In 2011, Tatuaje released two separate blends to commemorate New Hampshire based Federal Cigar’s 90th anniversary: one with a Rosado wrapper and one with a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. Both releases were based off of the Cuban 109 vitola, a Double Robusto with a round cap and a favorite that is a favorite of Federal Cigar owner Rick Gadway. In December of 2012, a limited number of the same cigars were found at the factory and sent to Federal Cigar, this time with Tatuaje Limited bands and wrapped in foil. 

Fast forward to February of 2013, when we news that the Tatuaje Federal Cigar 109s would be released again broke, this time with a new blend:

A post on Tatuaje’s Saints & Sinners message board this week announced plans for the Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary Redux that will be arriving in mid March, and a post on Federal Cigar’s Facebook page Wednesday afternoon confirmed the news.
The cigar is a new blend but comes in the same 7 1/4 x 50 109 vitola of the two original anniversary cigars from 2011. The Redux replaces the Federal 90th Rosado with a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper.
The picture that accompanied the post and that was subsequently posted on Federal Cigar’s Facebook page shows the cigars packaged in bundles of 25, though there will be both bundles and boxes available: 60 boxes of 25 are being produced along with 40 bundles. Both will have a price of $250.
While the cigars bear the same Reserva band that the original release had, there doesn’t seem to be any mention of Federal Cigar on the main band as it has been replaced by Hassell, Pete Johnson’s middle name.  Other cigars bearing the Hassell band have been released exclusively to Saints & Sinners members as well as in a sampler available through Holt’s in 2011. There was also a version given out at the Nicaraguan Cigar Festival.
The cigars will be made available to in-store customers for an event on March 16th that will feature Pete Johnson, KC Johnson of L’Atelier Imports, Janny and Jaime Garcia of My Father Cigars, Steve Saka and Willy Herrera of Drew Estate and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and some of his family members. No phone orders will be taken during the event, and any remaining boxes will be made available for sale on March 18th.
The event will also be a launch party for the L’Atelier LAT 46 Selection Spéciale,
Federal Cigar celebrated their 90th anniversary in 2011 with a pair of cigars from Pete Johnson, the Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 Reserva and the Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 Rosado. This is the second time that Johnson has done a redux edition for a store’s anniversary, as W. Curtis Draper in Washington, DC received the Cabaiguan WCD 120 REDUX for their 125th anniversary in February 2012. In December of 2012, Johnson brought a small amount of both original Reserva and Rosados to an event.

To date, there have been five total releases of the Tatuaje Federal 109.

Tatuaje Federal 109 Reserva Rosado Redux

In addition, there have now been four different releases of Tatuajes with the Hassell band. From top to bottom, they are:

Tatuaje Hassell Releases

  • La Familia Garcia Holt’s Cigars Sampler 2011
  • Nicaraguan Cigar Festival 2011
  • Saints and Sinners 2011
  • Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 Redux Hassell

The boxes that the Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 Redux come in are the exact same as the first release back in 2011, and look like this:

Tatuaje Federal 109 Redux Box 1

Tatuaje Federal 109 Redux Box 2

Tatuaje Federal 109 Redux Box 3

Tatuaje Federal 109 Redux Box 4

Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 Redux 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 Redux 
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 7 1/4 inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: 109
  • MSRP: $10.00 (Boxes of 25, $250.00)
  • Date Released: March 16, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 60 Boxes of 25 Cigars (1,500 Total Cigars) & 40 Bundles of 25 Cigars (1,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 Redux is an imposing-looking cigar with an almost jet black wrapper that is extremely toothy to the touch and covered in tiny sparkles that reflect sunlight. It has the perfect amount of resistance when squeezed, and the aroma coming off of the wrapper is a combination of strong barnyard, leather, chocolate, licorice and black pepper.

The Tatuaje Federal 109 Redux begins the first third with distinct flavors of leather, espresso, cocoa powder and strong earth. Overall the profile is very earthy and there is a very strong black pepper note on the retrohale that is quite strong for the first 10 puffs or so, but then recedes a bit for the rest of the first third. There is also a very dark sweetness, really more of an extension of the dark chocolate that I picked up on the wrapper than anything else. The strength starts out just below medium and has no problem reaching a solid medium by the end of the first third. The draw is perfect and the burn is just a tad wavy, but not bad enough to cause any problems at all.

Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 Redux 2

Coming into the second third of the Federal 109 Redux there is noticeable increase in gritty earth joining dark chocolate, bitter espresso, leather and a great floral note that comes and goes. The sweetness from the first third has become stronger and more distinct reminding me of cherries.  Construction-wise, the burn is still a bit wavy, but the draw is perfect and the smoke production is phenomenal. The overall strength is still not going anywhere fast, ending the second third still in the solid medium range.

Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 Redux 3

In the fInal third of Tatuaje Federal 109 Redux, there is even more earth in the profile and the sweetness from the first two thirds combines with a noticeably strong floral note making for an interesting ending. Other flavors include leather, espresso and cedar, along with a returning cocoa flavor from the first third. The strength has not increased as much as I thought it would, and surprises me by ending the cigar halfway between medium and full. The burn has evened out nicely, while both the draw and smoke production continue to impress. It is very easy to nub avoiding heat towards the end.

Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 Redux 4

Final Notes:

  • As with the Tatuaje TAA 2012, on every sample I smoked and on every cigar I looked at, there are what look to be very small shiny specks on the wrapper. This has been evident before in some Tatuaje releases and according to Johnson:

    That’s the heavy mineral content from the farm where we get our Broadleaf. Many people think it comes from the bands but it is from the rich soil on the farm. You can actually see these specks on the leaf during process. If you were to walk the farm, your pants will look like you got a lap dance from an overly bronzed up dancer.

    This is totally different from some of the gold specks that are seen due to the gold of specific bands rubbing off a bit. You can see an extreme example of that here, on a La Riqueza.

  • As mentioned above, Hassell is Pete Johnson’s middle name, and concerning the different releases using the Hassell band, “I use the band for different small projects,” said Johnson when asked about its use.
  • Interestingly, the Hassell release from the 2011 Saints and Sinners pack is actually a Connecticut Broadleaf-covered L’Esprit de Vérité 2008, which also happens to be a cigar that Pete Johnson had made up for Thor Nielson’s wedding in September of 2009. Nielson is the owner of Cigar Press magazine.
  • The floral note that is present in the second and final thirds of the profile is fairly unusual in cigars with Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper, I can only speculate that it is due to the Rosado filler inside.
  • As mentioned above, the boxes for this release are the exact same ones that were used for the Tatuaje Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 in 2011.
  • Unlike in the first release, the bands on the Tatuaje Federal 109 Redux don’t have the name “Federal Cigar” on them anywhere. In fact, if they did not come in the box they do, there would be no way to tell it is a Federal Cigar exclusive.
  • I was a little surprised at the lack of strength in this blend, especially compared to the original blend. The newest rendition barely made it out of the medium category.
  • The smoke production was wonderful for the entire cigar: dense, white and copious. A joy to smoke in that regard.
  • The Noella Reserva, the Regio Reserva, the Cohete and the Black Label Corona Gorda are all being rereleased for Tatuaje’s 10th Anniversary this year.
  • I absolutely love the 109 vitola, but it seems that Tatuaje is the only non-Cuban manufacturer to be producing them, albeit all for Federal Cigar releases. However, Habanos S.A. has released them periodically over the years, mostly for special releases. Recent Cuban 109 releases include the Edmundo Dantes El Conde 109 Edición Regional Mexico and the Partagás 165 Aniversario Humidor 109.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples of the Tatuaje Federal 109 92nd Hassell Redux averaged one hour and 40 minutes.
  • Unfortunately, all of the Tatuaje Federal 109 92nd Hassell Redux sold out about one hour after they were put for sale on Federal Cigar’s website, so the only way you can get them at this point is on the secondary market.
90 Overall Score

Over the years , I have smoked every cigar with a Broadleaf wrapper that Pete Johnson has released and my biggest question going into this review was: is this release going to be somehow different than the rest? The answer to that is both yes and no. While there are similarities between other Broadleaf wrapped releases—and even to the first release of the Federal 90th Reserva—the Tatuaje Exclusive Series Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 Redux  stands on its own. It has a smoother profile overall, and is noticeably lighter in strength compared to the first release. In addition, the flavors seem more distinct to me and the new version has a consistent floral note not found elsewhere. Having said that, after smoking three of these, I have to say it is hard not to taste the Connecticut Broadleaf, as it really overwhelms the profile at certain points. I really enjoyed it, and if you love Broadleaf, you are going to love this cigar; if you don't love Broadleaf, it might be difficult.

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Brooks Whittington

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.