Today we take a little trip to NYC home to millions and some of the most incredible architectural sites in the country. One of those sites is the famed Flatiron building that sits on a triangular block formed by Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd Street, with 23rd Street grazing the triangle’s northern (uptown) peak.
Completed in 1902, it was one of the tallest buildings in the city at 20 floors high. It was also the focus of controversy at the time. Many thought it would never survive strong winds and would fall within years of being constructed. Major newspapers declared it an eyesore and disgrace to the city’s architecture. But years, hurricanes, and age have not destroyed this iconic landmark. In fact the neighborhood around it is called the Flatiron District after this icon.
On the edge of the Flatiron District is a small boutique cigar factory and shop – Martinez Cigars, located at 171 West 29th Street and only a 12 minute stroll from the famed Flatiron Building.
Martinez Cigars has been operations since 1974 when Antonio Genaro Martinez (1947-2002) known to everyone as Don Antonio emigrated from the tiny town of Tamboríl in the Dominican Republic.
The shop and factory is now operated by his son, Jesus Martinez and he has kept his fathers memory alive and well with the continued creation of some of the finest cigars available.
Now. I may be known as Boston Jimmie, but I was born and raised in NYC, at least to the age of 21 when I moved to the Boston Area and fell in love with a rival baseball team, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have NY blood running in my veins. So when I was contacted by the Martinez Cigar company to see if I would like to review one of their ultra premium cigars – The Flatiron #6 – and I learned they were rolled in NYC, I jubilantly said absofuckinglutely!
I did a little research about the Martinez Cigar company and I have to say how did I not know about this tiny shop in the heart of downtown Manhattan! I called my brother Tom who manages large construction projects throughout the city and asked him. He said; “yea, I have seen that shop, but never stopped in”. I told him you need to stop in and say hello, especially after I sampled the Flatiron #6.
As you must know by now, the Flatiron is a tribute to that magnificent landmark building. The band on the Flatiron prominently displays the icon front and center with the word Flatiron on the bottom. You can see the love of NYC from the Martinez family in the band design. Besides the quintessential city landmark, if you open the band up you will see a classic NYC skyline in the background. This band has earned a spot on the Stogie Press bar for sure!
From a construction perspective, Martinez Cigars describes the Flatiron #6 as:
Our proprietary blend of 5-year-old Nicaraguan filler tobaccos are wrapped in a beautifully dark and oily Brazilian broadleaf exhibiting complex tobacco flavors crafted for the most developed palette.
I have to say, it impressive to look at. The samples even came in a 3 count box with the Martinez Cigars Logo on the front and “Hand Made in New York” burned into the bottom. A very nice presentation indeed.
The Flatiron is available from Martinez Cigars in 4 vitolas:
- Flatiron #1
- Flatiron #2 Torpedo
- Flatiron #6
- Flatiron #9
They are also available in a natural Ecuadorian wrapper.
OK, they got my attention, but does all this mean it is a good cigar? Let’s find out.
The cigar itself is well wrapped with tight seams and box pressed. The Brazilian broadleaf wrapper is chocolate brown in color with a some blotches along the leaf. I don’t mind the blotches, it is what the leaf is. It gives the cigar character in my mind, and it is better than trying to hide them like some other brands do. The head is finished with a well applied triple cap.
The foot shows a decently packed cigar with range of tobacco hues in it. Running the old sniffer across barrel and foot, I pick up a plethora of notes; hay cocoa and raisin. After slicing the cap the cold draw bursts with flavor; cocoa earth, raisin, and some red pepper.
I take my time toasting the foot with a cedar spill so that there is no scorching of the leaf. The first few puffs hit the palate with a perfect dose of pepper that hides, for just a moment, the waiting butter and cream smoke that starts the journey. The ash that develops is medium grey with a bt of tooth on it.
Coffee joins the mix and the wafting smoke begins to fill the Stogie Press Lounge with a spicy aroma. The smoke is exquistely smooth at this point. Wow, this is beginning to be a pleasureble cigar for sure. I only have to ask myself, how did live in NYC in the late 1970s and not know about the Martinez Cigar shop. I guess I spent too much time in The Village and the Bowery at night rocking to the sounds of NY punk rock at CBGBs.
Speaking of punk rock, there is leather note that enters the mix. The ash is still holding on tight ad lasts for a good two inches before falling. A sweet cedar note joins the mix. This is a little flavor bomb, I have to agree that this is an ultra premium smoke for sure. The smoke is amazingly full body and the strength is solid medium.
The aroma shifts to a sweet syrupy note just before the band and once the band is removed the pepper renergizes and can be felt on the retro-hale. Nice! I am certainly going to add one of these to my “Do Not Touch Box” to let it age. It is a little early to be talking about the Top 25 Boutique cigars for 2016 but this is one that would make my cut, but I think the cigar was introduced in 2014.
As the Flatiron #6 gets to the final third, there is hint of chocolate wrapped in a spicy, peppery finish.
Wow what a terrific cigar – delicious all the way with a near perfect burn and solid ash. I was thinking about what would pair well with this and decided an aged rum or cognac would be perfect, enhancing some of the fruity notes.
Great job Martinez Cigars and thank you so much for the samples this is one cigar that should be smoked on a special occasion, of course for me, like my Dad used to say, every day is a special occasion if I wake up in the morning.
~ Boston Jimmie