Martinez Cigars, which is headquartered in New York City, has begun shipping Riki Taki, the first cigar in its La Bodega Series.

The cigar, which was previewed at the 2022 PCA Convention & Trade Show, gets its name from a sandwich that is a staple in many bodegas, or neighborhood corner stores. It consists of seasoned ground beef with shredded cabbage, onions, tomatoes and topped with mayonnaise, ketchup, and a sliced boiled egg, all on a toasted round roll. The packaging used to wrap the cigars is also designed to elicit memories of bodegas and their sandwiches.

As for the cigar, it is a 5 x 50 robusto that uses an Ecuadorian corojo wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and a filler that includes Nicaraguan seco and ligero, along with Dominican ligero. It’s medium to full strength, according to the company, and highlighted by notes of roasted peanuts, cream and sweetness, with hints of oak wood and spice. Like the rest of the company’s cigars, it is made at the company’s factory in midtown New York City, on W. 29th St. and 7th Ave.

Pricing is set at $11 per cigar and $55 for a five-pack. The La Bodega Series Riki Taki is offered as an ongoing release in the company’s portfolio.

The La Bodega Series is a collaboration between Jesus Martinez, the owner of Martinez Cigars, and Dave Rivera, the company’s director of product development and marketing. Both grew up around bodegas and acknowledge that they are a big part of the Latin community in New York City, and that residents often identify with a particular bodega in their neighborhood. As such, they launched the La Bodega series to pay tribute to their New York City roots while sharing that experience with consumers, both those familiar with the stores and those who aren’t. For those not familiar with bodegas, they are small, owner-operated convenience stores that are fixtures in their neighborhoods. In addition to typical convenience store offerings, they also provide a number household goods, prepared foods and neighborhood services, such as dropping off something for a friend to pick up later.

Rivera told halfwheel that the company is planning the next release for the La Bodega series to happen in summer 2023.

Image courtesy of Martinez Cigars.

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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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.