1 Year of Cigar Aficionado for $10 PLUS a Free Gift!

Cigar Industry

Tabacalera USA Names Rafael Nodal Head Of Product Capability

Oct 3, 2017 | By Gregory Mottola
Tabacalera USA Names Rafael Nodal Head Of Product Capability
Photo/Jeffery Salter
Cuban-born Rafael Nodal came late to the cigar industry, and his early struggles have been replaced by success: his Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto cigar was named No. 2 cigar of the year in 2013.

Rafael Nodal is going to be very busy. Tabacalera USA has just named him head of product capability, a wide-ranging position that will require Nodal to support Tabacalera’s overall premium cigar business, including Altadis USA’s premium brands as well as its catalog and retail subsidiaries JR Cigar and Casa de Montecristo. The job will also have Nodal in the company’s factories to ensure consistency for both blending and manufacturing.

He reports directly to Javier Estades, head of premium cigar operations and president of Tabacalaera USA.

“Rafael will work with the manufacturing partners to enhance Tabacalera USA’s portfolio and identify opportunities for cigar innovation within the current regulatory landscape.” Estades said. 

In May, Nodal signed on with Altadis U.S.A.—Tabacalera USA’s premium cigar division—for what Nodal called a “strategic alliance agreement.” Altadis took on distribution of Nodal’s Boutique Blends Cigars company. In addition to the distribution deal, Nodal agreed to work for Altadis, focusing on the development of the company’s premium cigar lines, which include major brands for the U.S. market like the non-Cuban versions of H. Upmann, Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo. 

Nodal owns Boutique Blends Cigars along with his wife, Alina, and partners, Hank Bischoff and José "Jochy" Blanco, tobacco grower and owner of the Tabacalera Palma factory in the Dominican Republic. The company gained attention in the world of premium cigars when it debuted its line of Aging Room smokes (the Aging Room Quattro F55 line was named Cigar Aficionado's No. 2 cigar of 2013 in the Concerto size).  Before the distribution deal, Boutique Blends collaborated with Altadis U.S.A. to create Romeo By Romeo y Julieta Aging Room Small Batch F25.

“Rafael has a great deal of experience in the cigar industry, having led the Miami-based Boutique Blends Cigars,” added Estades. “I am confident his support will strengthen our business operations.”

Altadis U.S.A. and Tabacalera USA are subsidiaries of Imperial Brands PLC, the huge, England-based tobacco concern that also owns 50 percent of Cuba's Habanos S.A.

Altadis U.S.A. Inc.

More in Cigar Industry

See all
Cigar Shipments to U.S. Soar in September

Cigar Shipments to U.S. Soar in September

Imports of premium, handmade cigars were exceptionally strong in the month of September, showing …

Nov 18, 2020
New York Tobacconists Respond to Statewide Tax Hike

New York Tobacconists Respond to Statewide Tax Hike

The first of October marked the closure of a tax loophole that allowed New York tobacconists to …

Nov 11, 2020
Cigars For Warriors Begins Fundraiser for U.S. Troops Tomorrow

Cigars For Warriors Begins Fundraiser for U.S. Troops Tomorrow

Due to Covid-19, Operation: Cigars for Warriors has seen a dramatic drop in donations. The charity is …

Nov 10, 2020
Hurricane Eta Spares Tobacco in Central America

Hurricane Eta Spares Tobacco in Central America

Tobacco growers in Central America are breathing sigh of relief. Although Hurricane Eta and its …

Nov 9, 2020
Cigar Association of America Names New Chairman

Cigar Association of America Names New Chairman

The Cigar Association of America, one of the leading trade groups in the U.S. cigar business, has …

Nov 9, 2020
Higher Cigar Sales Boost Q3 Results for Scandinavian Tobacco

Higher Cigar Sales Boost Q3 Results for Scandinavian Tobacco

The American cigar market has been a strong one for European cigar giant Scandinavian Tobacco Group …

Nov 5, 2020