In 2022, Rick Rodriguez, known for his long tenure at General Cigar Company and over a decade as the blender/ambassador for the CAO brand, would launch West Tampa Tobacco Company. This is a venture that Rodriguez is working on with another former General Cigar alumni, Gus Martinez. The name West Tampa Tobacco Co. pays homage to the area of West Tampa in Tampa, Florida. It’s where Rodriguez’s grandparents settled back in the 1950s after emigrating from Cuba. For its debut, the company launched a pair of Ecuadorian Habano-wrapped cigars known as the West Tampa Tobacco Co. Black and the West Tampa Tobacco Co. White. Today we turn our attention to the West Tampa Tobacco Co. White in the Toro size.
Since the debut of West Tampa Tobacco Co. Black and White in 2022, the company has already expanded its portfolio. Late in 2022, the company announced a new limited edition cigar known as The Attic Series. In addition, the company is in the process of adding the West Tampa Tobacco Co. Red, which is a San Andres blend.
Without further ado, let’s break down the West Tampa Tobacco White Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
To produce their cigars, West Tampa Tobacco Co has turned to a relatively unknown factory located in Estelí, Nicaragua known as Garmendia Cigar Company. As mentioned, the Black and White each utilize Ecuadorian Habano. According to Rodriguez, both wrappers are pretty much the same. The difference is the wrapper for the White is fermented for six months while the wrapper for the Black is fermented for nine months. The White wrapper has a lighter color and it is known as an Ecuadorian Habano Light Pink wrapper.
The remainder of the blend consists of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and all-Nicaraguan fillers from Ometepe, Jalapa, and Pueblo Nuevo.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Light Pink
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Ometepe Seco, Jalapa Seco, Pueblo Nuevo Viso
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Garmendia Cigar Co.
The West Tampa Tobacco Co. White is offered in three sizes. Each is presented in 20-count boxes. The West Tampa Tobacco Co Black and Red lines are also offered in the same sizes with the same box counts.
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 52
Grande: 6 x 60
The name Ecuadorian Habano “Light Pink” is somewhat appropriate for describing the wrapper of West Tampa Tobacco Co White Toro. The wrapper itself had a light rosado tint to it. There was a small amount of mottling that could be seen on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper had some light oils on the surface. There were also some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the West Tampa Tobacco Co. White Toro. Once the cap was removed it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The dry draw delivered notes of earth, floral, and a slight berry note. This wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw, but because the pre-light draw is not scored, this is not factored into the numerical scores or value rating. At this point, it was time to toast up the footer of the West Tampa Tobacco Co. White Toro and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The West Tampa Tobacco Co. White Toro opened up with notes of cedar. This was soon joined by notes of earth, berry, and natural tobacco. There was no dominant note early on, but the natural tobacco notes did make it to the forefront. As the cigar progressed through the first third, a slight white pepper note surfaced in the background.
During the second third of the West Tampa Tobacco Co. White Toro, the natural tobacco notes developed a slight amount of bitterness. The cedar, earth, berry, and pepper rounded things out from the background. Just past the midway point, there was an increase in the pepper and cedar.
The last third saw the cedar join the natural tobacco in the forefront. The pepper, berry, and earth notes rounded things out in the background. This is the way the West Tampa Tobacco Co. White came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Overall the West Tampa Tobacco Co. White Toro had a slightly uneven burn line, and at times the burn was prone to meandering. While touch-ups helped mitigate the problem, there were more touch-ups than I prefer. The resulting ash was silver-gray. This wasn’t the firmest ash, but it wasn’t loose nor flaky either. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
For the most part, the draw of the West Tampa Tobacco Co. White Toro had a touch of resistance to it. While normally I have a preference for this, there were some points during the smoking experience where there was more resistance than I prefer. In fact, it seemed like there were one or two instances on each of the cigars smoked where the draw fizzled the burn out – resulting in a re-light.
Strength and Body
The West Tampa Tobacco Co White Toro started out with mild to medium strength and medium-bodied flavors. By the second half, the strength level moved into the medium range. The body also increased but didn’t move out of the medium range of the spectrum.
In terms of strength versus body, the body maintained a slight edge throughout the smoking experience.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
I really like the band design of the West Tampa Tobacco Co. core lines. The white and charcoal gray contrast very nicely with the wrapper of the West Tampa Tobacco Co. White. I also like the West Tampa “WT” insignia logo. The guitar pick design that is prominent on the logo reminds me of a Rick Rodriguez project from 2012, the CAO Concert.
In terms of the West Tampa Tobacco Co. White Toro, it started out with some nice flavors, but unfortunately on each of the samples, things flattened out after the first third. The flavor profile got mundane, and some of the bitterness threw the balance off. While it wasn’t terrible, the construction could have been better. Priced just around $10.00, it’s not a huge investment in a cigar these days. However, I’d still recommend trying a sample out first and seeing what you think.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Berry, Earth, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: Rick Rodriguez to Launch West Tampa Tobacco Company
Brand Reference: West Tampa Tobacco Co
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on March 31, 2023 @ 6:17 pm