It is October again — and that means just one thing to Tatuaje fans — the annual release of the Monster Series. For five years running, Pete Johnson has released a different cigar based on monster characters in classic and recent films.
We detailed the details in our story about The Mummy release:
As mentioned in our coverage of Tatuaje’s booth at IPCPR 2012, there will be 666 boxes of 13 coffins produced, as well as 3,100 boxes of 10 non-dress boxes, up from 1,300 last year. The 13 “unlucky” retailers will be announced in October with the cigars shipping immediately after. The blend is a modified Black Label blend featuring a Nicaraguan sun grown wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers. There will be just under 40,000 The Mummys released, the largest single Monster Series release to date.
In addition, the blend of The Mummy is different than any of the former releases. Johnson had this to say about the blend:
Blend is the Black Label just a cleaner looking version of it. Plus the large size will alter the flavor a little. I wanted something classic for the mummy and thought the black blend worked great in the big size.
There have now been five different Tatuaje Monster releases:
- Tatuaje The Frank (7 5/8 x 49) — 2008 — Named after the Frankenstein — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars (8,658 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje The Drac (6 3/8 x 52) — 2009 — Named after Dracula — 1,300 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars (16,900 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje The Face (6 3/8 x 56) — 2010 — Named after Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 1,300 PlainBoxes of 10 Cigars (21,658 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje The Wolfman (7 1/2 x 52) — 2011 — Based on the monster from The Wolf Man (1941) — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 1,300 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (21,658 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje The Mummy (7 3/4 x 47) — 2012 — Based on the Boris Karloff character — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars and 3,100 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (39,658 Total Cigars)
In addition, early in 2012, Tatuaje released the Little Monsters, smaller versions of the first five cigars of the Monster Series, including the then unreleased The Mummy. Included in each box were two Mini Mums, a smaller version of The Mummy with the exact same blend. Here is a photo of the Mini Mum compared to The Mummy:
The dress boxes that The Mummys come in are a major departure from the four releases that preceded it. Instead of a coffin, the cigars are encased in a solid wood sarcophagus with a rendering of a mummy on the top. Inside, there are 13 cigars enclosed in a paper bundle, while a single cigar in the middle is wrapped in tissue paper.
Here is a photo of all of the Tatuaje Monster dress boxes:
Here are some photos of The Mummy sarcophagus:
The “Unlucky 13″ list, which was made first available to members of Tatuaje’s Saints & Sinners Club first, was posted on Pete Johnson’s Facebook page about 12 hours later. Those retailers are:
- Cigar Pointe San Antonio, TX 210.888.2933
- Cigars on 7th
- Club Humidor San Antonio, TX 210.824.1209
- The Humidour Cigar Shoppe Cockysville, MD
- Matador Cigars
Roslyn Heights, NY
- Mr J’s Havana Shop / Joyal’s
West Warwick, RI
- Nat Sherman
- Silo Cigars Knoxville, TN 865.675.7456
- Smoke On The Water Weston, FL 954.217.1994
- Twins Smoke Shop
- World Famous Cigar Bar
Fort Myers, FL
- Ye Olde Pipe & Tobacco
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje The Mummy
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo Estelí
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 7 3/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 47
- Vitola: Churchill Extra
- MSRP: $13.00 (Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars, $169.00 & Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars, $139.00)
- Date Released: October 9, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars and 3,100 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (39,658 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The first thing you notice about The Mummy is the size of the cigar. It is quite long when held in the hand and has a nice heft to it. The wrapper is a nice reddish mocha brown color and has some oil present. It is fairly smooth to the touch, although there are some bumps up and down the length. The Mummy features a closed foot and has just a tiny amount of give when squeezed. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong cedar, sweet hay and strong barnyard.
The first third of The Mummy starts out with a wonderful dominant spicy cedar note, along with notes of leather, earth, dark — slightly bitter chocolate — and cinnamon. There is a biting black pepper on the retrohale for the first 15 puffs or so, but it starts fading after that, and settles down to an almost perfect amount by the end of the first third. There is a nice sweetness that comes and goes — and is just trying to break through — but it is a generic sweetness throughout the first third and I am hoping it opens up a bit more. The draw is effortless so far, and the burn is flawless. Strength is close to medium.
Coming into the second third of The Mummy, and the cinnamon note is now the dominant note, but is not overwhelming, and the other notes of earth, espresso, and cedar are starting to pick up in intensity. The black pepper from the first third has decreased as well, but it is still very much in evidence on the retrohale. The profile is more creamy overall, and I can still taste a slight fruity sweetness, but I can’t place it as of yet. Burn and draw are still perfect, and smoke production is way above average. The overall strength is a solid medium by the end of the second third.
The final third sees the cinnamon note recede even more, allowing notes of dark chocolate, creamy cedar, earth, and a bit of a nutty note. The sweetness has increased enough for me to identify it as a cherry sweetness, but is still not a dominant flavor by any means. Thankfully, the cinnamon note is still present, as is the black pepper on the retrohale, and they both combine quite nicely with the rest of the flavors to end the cigar. Construction remains fabulous to the nub as does the smoke production. The strengths ends somewhere between the medium and full marks.
