Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest Is Coming May 28th. Buy Tickets Now.

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Cuban-born Rafael Nodal came late to the cigar industry, and his early struggles have been replaced by success: his Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto cigar was named No. 2 cigar of the year in 2013.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
2022 Imports Off To Decent Start

2022 Imports Off To Decent Start

The ultra-hot handmade cigar market continues to show signs of growth.

May 2, 2022
New President And Board Members For TAA

New President And Board Members For TAA

The Tobacconists’ Association of America consists of roughly 250 shops in the United States, along …

Apr 19, 2022
The Lineup: What Cigars To Expect at Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest 2022

The Lineup: What Cigars To Expect at Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest 2022

The second-ever Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest—coming to Hollywood, Florida on May 28—is coming up fast, …

Apr 7, 2022
456 Million Handmade Cigars Shipped To U.S. In 2021

456 Million Handmade Cigars Shipped To U.S. In 2021

Shipments were up by 25.3 percent over 2020.

Mar 17, 2022
Cigars International To Open Third Retail Store in Texas

Cigars International To Open Third Retail Store in Texas

The Lone Star State is getting a new, massive Cigars International retail store in San Antonio.

Mar 16, 2022
Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest: A Top-Tier Lineup Of Cigar Stars Are Speaking At The Seminars

Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest: A Top-Tier Lineup Of Cigar Stars Are Speaking At The Seminars

The second-ever Big Smoke meets Whiskey Fest is coming Saturday, May 28, at the Seminole Hard Rock …

Mar 16, 2022
z