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Oliva Cigars opens new factory in Nicaragua

Recently, Oliva opened its new factory TABOLISA II in Esteli, Nicaragua. The new factory solely focuses on the art of rolling cigars of the group’s various brands (Oliva, Nub and Cain), with a current daily capacity of 25,000 cigars.

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Early in December 2018 Oliva opened its new factory TABOLISA II in Esteli, Nicaragua. This is the second in a short space of time, after the opening in January 2018 of a first factory according to western standards where high quality wooden boxes are made. The TABOLISA II solely focuses on the art of rolling cigars of the group’s various brands (Oliva, Nub and Cain), with a current daily capacity of 25,000 cigars. In total, Oliva employs around 1,500 people in Nicaragua.

The art of rolling cigars

Nicaragua is the biggest cigar country in Central America, with Esteli as the cigar capital. This has to do with soil and climate conditions that are extremely suitable for the perfect cultivation of excellent, strong and aromatic types of tobacco. Several Cuban families have continued impressive cigar traditions in this beautiful country. Rolling requires a great number of skills, and is done by both men (torcedor) and women (torcedora). First, the leaves of the filler are plaited harmoniously and rolled in the binder. This requires the strength of a man’s hand. Together, the filler and binder form a ‘bonche’ that is placed in a ‘press’ to get the required form. The bonche finish is generally carried out with the finesse of a woman’s hand that rolls the wrapper spirally around the bonche. Finally, the cigar is rounded by closing off the head. It’s a ritual that has not changed for over 200 years.

Expansion policy

Since the purchase of Oliva by J. Cortès in 2016, the company has been fully investing in a policy of expansion in Nicaragua. The opening of this factory is therefore just a part of the expansion plans. The first TABOLISA factory, “Tabolisa Uno” already went through a renovation and extension process throughout 2018. This should be finished in the third quarter of 2019. These improvements should result in a serious capacity increase and improved working conditions for the employees.

“From the very beginning of Oliva’s takeover, we always emphasised the fact that nothing would change regarding the brands and the quality on the one hand, and the management and composition of the company on the other. We did and do see plenty of potential for Oliva, with corresponding modernisation where necessary.”

Fred Vandermarliere, CEO J. Cortès

photo 1: CEO of J. Cortès Fred Vandermarliere opens Tabolisa II.

photo 2: The Oliva team, partly based in Nicaragua and partly in Miami. Photo taken on the roof terrace of the new factory with a view of the tobacco fields around Esteli.

Limited edition

On the occasion of this opening, the first hundred hand-rolled cigars were given a special cigar band. Half of these cigars were taken to the group’s headquarters (Zwevegem, Belgium), where they will be displayed in a special place. The other half will remain on site.

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About J. Cortès

J. Cortès is a family run company with a passion for cigars. Cigars in all shapes and sizes. It's a never-ending story of dedication and craftsmanship that started in 1926. Don't smoke but enjoy! Our prime brands are J. Cortes, Country, Neos and Amigos. For the major European countries we have strong in-house sales teams; for other markets our brands are in the hands of our export managers and sold over 80 countries globally. In 2016 CEO Fredje fell in love with artisanal cigar company Oliva Cigars, based in the US and Nicaragua. A business marriage was set and it turned out to be the party of the year. The Cortès family business now spreads across two continents.

Don't smoke but enjoy!