Back in late 2009, Pete Johnson of Tatuaje released his first tubed cigar in two lines: Verocú and the famed Black Label Private Reserve. At the time, it was the fourth version of the Black Label to be released, although the number at last count now is ten total.
Here is what I said about the Tatuaje Black Label Tubo in my original review back in November of 2009:
When the original Black Label Corona Gordas were released, people were surprised at how mild the cigars ended up being. I mean, with a Black Label, it has to be full of pepper, right? I have smoked quite a few of the OR Blacks and Black Robustos, and what I have decided—and this is nothing new, of course—is that these cigars are a perfect example of the fact that the larger the ring gauge, the less distinct the flavors are. Now, that does not mean that all of the flavor is diluted—it still tastes somewhat like a Black Label—but there was very little pepper or spice in the last two thirds of this stick and I think that may shock some people. The Black Label flavor is there, no doubt, but I still enjoy the Corona Gordas more.
Is the Tubo Torpedo better then the Corona Gorda? No. Is it better then The Drac? No. (The Drac had a wonderful sweetness that was more obvious that pushed it over the top for me.) Is it better than the Boris? No. But it is a good cigar in its own way and it has a taste unique enough for me to buy a box for when I want that specific Black Label flavor in a larger RG, albeit somewhat diluted.
But enough of that, lets get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Private Reserve Tubo
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera Cubana S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo Estelí
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 1/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Belicoso
- MSRP: $14.00 (Boxes of 10 Tubos, $140.00)
- Date Released: Late 2009
- Number of Cigars Released: 4,600 Boxes of 10 Cigars (46,000 total cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Redux: 1
The cigar is classic Black Label look with a rough to the touch mocha brown wrapper that has quite a few bumps and veins present and the closed foot is excellent as well. There is some oil noticeable and the cigar has the perfect amount of give when squeezed. The Sun Grown wrapper smells strongly of cedar, barnyard, leather and pepper.
The Black Label Tubo starts out with strong black pepper on the retrohale, along with flavors of black pepper, creamy cedar, sweet floral, espresso, earth and dark chocolate . There is a more prevalent cinnamon note on the forefront than I remember from the first time I smoked it and the undercurrent of sweet floral was extremely interesting. The profile does not change much for the entire smoke, but the flavors are distinct and clean and the black pepper on the retrohale actually increases in the second and third thirds, although it never gets overwhelming.
Construction overall is excellent with a perfect draw and a fairly straight burn line for the entire smoke. There is quite a bit more smoke production than I remember from the first time I smoked it as well, dense and white. The final smoking time was right at one hour and 35 minutes.
The Bottom Line: When I first reviewed this release back in 2009, I was disappointed in the lack of the classic Black Label profile—specifically the lack of cinnamon note—which I find to be very present in the best examples of this blend. I had also heard that the Tubos had aged tremendously well, which is one of the reasons I wanted to do this redux. I can safely say age has done this specific release wonders and has brought some of the flavors more to the forefront that were underwhelming when fresh. Having said that, this is still not the best example of the Black Label blend—at this point—the Culebra and the Petite Lancero. The Tubo is easily better now than it was three years ago, but I would still rather smoke any number of Black Label blends over this one any day of the week.
Original Score: 84
Redux Score: 87