In April, Pete Johnson, owner of Tatuaje, announced that three previous Tatuaje releases— Avion 13, Tatuaje 7th, and the Tatuaje T110—would ship to stores with Mexican San Andrés wrappers for the first time.

Considering the wrapper choice, it is no great surprise that the moniker he chose for the series was Tuxtla, since San Andrés Tuxtla is the name of the city and municipality that is home to the vast majority of Mexico’s premium cigar industry, including its tobacco growing region.

“I’m excited for people to try these cigars,” Pete Johnson told halfwheel when he announced the series in April. “The San Andrés wrapper really shows how much the wrapper can change the flavor of a cigar. We are very particular when using San Andrés making sure we use it on blends that can stand up to the heavier flavor. I think these blends work perfectly.”

My review today is the Avion 13 Tuxtla, a a 6 7/8 x 52 perfecto that is made up of a San Andrés wrapper covering a Nicaraguan double binder and filler. The original Avion 13—which incorporated the same interior blend but used a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper—debuted in August 2013 and was the fifth in a series of annual releases of box-pressed perfectos which was born out of Tatuaje’s Fausto line.

85 Overall Score

Changing nothing but the wrapper on an otherwise enjoyable blend has always been an iffy proposition to me: will the change accentuate the enjoyable aspects of the cigar, or will it just muddle up the flavor profile? In the case of the Avion 13 Tuxtla, I would have to go with the latter choice. Sure, it does not have the overt and sometimes overwhelming strength that is present in the regular Avion blend—it tops out at a medium-full—but it is also missing quite a bit of the complexity that the original blend had in spades. In addition, I was expecting more sweetness from the Mexican San Andrés wrapper that just never seemed to appear. In the end, the Avion 13 Tuxtla is nicely balanced and has decent construction, but the original Avion blend beats it in pretty much every way.

However, this is not the only version of the Avion 13 Tuxtla that has been released this year. A “prerelease” version of the blend is included in the 2022 CRA Freedom Sampler. According to Johnson, the Tuxtla bands had not arrived before the CRA version was being packaged up, so decided to use the old Tatuaje Limited band that was used for the original Mexican Experiment releases instead.

“Originally the CRA pack was supposed to be released much earlier and the delay ended up putting the CRA version and the Tuxtla release out around the same time,” said Johnson to halfwheel. “Obviously this cigar has no relation to the (Mexican Experiment).”

When I was comparing the two different versions of the cigar—one from the boxes and one from the 2022 CRA Freedom Sampler—there were some noticeable differences between them beyond just the bands, specifically when it came to how the feet were cut.

“We used a batch that was made with a slightly different mold set and that’s probably why you see the cuts at the feet slightly different,” said Johnson. “No difference in the blending just maybe a minor difference in the shape at the foot due to the mold.”

The Avion 13 Tuxtla has an MSRP of $12.50 per cigar and is limited to 2,000 boxes of 25 cigars that were shipped to retailers in June. There are also a total of 6,000 individual cigars—one of which is included in each Spring 2022 CRA Freedom Sampler that also began shipping in June—bringing the grand total of Tatuaje Avion Tuxtla released to 56,000 cigars.

  • Tatuaje T110 Tuxtla (4 3/8 x 52) — 2,000 Boxes of 25 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars) — $10 (Box of 25, $250)
  • Tatuaje 7th Tuxtla (5 5/8 x 46) — 2,000 Boxes of 25 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars) — $9.50 (Box of 25, $237.50)
  • Tatuaje Avion 13 Tuxtla (6 7/8 x 52) — 2,000 Boxes of 25 Cigars & 6,000 Single Cigars (56,000 Total Cigars) — $12.50 (Box of 25, $312.50)
85 Overall Score

Changing nothing but the wrapper on an otherwise enjoyable blend has always been an iffy proposition to me: will the change accentuate the enjoyable aspects of the cigar, or will it just muddle up the flavor profile? In the case of the Avion 13 Tuxtla, I would have to go with the latter choice. Sure, it does not have the overt and sometimes overwhelming strength that is present in the regular Avion blend—it tops out at a medium-full—but it is also missing quite a bit of the complexity that the original blend had in spades. In addition, I was expecting more sweetness from the Mexican San Andrés wrapper that just never seemed to appear. In the end, the Avion 13 Tuxtla is nicely balanced and has decent construction, but the original Avion blend beats it in pretty much every way.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Avion 13 Tuxtla
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 7/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Perfecto
  • MSRP: $12.50 (Box of 25, $312.50)
  • Release Date: June 2022
  • Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Boxes of 25 Cigars & 6,000 Single Cigars (56,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

