Review: Tatuaje Tattoo
(You can read Charlie’s review here.)
For those of you that don’t know, for one of the first times that I can remember, a Limited Edition Tatuaje cigar was released with almost NO, as in, about 12 hours, notice or warning for most people.
At 5:39pm on March 17th (that would be last Thursday), Jose of Gloucester Cigars in NH tweeted the following:
“Be the first to try the new Tatuaje “Tattoo” cigar. Gloucester Street will be the first one in the country with this cigar. A boxpressed Lancero with broadleaf wrapper. The cigars come in bundles of 15. On sale tomorrow @ Gstreet. They are going for $149.99…Its a limited production cigar. Stay tuned for some pictures. That’s the way we ROLL!!!! Porkchop”
As far as I know, this was the first anyone outside of Pete Johnson and the people at Tatuaje, and a few others who had some prereleases, had heard of this “Tattoo” cigar, although according to Pete, he has been working on the idea for about 8 months. The information came fast and furious after that (some of it wrong, like the initial indication that the wrapper was Connecticut Broadleaf, a mistake from someone at Tatuaje who put that info out), and it was eventually known that Gloucester was going to be getting the first shipment that day for an event that Pete was attending at the store, while Federal Cigar, which had just released their Tatuaje 90th cigar last month, would also be receiving a large portion of the release the next day, which also coincided with their 90th Anniversary celebration, which Pete was also attending. The rest of the cigars in the release are being sent in various amounts to the top 15ish Tatuaje accounts across the country and should be in stores this week.
There are 5100 cigars total, and come in bundles and boxes of 15 (so, 340 Bundles of 15 Cigars, although not all will be for sale, and they will be in bundles first, then perhaps in boxes in later releases). Pete has said that the “Tattoo” label will be released once a year, but will feature a different vitola and different blend every year.
Here is what the Bundles of Tatuaje “Tattoo” looks like:
Also, in case you are unaware, Tatuaje is in a small legal battle with Cuban Crafters over the name “Tattoo.” So, Pete is now releasing a cigar with the name “Tattoo” in order to try and have a better shot at proving his trademark case.
Quote from Pete:
“The cigar has no pigtail and comes with a Tatuaje Exclusive band like the Federal 90th band that says Tattoo. I made 5100 total. Originally they were going to come in boxes but only 100 boxes were finished so they are being sold in bundles of 15 to start. Each year I will be releasing a cigar with this band in small quantities just to protect the mark.”
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Tattoo
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Habano Rosado Oscuro
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 7 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 38
- Vitola: Box-Pressed Lancero
- MSRP: $10.00 (Bundles of 15, $150.00)
- Date Released: Mid March 2011
- Number of Cigars in Release: 340 Bundles of 15 Cigars (5,100 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The first thing you notice about the cigar is the vitola. A box pressed Lancero is an interesting site to behold, and hold, and I spent a few moments just looking at it. The wrapper is a great milk chocolate brown and smells strongly of leather, espresso, hay, and a slightly sour note. The Tattoo is extremely spongy when squeezed, which is not unusual for the Lancero vitola, and the wrapper, while dry, is velvety smooth to the touch. There is a great triple cap as well, which is nice to see. The pre-draw brings notes of sweet hay, cedar and just a bit of a sour note.
The first third had a bit of spice to start, but the main flavor was a very interesting, and strong, note of dry coca powder, not sweet, but slightly bitter and sour. Also noticable are notes of leather, wood and espresso. The spice that was present in the very beginning faded throughout the first third until it was almost gone.
The second third had almost no spice or pepper at all. The profile turned much more oak-ish. The coca from the first third is still hanging around, but MUCH reduced. Also around are notes of hay and just a bit of sweetness.
The final third just fell apart, flavor wise. The Tattoo turned VERY mellow and bland. The flavors were still around, just much less distinct and balanced. No spice or pepper, no sweetness, just blandness. This continued until the end of the cigar.
- While nobody knows for sure, except Pete, the indications are that this will be a staggered release, with some stores getting more than one shipment of the cigars, albeit in very small quantities. Expect most of the stores to be getting them today (Tuesday) or Wednesday of this week.
- I don’t recall ever seeing a boxed pressed Lancero before (other than the Gurkha TPB-1…does anyone know of any more?), and honestly, I love the look. It feels great in your hand while you are smoking it.
- The draw was very loose, but still smokable, and the burn was a bit wavy, but nothing too bad.
- The ash was quite flaky at times, and really did not stay on for more then about 1/2 inch.
- The Final Smoking Time was 1 Hour and 50 minutes.
- If you want to get ahold of some of the Tatuaje “Tattoo”, your best bet is to call up Gloucester Street at (617) 424-1000, or Empire Cigars (talk to Hal or Larry) or Kent at Elite Cigar Cigar Cafe today (and tell them we sent you). They may be sold out at the moment, but they might have a list going for more that might be coming in at a later date.
The Bottom Line: Honestly, this is really not one of Tatuaje’s best efforts. While the beginning (1st third) had an interesting combination of flavors, the profile really fell apart after that. While not a bad cigar by any means, it’s totally smokable, and an interesting vitola for sure, this is one release you can easily save your time, money and effort on tracking down, and not miss much.
[Note: I was apparently incorrect in my assessment that this was a "rushed" cigar (as I mentioned in the review, and has since been corrected), as Pete told me after the review was published that he had been thinking about and working on this release for about 8 months. Having said that, I stand by my review. The flavors were just not there (for me), and that is the bottom line. ~ brooks]
Final Score: 80