Roll of a Lifetime

By The Editors
October 3, 2012 9:00 am

When something’s crafted by hand, it has a certain cache. A certain gravitas. Something that says “no third-world kindergartners were harmed in the making of this product.”

Witness just that kind of diligent craftsmanship at Martinez Cigars, a lively den of stogies in Chelsea where they’ve been hand-rolling premium cigars since 1974.

martinez cigars 2Founded by “Don Antonio” Martinez, who spent his short-panted days rolling cigars in the Dominican Republic, Martinez’s shop is now run by his son Jesus. Even the “rookies” here have been rolling for 15 years.

Davidoff this ain’t. The tiny, aromatic shop is filled with well-worn stacks of wooden molds and thick clouds of tobacco smoke. Brush through that fragrant haze and you’ll witness tobacco-fingered craftsmen cut, sort, and hand-roll four different blends of premium tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

After rolling, the raw robustos, torpedos, and presidentes are placed into the carjack-operated press – “It’s our high-tech,” says Martinez, “two guys used to have to crank it by hand.”

martinez cigars 3

As for banding, Martinez can custom-make bands with everything from corporate logos to baby names. They’ll also send rollers to events – everything from weddings to company outings – to churn out stogies in person.

Cigars run from the mild Don Antonio to the spicier Pasión, all available on their web site, and for home delivery. Smoke ‘em ‘cause you got ‘em.

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