The Mini Mum is part of Tatuaje’s new Little Monsters, a limited edition run based on Tatuaje’s popular Monster Series. Pete Johnson’s Monster Series is an annual Halloween release that is unequivocally the most-anticipated domestic release currently made. We’ve documented the Little Monsters fairly extensively over the past six months, but in case you are unaware here’s the long-form version.

Pete Johnson announced the Little Monsters on the Jan. 14 episode of Smoke Inn’s Kiss My Ash Radio show. We posted this news story in January:

Earlier this morning on Smoke Inn’s Kiss My Ash Radio show, Pete Johnson of Tatuaje announced that he would be releasing the Monster Series in smaller vitolas. The popular Monster Series has previously been regulated to larger sizes, hence the Monster moniker. During the show, which will be available online later this week, Pete said that he is working on thinner RGs and shorter sizes. Early reports indicate that it will be available in samplers. As of now, the only mention of a release date has been June. Update (January 14, 2011):The names for the cigars are:

  • Frank Jr.
  • Lil’ Drac
  • Baby Face
  • Wolfie
  • Mini Mum*

*Mini Mum is based off of The Mummy, the next Tatuaje Monster Series.

In March, Johnson confirmed the sizes, pricing and the reason behind the increase in production:

Pete Johnson of Havana Cellars/Tatuaje has confirmed the five dimensions for the much anticipated Tatuaje Little Monsters release slate for June. Tatuaje Little Monsters.jpgThe five sizes are (in order of appearance):

  • Tatuaje Mini Mum — 5 3/4 x 42
  • Tatuaje Wolfie — 5 1/2 x 48
  • Tatuaje Baby Face — 4 3/8 x 50
  • Tatuaje Lil’ Drac — 5 x 48
  • Tatuaje Frank Jr. — 5 5/8 x 44

Johnson has slowly leaked information about the release since announcing it in mid-January. The concept takes the four released Monster Series blends and the Mini Mum, the fifth in the series scheduled for later this year, replicated in smaller sizes. For Tatuaje fans, the names and distinct appearance makes them easy to coincide with their larger brother: Lil’ Drac based off of “The Drac,” Frank Jr. off of “The Frank,” etc. In the past month, Johnson has announced that he will make 10,000 orange boxes that will include two of each cigar, this is double the original 5,000 he originally planned. The Tatuaje brand owner also told halfwheel that he expects pricing for the boxes to be around $75.00. The Little Monsters sampler is expected in June. Johnson hopes that the increase in production numbers will keep them on retailers’ shelves a bit longer, as opposed to the normal Monster Series releases which often sell out before retailers receive their shipments.

And last week, the Little Monsters began shipping.

The Tatuaje Little Monsters, a limited edition project for Pete Johnson’s Havana Cellars, began arriving in stores Monday in what is expected to be one of many shipments over the course of the next few weeks. The Little Monsters, which constitute five smaller versions of Tatuaje’s Monster Series releases are a 10,000 box release Johnson hoped would stay on shelves, something the larger versions traditionally have failed to do.

However, a sample of a few retailers indicate the initial shipment seems unlikely to stay on shelves as retailers are reporting frantic purchasing.

Last week, Johnson tweeted the following, asking his fans for patience:

Pete Johnson Little Monster Tweet

To recap, the Little Monsters are based off of the four original Monster Series releases and the upcoming 2012 release, theTatuaje Mummy. Here’s a picture of the four original releases and their Little counterparts (left to right):

Tatuaje Monsters + Little Monsters

The cigars are smaller versions of their original counterparts with a slight change to the bands, which read “Little Monster”except for the Baby Face, which features a tobacco band like the original The Face.

We e-mailed Pete Johnson to ask him to explain his motives behind blending, specifically how he was approaching making smaller versions of blends that debuted a few years ago:

I used the same blends as the original, which was the best way to represent the original cigars. The tobacco varietals did not change. Only the crop years.  Of course the Mimi Mum and The Mummy will be from the same crop.

