The Oliva cigar family has survived three revolutions, the cigar boom of the 1990s, and multiple other roadblocks to keep your humidor stocked with top-shelf sticks. If you’ve already...
The Oliva cigar family has survived three revolutions, the cigar boom of the 1990s, and multiple other roadblocks to keep your humidor stocked with top-shelf sticks. If you’ve already had a taste, you know why these smokes are so celebrated. If you’re new to Oliva, grab one of our Oliva cigar samplers to see for yourself.
In 2014, the Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado was named Cigar of the Year by Cigar Aficionado after Oliva cigars made the Top 25 list nine years in a row. This Melanio uses an Ecuadorian-grown Sumatra wrapper to help create a full-flavored, full-bodied smoke, and you’ll find it in many Oliva cigar samplers. Another example is the Oliva Monticello, which uses a heavily fermented Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper and top-shelf aged tobacco from Oliva's oldest stash.
Whatever your preference, Oliva cigar samplers deliver that and more. One can trace Oliva Cigar Co.'s roots back to 1886 when Melanio Oliva began growing tobacco in Cuba. This venture was put on hold when Melanio joined the fight in the Cuban War of Independence. Facundo, Melanio's son, would eventually take control of the operation in the early 1920s. After several decades, Castro’s communists would seize control of the country. Soon they began the process of seizing and nationalizing cigar factories, and many longstanding cigar and tobacco families were forced to relocate.
While not at the cigar factory stage just yet, Gilberto, Facundo’s son, saw the writing on the wall and pivoted away from growing and toward brokering tobacco, though his dream was to find the ideal country where they could recreate the unique taste of Cuban cigars, or close to it. Gilberto's realized these dreams in the rich ground of Nicaragua. But another revolution would soon temporarily halt all production.
Some of these cigar families have been through quite a lot, haven’t they? The ones who have stood the test of time like the Olivas are that much more impressive when you consider that they weren’t just contending with industry adversity, but the challenges of living through civil wars and more.
Back to cigars.
The Sandinista revolution drove Gilberto and his family to leave Nicaragua in 1979. During this time in exile, Gilberto grew tobacco in the Philippines, Mexico, Honduras, and Panama before returning to Nicaragua in 1995 to manufacture cigars under the brand name Gilberto Oliva, which was eventually shortened to just Oliva.
Success did not come overnight to Oliva. With the market growing rapidly during the cigar boom of the 1990s, a turnaround time of two years between tobacco seed and ready-for-market product created widespread backorders. During this boom, production could not keep up with demand, resulting in a shocking 25 million cigars back-ordered to American shops by 1995. Prices were also rising. Soon, the backorders increased to nearly 50 million cigars! During this time, essential tobacco harvesting practices were disregarded or changed by many to using any part of the plant that could pass for cigar leaf.
As the aged backstock ran out, many of the newer companies used the inferior product to produce poor quality cigars. During this time, numerous cigar startups went under, but Oliva pulled through thanks to the abundant tobacco Gilberto had grown and was currently aging in Nicaragua. This supply allowed Oliva to weather the storm and help build up their name. Nicaraguan tobacco was gaining popularity quickly, and Oliva had what the people wanted.
The Oliva Cigar Co. produces top-shelf sticks for their Oliva cigar samplers, and they've got something for everyone. If you're new to the brand, grab a few samplers to test the waters. If you're an established Oliva smoker, treat yourself to something new or perhaps a forgotten blast from the past.
In 2016, J. Cortès Cigars acquired the Oliva Cigar Co. However, the Oliva family is still highly involved in overseeing the leaf growing operation in Nicaragua, managing production, running offices, heading up the sales arm, and more. We look forward to all the tasty Oliva blends to come.
Please browse our selection of Oliva cigar samplers at your leisure.