When we think of cigars from the Dominican Republic, we envision a tropical island paradise, one of the first places in the “new world” landed on by Christopher Columbus. The Dominican Republic is one of the largest producers of cigars in the world and is dotted with fields of tobacco, a plant that is indigenous to the island. Generations of farmers have toiled and worked these fields to produce the leaf that eventually is fermented, cured, and rolled into the cigars so many of us enjoy.
One of those generational tobacco families is the Rodriguez family and their Tabacalera El Artista. It is 3 generations in the making, 62 years since Ramon “Don Pulita” Rodriguez converted a warehouse in the Cibao region of Dominican Republic into a bustling hub of tobacco processing and blending. The business is now headed by Radhames “Ram” Rodriguez, who is one of the few Cigar Executives under the age of 30.
Ram has tobacco in his blood, having spent his whole life involved in various aspects of the business. He holds degrees in Applied Management and Engineering and has used both to grow Tabacalera El Artista into a tobacco and cigar powerhouse, with over 1,800 acres of tobacco farms, a factory that prodcues over 12 Million cigars a year, and a logistics company, Radhames in 2016, to aid in the movement and shipment of the product they produce.
I had the honor of meeting Ram and his family a few years ago on a visit to their farms and factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic. I have to say he is a man with the freedom to create and grow the company. There is a touch of wild in his ideas which have paid dividends for the company; like the relationship with David “Big Papi” Ortiz, who after retiring, was convinced by Ram to go full production with a cigar David used to keep for his private affairs. That cigar, the Big Papi, was met with excellent reviews. Ram also oversaw the creation of the Pulita, the company’s 60th anniversary cigar.
Now Ram and Tabacalera El Artista have have gone wild and have created a cigar that was inspired not by lush tropical environments but rather the craggy, snow packed peaks of the Cimarron region of America. If you are looking for a place that is wild and free, the Cimarron area is it. The area includes the 33,116 acre Colin Neblett Wildlife Area which draw outdoors men and women from near and far. It also is the home to the Philmont Scout Ranch, which is the largest Boy Scout ranch in the world.
Interestingly, the Cimarron region of America is a place as far as one could be from the factory where this cigar itself is produced. The company describes the Cimarron inspiration as:
Craggy, snow packed peaks cast icy shadows over fertile valleys, raging rapids slash through sparkling granite shores dotted with tall pine trees. Sapphire skies complement expansive verdant grasslands, a silent streak interrupts the landscape with saturated river banks rich with ruddy clay. These are the Cimarron Regions of America and the inspiration for Cimarron Cigars
The Cimarron cigar from Tabacalera El Artista is a bold multi country blend that will available in two wrapper choices, Claro and Maduro, each of which will include T-13 Hybrid leaf developed by Radhames Rodriguez:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Connecticut/Mexican San Andres
- Binder – Dominican Negrito
- Filler – Dominican, Colombian, USA
The company also has a special European only blend for sale overseas.
Described by Ram as a “medium plus” cigar with sweet and spicy notes, the Cimarron will be available in 3 popular vitolas and packaged in 20-count boxes:
- Robusto – 5 x 54
- Toro – 6 x 50
- Doble Toro – 6 x 60
Ram further explains his inspiration for the Cimarron:
“I went to college in upstate New York. During my first summer I took a trip to the world famous Rockies. I was impressed by the majesty of the area. What especially struck me was the Cimarron valley, mountains, and river. This is a transition zone between the mountains and the plains. It has remarkable beauty. I hiked around the area and took photos and I never forgot; that vision stuck with me for a decade. I told myself then I would build a cigar brand for Cimarron.”
El Artista National Sales Director, Kevin Newman adds:
“The Cimarron demonstrates Artista’s commitment to grow and roll the best tobacco and offer it at the best possible price. The Cimarron will offer US adult smokers a super-premium experience at a $7 price point.”
Prices start at $7.20 for the Robusto.
If you are going to be at the IPCPR this year, you can check the Cimarron out at the El Artista booth # 959.
ABOUT EL ARTISTA CIGARS
Tabacalera El Artista S.R.L. started operations in Tamboril, Dominican Republic in 1956. Today TEA is one of the nation’s largest producers of premium cigars. TEA produces millions of cigars each year and distributes throughout Europe, Canada, United States, and Asia. Additionally, TEA manages farms in the Caribbean and South America where it grows premium tobacco leaf which it utilizes in its proprietary blends as well as sells to top cigar manufacturers in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Dominican Republic.