We’ve lost another icon of the premium tobacco industry. Gilberto Oliva Sr., the patriarch of Oliva Cigars, died at the age of 86 on Saturday in Miami, Florida.
Oliva Sr. was born in Cuba and began his tobacco business there until the 1959 Cuban Revolution. In 1964, he went to Spain and eventually settled in Nicaragua working as a tobacco broker. Another revolution, this time in Nicaragua, forced Oliva Sr. to flee his home again, until in 1995, he returned to Nicaragua and, working with his son Oliva Jr. and Nestor Plasencia, created Oliva Cigars first cigar with a Connecticut shade wrapper and Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos.
Oliva Cigars showed healthy growth as a company from the start, adding several new and highly rated cigars to its portfolio, including Oliva Serie V and Nub, over the past 20 years. The company also expanded their tobacco growing business, establishing operations in several countries around the world. In 2016, the Oliva family sold the company to J. Cortes.
Oliva Sr. is survived by his wife, five children and 14 grandchildren.