Tatuaje Little Monsters Box 1

Tatuaje Little Monsters Box 2

Tatuaje Little Monsters Box 3

The Little Monsters are packed in pairs from newest release (Mini Mum) on the left to oldest release (Frank Jr.):

Tatuaje Little Monsters Box 5

Interestingly enough, the boxes originally depicted the Little Monsters on the outside, however, due to concerns about marketing products to children, Johnson decided to place the artwork underneath the cigars and instead the outside of the boxes read “Little Monsters.” The original boxes looked like this:

Tatuaje Little Monsters Boxes.png(via Sean “Casper: Johnson)

On the production boxes, you will find this underneath the cigars:Tatuaje Little Monsters Box 4

Each box was supposed to contain a single trading card depicting one of the monsters. In addition to the five normal cards, there are two limited edition cards: one is a version of the Baby Face card that has a depiction of Pete Johnson’s face instead of the normal monster face and the other is reportedly a foil printed card. However, Pete Johnson has stated that there will only be 5,500 cards because of a printing issue. A little over 1,000 of each of the five regular cards were produced.

On top of that, the Mini Mum card that has been shipping in the first shipments contains a printing error. Under the Favorite TV Show section, it says, Unwarpped, which is obviously supposed to read Unwrapped.

Here’s a picture of the boxes being packed at My Father Cigars S.A. with the card inside and various cards on the table:

As is mentioned above, the Tatuaje Mini Mum is a smaller version of the upcoming The Mummy, which will be a 7 3/4 x 48 Churchill. Interestingly enough, The Mummy is based on the Tatuaje Private Reserve, i.e. Black Label, blend. Johnson has confirmed it uses the same Nicaragua sun grown criollo wrapper as the Black Label and uses Nicaraguan fillers.

The Mini Mum uses a silver version of the Tatuaje band and features a closed foot, making it rather similar to the original Private Reserve (Corona Gorda) and original release Tatuaje Black Label Petite Lancero (Tobacco Grove). However, the pigtail is noticeably missing from the cap.

Tatuaje Mini Mum 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Mini Mum
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 3/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 42
  • Vitola: Corona
  • MSRP: $7.50 (Boxes of 10, $75.55)
  • Date Released: June 11, 2012
  • Number of Cigars Released: 10,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)*
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2

*Each sampler contains two Mini Mums, in total, there are 100,000 Little Monsters

It looks like a Monster. The first thing you notice is the band, which is truly a silver color and looks like a washed out Black Label. As far as the wrapper goes it’s dark and veiny, a bit more faded than a typical Black Label, but hearty nonetheless. The roll lines are far from cleanly, but then again this is a Monster. Aroma off the sun grown criollo is heavy leather, a great graham cracker and a cocoa mixture. When you put the cigar right under your nose there’s a heavy barnyard that sets in. From the closed foot there’s a bit more pepper, particularly a piercing black pepper. Cold draw of the Mini Mum is medium-full delivering lots of graham cracker and milk chocolate notes with bits of black pepper. It’s pretty sweet with only a touch of leather.

The Mini Mum begins the first third with a great herbal aroma. As for the flavor, it starts with a sweet cocoa and graham cracker, there’s cedar underneath, but quickly it overtakes the profile deepening out. Midway through a harshness emerges, but eventually the cedar overwhelms that before a bit of an herbal kick on the finish. Complex, but perhaps a bit young. The first third of the Tatuaje sees the draw tighten from open to about average, along with a smoke production that takes a bit to get going, particularly with the closed feet. Five minutes in and the Mini Mum is showing plenty of leather, but the cedar is still without the dominant note. There’s creaminess, a sharp and acute black pepper and a bit of fruitiness, but the most interesting note is a sourness, like The Boris’ grapefruit sourness.

