Altadis U.S.A. is the new distributor for the Aging Room/Boutique Blends brands.
The tobacco giant will be the new distributor for Aging Room, which includes brands like Oliveros, SWAG and others. One source told halfwheel that Aging Room informed its independent sales representatives on Thursday that they would no longer be representing the brand. The deal primarily centers around distribution; Rob Norris, gm for Altadis U.S.A., told halfwheel the company has not purchased ownership in Boutique Blends and the blends will remain in production at their current factory.
Boutique Blends will move its inventory to Altadis U.S.A.’s warehouse in Fort Lauderdale and orders are expected to begin shipping form there on June 5.
“Rafael Nodal, who has led the Miami-based group since 2002, will support our premium cigar Altadis U.S.A. business,” said Javier Estades, head of Tabacalera USA, in a press release. “Rafael will focus mainly on product quality and innovation, on strategic relations with our trade customers and brick and mortar operations, and other areas in the company.”
Nodal is expected to take a role at Altadis U.S.A., though a title has not been announced.
“The depth of resources at Altadis in the factories and in the U.S. market are the reason I decided to sign this strategic alliance, it will give me the ability to fulfill the plans that I have had for the brands,” said Nodal. “I have known the management team at Altadis for a long time and they have always impressed me with their professionalism, they share my vision to develop the Boutique Blends portfolio and get the brands into more cigar consumers hands over the coming months and years.”
This is not the first time the two companies have worked together. Two years ago, they released the ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room, a cigar blended by Aging Room’s owner, Rafael Nodal, produced at Tabacalera Palma, the Dominican-Based factory that produces most of the Aging Room brands, and sold by Altadis U.S.A.
News of the deal was first reported by The Cigar Authority, a blog by Two Guys Smoke Shop.
Altadis U.S.A. is an Imperial Brands, plc subsidiary. It owns the rights to the H. Upmann, Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta brands in the U.S. Imperial also owns Casa de Montecristo and JR Cigar. All of those companies are under the Tabacalera USA banner, the name for Imperial’s U.S. cigar operations.
Update (May 15, 2017) — Added quotes and more info. This post was first published on May 12, 2017.