When I think of New York City, the things that come to my mind are World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty, the Yankees, Times Square and traffic. I never thought there was a cigar company in the mix of all the commotion of New York City. Seeing you can find just about anything in the most populous city in the United States, why not cigars? That’s the case with Martinez Hand Rolled Cigars. Nestled in the heart of midtown, Martinez Cigars has been rolling cigars since 1974. Founded by Don Antonio Martinez and is run by Jesus Martinez currently. Jesus maintains Don’s tradition by honoring his talents, skills and memory in their cigars.
Vitola: #6 (Robusto)
Wrapper: Natural Ecuadorian
Filler: Sun Srown Nicaraguan Broadleaf
Price*: $9 ($45/5pk)
The band on this cigar looks like it came from the art deco era. The “FLAT IRON” text looks like the futuristic text from the 40s and 50s. The Times Square building atop the band is very cool and eye catching. In the background of the band is a scene from the NYC skyline as well. Its not too large to distract you from the smooth wrapper of the cigar. If you look closely throughout the band, there are other major NYC buildings hidden in the background of the band as well. The wrapper has a few veins, a nice triple cap all around a slightly box pressed shape. The foot has strong notes of nutmeg, slight spice and dark wood. Likenesses of a lighter nutmeg and wood aromas come from the wrapper. The cigar has a nice firm feel to it, no soft or hard spots to worry with. A nice resistance comes our of the cold draw along with hints of some of the nutmeg and spice detected in the foot.
The draw was dead on where I like a draw to be at. It produced a pretty good amount of dense smoke. The burn had a slight wave and inconsistencies to it as I find that fairly common with box pressed cigars. From said burn came flaky dirty white and gray ashes that lasted well over an inch before I rolled them off before they fell onto my lap. Even though there was slight burn issues, I never had to resort to touching up the burn. It just needed a watchful eye over it.
The first few draws are pretty creamy smooth with slight hints of spice in the background. As I get into the cigar more the spice picks up a little bit and is a nice opposite to the creaminess; think sweet and salty. Into the cigar some more, I get a hint of a woodiness in the creamy flavor as well as a light roasted coffee note. Soon there after the creaminess takes on a slight sweetness to it and the spice tries to counteract it by ramping up a bit in strength. Ending the first third, the sweetness takes on a salted caramel note that I really enjoy.
Starting off the middle portion, the cigar keeps the same flavors of creamy salted caramel, light roasted coffee and spice. The coffee almost a bitter note, but when paired up with the salted caramel, its a bittersweet characteristic that’s pretty interesting. The sweetness and slight bitterness swaps back and forth throughout the middle portion of the cigar. Around the midpoint, the saltiness eases off on the caramel, leaving the sweetness to shine, but its not shining as much as before. Easing out of the middle third, a nice cocoa note arises in the draw. Its a pretty nice compliment to the coffee and helps ease off some of the bitterness of it.
Starting the last leg of the cigar, the coffee note turns from a light to a darker roast flavor. The spice is lesser and the sweetness eases to the back half of the draw. The key notes throughout the last third are the medium roasted coffee, salted caramel and slight spice. The creaminess is pretty much a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean the smoke is harsher by any means. Right at the very end of the cigar, a fresh ground pepper takes the place of the spice note and was a bit of a surprise to me as it tried to take over all the other flavors in strength. With about an inch left I lay the cigar to rest. The black pepper, coffee, salted caramel and spice seemed to battle too much for my likings. I wish the cigar would have ended on a nicer note. But you can’t have your cake and eat it too as the other 4″ of this cigar was a nice showing.
The middle portion of the cigar is where it shined for me. I really liked the opposing bitter sweet and salty sweetness in the smoke. The spice was there, but not as much as I thought it would have with a lot of Nicaraguan tobacco in it. I find the body of this cigar to be a solid medium (maybe a bit more) and the flavor strength a medium to full range. Overall a well constructed cigar that had nice coffee, salted caramel, spice and creamy notes.
The $9 price is fairly good seeing NY has some high tobacco taxes and its an American made product. Martinez Hand Rolled Cigars makes three other lines of cigars and I’d like to try those as well to see how they fair up against this good smoke. They also do custom bands for their cigars as well. So if you are in the market for custom bands give them a call and see what they can do for you.
*This cigar was provided to me, unsolicited, from Martinez Hand Rolled Cigars for this review. Many thanks to those great people for the opportunity to review this cigar!