boxes is expected to be between 300-400.
It’s a massive cigar. That fact makes the impressiveness of the wrapper even more remarkable. While the gigantic leaf is the easiest thing to stick out, the cap is rather nice as well, particularly from a company that doesn’t have a reputation centered around triple caps. It smells like classic Serie V: strong leather, aged barnyard, cocoa and an underling Nicaraguan sweetness. Cold draw is predictably tight with some bitter cocoa, great fruits, molasses and a touch of a young spice, all put together very smooth.
Fortunately, the first third starts far less tight than the cold draw, although it’s still tight. The Serie V provides some cool burnt cedar notes with some sweetness and pepper. While there is a rather detailed cedar note, the punch that I associate with the Serie V profile is missing. This continues as the first third settles to a smooth mixture of cedar, sweet earth, molasses, bits of cocoa and spices. There’s a bit of pepper on the retrohale, but not much. Construction is pretty good, no touch-ups needed, an inch or so of ash, the draw is right where I want it — just a tad tight — and the smoke production is solid.
Into the second third and the flavors from the first third are now just a singular note joined by some sweet floral notes, bittersweet cocoa and a more pronounced spice. Once again, the Serie V’s smooth strength is gone. Fortunately, the retrohale has become far more entertaining with some touches of butter and nuts. Where I do see some traces of a classic Serie V is on the body, which is full, but ridiculously smooth. Strength is on the south side of full, but having smoked essentially a Robusto at this point, it’s rather noticeable.
The final third sees an increase in the amount of touch-ups needed, although I keep the Diadema from ever going out. There’s some earthier notes with a deep cedar, raw nuts, grassiness, molasses and black pepper. Every once in a while there’s a sweet bread flavor, but it’s not consistent. The strength does die off a bit in the final third, becoming more medium-full, but the overall impact is heavy.
- Regardless of whether the Serie V Diadema is €15.00, €19.00 or anything in between, this is now the most expensive Oliva of all time. Previously, it’s believed that the 9 x 52 Special S held this title, but at current exchange rates these will between $19.44 and $24.62 per cigar.
- I spent over a year looking for a 9 x 52 Special S Diadema, I was lucky enough to find more than a box.
- Oliva just announced another Diadema, the Atlantic Cigar 15th Aniversario Diadema, which uses a completely new blend.
- The picture above doesn’t do the size justice, here’s the Diadema and a 5 x 52 Robusto from the Melanio line:
- There are murmurs the European Short Robusto might return, but with a Maduro wrapper. Once again, this would only be for Europe.
- Oliva has lounges in both Holland and Germany.
- It’s kind of astonishing, but there are now 24 Serie V-banded vitolas released or confirmed when you include the Maduro and Melanio lines. There’s a 25th release, the Serie V Culebra, but it didn’t have a band.
- Oliva has done an incredible job getting in the market in Europe and when you are over there, it shows.
- Strength stays on the lighter end of full for most the cigar, dropping to medium-full in the final third, but given the size, the nicotine impact is immense.
- Final smoking time was just shy of three hours.
The Bottom Line: My problem with the Gran Corona (A) size, of which this falls into, is simple: I’d rather buy and smoke two different cigars for the same money and time it would take me to smoke one of these monstrosities. While the Diademas are beautiful and are great to show off in a humidor, the size quickly becomes more annoying to smoke than anything else. That aside, this was a much different flavor profile for the Serie V, and not in a good way. The classic smooth punch that allows Oliva’s long-standing flagship to be both full and easy is absent because the former falls short in the flavor category. There are no big and bold notes, nothing that makes you think richness; it’s just a mixture of above average smooth flavors with a decent amount of nicotine. While that and the easily acceptable construction might seem like enough, it’s not, not compared to the other 10-plus vitolas of Serie V.
Final Score: 85