As always, another great review and an inspiration for me to buy the Wolfman. That is why this is my only source for cigar reviews. Your format, style of writing and opinions are second to none. Best yet, you do not hallucinate over the top about things like essence of motor oil and clove Cuisinarted at medium power for no more than thirty seconds and dotted with Aardvark droppings from the base of a Eucalyptus fig tree from the foothills of Madagascar during the rainy season. Well done! I do have a question though. You mention that you and Pete do not consider the Boris to be a part of the Monster Series. I just visited Tatuaje's website and when one clicks on Smokes, then Limited, all of Tatuaje's limited releases come up, mainly by year. At the top of the page is the Monster Series category. Pictured and named there are the Frank, Drac, BORIS and Face (Wolfman is not there yet), all Monsters. So what gives? You and Pete know best, probably better than the people who put things on his website. Is the Boris, or is it not, a Monster? Thanks!
Review: Tatuaje “The Wolfman” (Prerelease)
For those of you that don’t know…
Released right before Halloween every year, the Tatuaje Monster Series is one of the most anticipated cigars to hit the market each year. Each year, a different classic movie monster is immortalized with a different blend. The box and cigar are supposed to be representative of the Monster it is named after (i.e. “The Drac” was a stake like torpedo vitola, “The Wolfman” has a shaggy end on it that is supposedly resembles hair).
Says Casper (who works with Pete):
The blend (of the The Wolfman) is based off the Cojonu series but with a twist and of course a different wrapper.
From top to bottom, here are the four different cigars in the Monster Series so far (as Pete has said in the past “The Boris does not count”).
- In 2008, it was “The Frank” named after the infamous “Frankenstein” monster.
- In 2009, it was “The Drac” named after “Dracula.”
- In 2010, it was “The Face” after the character “Leatherface” from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.
- Finally, in 2011, the newest release is the “The Wolfman” based on the classic monster from the Golden Age of movies.
For the newest release, dubbed “The Wolfman”, Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars chose to use the same basic type box as The Frank, a blood spattered coffinish box. However, unlike any of the other Monster releases so far, it looks as though the cigars in the “The Wolfman” will be wrapped in silver foil.
As with “The Frank” and “The Face”, only 666 Dress boxes (i.e. the cool boxes) with 13 cigars each will be produced. About two thirds of them, 403 boxes, will be sold through 13 different Tatuaje Retailers. “The Drac” release was the only release with more than 666 dress boxes, it had 1300 dress boxes of 13. However, as with last year, due to the trouble that people had getting “The Drac” two years ago, Pete is also releasing 1300 simple boxes of “The Wolfman” with 10 cigars in each one. The simple boxes will be plain and say “Tatuaje Halloween 2011 No. 4.” If you are counting, a total of 21,658 cigars will be released, same as the “The Face.” The numbers for the “The Frank” and “The Drac” were 8,658 cigars and 16,900 cigars respectively.
Now, as part of the membership benefits of joining the Tatuaje “Saints & Sinners” club, S&S members were given an early look at the list of the “Unlucky 13″ retailers that will have the 13 count dress boxes this year. However, one of the members of S&S posted the list on another forum (which has since been deleted, but the list has been posted on other forums since then), and shops have reposted the info on their website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, thus making the list public domain. So, for your information, here is the list:
Casa de Montecristo
Rain City Cigars
Castro’s Back Room
Belle Meade Premium Cigars
Holt’s Cigar Company
Tinder Box #208
Monte’s Pueblo Pipe Shop
Las Vegas, NV
Ruben’s Smoke Stack
Just For Him
Good Karma Cigar
Gloucester Street Cigars
Most of these retailers have already sold out of their allotment of Dress Boxes, but they may have waiting lists in effect. Each of the above retailers will receive 31 dress boxes (and 13 non-dress boxes) in the next two weeks. The rest of the dress boxes (263) will be sent to other Tatuaje accounts (most likely one or two at most) closer to Halloween.
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje “Wolfman”
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Size: 7 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Box-Pressed Torpedo
- MSRP: $13.00 (Boxes of 13, $169.00)
- Date Released: October 2011
- Number of Cigars Released: 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 1,300 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (21,658 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1
The cigar itself is an almost perfect specimen, extremely attractive and well rolled, with a dark cinnamon brown wrapper that is extremely smooth to the touch. There is a noticeable amount of oil present, and the whole cigar has an obvious box-press, although on my sample, it ended up being more of an oval then a box-press. There is just a bit of wrapper overhang at the foot of the cigar, just enough to give it a unique look without going overboard, i.e. Viaje Summerfest Torpedo. The wrapper smells of sweet wood, leather, and nutmeg.
