Date: August 2020
Author: Inspector Z

Oliveros returns with Gran Retorno. The brand returns after being discontinued in 2017. That’s when Boutique Blends decided to focus on Aging Room instead of other brands. But instead of discontinuing the brand completely, Rafael Nodal had another idea. 

Instead of killing the brand, he reached out to Plasencia cigars. With Plasencia, he blended three versions of the Oliveros Gran Retorno. One with a Connecticut wrapper. One with a Habano wrapper. The last cigar has a Maduro wrapper. All are 100% Nicaraguan Puros, except for the Connecticut version. The Connecticut wrapper hails from Honduras. But instead of releasing them, the cigars became a long-term aging project. Three years after rolling the cigars, they are being released.

Three steps of aging

Usually, tobacco is aged in traditional bales. That’s the process after fermenting the tobacco. In the case of the Oliveros Gran Retorno, the tobacco is aged 24 months in bales. The second step, which is also common practice for New World cigars is aging after being rolled. Cigars are wrapped into wheels or halfwheels and then aged in large aging rooms for up to six months. That way, the cigars are out of the sick period before they are packed into boxes. The third step is something that’s not very common. The cigars are packed in cedar boxes. Each box contains twenty cigars. Those boxes are shipped to a warehouse in Tampa, Florida. That’s where they aged for an additional three years. Nodal says the cigars are now finally at the stage where he wanted them to be before releasing them.

The cigars are made at the Plasencia factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. They all come in three sizes. The Banjo is a 4½x52 Short Robusto. The Swing is a 6×50 Toro. And then there is a 6×54 cigar named Fiddle. The cigars won’t be all released at the same time. This month, Oliveros Gran Retorno Connecticut is released. The Habano version is slated for October. And finally, Maduro will be released in December.

Oliveros History

The Oliveros brand is an old brand. When Nodal started selling cigars online in 1998, he and his business partner became the main distributors of the brand. When the owners of the brand, Habana Cuba Cigar Company, decided to sell the company. Nodal and his partners took over. That was in 2002. The brand had plenty of flavored cigars, the Oliveros Classic from the Dominican Republic, and the Oliveros Gran Reserva. The last one was made at Tabacalera Perdomo. The Classic and Gran Reserva are traditional, unflavored cigars. Nodal and his partners discontinued the flavored cigars and created sub-brands under the Oliveros name.

New lines were created with the help of Nick Perdomo. Other lines, such as the King Havano came from Plasencia Cigars. That blend was also the introduction of the Oliveros brand on the European market. Another line that gained some media attention was the Oliveros XL for Men. That was a line with cigars going up to 60 ring gauge. But the cigar industry wasn’t ready for that back in 2005, so the line failed.

If the new Oliveros Gran Retorno is making it’s way to international markets is unclear at the moment. Altadis does have an international distribution network, so the groundwork is there. Yet the international distribution network is mainly focused on Habanos, and not many new world cigars from Altadis are being released in Europe and Asia. Except for VegaFina, which is mainly sold in Europe and Asia.

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