- While the subject of next years Monster release has yet to be finalized, Pete Johnson has mentioned publicly that he is thinking of going a few different directions. One combination he has mentioned is ”Chucky and Bride of Chucky.” While I am not sure there is an actual pattern to the releases, it is interesting that the first two releases in the Monster series were classic Monsters, followed by a new Monster, followed by two more classic Monsters. If it is a specific pattern, that would mean a “new age” Monster is indeed due up.
- With almost 40,000 total cigars, this is the largest Monster release to date, by quite a large margin, just shy of 20,000 sticks more than last year.
- The original idea for The Mummy was to have each and every cigar in the dress boxes wrapped in tissue paper, but it turns out that was too time consuming, so he decided to just have the middle one in the bundle wrapped.
- I thought The Mummy on the front of the box looked familiar, and according to Johnson, “The box is supposed to look like a sarcophagus. The image on the top was a picture of TUT that I vectorized and tweaked a little.”
- The size of The Mummy (7 3/4 x 47) is actually extremely close to the first Monster release, The Frank, which was 7 5/8 x 49. The Frank was box-pressed, while The Mummy is not.
- The Mummy has the smallest ring gauge of any of the Monster Series to date.
- The ash is extremely flaky and light gray in color. Despite the flakiness, it held on for over an inch at a time.
- The stores chosen every year are called the “Unlucky 13″ for a reason: not only do they have to deal with an avalanche of calls asking about the dress boxes, but they are vilified no matter what they do in terms of whom they sell their allotment of dress boxes to, whether local or call in orders.
- Like The Face and The Wolfman releases, I appreciate how Johnson made two separate boxes for the same release. They feature the exact same cigar in both, but he kept the 666 Dress Boxes of 13 and added tons of extra 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 Mummy should have absolutely NO problem getting ahold of plain boxes.
- Every Monster release so far has had 666 dress boxes except for The Drac, which had a total of 1,300 dress boxes produced (but no regular boxes).
- Concerning which stores get which version of The Mummy, Johnson said, “Other stores will get dress boxes depending on their purchases for the year and pretty much every store will get plain boxes.” Each of the Unlucky 13 stores received 31 Dress boxes and 31 plain boxes.
- Johnson recently publicly quipped, “This Monster thing is out of control. If I were a retailer I would say no to being chosen. There is a reason why it’s called The Unlucky 13.”
- With the release of the Mini Mum as part of the Little Monsters, The Mummy is the first blend that Pete has released a prerelease to buy before the official Monster release, albeit in a smaller vitola.
- I am not sure I like the color of the band on The Mummy as much as the other Monster releases. The pale grey color seems to blend in a bit with the wrapper, as opposed to standing out. However, I realized as I was smoking my first Mummy that each of the bands — and especially the colors of the bands — were representative of the specific Monster Series they were attached to. So, I emailed Pete for details, and he had this to say about them:
- The Frank — Green and black because of any old image you see of him.
- The Drac — Black clothing with a hint of red or blood.
- The Face — You were right. human skin
- The Wolfman — Brown because of fur but with a little red for blood.
- The Mummy — Gray because of old bandages and dust.
- Unlike the sarcophagus, the regular ten count boxes are plain wood, with “Tatuaje Halloween 2012 #5″ printed on the front, and the ten cigars are in cellophane inside.
- I have smoked a few Mini Mums since their release, and smoked another right before smoking my first Mummy to compare the two, and I have to say, I actually like the larger The Mummy a bit more. The profile seems to be more creamy, the flavors seem to be sharper and it was definitely a bit stronger.
- As in years past, there is a S.T. Dupont lighter made to commemorate the Mummy release:
- This is the first year that the now-closed Gloucester Street Cigars was not amongst the Unlucky 13. Jose Agosto of Gloucester Street was often credited with assisting in the formation of the Monster Series concept.
- Johnson has said many times that he does not consider The Boris to be part of the Monster Series, which is why it is not in the photos above. Having said that, sharp eyed viewers will notice that The Boris is actually listed with the other Monsters on the Tatuaje website. Another note is that the Tatuaje website does not seem to have been updated in about two years.
- If you would like to purchase some of The Mummy cigars, all of our sponsors are Tatuaje dealers, and all of them will have boxes in the near future. You can get them at Atlantic Cigar, Casa de Montecristo, Tobacco Grove and Tobacco Locker (1.800.474.4795).
The Bottom Line: I am always interested to see what Pete has up his sleeve when the Monster release comes around. While it is longer than the cigars I normally like to smoke, the blend in The Mummy holds up quite well to the size: complex enough to easily keep my attention during the entire smoke, strong enough to let me know I am smoking a medium plus blend and never really getting boring. The construction was close to perfect on every one of the three samples I smoked, and the smoke production was a nice addition. I like the Mummy a bit better than The Wolfman from last year, and I can easily recommend buying a box or two. Having said that, the recent Black Label Culebra is the better smoke flavor-wise, albeit not by much, and the always wonderful original release Black Label Petite Lancero is still one of the best examples of this blend. But if you are looking for the signature Black Label profile in a longer smoke,you have found it.
Final Score: 91
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