Just days after officially retiring from STG/General Cigar Company, Rick Rodriguez announces the formation of his own venture, West Tampa Tobacco Company, where he will serve as Master Blender/Co-Founder.
After nearly 25 years at one of the world’s largest manufacturers of premium hand-rolled cigars, Rick has left a lasting impression on some of the industry’s most successful brands. The obvious question is what work he feels he has yet to do. “I feel as though I am the luckiest guy on earth. I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the industries most respected cigar masters, such as Benji Menendez, Daniel Nunez and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, and as a result I have had opportunities that few have been given. I felt as though it was my time to turn the page and chart my own course by continuing to pursue my passion, with people I respect, for those that I love.” Rick continued, “along these lines I have chosen as my partner someone that I respect and trust, Gus Martinez.” Gus, a former colleague, will serve as President/Co-Founder of West Tampa Tobacco Company.
West Tampa Tobacco Company will be christened with the launch of two blends bearing the company’s namesake, White & Black. Both full-time cigars will be produced at Garmendia Cigar Company in Estelí, Nicaragua.
At first glance West Tampa Tobacco Company’s inaugural White launch delivers a clean and crisp look, sealed with a guarantee from Rick. Both the cigar and the packaging are a feast for your senses. Classic, yet contemporary, the lid shares the story of Rick’s family and the journey that he has taken to bring you West Tampa Tobacco Company. The band, big and bold, surrounds a beautiful Habano Light Pink wrapper. Packed with Nicaraguan filler, West Tampa White pleases the pallet and delivers body that compliments its rich and creamy profile.
Flipping the coin on West Tampa White, West Tampa Black shares the same canvas, the box and band demand to be picked up. The source of this cigar’s beauty lies in the Dark Habano wrapper. Aged to perfection, West Tampa Black more than delivers on complexity. Filled with Condega Viso, and legendary Estelí Ligero, this cigar delivers body that will please both the new and seasoned smoker.
First shipments of West Tampa Tobacco Company will begin in late May/early June and will be available both in the US and select international markets, where Stijn Elbersen will lead international expansion. Additional blends/brands are planned for release at this year’s PCA show in Las Vegas.
Both West Tampa Tobacco Company White & Black will be available in three sizes, 20 cigars/box and line priced:
Robusto (5×50) USD 8.99 SRP
Toro (6×52) USD 9.99 SRP
Gigante (6×60) USD 10.99 SRP