At almost seven inches long, the Tatuaje Avion 13 Tuxtla is difficult to miss, especially when you throw in the fact that it is a box-pressed perfecto vitola. The cigar is covered in a dark espresso brown wrapper that features some obvious mottling and is smooth to the touch. In addition, there are numerous veins and bumps visible and the cigar has some nice give when it is squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is relatively faint and includes notes of earth, cedar, cinnamon, dark chocolate, leather and generic sweetness. The aroma emanating from the foot is quite a bit more bold, with a strong peanut creaminess leading the way, followed by cocoa nibs, espresso beans, barnyard and light vanilla. After a Dickman cut, one cigar has a rich bitter dark chocolate on the cold draw, while the other two have more creamy nuts; regardless, all three feature additional notes of nutmeg, AllSpice, leather tack, gritty earth, tobacco, sourdough bread and more vanilla sweetness.

Despite the small tapered foot, the Avion 13 Tuxtla lights up fairly easily and the first few puffs bring not only spice and black pepper along with flavors of anise and earth. Those quickly transition to a main combination of cocoa nibs and roasted coffee beans, followed by cinnamon, earth, peanuts, leather tack, sourdough bread and a vegetal note. The retrohale features both black pepper and honey sweetness, but neither are very strong at the moment, nor do they seem to be getting more aggressive anytime soon. Flavor starts out just under medium and the body is at mild-plus, while the strength ends the first third at a point close to the medium mark. In terms of construction, the draw is excellent after a Dickman cut and there is plenty of thick, gray smoke, and while the burn is not exactly razor sharp, none of the cigars need any attention from my lighter so far.

There is a bit of shift in the main flavors during the second third, as the coffee beans note recedes to the background and the dark chocolate flavor has morphed into a powdery cocoa nibs note. Secondary flavors include the aforementioned coffee beans as well as leather, hay, creamy peanuts, gritty earth, anise and toasted bread. Compared to the first third, there seems to be slightly more of both the honey sweetness and black pepper on the retrohale after the halfway point, but it is still not enough to really affect the profile in any meaningful way. Flavor increases to a solid medium while the body remains just under medium, while the strength has bumped slightly to a solid medium and is still increasing. Both the draw and the smoke production continue on their excellent path, but the burn on all three cigars needs some attention with my lighter, albeit minor in nature.

The powdery cocoa nibs flavor easily continues to be the top flavor in the profile of the Tatuaje during the final third, followed by secondary notes of almonds, hay, coffee beans, leather and cinnamon that make themselves known at various points. The retrohale features about the same amount of honey sweetness and black pepper as the second third, but there is a new mineral saltiness present on my lips that comes and goes until the end of the cigar. Flavor increases enough to reach a point just over medium, body remains at a solid medium and the strength ends at medium-full. Construction-wise, the draw and smoke production are giving me no issues whatsoever, but the burn continues to be a minor issue that needs correction on two of the three cigars.

Final Notes

  • Johnson has confirmed to halfwheel that he is planning to add more cigars to the Tuxtla series in the future and that some of the releases could end up becoming full production offerings.
  • All three cigars I smoked for this review were taken from a box, none of them were the version released in the 2022 CRA Freedom Sampler. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to smoke one of the cigars from the Freedom Sampler to compare to this one.
  • As noted above, the Avion blend is an offshoot of Tatauje’s Fausto blend, itself an offshoot of the T110 blend, which in turn was inspired by Tatuaje’s Thermonuclear cigar from 2005. If you want to read a step-by-step history, my colleague Patrick Lagreid did an excellent job detailing every aspect in his review of the Tatuaje Avion Limited here.
  • I am a bit unimpressed with how the green and white colors of the secondary band clash with the red and gold colors of the Avion band. Those green and white colors work with the look of the other two cigars—the T110 and the 7th—but on this cigar it looks like it was put on there because it was on the other two and the company really did not have a choice.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three cigars averaged two hours and 14 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Tatuaje Avion 13 Tuxtla cigars, site sponsors Corona Cigar Co. and Famous Smoke Shop have them in stock.
85 Overall Score

Changing nothing but the wrapper on an otherwise enjoyable blend has always been an iffy proposition to me: will the change accentuate the enjoyable aspects of the cigar, or will it just muddle up the flavor profile? In the case of the Avion 13 Tuxtla, I would have to go with the latter choice. Sure, it does not have the overt and sometimes overwhelming strength that is present in the regular Avion blend—it tops out at a medium-full—but it is also missing quite a bit of the complexity that the original blend had in spades. In addition, I was expecting more sweetness from the Mexican San Andrés wrapper that just never seemed to appear. In the end, the Avion 13 Tuxtla is nicely balanced and has decent construction, but the original Avion blend beats it in pretty much every way.

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.