The fourth and most recent installment in Tatuaje’s Monster Series was The Wolfman, a sizable, shaggy foot cigar released in October 2011 and named for a movie monster that first appeared on the big screen in December 1941. In less than a year’s time after the release of The Wolfman, Johnson has released a sampler box containing smaller versions of the Monster Series cigars, the Little Monsters.

Here is halfwheel’s full documentation about the Little Monsters release from Charlie Minato’s review of the Mini Mum.

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:

This smaller version shrinks down two inches and thins down from a 52 to a 48 ring gauge. The box-pressed Torpedo shape remains, though in its smaller, Robusto-like format the cap is a bit less Torpedo-like than its predecessor. What also shrinks with the Wolfie is the number of cigars produced: while The Wolfman had a release of 21,658 cigars, the Wolfie is limited to 20,000 sticks – two each in 10,000 Lil’ Monsters samplers. Because of a change in release nature, i.e. the adding of regular boxes to the dress boxes, the first two Monster Series releases (The Frank & The Drac) were the only release to get more Little Monsters than original Monsters. It’s unclear what Johnson’s plans will be for The Mummy.

In his prerelease review of the original The Wolfman, Brooks Whittington quotes Sean “Casper Johnson,” who says, “the blend is based off the Cojonu series but with a twist and of course a different wrapper.”

Tatuaje Wolfie 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Wolfie
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Vitola: Box-Pressed Torpedo
  • MSRP: $7.50 (Boxes of 10, $75.00)
  • 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 Wolfies; in total there are 100,000 Little Monsters

Just as on The Wolfman, the Tatuaje Wolfie features an unfinished foot, showing just about a quarter of an inch of the lighter colored Nicaraguan binder. The pre-light aroma off this uncovered foot has notes of sweet wood and a bit of spice, a marked difference from what is picked up off the wrapper further up the cigar. The veiny brown Ecuadorian Sumatra leaf is much more muted with a bit of coffee bean and leather. Even with some variations in its color, it’s an attractive leaf that is smooth to the touch and has a good amount of oil on it. With just a small part of the Torpedo cap clipped, the cold draw is easy, with a concentrated wood and citrus note coming through.

The initial puffs of the first third have a bit of spice, some cereal grain and a bit of wood. Once the burn line hits the wrapper, the flavors seem to mellow out a bit, as the wrapper doesn’t really add much, at least not early on. Given the difference between the pre-light aromas of the uncovered foot and the wrapper on its own, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Notes of nutmeg start to enter the equation once the wrapper gets burning, though the overall flavor is mellow, not big and bold. The smell of the smoke coming off the Wolfie as it rests is very enjoyable: a complex combination of burning wood, leather and some cinnamon hit the nose, with only a trace amount of pepper or spice. Tatuaje Wolfie 2 The first clump of ash breaks off when it reaches about 3/4 of an inch in length and provides for a transition to the second third. It isn’t until the final puffs of this section that the Tatuaje Wolfie changes gears a bit, bringing in a more peppery, charred steak note that adds body and texture to both smoke and flavor. The draw and burn line remain absolutely perfect, neither needing a touch up. Tatuaje Wolfie 3 When the band comes off in the final third, a bit of new spice starts to enter the equation, a bit dry but fairly enjoyable. That lasts until the last inch two inches of the cigar, when a stronger, sharper note of condensed, concentrated orange starts to emerge with a bit of heat and pepper that gives the Tatuaje Wolfie a completely different flavor profile than it has had up to this point. As with the other Little Monsters, slowing down your draw speed a bit helps keep the cigar cool and lets the flavors shine through much better. A distinct note of chalk comes out in the final few puffs, adding a bit of previously untasted terroir to the mix. Tatuaje Wolfie 4

Final Notes:

  • The flavor changes in the Wolfie are outstanding – this is a great example of how a well-blended cigar can take calculated, thought-out steps to achieve a series of flavors.
  • While not part of the Monster series, the Boris also used a Sumatra wrapper.
  • I smoked one of these late at night and another first thing in the morning, and it seemed to fit either time of day just fine. It’s not too strong to be an AM stick, nor to weak to be a traditional after-dinner cigar. However, as with almost every cigar, it is much better on a clean, rested palate.
  • In his October 2009 review of The Drac, Brooks Whittington suggested the name Wolfie as a nickname for the then-unreleased The Wolfman, and again in his October 2010 of The Face.
  • Charlie mentioned it in his Mini Mum review and Brian reiterated it in his Lil’ Drac review: slowing down the draw speed really makes a positive difference in the taste.
  • Even though this is described as having a shaggy foot, I find the term to be a bit misleading, especially when compared to other cigars with shaggy feet. It seems unwrapped foot is a bit better, although, given the fact that the cigar is named for a wolf character, maybe I’ll let it slide. You know, fur and whatnot.
  • Speaking of the shaggy foot, there have been comparisons made between the Wolfie and the Intemperance line from RoMa Craft Tobacco, which has been reviewed here and here. Either way, the brushed/unfinished foot seems to be gaining in prominence.
  • 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.
  • While the original The Wolf Man movie came out in 1941, there was a remake made in 2010.
  • The production notes of The Wolf Man on Wikipedia are pretty interesting, especially if you’re a film buff or interested in how movies get made.
  • Just like they appear together in the Tatuaje Lil’ Monsters box, The Wolf Man character appeared with Frankenstein and Dracula in several other movies in the 1940s.
  • The original Wolf Man was always portrayed by actor Lon Chaney, Jr., who described the character as being “my baby.”
  • Benicio del Toro put on the fur for the 2010 remake of The Wolfman, a movie he also produced. One note: the spelling was changed from The Wolf Man to The Wolfman between the two films.
  • Final smoking time is about one hour and 45 minutes.
91 Overall Score

Having smoked The Wolfman after smoking the two Wolfies for this review, it's not even close in my mind that the Wolfie is the better cigar. Whether that's attributable to different crops or the smaller ring gauge is up for debate, but I'd reach for a Wolfie well before The Wolfman. Factor in a bit shorter smoke and it becomes a no-brainer. The Wolfman, at least in its current state, lacked the flavor transitions of the Wolfie that make the newer release such a winner. Having read the reviews of the other Little Monsters, the Wolfie easily upholds the trend of very tasty cigars.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.