This just happened to work out great, because as I was smoking some cigars from El Artista this week, I got a new ad from them (top right on the side) with a Cigarmas contest for you all to enter. Since I’ll be taking a break from CigarCraig’s 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways this year, here’s a chance to win some great stuff anyway. The contest will run from tomorrow, 12/1/2016 to 12/12/16. Click the graphic and upload a picture of yourself in your holiday finery!
Tabacalera El Artista has been around since 1956 in the Dominican Republic, and has been flying under my radar until recently. When they approached me about advertising on my site I was intrigued, and I picked up a handful of their cigars from Best Cigar Prices (yeah, another advertiser) on my own dime. Among them was the Puro Ambar and the Exactus, and I also managed to acquire a couple of their Pulita and Big Papi, newly released by Boston Red Sox baseball player David Ortiz. The release of the Big Papi was delayed by a brief play-off run, as they weren’t going to release it until Mr. Ortiz officially retired from the sport. I started off with the Exactus Clasico in the 5″ x 54 Robusto size. This cigar has an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper leaf over Dominican Criollo 98 fillers and a special wine-fermented binder leaf. Look for a better take on this cigar in the future as the conditions I smoked it in were not conducive to getting the best experience. It was windy and cold the day I took this cigar with me for my walk home from the store, and while it was a nice enough cigar, it was on the mild side and lost given the weather, which was better suited for a strong, broadleaf cigar. These are also available in a “Super Coloso” size in the Connecticut and Maduro, running around $45 each for an 11″ x 90 cigar. I seriously doubt you will see a review of that size here.
The Pig Papi by David Ortiz is a 6″ x 54 toro with a Ecuador Habano wrapper, Criollo 98 binder and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. I grew up watching National League baseball, so the whole designated hitter thing was always a little foreign to me, and I understand that Big Papi was a DH (designated hitter, I’m sure he’s a really nice guy, he smokes cigars!). Pitchers were never really great hitters anyway, so not having them bat seems like a good enough idea. This cigar was really quite good, creamy with some spice and nuts, with a good burn. While I was impressed, I can see where this will benefit from some humidor time and can’t wait for baseball season to try another one (not a big fan, but baseball=warmer months, which I am a fan of).
The Puro Ambar Gran Robusto was next up. This cigar was a 5¼” x 54 size, and has all kinds of hybrid tobaccos from El Artista’s farms in the Dominican Republic. The Wrapper is “T13”, a three tobacco hybrid, the fillers are Dominican Criollo 98 and another exclusive hybrid, and the wine fermented Criollo 98 like the Exactus. As a non-drinker, and never a wine fan when I was, this is lost on me, although that may have been the unique and interesting flavor I found in the cigar. Like the other cigars from this manufacturer, the construction was top-notch. This is an earthy cigar, pleasant, but lacking the sweetness I like in a cigar. This might be my least favorite of the three, but certainly not without merit.
Tonight I went with the Pulita 60 Anversario robusto, a classic 5″ x 50. This cigar honors the founder of El Artista, Ramón “Pulita” Rodriguez, with his original six tobacco blend. The wrapper is a Negrito from the DR, and the last time I heard of Negrito tobacco was from Robert Caldwell’s The King is Dead. It’s a chocolaty wrapper, very nice looking. The binder is the Criollo 98, and fillers are an interesting mix of Dominican, Nicaraguan, Colombian and Pennsylvanian tobaccos. This was easily my favorite of the bunch, even though it was raining like crazy, thankfully my enclosed back porch was nice and dry. This was a slow burning cigar, with a lot going on in the flavor department. It tasted of well-aged tobaccos, with some coffee and cocoa, some damp earth and sweetness. It was interesting and held my attention. It’s funny, I hadn’t heard of this cigar until my amigo Mike mentioned it to me a couple of weeks ago, apparently it was featured on The Cigar Authority and included in their care package (a cigar of the month club of sorts which supplies cigars to smoke along with the show). I guess I zoned out during that part of the show that week, I usually pay attention better. Tasty cigar.
OK, so we know that I’m not going to spend 14 days having rapid fire contests this year, which isn’t any fun for anyone, and I’m sorry about that. Don’t be surprised if there aren’t some contests popping up here and there though. I had mentioned doing a secret Santa kind of thing, and if there’s still interest among the readership, I’ll put it together. It’s a little tricky, I have to trust everyone to behave themselves appropriately, and I haven’t really ever administered such a thing, but I have some idea how to do it. Let me know in the comments. That’s all I got for now, until the next time,