I was lucky enough to have smoked a couple of the original release Noella's a few years back, that had a couple of years of age on them. Just a perfect little smoke.
Review: Tatuaje Noella Reserva (2013)
In 2006 Pete Johnson released a limited edition version of the Seleccion de Cazador Noella, the Corona in Tatuaje’s popular Brown Label line, the legendary Tatuaje Noella Reserva. Johnson had a limited amount of darker than normal Habano Ecuador wrapper, which was used on the Seleccion de Cazador, or Brown Label, line. To differentiate the boxes of these darker wrapper Noellas and the regular Brown Label Noellas he put a Reserva sticker on the box and thus the Tatuaje Noella Reserva was born. Johnson once again released the Noella Reserva in 2009, this time with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper.
For Tatuaje’s 10th Anniversary, it was again announced that the Noella Reserva would be returning alongside the Regio Reserva. Just like 2009, the Noella Reserva features a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper. This year however, the big difference is these will now be a regular production cigar with 2,000 boxes a year released between two dates in spring and fall.
Depending on how you want to count, there have been seven separate versions of the Noella:
- Tatuaje Seleccion de Cazador Noella (5 1/8 x 42) — 2003 — Regular Production — Nicaraguan Corojo 99 wrapper.
- Tatuaje Seleccion de Cazador Noella (5 1/8 x 42) — 2006 — Regular Production — Wrapper changed to Habano Ecuador in late 2006.
- Tatuaje Noella Reserva (5 1/8 x 42) — 2006 — 237 Boxes of 25 Cigars (5,925 Total Cigars) — Habano Ecuador (Dark)
- Tatuaje Noella Reserva (2009) (5 1/8 x 42) — 2009 — 200 Boxes of 25 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars) — Connecticut Broadleaf
- Tatuaje Noella Cuadrado (5 1/8 x 42) — 2009 — Box-pressed Noella for Elite Cigar Cafe.
- Tatuaje 10th Anniversary Noella (5 1/8 x 42) — 2013 — Regular Production — 10th anniversary band, wet-packed in foil and featuring a closed foot for 2013 production.
- Tatuaje Noella Reserva (5 1/8 x 42) — 2013 — 2,500 Boxes of 25 Cigars (62,500 Total Cigars) — Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.
Now you know the background, so let’s get to the review.
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Noella Reserva (2013)
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 1/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 42
- Vitola: Marevas
- MSRP: $8.00 (Boxes of 25, $200.00)
- Date Released: March 22, 2013
- Number of to be Cigars Released: 2,500 Boxes of 25 Cigars (62,500 Total Cigars)*
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
*2,000 boxes were shipped in March, another 500 will be shipped in November, although an additional 2,000 were originally planned.
The Tatuaje Noella Reserva is a solid little cigar. Squeezing the cigar reveals not much give and the feeling of a thick, but soft and oily wrapper. There are a fair number of veins, bumps and other slight defects, though the wrapper falls short of what I would call rustic looking. Unlike the original 2006 version, the 2013 version has the Reserva band complimenting the classic Brown Label band making it easy to differentiate between the regular Noella release. The aroma of the wrapper is a bold barnyard note with light leather and cocoa notes thrown in. With the triple cap clipped, the cold draw produces notes of hay, chocolate, light cinnamon and a touch of coffee.
Starting out the first third starts I get a delicious profile right off the bat consisting of a touch of pepper, a woodsy note, some light roast coffee and background notes of chocolate and leather. The retrohale has stronger pepper and coffee notes, but surprisingly isn’t as punishing as a retrohale from your usual Tatuaje. The ash is a very even grayish white color, solid without any flaking and holds on before falling off at about three quarters of an inch. With the first inch and a half of the cigar the burn has been razor sharp and hasn’t required any touch ups at all. Woodsy notes, pepper, coffee and chocolate continue to dominate the profile.
The second third continues the same general profile, though with richer, more robust flavors. Smoke production is medium to full and the plentiful smoke coming off the foot between draws has an even more rich and bold aroma than on the draw. While we’re on the topic, the draw is snug, but well within the ideal range. A little past the halfway mark the pepper is still a minor note, but the coffee and chocolate have become quite bold. With the wood and leather notes still present, it rounds out to be a very overall enjoyable profile.
I don’t see much change in flavor moving into the final third of the cigar, which is a good thing. Smooth notes of coffee, chocolate and pepper still dominate giving the Noella Reserva a smooth, sweet and bold profile that is enjoyable down to the very last inch of the cigar. With excellent construction and persistently good flavors I’m able to smoke the cigar until it burns my fingers without getting any harsh or bitter notes.
- The 2006 Noella Reserva had 237 boxes produced while the 2009 version had 200 boxes released. With the 2013 release so far being 2,000 boxes and another 500 coming, the Noella Reserva will have ten times the number of boxes released each year as the previous limited runs have.
- Johnson told halfwheel that 2,000 boxes were shipped in March and another 2,000 were planned to be shipped in November. That number was cut to 500 however, while going forward only 2,000 boxes will be shipped yearly.
- As Charlie Minato noted in his review, the Brown Label Noellas are one of Tatuaje’s largest Brown Label releases, with 1,500 boxes produced in 2011.
- Blend-wise, Johnson has hinted that these are essentially small versions of The Frank. The release of the Little Monsters last year included the Frank Jr., which is only slightly bigger than the Noella Reserva at 5 5/8 x 44.
- With the release of the Black Label Corona Gorda this year as well, Tatuaje fans are getting two of the most sought after cigars re-released for the 10th Anniversary.
- Final smoking time averaged an hour and half.
- Currently, only site sponsor Best Cigar Prices has the Noella Reserva 2013 in stock.
The Bottom Line: Not having gotten the chance to smoke either of the previous two Noella Reserva releases, I don’t have a point of reference to compare this release to past other regular production Tatuajes. The cigar however, is a very enjoyable cigar. The profile and construction is great – delicious enough that I burned through all three of my samples within the same day. I think the aging potential for these are high as well. With the possibility of the flavors smoothing out and becoming more nuanced, it is definitely a box purchase I am planning on making as soon as these are back in stock.
Final Score: 91