For its newest line, Martinez Cigars is paying tribute to a New York City staple with the La Bodega Series, which will kick off with a cigar called Riki Taki that will debut at the 2022 PCA Convention & Trade Show in mid-July.

The Riki Taki 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. The company calls the blend medium to full strength with a profile highlighted by notes of roasted peanuts, cream and sweetness, with hints of oak wood and spice.

It is priced at $11 per cigar and offered in bundles of five cigars. The paper that wraps the packs is designed to elicit memories of how sandwiches served at bodegas are wrapped, with the cigar getting its name from the Riki Taki sandwich. The company describes the sandwich as being able to serve as both a late night snack and a morning meal, and 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.

It will be an ongoing release and is scheduled to be released to retailers by Aug. 1. As with the rest of the company’s cigars, it is made at the Martinez Hand Rolled Cigars factory located in New York City.

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.

The project 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.

Rivera told halfwheel that the company is currently eyeing the next release for the La Bodega series for summer 2023.

Image courtesy of Martinez Cigars.

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.