Oliva cigars to open Tabolisa 1 facility to mark end of three-year project

By Andrew Pentol |


An inauguration ceremony took place in Esteli, Nicaragua last December.

Oliva Cigars has announced it is to officially open its Nicaraguan Tabolisa 1 facility at an inauguration ceremony in Esteli, Nicaragua.

To mark the opening, Oliva will unveil a limited edition of the first 5,000 Oliva Serie V Double Robusto’s made in this new facility. All of these products will be individually numbered and packed in boxes with the design mirroring the new factory.

As reported, Oliva Cigars was acquired by Belgian cigar supplier J. Cortès in 2016, which showcased Oliva products for the first time at TFWA Cannes later that year.

The inauguration marks the end of a three-year project, which began in November 2016 with the start of construction on the new facility. The box factory was completed in 2017. This was followed by Tabolisa 2 in December 2019 and now the main Tabolisa 1 factory.

Phase one included expanding the packaging area, increasing the finished product cool storage warehouse capacity from two 40ft containers to eight and incorporating new freezers. All of this was completed by December 2018. Since then, the focus has been renovating the existing site building.


Other priorities were increasing space in the cigar room and raising the size of the packaging warehouse from 400sq ft to 6,800sq ft.


Fred Vandemarliere, Owner, J. Cortès wants to provide factory employees with the best possible working conditions.

According to the company, the aim of the project was to increase efficiency and capacity for the production of Oliva Cigars. The new building increases the capacity of the leaf curing and fermentation processing area from 50 pilones of tobacco (large piles of tobacco) to 100.

From this year, the Tabliosa 1 facility will significantly increase cigar production capacity. Capacity for employee health facilities, cigar storage, packaging, freezing and ageing rooms will also increase.

Speaking at the opening ceremony last year, Fred Vandemarliere, Owner, J. Cortès said: “The Oliva family offered our family a real gem by selling us Oliva Cigars. Without them, we would never be where we are now, but to let a diamond shine, you need to work it.

“We try to do this with care and the opening of Tabolisa 1 is a clear example of this promise. Cory, Fidel and their team did a fantastic job ensuring we got this facility to the level we wanted. We want to make good cigars with love. It seems easy to say, but here is proof that we thought about all three words in this sentence.”

Oliva Inauguration outside shot

The inauguration marks the end of a three-year project, which began in November 2016.

Producing top quality products continues to be the main priority, according to Vandemarliere: “We are aware that someone who sits down, relaxes and wants to enjoy a good cigar does not want to compromise on quality. We don’t want to destroy this holy moment. We want to embrace it and give a perfect product. We have, therefore, invested in extra capacity in our fermentation and ageing rooms.

“A cigar is a natural product and time is one of the most important elements to make it good. We now have extra space to give extra time.”

If smokers want to enjoy a cigar they need to find it in a shop: “Bigger is not better, but if people want to find our cigars around the world, we need to make sure we have them available. As such, we are happy to have the space now to make more cigars if needed.”


Addressing the love element, Vandemarliere said cigars were a very sensitive product, but ‘very easy to screw up’ even if they are perfect quality. “The work people do inside this facility is amazing and deserves the maximum appreciation. We want to put our hand where our mouth is by giving them the best possible environment to work in with good lightning, space to work, cosy break-rooms and a primary healthcare clinic  if needed.

“We are sure everyone will be rewarded from the love they put into making the best possible cigars in the world. This opening and investment demonstrates our commitment to Nicaragua and in particular, our belief in the future of Oliva’s premium cigars.”


The completion of the main Tabolisa 1 factory followed that of Tabolisa 2 last December and the box factory in 2017.

He concluded: “We know we make a product that can damage your health, but not only do we clearly advise smoking in moderation, but also think there are positive effects of enjoying a good cigar. Cigar smoking can be good medicine for burn-outs. People are always connected and our brains run very fast. This is fantastic and makes the turn around faster.”

On the flip-side, this can be too much, emphasised Vandemarliere. “Disconnection from this hectic world is therefore more and more of a necessity. A cigar can, among other things, be the perfect medium for this disconnection. That’s why we keep on saying: #dontsmokebutenjoy!!”


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