Cigar Review: El Artista Big Papi The Slugger – Rated 94

Shortly after David (Big Papi) Ortiz retired from a storied MLB career, Tobacalera El Artista released a cigar that was Ortiz’ personal blend – the Big Papi. That cigar went on to be the number 24 cigar on the Stogie Press top 25 of 2016. Now 3 years later, at this years PCA trade show, the company launched a line extension for the David Ortiz line of cigars, titled “The Slugger”, after Ortiz’s signature Home Run style.

Radhames ‘Ram’ Rodriguez, President of El Artista Cigars noted in the press release of The Slugger:

“David’s brand recognition is growing across many of his projects, and over the last 3 years we have seen good growth in the Big Papi cigar line and we want cigar fans to have something new”. 

David Ortiz even quipped at a press conference: “I wanted a cigar size that better fits in my big hands, something that is big like me”

El Artista Big Papi The Slugger
El Artista Big Papi The Slugger

The Slugger comes in one vitola a Gordo XL (7 x 60). These cigars come packaged in 20-count boxes and carry an MSRP of $12.50/cigar.

The blend of The Slugger is described as:

  • Wrapper – San Andres maduro
  • Binder – Dominican Negrito
  • Filler – Dominican, Nicaragua, USA

Pre-Light Examination

Make no bones about it, this is indeed a big cigar. It has a dark brown and oily wrapper that has some noticeable veins running through it. The cigar is packed – as well as Big Papi is stacked. There is a light tooth on the wrapper and it is well capped.

Like the original Big Papi cigar, the El Artista Big Papi – The Slugger, is adorned with 2 bands. The primary band is white with a red silhouette of Big Papi in his classic fingers to the sky pose.  The words “Big Papi” are written across in blue across the band along with the words “By David Ortiz”. There is also a dark blue satin footer band to complete the presentation.

El Artista Big Papi The Slugger
El Artista Big Papi The Slugger

Taking “The Slugger” around the bases, I first picked up a well fermented pungent leaf aroma along the barrel and a strong earthy note off the foot.

Once I sliced the cap, with my double blade cutter, I took “The Slugger” further. I drew in a few good cold puffs, that delivered balanced notes of earth and pepper. The draw was right on the mark, and impressive for a such a large cigar.

As with all big ring gauge cigars, I get nervous about how it will perform, and that starts with a proper ignition which I did with my triple flame torch. I proceeded to warm the foot as I rotated the barrel and took in the first puffs of smoke. The cigar took well to the flame and it seemed to be evenly ignited. Follow along as I put “The Slugger” up to the plate.

Cigar Review Notes

El Artista Big Papi The Slugger
El Artista Big Papi The Slugger
El Artista Big Papi The Slugger
El Artista Big Papi The Slugger
El Artista Big Papi The Slugger
El Artista Big Papi The Slugger
  • Amazing draw for a big cigar
  • Natural sweetness and light spice to start
  • Fine clean burn to start
  • Full volume of smoke
  • Pepper notes coat the lips
  • A pleasant nut component joins the line up
  • Coffee notes round out first inch along with a fragrant sweet aroma
  • A well formed white ash forms a medium thick jagged burn line
  • Buttery herb notes enter
  • Decent ash drops in a solid chunk revealing a well formed burn cone
  • Aroma shifts to cedar
  • Moving through most of the second third there are pleasant, mild citrus and wood, notes that brighten the profile
  • A bitter back note develops deep in the second third
  • The bitter component lasts for a short period and then the smoke smooths out
  • Aroma shifts once again to more of a cinnamon note
  • Spice builds in the final along with a gentle sweetness in the background
  • Medium in Strength
  • Total Smoking Time was 2 hours and 15 Minutes

Overall, the El Artista Big Papi – The Slugger was a pleasurable 2 plus hour journey that offered a medium body of flavor and aroma components. Though not the most complex cigars from the company, it did have easy transitions, except for a moment deep in the second third where some bitterness appeared and then faded into a smooth and pleasant smoke down to the final. The cigar is very well constructed, as demonstrated by the fairly clean burn, tight ash, and well defined burn cone. Pick up a five pack of these and find a good movie to watch for the long journey. I rate this a solid 94.

Point Deductions: (-1) Jagged Burn; (-1) Bitter note deep in second third

El Artista Big Papi The Slugger