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In 2006, the relatively new Tatuaje Cigars Inc. released three different cigars, all exclusive to different stores. One of the three was the Bombazo (bomb blast in Spanish), a 4 x 46 Petit Robusto that was sold exclusively to Illusione’s Dion Giolito’s shop, FUMARE in Reno, Nev. Only 50 boxes of 25 were released making it one of the smallest official Tatuaje releases so far.

The three single store releases in 2006 were:

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Tatuaje Cohete Bombazo Maravilla

  • Tatuaje Bombazo (4 x 46) — FUMARE — 50 Boxes of 25 (1,250 Total Cigars) —  $7.50 (Boxes of 25, $187.50)
  • Tatuaje Cohete (4 x 50) — Tower Pipes & Cigars — 50 Boxes of 25 (1,250 Total Cigars) —  $9.00 (Boxes of 25, $225.00)
  • Tatuaje La Maravilla (5 5/8 x 46) — Leaf & Ale — 50 Boxes of 25 (1,250 Total Cigars) —  $9.99 (Boxes of 25, $249.75)

In June of 2012, Pete Johnson released a new version of the Bombazo, this time with a Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, called the Bombazo Capa Especial. We covered the release in a review:

In June of this year, there was a post on the BOTL.org forum from someone who had picked up a previously unknown Tatuaje cigar from Dion Giolito’s, of Illusione fame, store FUMARE in Reno, Nevada. At that point, there was almost no information at all on the cigar as there was no fanfare or pre-warning like nearly every other Tatuaje.

The Tatuaje Bombazo Capa Especial is based on the original Bombazo released in 2006, but the Corojo ’99 wrapper is replaced with the Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper Pete Johnson has used on some of his more popular limited releases of the last two years. Only 48 cabinets of 50 cigars were released to FUMARE and Giolito decided to make them available to in-store purchasers only.

Johnson told halfwheel this about the Bombazo Capa Especial blend:

Dion asked me to make some for him as a secret with the Sumatra that we use on all the other Sumatra cigars. We were trying to keep it low key so he could just sell them at his store. Same blend just with Sumatra. He didn’t want anyone to know about them outside his store. We both thought it would be cool to pack them low key so they wouldn’t stand out. I made a total of 50 50 count boxes. He got 48 and I kept two.

 

Here are the two Bombazo releases: 

Tatuaje Bombazo Bombazo Capa Especial

  • Tatuaje Bombazo Capa Especial (4 x 46) — FUMARE — 50 Cabinets of 50 Cigars (2,500 Total Cigars) – $6.85 (Cabinets of 50, $342.50)
  • Tatuaje Bombazo (4 x 46) — FUMARE — 50 Boxes of 25 (1,250 Total Cigars) —  $7.50 (Boxes of 25, $187.50)

Tatuaje Bombazo 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Bombazo
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Cubana S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Petit Robusto
  • Est. Price: $7.50 (Boxes of 25, $187.50)
  • Date Released: 2006
  • Number of Cigars Released: 50 Boxes of 25 (1,250 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

 

The Tatuaje Bombazo is extremely well-made with a reddish brown wrapper that still has a bit of oil on it. There are some bumps running along the length, but they are not overly distracting. When squeezed there is a bit of give and the aroma coming off of the wrapper smells faintly of cedar, earth and pepper.

The Tatuaje Bombazo starts off extremely strong with a surprising amount spice and pepper that almost overwhelms any other flavors for about 10 puffs. The spice starts to calm down quickly, and other notes of cedar, bitter espresso and dark chocolate ebb in and out, along with some fairly significant black pepper on the retrohale. There is a copious amount of smoke from the first puff, the draw is great and the burn is fine. The strength starts out a strong medium and I can tell it is going getting stronger quickly.

Tatuaje Bombazo 2

Coming into the second third of the Bombazo, the spice has died down quite a bit, although it is still a major part of the profile and the black pepper is still quite strong on the retrohale. The profile begins to get more creamy. although there is almost no sweetness, but there are other flavors of aged oak, leather, earth, white chocolate and creamy nuts. Construction is excellent—both burn and draw—and the strength is now just under the full mark, seemingly not slowing down.

Tatuaje Bombazo 3

The final third of the Tatuaje Bombazo has much the same profile as the second third, except that there is a bit more earth and slightly more sweetness noticeable. The other flavors of leather, oak, nuts, chocolate, expresso and a nice maple sweetness. The burn and draw remain wonderful and the strength ends right where the second third began, right under the full mark. Despite the small size and ring gauge, the nub does not even get warm at the end.

Tatuaje Bombazo 4

Final Notes:

  • The cigars smoked for this review were extremely difficult to track down and extremely expensive to purchase when I finally did, which is not overly surprising, considering the minuscule numbers that were released seven years ago.
  • Comparing all three of the 2006 releases—which I have smoked in the last five months—the original release of the Bombazo has aged the best of the three, in my opinion.
  • From the first puff, this cigar reminded me quite a bit of the original T110, not in terms of flavor, but in how it starts off strong and spicy.
  • The amount of smoke that is produced by the 2006 Bombazo is astounding, thick, white and creamy. The newer Sumatra-wrapped version has nowhere near that amount of smoke.
  • The overall construction is wonderful after the first third with a great draw and near perfect burn for the entire cigar.
  • The differences between the two versions of Bombazo are astounding. The flavors are not even close, the strength is not close, even the amount of smoke produced is not even close.
  • On each of the three single store releases in 2006, Johnson is quoted as saying he kept an extra 10 boxes of each for himself. I would be quite interested to know if he has any of those left six years later.
  • Pete Johnson played a role in the beginnings of Illusione. In Giolito’s explanation of the brand, he told the story:

    In 2004 after almost 12 years of working at (Tinder Box), I decided to go out on my own. I got a SBA loan, did it on a shoe-string budget and opened my own store. It was the following year that I decided to bring in a cigar that Pete Johnson had bought from Tabacalera Tropical to liquidate and make a couple of bucks on. I bought practically everything he had. When supplies dwindled, I asked him if he could get me more. 50 boxes were the minimum purchase. “F* me!” I thought.” Oh well, I’ll do it.” I had the cliché on the box changed to 88 – the year I decided to come to Reno. I was a BIG fan at the time of the AVO ~22~ packaging. I designed my private label 88 to resemble that type of cliché, even though my packaging was different.

  • The original Bombazo is one of Tatuaje’s more legendary releases, although it can be argued that is more because of its rarity than the quality of the smoke, since so few people have actually smoked one.
  • Dion Giolito actually made a cigar for another manufacturer’s retail operations, Rocky Patel’s Burn.
  • The Cohete was rereleased in 2009, making the La Maravilla the only cigar out of the three released in 2006 that has not been rereleased in any form. Presumably, it would be slightly more difficult to rerelease because Leaf & Ale has now closed.
  • Unlike the original release of the Bombazos, the Capa Especial version came unbanded. Also, the newer release comes in cabinets of 50, while the original release was in boxes of 25.
  • Final smoking time for both samples averaged just under an hour.
92 Overall Score

Honestly, I am shocked at how much life this cigar has after six years. Strong, spicy and peppery—especially in the first third—with a really nice and creamy profile underneath. While not the most complex flavors, the distinctness and balance is off the charts. Is the 2006 version a better cigar (now) than the newer Capa Especial release? The two are quite different, both in terms of strength and flavor profile and it would be difficult to choose. Both are excellent and well worth the amount of effort and money, it takes to track them down.

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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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