The Belgian company J. Cortes Cigars was founded in 1926. The founder of the company, Maurits Vandermarliere, decided from the very beginning to specialize in the production of J. Cortes little cigars. The slogan, which can still be seen at the factory, can be translated as “Rationalization through specialization”. Focusing exclusively on J. Cortes little cigars, the company quickly became one of the leading manufacturers in Belgium. This was particularly facilitated by the opening of new factories in Belgium and a large tobacco preparation plant in Sri Lanka with a staff of 1000 employees.
Maurits soon noticed that his homemade J. Cortes little cigars were very popular in his own cigar shop, so he opened a small cigar factory in 1936. Later in 1975 and in 1979 Neos cigars and TAF were taken over and then the J. Cortès brand really emerged. This was a very important step as production skyrocketed. Around this time it was also decided to give the cigars the characteristic blue color reminiscent of the Côte d’Azur.
J. Cortes little cigars have been produced since 1926. Only tobaccos from the best growing areas are used, but at J. Cortes a good price-enjoyment ratio is in the foreground. The Dominican are packed in a sturdy tin box of 10 and are ideal for in between. It is extremely mild in taste and slightly creamy, naturally sweet. The cover sheet is nice and even and light. Later in 1986, the Vandermarliere family opened their first own cigar factory in Sri Lanka. The factory was named UTP (United Tobacco Processing Ltd). At that time, they had more than 2,000 employees worldwide and their cigar brands were sold in more than 80 countries.
The last addition of J. Cortes little cigars was made in 2016. The company expanded their capacity to the US and Nicaragua. There the Oliva Cigars factory was taken over, so that the family business spread over two continents. Everything starts at the UTP factory in Katunayake, Sri Lanka. There the freshly purchased tobacco is stored and sorted. The leaves are then cut (about 3 million annually) and placed on clean ignition coils. Finally, they are transported to J Cortes’ factory in Handzame.