Platinum Nova Cigars has been crafting fine smokes for more than a decade, in its early years only for the private consumption of the family and friends of the company owners. It was in 2019 that Platinum Nova first came to the public’s attention, stepping into the limelight at that year’s (then) IPCPR trade show with eight regular-production and six limited-edition vitolas. Then, as now, the company was selling premium products at premium prices.
In the few years since that public debut, Platinum Nova’s portfolio and reputation have continued to grow. Its catalog now encompasses more than a score of cigars covering a full range of sizes and flavor profiles. Company CEO Leonor Abzaradel—known in the trade as “Leo”—says the expansion of Nova’s catalog was undertaken strictly with a view to pleasing clients. “Every new vitola and blend for a new release is chosen with our customers in our mind. Everything is based on customer feedback. We listen and we deliver, always striving to provide the best quality. We want to bring to market new lines that people can fall in love with,” she says.
Distinctly, each line comes in only a single vitola, with products drawing on leaf sourced from most of the cigar-growing regions and rolled at the company’s Dominican factory Terranova Cigar Factory SRL in Santiago, a facility the Platinum Group built specifically to support the Platinum Nova brand. Says Dr. Amer Rustom, Platinum Group chairman, “We wanted to control our own company, blenders and factory. We wanted 100 percent control of production. Even the farmers I buy from, I ask them for the very best, aged leaf.”
Platinum Nova cigars range from mild to full, although the majority tilt to the fuller side of the scale. And it is true, some of the company’s offerings are a bit on the pricey side. Patricia Khalaf, owner of Casa Aficionado in Delaware, Ohio, says when her customers first encountered Nova pricing, they took a double-take. “But,” she says, “when they tried them, they were never disappointed, and they came back for more.” Evan Stogianos, owner of South Shore Cigar Club of Brightwaters, New York, says, “Even though Platinum Nova is on the high-end shelf, it has become one of the best-selling brands we carry. It sells as well as anything else.” Zameena Singh, store manager at Old Fashion Cigar in Saint Cloud, Florida reports similarly: “Platinum Nova is one of our top-selling cigars,” she says. And Sam Karam, a co-owner of The Humidor in Lisle, Illinois says, “The Platinum Novas are selling very well here—have always done well since we first got them in July of 2021.”
Rustom says the company sets a suggested retail price, but leaves it to merchants to specify their own retail pricing. Abzaradel says the suggested prices of Platinum Nova cigars merely reflect the costs that go into each. The Limited Editions contain the most expensive, aged tobaccos in the company’s possession, with MSRPs reflecting this. Prices range from $31 per stick down to $6.25, but retailers can expect keystone pricing.
Platinum Nova has been working to expand its reach internationally, to store shelves in Dubai, Bahrain, Korea, Germany and, says Abzaradel, “other European nations soon.” Meanwhile, she reports that shoppers can spot the distinguishing aqua blue-green Platinum Nova color scheme on the shelves of about 100 stores in the U.S.
It all seems rather a lot to manage for one company CEO, who is Nova’s public face, seemingly running the show almost singlehandedly. In any case, when you dial the Platinum Nova telephone number, it is Leo Abzaradel who answers. Still, Rustom is quick to point out that Abzaradel has a team backing her up, both in the U.S. and the Dominican Republic. “We have our own in-house graphic designer, and our CFO Jane Ford works side-by-side with Leo here in Florida. In all, we have nine people helping Leo grow the brand.” Abzaradel says, “I appreciate the dedication and hard work of our brand ambassador, Gilbert Altreche. He works very hard expanding the brand and helping tremendously with store events.” For her own part, Abzaradel knows the industry well, having forged a cigar career of more than a decade with such firms as Club Macanudo, Nat Sherman and Casa de Montecristo before she landed her present gig with Nova in 2019.
The company plans to begin placing a QR code on every box so that the public can pursue links to product information even before they buy. And they’ve got plans for more growth, including the introduction of a very impressive 7.25-inch torpedo, the Trappist, at this summer’s trade show. (See appended review.) Rustom says there is even yet another cigar in the works, which Nova would like to roll out in Vegas, although boxes have not yet arrived, so we’ll all have to stay tuned to see if this latest offering makes it in time for the big show. “Drop by the Platinum Nova booth to see if they came through,” Rustom says, adding that more Limited Editions are planned for 2025, using tobaccos he has previously held back for “family and friends” cigars.
Retailers who would like to explore the Platinum Nova portfolio and history can visit the company website at novacigar.com. They can reach the company by calling 561.774.9005, or emailing email@example.com.
This story first appeared in PCA The Magazine, Volume 2, 2023. To receive a copy of this magazine you must be a current member of PCA. Join or renew today at premiumcigars.org/membership.
– Photos courtesy of Platinum Nova Cigars. Story by William C. Nelson.