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Archive for the ‘Tatuaje’ Category

Size: 6” x 54

Vitola: Perfecto

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Origin: Nicaragua

Age: a week

This is one heck of popular cigar… and it’s not even released yet. The Tatuaje Anarchy is a special Limited Edition cigar that is a collaboration between Pete Johnson, Pepin Garcia and the Abe “Ming” Dababneh at Smoke Inns in the Palm Beach area. It features an all new blend and is one of the most interesting looking cigars I have seen in a long time.

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Size: 5” x 50

Vitola: Robusto

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Criollo

Origin: Nicaraguan, single farm origin

Age: 2 years

I got the chance to smoke the new Espirit de Verite from the crazed mind of Pete Johnson creator of Tatuaje, Cabaiguan and El Triunfador cigars.  This project, from what I understand, is a labor of love and something Pete has heavily invested his time in.  The idea behind the Verite’s is to create a single cigar from a single vintage crop.  The 2008 Vintage is available in either a Churchill (as the Verite) and as a robusto (the Espirit de Verite).  All tobacco was harvested from Don Pepin’s farm in Nicaragua.

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tatuaje-monster-series

Frankenstein_monster_Boris_Karloff

Size: 7 5/8″ x 49

Vitola: Double Corona

Wrapper: a frighteningly toothy Connecticut Broadleaf

Origin: Nicaragua

Age: just arose from its coffin

The Frank.  You may have heard of it.  The Frank (short for Frankenstein’s monster of course) is 1st of a hopefully long line of Monster Series cigars released by Pete Johnson of Tatuaje fame for Halloween.  Thirteen evil cigars are stuffed into a blood-splattered coffin and were distributed to only 13 ghoulish retailers randomly selected from a drawing, 666 terrifying boxes total.  Empire Cigars was lucky enough to be one of the thirteen stores selected to carry the Frank.

The Frank is adorned with an eerie green band that separates it from all of the other Tatuaje lines.  The Frank is slightly box-pressed (very Frankenstein-y) and is long and big.  Pete has revealed (at Brothers of the Leaf) that the Frank is actually a Tatuaje Taino with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.

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dracula-bela-lugosiSize: 6 3/4” x 52

Vitola: one bloody sharp Torpedo

Wrapper: a spooky Habano Maduro

Origin: Transylvania via Nicaragua

Age: Centuries, but pulled right outta the coffin!

The most sought out cigar for the Halloween season has risen from it’s coffin and come to terrorize the neighborhood!  The Drac, the second in the Tatuaje Monster Series, is a dangerous looking torpedo with an upside down band at the foot – which when flipped over to read the band, the cigar looks like a fang!

As I mentioned this is another limited cigar, with a few more available than last year’s Frank.  There are 1300 coffin’s available of 13 cigars each.  But these are really hard to find.

As I hold this cigar, I get an ominous feeling that this cigar is going to have a lot of bite!

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boris_karloff02Size: 7” x 49

Vitola: Churchill

Wrapper: Rosado Ecuadorian Sumatra

Origin: Nicaragua

Age: 2 months

This is a pretty popular cigar right now, it’s also pretty hard to find.  This is the first of the Monster “Out-of-Costume” Series from marketing mastermind Pete Johnson of Tatuaje cigars (Havana Cellars).  The “Out-of-Costume”  (OOC) series concept is to take the last year’s Monster Series cigar, put it in new packaging, sans coffin-shaped box, a name it as the actor who famously played the Monster.  So, since last year’s Monster was The Frank (after Frankenstein’s Monster), the first OOC will be called Boris – after Boris Karloff.  The Boris cigar is slightly shorter than The Frank, and has a different wrapper.  The Frank had a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper; the Boris has an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper.  Of course these are super-duper limited; only 1000 boxes of 10 were made.

As an aside, I’d like to point out what my local owner did with the Monster Series this year.  Instead of selling boxes of Boris and Dracs to whom ever showed up first,  he broke them up into little samplers, giving many more people an opportunity to try a cool limited cigar.  Nice job, Hal!

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So due to their limited availability, I could have squirreled it away only to peak at it and giggle with glee, but instead I just smoked it.  It is a cigar after all (plus I have a few more).

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Size: 7 5/8″ x 49

Vitola: Double Corona

Wrapper: a frighteningly toothy Connecticut Broadleaf

Origin: Nicaragua

Age: just arose from its coffin

tatuaje-monster-series

The Frank.  You may have heard of it.  The Frank (short for Frankenstein’s monster of course) is 1st of a hopefully long line of Monster Series cigars released by Pete Johnson of Tatuaje fame for Halloween.  Thirteen evil cigars are stuffed into a blood-splattered coffin and were distributed to only 13 ghoulish retailers randomly selected from a drawing, 666 terrifying boxes total.  Empire Cigars was lucky enough to be one of the thirteen stores selected to carry the Frank.

The Frank is adorned with an eerie green band that separates it from all of the other Tatuaje lines.  The Frank is slightly box-pressed (very Frankenstein-y) and is long and big.  Pete has revealed (at Brothers of the Leaf) that the Frank is actually a Tatuaje Taino with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.

