When Altadis U.S.A. began to distribute Boutique Blends cigars in 2017, brand owner Rafael Nodal wanted to focus on expanding his Aging Room line and took Oliveros Gran Retorno off the market—but he never gave up on the brand. Instead, he turned production over to the Plasencias and decided to create Oliveros Gran Retorno as a long-term aging project. The cigars were rolled years ago, and now, with the extra age, they’re about to ship.
According to Nodal, now head of product capability for Tabacalera USA (parent company of Altadis U.S.A.), the new, extra-aged version underwent what he calls a three-stage aging process: The tobaccos were first aged in traditional bales for 24 months; next, the rolled cigars sat in an aging room for six months; and finally, the cigars were packaged and aged in their cedar boxes for more than 33 months at a warehouse in Tampa, Florida. The first two aging steps are common in the cigar business, but letting rolled cigars sit for nearly three years is unusual. Now, Nodal says that they are nearly ready for release.
Made in Nicaragua at the Plasencia factory in 2017, Oliveros Gran Retorno comes in three wrapper types—Connecticut, Habano and Maduro. All three versions are made entirely of Nicaraguan tobacco, save for the Connecticut, which is rolled with a Connecticut-seed wrapper grown in Honduras. They’re packed in 20-count boxes and come in three sizes: Banjo, measuring 4 1/2 inches by 52 ring gauge ($7.92); Swing, at 6 by 50 ($7.70); and Fiddle, 6 by 54 ($8.13).
The Connecticut will be the first Oliveros Gran Retorno to hit the market. It’s the mildest of the trio and planned for a late-August launch, followed by the Habano in October and the Maduro in December, both of which are blended to be medium to full bodied.
The Gran Retorno is a retrospective tribute to the Oliveros brand that Nodal made during his earlier years in the cigar business.
It should be noted that some stock from the original release can still be found sporadically on the Internet. The Habano and Maduro lines were previously produced at the El Galan Cigars S.A. factory in Nicaragua and are different cigars. The Connecticut line was made in Honduras by the Plasencias, but the blend has been changed. The upcoming Gran Retornos will come with a card denoting the extra age.