About Oliva Cigars

Oliva Cigars is, has been, and always will be a family business. In 1886, Melanio Oliva started to grow tobacco in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba and continued to develop his craft until the turn of the century, when he left to fight for Cuba's independence in the Spanish-American War. His son, Facundo, took over the operation in the 1920s and kept progressing what had been founded by his father, but it wasn't until the next Oliva, Gilberto Sr., took the reigns years later after relocating the business to Nicaragua that the company really began to set the tone for its future.

The Gilberto Oliva brand was launched in 1995, using tobaccos from Nicaragua and Dominican Republic alongside wrappers grown in Ecuador, all while being manufactured at the Plasencia factory in Honduras. The brand name was shortened to simply "Oliva" the following year. Although the brand grew slowly at first, it was thanks to the numerous aging reserves of Nicaraguan tobacco that Gilberto Sr. had stored away that kept the company not only relevant, but formidable during the cigar boom of the mid-90s. Halfway through 2003, Oliva, now doing very well, opened a new factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, and by 2005 was producing approximately 6 million cigars annually.

Oliva released its flagship blend, the Serie V, in 2006 to great acclaim. After being featured in Cigar Aficonado magazine's 'Top 25 of 2007', the Serie V had become the company's game-changing premier cigar, and there was no doubt that they were truly here to stay. Fast forward to 2012, which saw the release of the Serie V Melanio (named after the man who started it all), and you'll notice a brand who was no longer focused on simply providing bargain smokes, and instead trying to become one of the premium Nicaraguan cigar industry leaders. Once Cigar Aficionado named the Serie V Melanio the #1 Cigar of the Year for 2014, it was safe to say that they had securely achieved their goal.

In 2016, Oliva was acquired by Belgian manufacturer J. Cortes, and knowing that the immediate response from consumers could very well be one of worry, they helped calm nerves by positioning the acquisition as a partnership rather than a straight-on purchase. In fact, an announcement video produced by the two companies presented the whole thing as "a story of two families, united by passion." When asked, J. Cortes CEO Frederik Vandermarliere was insistent that "nothing will change," and so far, Oliva has indeed remained the same cigar countless smokers worldwide have grown to love.

By Luzzie Normand
Co-Founder & Editor; Neptune Cigars Inc.
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