Departing and returning to the premium cigar industry at a rate fast enough to make Matt Booth and Michael Herklots blush, Rick Rodriguez left his longtime position at CAO in the first quarter of 2022 in order to form West Tampa Tobacco Company. Joined by business partner Gus Martinez and Rodriguez’s daughter Sara, the trio centered the brand around the former cigar capital of the world. This holds special meaning to the Rodriguez family, as Rick’s grandparents once worked in the cigar industry in Cuba, later emigrating and settling in West Tampa during the 1950s. The family business hit the ground running in 2022, partnering with the little-known Garmendia Cigar Co. factory out of Nicaragua in order to afford themselves added control during the manufacturing process. The result was a pair of cigars that veered from conventional wisdom of natural and maduro-wrapped offerings. Instead, West Tampa released two (count ’em, TWO) Habano-wrapped cigars: West Tampa White and West Tampa Black. Primarily differentiating themselves through tobacco primings (with the Black being fuller-bodied than the White), the two cigars were described by Rick on an episode of Smoke Night LIVE as appealing to the European palate (White) and the American palate (Black). And while both blends proved impressive, we found that the White had the flavor nuance and balance to give it the slight edge. The cigar is medium bodied, offering classic Habano cabinet spice with accompanying flavors of toasted cedar, wheat wafers, and a touch of saltiness through the finish.
West Tampa Tobacco White Breakdown
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaragua (Ometepe)
Filler: Nicaragua (Condega | Estelí)
Factory: Garmendia Cigar Company (Nicaragua)
Production: Regular Production
Price: $8.99–$10.99 (MSRP)
The post No. 10 Cigar of the Year 2022 – West Tampa Tobacco White appeared first on Cigar Dojo.