Now about this wrapper: this has to be the toothiest wrapper I have ever felt and seen.  Seriously!  It feels like coarse sandpaper!  I couldn’t wait to try it!

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It’s been a while since I tried the Taino size, so as far as comparing the Frank to the Taino; I am working off memory (a poor one at that), so please bear with me.

Right away the Frank shows me it is truly a monster.  I am punched in the face with a strong pepper core.  Also present is an underlying sweetness in the aftertaste, which must be due to the CBL wrapper.

I know this cigar is going to be good quality (as Pete says, “I don’t make sh!t cigars!”) and I am rewarded with a nice long finish that has some interesting characteristics to it.  I’ll get to those in a second.  The ash holds tight and is dark gray and black and holds on for over an inch.  The burn is spot-on even.

It took me a while to characterize that “interesting” flavor I mentioned above and I know this is going to sound pretentious but I can only describe it as marzipan, a combination of cream and nutty (almond) flavors.  It’s unusual, but good.

As I smoke the first third of the cigar, I am slightly surprised that there are no cocoa or coffee flavors yet, which I would expect out of a CBL-wrapped cigar.

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What this cigar really shows me is the effect of the wrapper on the overall flavor of the cigar.  It’s really shows how special Pete’s and Pepin’s Corojo ’99 wrapper is (man I hate dangling participles).  The Corojo wrapper really helps even out a lot of the pure strength with its earthy and leathery flavors.  That seems to “hide” (in a complimentary yet subduing way) some of the outright pepper to the blend.  With the CBL wrapper, you have a competition between filler and wrapper.  Some puffs I get more pepper, while others I get more sweetness.

Have you ever tried some of that funky gourmet chocolate, the one with dark chocolate and cayenne peeper, that’s all the rage these days?  Or maybe Mexican chocolate?  This to me is what I’m getting in the second third of the cigar… with a strong helping of coffee.

Halfway in, the cigar has changed again, the spicy pepper has now moved to the backburner, but you know its still there when you blow the smoke through your nose.  Now it’s mostly cocoa powder and coffee with some nuttiness with a little leather that gives it a tannic bite.

A third of the way through this now “gentle giant” is a little smoother and a little more refined.  But there is more than just cocoa; there is a subtle strength, which lets you know this fellah could open up at any minute.

And if on cue, the last quarter of the smoke really picks up with loads rich spice, leather and licorice.

As I smoke this to the nub, I note that the burn is still even just as the last bit of this cigar envelopes me with flavors of rich chocolate, espresso, and licorice.

I really enjoyed this cigar right down to the end.  Pete has provided yet another great cigar (albeit in sadly limited quantities).  My only complaint was that every now and then I got just a little bit of youth to the cigar, which will certainly disappear as the cigar ages.  I want to wait and smoke the rest, one every subsequent Halloween until I’m out!

Rating: 93 (A)

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Size: 7 1/2″ x 38

Vitola: Long Panetela

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Origin: USA or Nicaragua

Age: Fresh off the truck (0 months)

Some of you may have heard of this cigar.  Those that heven’t, and have been living under a rock, check out this blurb I wrote earlier this week.

This is a very well made cigar, it’s triple cap with a pigtail and easy pre-light draw let me know this cigar was made well (although I will say some others at Empire Cigars that tried it had some construction issues).

With its dark brown rustic looking wrapper and ample ligero visible from the punch hole, it is no surprise this starts off kinda strong and peppery.  This is not the good kind of strong.  The El Triunfador shows some youth, the strength is probably the presence of some ammonia that gives it a slight metallic taste and sourness in the back of the mouth.  This does fade after the first inch and fades away as I smoke it further.

After the cigar gets going, I get a strong tobacco flavor and this lancero has a long finish.  There is some earthiness that lingers, but is overwhelmed by the tobacco flavor.

Midway through this long stick, the El Triunfador really mellows out.  This is slightly surprising but is kinda neat, as this shows some complexity (which better be present in a 7 1/2″ cigar).  There is some nose spice in the exhale, but the tobacco flavor really mellows out and the earthiness comes to the foreground.

This is a fairly strong cigar, but the strength/spice is different than in most Don Pepin/Pete Johnson cigars.  Usually I expect an outright Cayenne pepper spiciness and some bitter notes, but this is something different.  I’ve been trying to think of a way to describe this, but I am having problems.  This strength/spice is similar to what I get from the Tobacos Baez.  Its almost a woody spiciness, like a piece of hickory laced with Tobasco.  For right now I’ll refer to this as the TBF (Tobacos Baez Factor).

A third of the way through, the cigar really picks up again.  I am begining to enjoy this evolving, complex cigar.  The tobacco flavor somes back to the front but brings a friend, a nice bit of anise/licorice. 

Towards the end this cigar is going full-bore, rich with roasted coffee beans and a dusting of cocoa powder.  This is finishing off fantastically!

This cigar may have been rushed to be released,  due to some trademark rules, but I think this will be a really good cigar with some age.  It’s a solid “B”, but in 6 months or so this could be an “A” cigar for sure!

Rating: 89 (B+)

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