SOURCE: Cigar Advisor

Cigar Advisor

February 15, 2016 08:20 ET

Rafael Nodal of Boutique Blends Cigars Featured on Upcoming Podcast

How a Young Cuban Emigre Grew-up to Be One of the Industry's Leading Cigar Makers

EASTON, PA --(Marketwired - February 15, 2016) - There are a lot of interesting people working in the cigar business, but Rafael Nodal is perhaps one of the most remarkable. Arriving in the United States from Cuba in 1980 during the Mariel Boatlift, the only thing the 15-year-old Rafael could appreciate about cigars at the time was the aroma of his grandfather's Cuban cigars. In this latest podcast on, Rafael chats with Gary Korb from his Boutique Blends Cigars office in Miami about the series of events that led him to heading one of the most successful boutique cigar companies in the business -- and he did it in less than a decade.

The artisan-crafted cigars Rafael has brought to market include, Aging Room Quattro, Aging Room Bin No.1, SWAG, La Boheme, and La Boheme Encantador, almost all of which have received some of the highest accolades and awards from the premium cigar media. Since its inception in 2010, Boutique Blends has earned an "Outstanding" 92 score for the Aging Room Quattro M356, and a "Classic" 95 score for the Aging Room Quattro F55, which earned the #16 and #2 slots in Cigar Aficionado's "Top 25 Cigars of the Year" lists for 2011 and 2013, respectively; not bad for someone who, as a promising young violinist, once dreamed of being a conductor for a symphony orchestra.

"Only in America could something like this happen," says Rafael, reflecting on the kinds of opportunities afforded him in the U.S. that he could have never done in Cuba. "I really have had the chance to live the American dream," he added.

Among the other topics the musician, turned hospital administrator, turned cigar maker discusses are Rafael's approach to blending, while also focusing on specific cigars such as the Romeo by Romeo y Julieta Small Batch F25 series -- created in tandem with Altadis' famed Grupo Maestros in the Dominican Republic -- La Boheme cigars, and his most recent offering, SWAG Connecticut cigars.

"What makes our company different is that we don't make cigars for everyone," says Rafael. "We have concentrated on creating blends for experienced cigar smokers who are looking for complex cigars with lots of character."

"That's also the secret to their success," says Korb, who calls the cigars made by Boutique Blends the "Guinness Stout" of premium cigars for their consistently full-flavor. "It's not that new cigar smokers wouldn't appreciate an Aging Room Quattro or a La Boheme Encantador, but in terms of flavor and complexity, there's a lot going on in their cigars across all of their lines that a more experienced smoker would be more capable of appreciating," he added.

In some ways, Mr. Nodal, himself, is as complex as his cigars. With his love of music (opera is his favorite), his background in business administration, his love for travel, good books, and his talents as a blender, combined with his charming personality, Rafael is certainly one of the most well-rounded cigar personalities working today.

Cigar smokers and others interested in learning more about Boutique Blends Cigars can listen to the podcast by -- Clicking Here.

About Cigar Advisor

Cigar Advisor , the nation's premiere online cigar magazine, proudly serves cigar enthusiasts with a uniquely down-to-earth perspective on the enjoyment of premium cigars. Well-known and highly regarded for providing acclaimed educational cigar content and behind-the-scenes industry articles from some of the business's top names, the Cigar Advisor editors deliver an array of content that speaks directly to those who enjoy the cigar lifestyle.

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    90 Mort Drive
    Easton, PA 18040