You would literally have to be living on a deserted island, with seaweed stuffed in your ears, humming a few random bars from “Piano Man” while rocking back and forth gently to the motion of the ocean to not have heard of the Tatuaje Monster series.
Having said that, just in case there is even one of you, the faithful readers, who does not know the details, I will be more then happy to help out.
Almost one year to the day last year, Tatuaje released a fairly limited cigar named The Frank, after “Frankenstein,” a double corona box-press (7 5/8 x49) with a broadleaf wrapper. Keeping with the theme, 666 boxes were released with 13 to a box, $13 each and only 13 retailers were selected to receive them, announced on Oct. 13, of course.
Ever since the initial release, cigar lovers have been waiting for this Oct. 31, when the newest stick in the lineup will be released. This year, the monster chosen was The Drac, after “Dracula.”
Pete Johnson is on record as saying that next year’s release will be “The Face,” after “LeatherFace”, a 5 ½ x 60ish stick, “with a gnarly, ugly wrapper on it, a marbleized cover leaf. The cigar will be unfinished, with the wrapper drooping off the cigar.”
The “Wolfman” is rumored for the year after that, my idea for a nickname? Wolfie.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of The Frank, Pete decided to bump up the numbers. This year, there will be 1,300 boxes of The Drac, with the vast majority being sold by 13 stores. And, because that was not enough, in 13 random boxes of The Drac and The Frank Undressed, The Boris, which will be 1,000 boxes of the same blend as The Frank, but with a Sumatra rosado wrapper instead of broadleaf and about a half inch shorter. There will also be 13 spooky tickets that will allow the recipient to register to win a Ducati Monster 696.
I was lucky enough to get a prerelease sample of The Drac and so, as it is my curse, I thought I would detail my experience.
- Review: Tatuaje “The Drac”
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 3/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Torpedo
- MSRP: $13.00 (Boxes of 13, $169.00)
- Date Released: Oct. 31, 2009
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,300 Boxes of 13 (16,900 Total Cigars)
The first thing I noticed with this stick was the huge size; ironically, it almost looks like a stake. I mean, it is big. The wrapper is a dark chocolate brown color, with a slight red tint. It did not have much of a smell, other then tobacco. The wrapper is also very rough, sort of like The Frank in that way, with almost no oil at all. The cigar is obviously well-constructed, and has a killer triple cap on it. It was honestly a joy to hold.
After cutting and lighting, I was ready for the typical blast of pepper and spice that accompanies almost every Tatuaje on the market, but was surprised when it did not happen. Yes, there was pepper, and yes, there was spice, but it was blended from the beginning with notes of cedar, earth, and what I can only describe as sweet raisins. I was literally dumbstruck at the quality of the flavors from the first third.
In the second third, the pepper picked up strength quite a bit, and there was more dark chocolate flavor, with quite a bit of leather thrown in. And underneath it all was that sweet raisin taste; kind of a sweet tartness, if that makes any sense.
The last third was all about the sweetness. Along with the aforementioned raisins, there were distinct flavors of caramel and cedar. The pepper was in and out for the last third (but never disappearing totally), but the strength picked up quite a bit at the end. It never got hot at the end, and I was easily able to nub it.
- The construction, draw and burn on this cigar were nothing short of amazing. Padrón-esque, if you will.
- This stick produced a bunch of smoke, and it was very aromic. It had a sweet peppery floral scent.
- The final smoking time was one hour and 55 minutes.
There is no score given due to the preproduction nature of this review and old Smoking Stogie rules.
This is easily one of the most complex and refined cigars I have smoked. There were so many flavors that complimented each other, instead of competing with each other, and underneath it all was that wonderfully sweet raisin note that tied it all together. Even after smoking just one, I can tell you that this is the complete package: flavor, quality and construction that is truly a joy to smoke. I will be buying as many of these as I can get my hands on.