Tomasito Cruz, a musician known for his percussion, singing and production work, is trying his hand at cigars with a debut line called Candela.

“I am from Pinar del Río, Cuba, better known as the land of tobacco in Cuba,” said Cruz in a press release. “My first childhood memories are of my grandmother rolling her Cuban cigars, this is where my passion begins.”

To create the cigar, he enlisted the help of Azarias Mustafa of Tabacalera CM and co-founder of Córdoba & Morales. Candela features Ecuadorian habano and Ecuadorian candela leaves for the wrapper, while the binder is a Nicaraguan habano leaf from Jalapa and the fillers also come from the Jalapa region. The cigar has an MSRP of $14 and is offered in 10-count boxes. Its name comes from the title of Cruz’s first solo album.

“Candela is the legacy of my ancestors, mixed with a musical theme and dedicated with love to all who carry within our music, coffee, tobacco and rum,” Cruz added.

It will make its debut this Friday, Jan. 14 at Empire Social Club Downtown Dadeland in Miami, with plans to expand its distribution in the near future. Cruz, who is based in Miami, has been know to perform at the cigar retailer, particularly when the pandemic limited the ability of artists to tour and perform.

According to his biography, Cruz’s musical style blends cha cha, son, rumba, Afro, timba, guaracha, pilon, bolero and jazz. He has performed with Celia Cruz, Arturo Sandoval, Willy Chirino, Israel “Cachao” Lopez and numerous other well-known names in Latin music. He has also authored three instructional books and companion DVDs for aspiring conga players. Cruz has played on four albums that have won Latin Grammys.

Update (Jan. 14, 2022) — The original version of this article described Cruz as a “Grammy Winner.” While Cruz has played on albums that have won Grammys, those Grammys were awarded to other musicians. halfwheel is not a music blog and we are not sure about the protocol for referring to artists that have played on Grammy-winning albums, but we felt like that headline could mislead people, so we have modified the headline. — CM.

Images courtesy of Creativas Group Public Relations.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.