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Cigar Review: Atabey Ritos

12 Jan 2015

Unless you’re a complete stranger to the online cigar community, you probably know of Barry Stein. Barry is highly active on social media, the founder (and former proprietor of) A Cigar Smoker, a former employee of Miami Cigar & Co., and a current employee of the New Hampshire-based Two Guys Smoke Shop, a chain of cigar retailers.

AtabeyThese days Barry is also doing some marketing for United Cigar, an outfit with smokes manufactured and blended by Nelson Alfonso’s Selected Tobacco (Alfonso is known for his work with the Cohiba Behike). United Cigar’s website is under construction.

Barry was kind enough to send me a three-pack of United creations—one cigar each of the Atabey, Byron, and Bandolero blends (complete with travel humidifier tubes and a gorgeous presentation, no less). To be clear, while the three-pack is greatly appreciated, I did not petition Barry for any samples, and his generosity and thoughtfulness in no way impacts this review.

Atabey is handmade in Costa Rica using an undisclosed blend of “Caribbean and Central American” tobaccos. It bears a striking resemblance to the ultra-exclusive Cohiba Behike in several ways, including the band (dots with black and gold) and the light, clean wrapper. In addition, the Atabey name itself is a nod to the goddess the Taíno Indians would pray to through the leader of their group, known as the “Behike.”

Six vitolas comprise the Atabey portfolio: Ritos (6.1 x 55), Delirios (5.75 x 55), Sabios (5.25 x 52), Brujos (4.9 x 52), Divinos (4.25 x 50), and Idolos (4.5 x 55). All retail north of $20 for a single.

The Atabey Ritos is a large, beautiful cigar with an impeccably smooth wrapper, a well-executed triple-cap, and soft pre-light notes of sweet hay off the foot. After setting an even light, I find a balanced, medium to mild-medium profile with notes of cream, oak, white pepper and a little syrup. The texture is bready and the aftertaste leaves a gentle spice on the tongue. Towards the midway point and beyond, there’s a slight increase in intensity with flavors of walnut and black pepper joining in. Construction is perfect.

Atabey has actually been around since 2011, but never available at more than 30 retailers nationwide and always operating with a fairly low visibility. Given Barry Stein’s connections to the online cigar media, I think you’ll be seeing a lot more about this brand in 2015.

Yes, the Atabey Ritos is expensive. No, it doesn’t taste terribly similar to the Cuban Behike (I’m not sure the comparison is fair but, after all, the manufacturer is inviting it). That said, it’s a complex, balanced, wonderfully nuanced cigar, and it won’t leave you disappointed (unless you were hoping for a full-bodied powerbomb). I award it four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

2 Responses to “Cigar Review: Atabey Ritos”

  1. Juan O Monday, January 12, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    Thanks for review. I've visited Two Guys twice and I love that shop! Will have to revisit shortly and say hello to Barry 🙂

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    […] month I reviewed the Atabey Ritos, a cigar sent to me by Barry Stein. Many of you know Barry as the founder (and former proprietor […]