The History Of Flor de Oliva Cigars


Oliva Cigars are ranked among the best in the world by cigar aficionados everywhere. The Flor de Oliva cigar is a popular choice, being a high-quality smoke with a moderate price tag. Here is more about the history of this brand of cigar from the Nicaraguan family-owned Oliva Cigar company.

The Oliva Cigar Company

Oliva Cigar company began in 1886. The patriarch of the Oliva family, Melanio, had begun growing tobacco in Pinar del Rio, a city in a province located on the western tip of Cuba. Pinar del Rio had its own rich history as being one of the last Spanish settlements in Cuba which was actually originally settled by Filipinos.

When Melanio began growing tobacco it would be many decades before his grandson would take over the tobacco-growing business. But, before this, Melanio’s son Hipolito continued to grow tobacco up through the 1920’s. It wasn not until after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, in 1964 when Gilberto Oliva emigrated to Spain.

There he became a tobacco broker, leaving the tobacco growing behind. While waiting for better circumstances in his homeland, a short time passed before Gilberto decided to return. This time, he moved to Nicaragua and was determined to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. He took over the tobacco farming business and reestablished it in Nicaragua, his new home.

Gilberto believed that there was no other place on Earth that was as similar to Cuban soil as that in Nicaragua. Hence, his decision to become a tobacco farmer there. He worked for other tobacco farmers up until 1969 when he started his own farm. He settled down, had a family, including one child born in New Jersey, so that he could have an American-born child.

By the late 1970’s, the Sandinista revolution changed everything. He was forced to move to several different countries including Mexico, Panama and Honduras.

A few decades later, in the mid 1990’s, Gilberto and his son, Gilberto Jr., began the Gilberto Oliva brand. They returned to Nicaragua and began manufacturing the Oliva cigar.

The Gilberto Oliva Brand Cigar

Gilberto made a start of his cigar-making success with the help of the facilities of another cigar-maker, Nestor Plascentia. He was able to use Plascentia’s manufacturing facilities in Honduras to create his very own brand. Plascentia’s facility, by the mid-1990’s was capable of producing over 33 million cigars which included world-renown brands like Swisher and J.R. Tobacco.

Gilberto would count his brand among the world’s best. At the same time, he had already gained respect and experience by having managed the facility himself in the very early 1990’s.

The Oliva brand was created using a filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The wrapper was grown in Ecuador. His blend of all these resources created his own cigar which withstood the fallout in the later 1990’s when cigar purchases hit an all-time high by many makers. When the companies began to falter, Oliva stood out as being a solid, successful business man.

Part of the success was due to the supply of tobacco that he still housed in Nicaragua. His supply was ample enough to meet the demands of production. Since that tobacco was already aging, it only added to the flavor and quality of his cigars. This was one other aspect of his cigar production that made him a success in the growing popularity in the United States of Nicaraguan-blended cigars.

The New Face of Oliva

By 2003, the Oliva’s had built and established their own facility. In Esteli, they were proud to produce over 6 million cigars after the first two years there. The family, including Oliva’s great grandchildren, continue to carry on the family tradition of making a full line of cigars. They are not the same company as the Oliva Tobacco Co. of Florida, they, however, are still one of the Nicaraguan cigar masters.

The most popular line is the Flor de Oliva. It is loved by cigar smokers everywhere because of its flavor, quality and low price. For a moderate price, the Flor de Oliva offers a natural, robust taste which many smokers enjoy even when the cigar is not lit.
The Flor de Oliva gives a longer, slower smoke due in part to its Sumatran wrappers. A smooth and creamy flavor is what makes this smoke one of cigar aficionado’s favorites, and that flavor tends to grow stronger as the cigar is smoked. These cigar lovers also enjoy the fact that the cigar can be held in one’s mouth and still deliver unparalleled flavor that satisfies and never gives off an artificial or saccharine flavor.

These are among Oliva’s other cigars which are favorites world wide and include Master Blends, Nubs, Georges Reserve, Sol Cubano, and Cains. Oliva cigars are sold online and at smoke shops.

Photo Credit: Stefan Johansson via