Review: Tatuaje La Vérité 2009 (Prerelease)
For those of you that don’t know…
In early 2009, it was announced that Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars would be incorporating a somewhat unique idea from the wine industry into the cigar world. He would be releasing a cigar named “La Vérité” (or “The Truth” in French) which would be totally comprised of tobacco from one farm in Estelí, Nicaragua (Pepín’s farm of La Estrella) and one single crop year. Every year, the cigars would be rolled and then aged in Master Cabinets for a whole year or more until the next year’s release; i.e. the 2008′s were rolled in 2009 and released in 2010. This years release was rolled in 2010 and released in 2011. In fact, he is not only using tobacco from one year and one farm, he has also changed the traditional cigar aging process, which normally takes place in bales, and decided to let the tobacco age in the form of a complete cigar.
There are 50,000 total cigars for the two La Vérité releases:
- La Vérité — 30,000 Total Cigars.
- 2,300 Boxes of 10
- 220 Boxes of 25
- 20 Boxes of 50
- 5 Boxes of 100
- La Espirit de Vérité — 20,000 Total Cigars
- 1,500 Boxes of 10
- 200 Boxes of 25
The unique pricing for these cigars, like in the wine industry, is based on the idea that people get a bigger discount on the actual cigars the earlier they purchase them. For the 2009 vintage, futures pricing of the La Vérité Churchill and L’Esprit de Vérité Robusto are being offered at 3 different ‘tiers’ depending on when they are purchased. (After the La Vérités actually ship to stores, the full retail pricing of$25 for La Vérité and $20 for L’Esprit de Vérité will be charged.) Also note that retailers have to charge you in full BEFORE the cigars are sent, in order to take advantage of the futures pricing. The cigars are scheduled to be sent out in late June of 2011.
- Tier #1 was available from 3/16/2011 through 4/15/2011 at a savings of 40% ($15 for the Churchill and $12 for the Robusto)
- Tier #2 is available from 4/16/11 through 5/15/2011 at a savings of 20% ($20 for the Churchill and $16 for the Robusto)
- Tier #3 is available from 5/16/11 through 6/15/2011 at a savings of 10% ($22.50 or the Churchill and $18 for the Robusto)
The main difference between the 2008 La Vérité and the 2009 release is that in 2008, Pete used tobacco from only one variety of tobacco (Habano Criollo), while the 2009 version blends three different varietals from the same farm and year (including Pelo de Oro, which was also used in the My Father LE 2010 and the My Father LE 2011).
You can see the difference between the two cigars in this photo (2009 release on Top, 2008 release on Bottom):
As with the 2008 release, the 2009 crop features two different vitolas, a Robusto and a Churchill, each comprised of different amounts of three different types of tobacco from the same farm:
- L’Esprit de Vérité - (Robusto)- 5×50- 55% Habano Criollo, 35% Criollo 98, 10% Pelo de Oro
- La Vérité - (Churchill)- 7×47- 50% Habano Criollo, 35% Criollo 98, 15% Pelo de Oro
“The 2009 growing season experienced a lot of sun, much more than in 2008, which is the key to strength in the tobacco. That, in combination with the three tobacco strains (Habano Criollo, Criollo 98 and Pelo de Oro) make for an exciting blend. I’m especially fortunate to be able to use the Pelo de Oro which was grown in 2009. In 2010, it was replaced with Sancti Spiritus, which is very similar, and therefore only a little Pelo de Oro was grown, which probably won’t be enough for the 2010 blend.”
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje La Vérité 2009
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Nicaragua (La Estrella)
- Binder: Nicaragua (La Estrella)
- Filler: Nicaragua (La Estrella)
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 47
- Vitola: Churchill
- MSRP: $25.00*
- Release Date: June or July 2011
- Number of Cigars Released: 30,000 Total Cigars (See Above for Box Distribution)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1
*See above for pricing structure.
The Cigar itself is impeccably constructed, with a great looking triple cap…the wrapper is a dark reddish brown color, has a bit of oil on it, is almost velvety smooth (quite a bit smoother than the 2008 version, as you can see in the photo above)…The wrapper smells of dark, slightly bitter coca, coffee and cedar…It has the optimum amount of give when squeezed…
The First Third has an interesting opening, with a rich aged tobacco note, along with flavors of cedar, leather and just a tad bit of spice and pepper on the tongue…There is also a sweetness in the background that fades in and out, and I wrote down “Butterscotch” to describe it…kind of a creamy, buttery, sweet note that goes well with the rest of the flavors…
The Second Third had many of the same notes….the profile remained sweet (although the Butterscotch flavor was not as prevalent) and notes of cedar, nuts and dark chocolate flowed in and out, along with that same Rich aged tobacco…The Pepper from the 1st Third disappeared, but the spice was still around on the tongue…
The Final Third kept the same profile, but the aged tobacco note took center stage, along with a stronger sweetness…Flavors were pretty much unchanged from the first two thirds, but there did seem to be a note of almonds on the finish that I quite enjoyed…
- This is not the most complex cigar in the world in terms of flavor changes, but I really don’t think that is the main point that Pete is trying to hit…The Flavors it DOES have are amazingly Rich, and the profile is right up my alley for a medium strength cigar…The profile reminded me a bit of the Illusione Singulare (not the ACTUAL flavors mind you, but the richness of the flavors and profile)…
- I have to say, I am very impressed with what Pete is trying to do with this cigar (not just in pricing, but also the idea of using tobacco from one farm)…I think that anything different (if done well) is a good thing for the industry, and I love the fact that this idea pushes the boundaries of what people are used to in the cigar world…
- While the Churchill has 15% of Pelo de Oro in the blend, I honestly don’t think this cigar got much above a medium in strength…
- Unlike the 2008 release, the 2009 release will feature secondary bands…The band will have “Tatuaje” printed on it, and will be Gold and white on the La Vérité and silver and while on the L’Esprit de Vérité…
- There were some well documented wrapper problems with the La Vérité 2008 (wrappers were a bit thin), but if all of the wrappers on the 2009 crop were like the one on the one I smoked (and since they were all rolled at the same time, they are), that will not be a problem with the 2009 release…
- The Draw and Burn were absolutely perfect for the entire smoke…I never had to touch up the burn at all…
- The cigar seemed to burn a bit slowly (even for it’s size), and the Final Smoking Time was 1 Hour and 55 Minutes…
- If you are looking to purchase some futures of the Tatuaje La Vérité 2009, I would call up our good friends Empire Cigars (919) 870- 0081 (ask for Hal or Larry), Federal Cigars at 1(877) 424 4270 (ask for Rick) or Tower Cigars at (916) 443-8466 (ask for Mark) and tell them we sent you…all great stores with great customer service….
The Bottom Line: The biggest questions I had (and most likely YOU have) before smoking this cigar were: “Is it better than the 2008 release?” and “Is it worth buying a box sight unseen, 3 months before they are released?” Well, I can safely say that the answer to both questions is an unqualified “Yes”. The 2009 La Vérité is quite a bit better than it’s 2008 brother (which I expected after talking with some BOTL that I respected who had smoked it)…Honestly, at the 1st Tier futures price, this cigar is a great buy (and still a good buy at the 2nd Tier) and I will be picking up a couple of boxes, post haste…
Final Score: 91