The cigar starts off fairly mild, most likely due to the fact that you are smoking filler for the first quarter inch. The filler has a nice woodish note to it, but not much else is going on. As soon as the burn line hit the wrapper, the flavors explode on the palette. Flavors of sweet leather, oak, barnyard, and milk (sweet) chocolate. Very little spice on the palette at this point, but I do get some pepper on the retrohale.
The Second Third continues to get more complex with sweet floral and chocolate notes mixing together, along with some oak, dry toast and a bit of earth. The cigar is getting stronger, but still no more then a firm medium. There is also quite a bit more spice on the tongue then in the first third, and it only seems to be getting stronger.
The Final Third continues the wonderful ride, with maple, cedar, chocolate and a great nutty note combining into an excellent finish. Still no stronger then a solid medium, but the burn and draw continue to be perfect.
- Next year’s Monster release is scheduled to be “The Mummy,” again based off the classic movie monster.
- Pete has said many times that he does not consider the “The Boris” to be part of the Monster Series (I don’t either, which is why it is not in the photos above). Having said that, the “The Boris” is a better cigar than the “The Wolfman,” despite the fact that both use a Sumatra wrapper.
- Since my sample was a prerelease, it did not have a band on it, but there will be a band which (as you can see in the photo of the box above) will be brown with red writing.
- Like “The Face” release last year, I appreciate how Pete made two separate boxes for the same release. Same cigar in both, but he kept the 666 Dress Boxes of 13 (as he has done since the first Monster, “The Frank”) and added 1,300 plain boxes of 10 for non-collectors (and people who just don’t want to chase a dress box). Like last year, anyone who wants to try the “The Wolfman” (or buy a box of 10) should have absolutely NO problem getting ahold of as many as they can buy.
- I LOVE the Sumatra wrapper that Tatuaje used on the “The Wolfman” has been using on some of its newer releases, such as the NHC Capa Especial (although I was less impressed with the 7th Capa Especial) and can’t wait to see what other blends it is used with.
- As mentioned above, the “The Wolfman” has a shaggy foot, where the wrapper is hanging out of the cigar about a half inch or so. Not as annoying as a Viaje Summerfest Torpedo (which was almost impossible to light, due to the amount of filler that was outside the wrapper), and the end lit very easily. It also gives the cigar a very distinctive look without going overboard.
- Interestingly, the “The Wolfman” had some similarities with “The Face” from last year. However, “The Wolfman” was more complex, sweeter on the palette, and not as strong as the “The Face.”
- While this is a 52 Ring Gauge cigar, I was surprised and elated with how easy it is to smoke. It did not feel like a 52 RG when I was holding or smoking it, due in equal parts to the torpedo cap and the box press that it has.
- The ash is a nice, very light gray color, interspersed with black.
- The burn and draw were perfect, I had no problems with either one for the entire smoke, and did not have to touch up the burn even once. Great burn line.
- The Final Smoking Time was was just over two hours.
The Bottom Line: Every year, people go crazy over the Monster release, and every year opinions seem to be split. Is this the Best Cigar of the Year? Not even close. In fact, it is not even the best Tatuaje release of the year. But it was extremely enjoyable down to the nub flavors wise, looks great when burning, and smokes like a dream construction wise. I have been slightly disappointed with the last two Monster releases. The regular production “The Drac” was nothing like the prerelease to my tastes, and the “The Face” was just too large and monotonous for me, but this is a cigar I can see smoking just about any time. I was hoping the Sumatra wrapper would create a great profile like it does with most of the other cigars it is used on, and it did not disappoint in that regard. “The Wolfman” is not the strongest cigar, it does not have the most pepper or spice, but to my tastes, it is the most flavorful of the recent Monster releases, with the exception of the “The Frank” when it was first released. Lately, I have honestly been leaning more towards cigars with vibrant flavors, rather then overpowering strength, so this cigar easily meets those requirements. A very good cigar that is well worth the money (at MSRP, of course).
Final Score: 91