A legendary cigar brand that helped put Honduras on the map has been sold. Oliva Cigar Co. has purchased the trademarks for the Cuba Aliados, Puros Indios and Roly brands, cigars that have been made in Honduras since the 1990s by the Reyes family. The deal was finalized earlier this week.
“These are three, very well-known, much-loved and respected brands,” said Frederik Vandermarliere, owner of Belgian company J. Cortès Cigars N.V., which purchased Oliva in 2016. “They have a significant loyal following in the U.S. market, so it made sense to us to take these brands under the Oliva roof, where we can ensure their quality from leaf to leaf.”
The brands were sold to Oliva by Carlos Diez, now sole owner of Reyes Family Cigars and grandson of company founder Rolando Reyes Sr., who passed away in 2012 at 89 years old. While the brands have been sold, Oliva has not purchased the Reyes Family business, nor has Oliva bought the Puros Aliados factory in Honduras where the cigars were made. According to Oliva, production of the brands is being transferred from Honduras to Nicaragua where Oliva makes brands such as the Serie V and Serie V Melanio.
The Cuba Aliados brand started in the 1970s when Rolando Reyes Sr. left Cuba to start a business of his own in New Jersey. He previously made Cuba Aliados at his own factory in Cuba before Fidel Castro confiscated his assets. Cuba Aliados was produced in New Jersey, Miami and the Dominican Republic until 1990 when all operations were consolidated to Honduras.
In 1995, Reyes released the Puros Indios brand. Despite being made in Honduras, the cigars didn’t contain any Honduran tobacco, as Reyes Sr. never cared for leaf from that country—that is until 2010 when the company decided to reevaluate its stance and started growing tobacco in Danlí.
The company changed its name to Reyes Family Cigars in 2007 but changed it back to Puros Indios in 2010 and then back again to Reyes Family in 2014. Its products were briefly distributed by CLE Cigars in 2016. Though very popular throughout the 1990s, the brands have been struggling for the last decade to gain any significant humidor space, and are found mostly in catalogs or through online retailers.
With the flagship brands now in Oliva’s control, Diez tells Cigar Aficionado that the Reyes Family plans on making other brands under the Reyes Family banner, namely Premier, Classic and Vintage, as well as the Cienfuegos line and some private-label cigars.
The dollar amount for the transaction has not been disclosed.