The last time I spoke about Martinez Cigars NYC was when I reviewed their 2021 release – the Patrimonio. That was a pretty fine cigar which added to the outstanding portfolio this small boutique cigar factory, in the heart of NYC, produces on a regular basis. Now enter 2022 and they have released yet another cigar, this time to celebrate the NYC bodegas.
Now if you are not familiar with bodegas, they are those small (we have it all) convenience stores that are owned and operated by sole proprietors. You can find just about anything in a bodega; from food to spark plugs – engine oil to prepared food – tobacco, beer, and wine to soft drinks, even over-the-counter medicines, lottery tickets and laundry detergent. It may sound like a 7/11 to you but these tend to be non-franchise and are supported by the locals in the neighborhood.
Most bodegas are open 24/7 for the convenience of the neighborhood, since not every one works 9-5 or have only one job. What is one person’s sleeping time may be another’s working time. It is believed that there are more than 8,000 bodegas in NYC.
Why celebrate bodegas with a cigar? Well just ask Martinez Cigars owner Jesus Martinez and his director of product development Dave Rivera. These two latino BOTL’s grew up with bodegas and wanted to celebrate their NYC roots with a special cigar line. So they started a new project that they expect to be a new addition to their portfolio. The first blend in the line was introduced at the 2022 PCA and is called the Riki Taki. Ah, now that is something I recall from my living in NYC when I was younger. You can keep White Castle, because after a hard night of partying, till the wee hours of the morning, going to a bodega and getting a Riki Taki sandwich is just what the doctor ordered.
I know. Boston Jimmie what are you talking about. Well the Riki Taki is as NYC as Pizza, Bagels, and Egg Creams. The Riki Taki is a gastronomical delight, that is made from seasoned ground beef, shredded cabbage, onions, tomatoes and topped with mayonnaise, ketchup, and a sliced boiled egg. Take all of that and press it onto a toasted kaiser roll. It is an absolute gooey delight.
Now that you have the back story, let’s talk about the Martinez Cigars La Bodega Series Riki Taki.
The blend of the Riki Taki is described as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian corojo
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan (seco and ligero)/Dominican (ligero)
It is expressed in a single (5 x 50) robosto vitola and comes packaged in 5-count bundles. The MSRP is $11.00/cigar. An added fun part, is the packaging of the bundle. They use a waxed paper wrapping like the bodega would use to wrap the sandwich with. The phrase “Thank You For Smoking With Us” is printed across it in colors of yellow, blue, and black.
The company plans to officially release the Riki Taki on September 16th. For this review, I sampled two Riki Taki cigars that I received form the company for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
The Martinez Cigars NYC – La Bodega Series Riki Taki is draped in a milk chocolate brown and slightly oily wrapper that has some noticeable veins running through the barrel. The cigar is packed well and rolled with tight seams A simple cap finishes the presentation.
A single colorful band adorns the cigar. It uses a primary black and yellow motif. The front of the band declares it as the LBS (La Bodega Series) NYC in yellow and on the bottom it states “Blended by Jesus Martinez”. The left and right sides of the band are more street art colorful. The left states “RIKI” and the right states “TAKI”. I do like the band and the overall packaging concept.
Running the Riki Taki across the nose, I was greeted with sweet and pungent notes along the barrel while the foot exuded a distinctive fruity pear aroma.
I opened the cap with my Baller cutter from CigarMedics and gave it some cold draw puffs that I found to be surprisingly heavy on red pepper along with some sweetness and creamy hot cocoa notes in the background. This is one I puffed a little longer to enjoy those pre-light flavors.
Using my double flame torch, I warmed the foot to an even orange glow and drew in the first puffs of peppery smoke especially on the retro-hale. Follow along as I burn the Riki Taki to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial puffs hit the palate with red pepper spice especially on retro
- Cream and fruit begin to develop as the fruit morphs into that early pre-light pear note
- A flaky white ash forms on top of a thick wavy char line
- Cedar notes fill in the early profile
- The pepper morphs into a savory spice as a natural sweetness grows in the background
- A pleasant nut aroma wafts off the foot
- Coffee notes join the mix moving into the second third
- The ash fell in a big chunk revealing a flat burn but centered burn cone
- Sweet cedar notes blend midway
- Slight off burn but does not require a touchup
- The early nut finds its way into the flavor along with an enticing cherry note deep in the second third
- The spice continues down to the final
- Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 35 minutes
I have to say, ever since I smoked my first Martinez Cigar – the Flat Iron – back in 2016, I have been impressed with what this small boutique cigar factory in NYC cranks out and I am glad they are moving onto the national market over the past few years. The Riki Taki is just another example of the fine craft they produce. This cigar was a complex and balanced smoke that sparked numerous flavor sensors on the palate. I was surprised by the early red pepper spice but that was just the awaking. The cream and pear fruit added to the pleasure and I especially enjoyed the cherry note deep in the second third. It did have a mild wave in the burn a slight off burn that did not require a touchup. Overall I say this is worth grabbing a the five pack when the hit the market. I rate this a 91.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) Slight Off Burn Midway; (-1) Flat Burn cone; (-1) Flaky Ash
Bonus Points: (+1) Complex and Balanced