Aging Room & Boutique Blends Cigars is the company responsible for the well-rated, highly-acclaimed SWAG and Aging Room cigars; and while these brands put Cuban-born Rafael Nodal on the map, his role in the company’s success runs much deeper than churning out delicious small batch after small batch of smokes.
Boutique Blends wasn’t the name of Rafael & Co.’s operation until 2012 – it was known as the Habana Cuba Cigar Company. HCCC was founded in 1996, and made premium hand rolled cigars during the boom – most notably reestablishing the Cuban Oliveros brand of cigars.
Oliveros cigars was their first brand to debut, launching as a flavored cigar that was being manufactured in the Dominican Republic. But within a year, the Cigar Boom went bust…and with America turning its collective attention away from cigars, Habana Cuba Cigar had to find a new way to sell their smokes. It was then that the owners turned to an internet marketing operation that specialized in selling boutique blends made in and around the Miami area, operated by…Rafael Nodal and Hank Bischoff. As Habana Cigars’ most successful marketers, Rafael and Hank were brought on staff to advise the company; not long after, Habana’s owners wanted out of the tobacco market, and sold their lines of flavored and premium Oliveros lines to Nodal, his wife Alina and Bischoff in 2002.
The new owners decided that it was time to focus on premium hand made cigars, and turned to Nick Perdomo for help. Perdomo manufactured high-quality Nicaraguan smokes under contract for HCCC, and the company was able to build its portfolio beyond the Oliveros label. Partnerships like these would continue over the next few years, involving Nick, Nestor Plasencia and other talented cigar makers – including José "Jochi" Blanco and his Dominican Tabacalera La Palma. As Nodal & Bischoff began specializing in these more limited batch cigars, they worked with Blanco on the Dominican puro blend that would become SWAG. With Jochi’s stocks of well-aged, premium DR leaf, the Aging Room cigar line would follow – and the company rebranded itself as Boutique Blends Cigars in 2012.
Though the flavored cigar market is dominated by machine-made offerings, Oliveros flavored cigars have carved out a nice spot for themselves by doing it differently: they’re hand made in the DR, and feature 100% premium aged Dominican tobaccos in their Long Lady line of smokes. And keeping true to Rafael & Hank’s vision for a true boutique premium produced in limited fashion, La Boheme cigars were released in 2014 as a flavorful, medium-to-full bodied Dominican premium sporting a Habano wrapper – and definitely different than the SWAG and Aging Room you may have had the pleasure of smoking.
All of the cigar selections under both the Aging Room cigar line and the Boutique Blends banner are handmade treats, whether it’s the flavored Oliveros or the premium La Boheme – and well worth the smoking time. Buy Aging Room & Boutique Blends cigars at Famous Smoke Shop, and smoke them for less!