Review: Tatuaje Avion 12 (Prerelease)

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At the 2011 IPCPR show, Tatuaje introduced the Avion, a limited production box-pressed Perfecto version of the Fausto blend.

Each vitola is named for the year of its release, thus this year’s version will be dubbed the Avion 12. The blend for both the Fausto and the Avion is based off of the Tatuaje T110, (which in turn was based off of the “Thermonuclear” that was made in 2005), a limited release for R.Field Wine Co. in Honolulu, HI in 2009.

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The idea behind Avion is to release one new vitola each year for three years total and then all three will remain in semi-regular production after that.

In a Stogie Review IPCPR video, Pete Johnson described the Avion blend as:

high power, high strength but balanced on the palate, full in your stomach but soft and sweet on your palate…

The seven sizes for Fausto and Avion are:

 

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Here is a photo of the Tatuaje Avion 11 (top) compared to the Avion 12 (bottom):

Tatuaje Avion 2011  2012

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But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?

Tatuaje Avion  12 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Limited Series Avion 12
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 5/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 48/52
  • Vitola: Box-Pressed Perfecto
  • Est. Price: $8.00-$8.50
  • Release Date: Mid 2012
  • Number of Cigars to be Released: Regular Production*
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
    *There were a total of 1,500 prerelease samples sold as part of a Holts Sampler, see Final Notes.

The Avion 12 looks to be perfectly rolled with a gorgeous dark espresso brown wrapper that is almost pebbly smooth to the touch. The cigar is obviously box-pressed, with no prominent veins visible. It is slightly spongy when squeezed, but not enough for me to worry about it affecting the smoke. There is some oil present on the wrapper and it smells very strongly of sweet barnyard, cedar, leather and chocolate.

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The first third of the Avion 12 starts off strong with flavors of rich earth, chocolate, leather and black pepper. I can taste a nice sweetness underneath that seems to be begging to break through to the main profile, but stays in the background for the entire first third. There is some nice spice on the tongue that sticks around for pretty much the entire first third and some great black pepper on the retrohale and the lips to some degree. Draw is a bit tight for the first ten puffs or so, but opens up perfectly after that. The burn is excellent and the strength starts out raging at a solid medium and seems to only be getting stronger.

Tatuaje Avion  12 2

Coming into the second third of the Tatuaje and the sweetness that was a background note becomes quite a bit stronger combining very well with the earth, chocolate and leather from the first third. It is almost a maple sweetness and seems to be strongest right around the halfway point. The spice on the tongue has receded a bit, although it is still noticeable, but the black pepper note has actually increased, both in the mouth and on the retrohale. Construction remains excellent and as expected, the strength has increased to just over the full mark and still seems to have some room to go.

Tatuaje Avion  12 3

The final third of the Avion 12 mellows out a bit profile wise, but the strength increases to a full plus level. The flavors are close to the same, although there is a bit more earth than in the first two thirds and the sweetness note has calmed down just a bit. Gone is the spice, but the black pepper sticks around, albeit at about half the level as the previous third. Construction stays the same, wonderful — easy to nub and it does not get hot at the end.

Tatuaje Avion  12 4

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Final Notes:

  • The Avion series is limited production, not to be confused with a limited release, and there will be less than 30,000 cigars released annually.
  • Along with the above, this Avion prerelease is part of the new Tatuaje Limited Series, which should not to be confused with the Tatuaje Exclusive Series for single store releases.
  • I have to say, I LOVE this viola so much more than the 2011 version. I love the size, I love the different shape, I love that it has more of a box press, and I love the nipple at the end.
  • I was a bit taken aback at the difference in the wrappers between the Avion 11 and the Avion 12. Along with the obvious color differences, the newest version has a pebbly feel to the wrapper that the 2011 version just does not have.
  • The bands and the boxes for the Avion 12 will be the exact same as the Avion 11, although the boxes will be a bit smaller for the new vitola, obviously.
  • Smoke production coming from the new Avion is copious for the entire cigar. Just a joy to smoke in that regard.
  • Like the Avion 11, the strength starts out a strong medium and only goes up from there, ending at a full plus. This is not a cigar to smoke on an empty stomach.
  • The Avion 12 is expected some time this summer.
  • This is only the second time the new “Tatuaje Limited” band has been used on a Tatuaje release. The first time was with the FT114 prerelease, which is the new vitola of the Fausto now in stores with normal bands.
  • Interestingly, both of the Tatuaje Limited releases so far have been used on Fausto blends.
  • If you are wondering, the Thermonuclear, which is the cigar that the T110, Fausto and Avion blends are said to be based on, was a cigar that Pete made almost as a joke in 2005, since it made quite a few people throw up when they smoked it, it was so strong.
  • As mentioned above, the Avion 12 will be a regular production cigar when released, but you can actually get one right now as part of the 1,500 Let Freedom Ring samplers Holt’s is selling. Each of the 6 cigars were donated by the manufacturers, and all of the proceeds go to CRA. You’ll also get a six month membership to CRA when you purchase one of the samplersIncluded in the sampler is one each of :
    • Ashton VSG Pegasus – 5 x 54
    • La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Belicoso – 5 1/2 x 54
    • Arturo Fuente Hemingway Maduro Short Story – 4 x 49
    • Padrón 1964 Anniversary Robusto Limitado* – 5 x 54
    • My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pess – 6 1/8 x 52
    • Tatuaje Avion 12* – 5 5/8 x 52
    • *Prerelease
  • This is the sixth release for the Fausto family and the tenth release for the T110 family, which now includes:
  • The construction, burn and draw were excellent for both samples I smoked and the ash held on for more than a third of the cigar and would have held on longer if I had let it.
  • The final smoking time for both samplers was right around one hour and 25 minutes.

 

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The Bottom Line: I was a fan of the Avion 11, but the one thing I did not like was the larger size, as it seemed to just accentuate the strength that is present in the blend, sometimes to almost overwhelming levels. This new vitola fixes that problem nicely. Having smoked two of these new Avion 12, I honestly prefer it to not only the Avion ’11, but also to any of the Fausto releases, as I think that even though the ring gauge is the same as the Avion 11, the smaller size, the box-press and the different vitola seems to enhance the sweetness and brings out the complexity that is present in the blend. Construction, burn and draw are wonderful, as is smoke production, and like the Avion 11, the Avion 12 is an easy box purchase for me when they are released.

Final Score: 92

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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