You may not know this company by its proper name, but Tobacco & Cigar Distribution Corp., better known as Tabacalera El Artista, is a Dominican factory and brand that has steadily built a name for itself and is making an interesting splash this year via a partnership with a very well-known athlete.

Tabacalera El Artista booth IPCPR 2016

In addition, the company is celebrating its 60th anniversary and has released a cigar in celebration of both the event and the company’s founder.

Tabacalera El Artista Big Papi IPCPR 2016

Big Papi by David Ortiz

Tabacalera El Artista has partnered with one of the biggest names in baseball as he enters the final months of his career: David “Big Papi” Ortiz. The partnership has produced its first cigar, a single vitola line known as Big Papi by David Ortiz that features the slugger’s silhouette and a red and white color scheme on both band and box. While Ortiz wasn’t in the booth this year, there’s talk that Ortiz will be making an appearance at next year’s trade show as well as a handful of events after the season to promote the line.

  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Claro
  • Binder: Dominican Republic Criollo 98
  • Filler: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua
  • Big Papi by David Ortiz Toro (6 x 54) — $11.50 (Box of 20, $230)

Launch Date: Immediately following the trade show

Production: Regular production

Tabacalera El Artista Pulita IPCPR 2016

Pulita 60 Aniversario

This line pays tribute both to the company’s anniversary, but also the man who started the company, Ramón “Pulita” Rodriguez. “My grandfather loved the tobacco business, but he had a passion for cigars,” Radomes Rodriquez, president of El Artista, said at the time the cigar was announced in mid-July.

  • Wrapper: Dominican Republic Negrito
  • Binder:Dominican Republic Criollo 98
  • Filler: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Pennsylvania
  • Pulita 60 Aniversario Robusto (5 x 50) — $12.20 (Box of 10, $122)
  • Pulita 60 Aniversario Toro (6 x 54) — $13 (Box of 10, $130)

Launch Date: Aug. 1, 2016

Production: Regular production

Davidoff is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
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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, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.