If you’re a baseball fan then you know who David Ortiz is. If you’re not a baseball fan then let’s do a recap. David Ortiz was born in the Dominican Republic in 1975. Throughout his childhood he continually watched his father play baseball which became a source of inspiration for him. He started his minor league career with the Seattle Mariners’ farm system in 1992, eventually being traded to the Minnesota Twins in 1996 where a year later he started his major league career. In 2002, he was set to be released until the Boston Red Sox picked him up. While there, he quickly became a fan favorite, even earning the nickname ‘Big Papi’ that still persists today. Most people remember him from the 2004 season when in the American League Championship Series, he was the catalyst in Boston’s comeback, hitting an iconic walk-off home run in Game 4 and a game winning single in Game 5. By winning the World Series that year, he helped end Boston’s 86 year drought. When he retired in 2016, he was one of just 27 people who has hit over 500 career home runs. He also earned 10 All Star Game selections and 7 AL Silver Slugger Awards.
Even though these days cigars made by professional athletes isn’t something new, there are some that manage to catch our eye. The Big Papi is one of those cigars. Originally created by David Ortiz in 2013 for personal use and charity events, it was so well received that it went public in 2016 at the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. Handmade at the Tabacalera El Artista in the Dominican Republic, his home nation, this stunner features an oily Ecuador Habano Claro wrapper which securely holds a zesty Dominican Criollo ’98 binder, and is chocked full with Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. Medium in body, expect complex palate-pleasing notes of pepper, chestnuts, cream, earth, and leather. Pair this smoke with a bourbon, with or without an accompanying baseball game. Enjoy!
Though tobacco is indigenous to Hispaniola, the tobacco industry in the Dominican Republic existed in the shadow of Cuba’s dominance through the 1960s. When the exodus of Cuban cigar makers began in the wake of the revolution, many decided the Dominican Republic would be ideal for the resumption of their livelihoods. Unrest in Nicaragua in the 1980s fueled the Dominican cigar industry further. The country now makes more than half of the premium cigars imported into the U.S.
The Cibao Valley and the nearby city of Santiago are the center of cigar production in the Dominican Republic. Three main varieties are grown here: the mild and native Olor Dominicano; the intense Piloto Cubano, brought from the Vuelta Abajo of Cuba; and San Vicente, a milder and more acidic Piloto hybrid. Dominican puros were once unheard of as it was widely thought impossible to grow quality wrapper leaf on the island, but new growing techniques are now allowing some exceptional puros to be produced.
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