Tatuaje Mini Mum 2

Into the second third and that grapefruit note overtakes the profile of the Mini Mum. It is nowhere close to be as complex or developed as The Boris had it, but it’s now the centerpiece of the Mini Mum. The creaminess and cedar are now at the back with the latter still reigning over the former and the black pepper and cocoa from the first third are completely gone. The finish of the Tatuaje remains quite complex and adding a contrasting note, at this point herbal. Strength and body continue to be full, the former on the lighter side and the latter solidly in the category. Construction continues along the same trend: draw is slowly tightening, smoke production improving and the ash holds to about two inches burning as straight as can be.

Tatuaje Mini Mum 3

The final third didn’t need to provide anything for me to be sold on this being a good cigar, particularly in regards to aging, or The Mummy being a good cigar, but nonetheless the cedar and grapefruit notes battled it out until the final inch. There’s a bit more of a grassy touch and a bit smoother profile, although the harshness and heat really take over when the Mini Mum gets below an inch. I literally end up burning my finger, but you got the picture above.

Tatuaje Mini Mum 4

Final Notes:

  • Slow down. Slow down. Slow down. If you even think about pushing this cigar, you will be punished with a harshness that destroys the profile for a few minutes. Take your time and the complexities will come. This probably will change, but as of now, speed kills.
  • It’s unclear how based off the Black Label this is, particularly at this point where the similarities aren’t in your face.
  • Strength is full, body is full, flavor is full. They are all in varying levels, but the Mini Mum is full. I’d say it’s more edgy than heavy if that makes sense.
  • For those wondering about The Boris, Pete has long talked about doing a Little Boris as an exclusive for Jeff Borysiewicz’s Corona Cigar Co. The Boris was never part of The Monster Series and as such it wasn’t included in the Little Monsters. The Little Boris is currently being offered as a pre-order from Corona Cigar Co. MSRP is $9.00 per cigar for the 5 x 48 Robusto with $1.00 per box being donated to Cigar Rights of America. It features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The initial run is set as 5,000 cigars. Borysiewicz has requested an additional run, but wrapper supply has prevented Johnson from confirming anything beyond the first batch. You can read more about the Little Boris at the bottom of this post.
  • The delicacy of the smoke rate and harshness makes this actually a bit difficult to smoke.
  • This is going to be a great cigar for a redux, I can’t imagine the profile remaining close to static.
  • The Mini Mum is the only Little Monster that will feature the same vintage of tobacco as its big brother Monster.
  • With the closed foot and the origins of this cigar being in the Black Label, Mini Mum will be compared to three cigars: the original Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gorda, the Petite Lancero and The Mummy. I got nothing on the latter, but it really doesn’t taste much like the former, and that’s not a bad thing. If I had to pick between the two Black Labels, this reminds me a lot more of the Corona Gorda, particularly in regards to the cedar, than any attribute of the Petite Lancero. More on that in the bottom line.
  • Slow down.
  • You have to remember that Little Monster is an oxymoron. The reality is these aren’t that little. The smallest size is a traditional robusto and the rest are coronas and corona gordas.
  • I really do like the bands for all of the Little Monsters, this is no different. I’m really interested to see the overall packaging for The Mummy.
  • Final smoking time was two hours. Nurse it, it’s totally worth it.
91 Overall Score

If I didn't know the sizes for each respective Little Monster and someone handed me this to smoke blind. My guess would be this is the Little Boris. Sure, it doesn't look at all like Ecuadorian sumatra, but that's the only Tatuaje I recall with grapefruit and that's enough to sell me. Nonetheless, the current state of the Mini Mum adds a bit of intrigue to this year's Monster, in case there wasn't enough already. When I get to my next box, I'm definitely not going to reach for the Mini Mums first, I think these will benefit with a bit of time, particularly in regards to the delicate harshness. Even if it doesn't, the Mini Mum is the most unique Tatuaje blend since the NHC Capa Especial debuted last August.

Avatar photo

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.