The next Tatuaje Exclusive Series will celebrate the 100th anniversary of a New York City store, Barclay Rex. There are lots of famous cigar stores in New York City, Barclay Rex might not be one of them nationally, at least compared to Nat Sherman and Davidoff, but it’s obviously got quite a bit of history.

The store’s website describes the company’s history:

In 1910, Vincent Nastri, a pipe maker from Salerno Italy, made a very bold move by taking his craft one step further. He ventured into the world of tobacco and almost a century later, his vision still thrives in downtown Manhattan. The store was opened on Barclay and Church Street and taking the cue “a dog is man’s best friend”, Nastri, with his Great Dane Rex in tow, set out to create Barclay Rex.

Barclay Rex was one of the first stores in New york City to carry Tatuaje, thus one of the reasons Johnson is showing his appreciation by doing this cigar for the store’s anniversary. According to Adam Panarella from Barclay Rex, they had a major hand in the development of the blend and Pete Johnson has been quoted as saying “it’s the Pork Tenderloin’s big brother.”

The box of the cigar looks like this.

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Honestly, I am not the biggest fan of the choice of band, and at this point that would be the only negative for me. It sports a RC or T110 retro-colored band with gold trim and a La Vérité style front with the words Barclay Rex 100th. I just don’t know if I like the elegant gold mixed with the casual retro-colored band.

Interestingly, this release is also the first time the Exclusive Series band has been used. This same band will be used on all of the future exclusive releases, i.e. single store releases, with just the name in the middle of the band changing. According to Johnson, they are a play on old Cuban retro bands used for diplomats.

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  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Barclay Rex 100th Anniversary
  • Country of Origen: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $10.00 (Boxes of 25, $250.00)
  • Date Released: November 2010
  • Number of Cigars Released: 195 Boxes of 25 Cigars (4,875 Total Cigars)

Looking at this cigar I can’t help but think this is one of the prettiest broadleaf wrappers I have seen from Tatuaje in a while. It has a beautiful dark brown color with a bit of a reddish tint to it. The color is very evenly spread across the wrapper with no splotches or anything. It’s almost too pretty to be a broadleaf wrapper. It has a seamless wrap with some veins here and there and it has a perfectly applied triple cap with a pigtail although it’s not exactly like the pork tenderloins pigtail, Its more of a cross between The Face cap and a normal pigtail meaning its a pigtail but not quite as fanned out as the Pork Tenderloins. The foot is also unfinished giving the cigar just a great overall look. The pre-light aroma is full of leather, chocolate and an overall sweet tobacco note. The cold draw is full of cedar, chocolate, and a touch of pepper, overall a very nice rich earthy pre-light.

Starting off in the first third, I am immediately hit with a massive amount of pepper and spice. It fills my mouth and my nasal cavity and tingles all the way down my throat. It’s a very intense spicy and peppery finish just washing all over my tongue. After a few minutes the cigar settles nicely and I start to get a load of flavors, wood, leather, chocolate, and a touch of cinnamon on the finish. At this point in the cigar the spice and pepper is just balanced so perfectly with the bold flavors I am getting. It’s a very well rounded cigar.

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Coming into the Second Third the cigar shifts dramatically. It gets very sweet, the leather becomes very heavy and the cinnamon notes are washing in and out with every puff. There is a real creaminess to the finish and I am getting some coffee notes here and there. While I am experiencing all these flavors the pepper and spice is still there in perfect amounts just balancing everything out. The burn is perfect and the draw is producing massive amounts of smoke. So far its an absolute pleasure to smoke this cigar…

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Finishing up in the second third the cigar is just moving along nicely. I am enjoying every minute of it. There is a ton of flavor and just the right amount of spice. The finish is long and at times I have to sit back and take a breather. This cigar is very strong and it hits me going into the final third but again it’s all about the balance, the large flavors and all the spice which balance out the strength and make it bearable. Leather, wood, coffee, cinnamon note, and a great sweet, salty combination make this cigar easy to nub.

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Final Notes:

  • I will say that this is definitely stronger and more spicy than the Pork Tenderloin, but if I had to guess I would say the blend was tweaked a little because I found this to be much more flavorful and more balanced. Unless it’s just the vitola playing tricks on me or the broadleaf crop is different enough to make a difference.
  • The key to this cigars success is the flavor, complexity, balance and overall construction. To me it had the entire package and it excelled in all of those categories. It’s no surprise that this profile is right up my alley but I think this cigar is going to be loved by a lot of people.
  • Billy Rella and I were speaking on the phone and we both agreed that this cigar tastes like a New York pretzel, a perfect combination of full flavor, sweetness and a salty, spicy balance. How appropriate right?
  • Many times during the process of me smoking this cigar for the review I kept saying, “this cigar reminds me of the SW Maduro.” It really did. Granted it is more powerful but flavor wise I found it to be very similar to the SW Maduro which is never a bad thing!
  • There are only 195 boxes of 25 made and I can tell you this much, I put another order in for a box. This is definitely a cigar I want to smoke a few years from now. It has so much strength and flavor that I think it will mellow out into something even more enjoyable, the perfect cigar to age so to speak.
  • The Barclay Rex 100th should be shipping out on Tuesday the Nov. 9 for people who preordered.
  • Final smoking time was around two hours.
93 Overall Score

If you are a fan of full-bodied, full-flavored, full strength cigars than this will a home run for you. Even if you don’t like full strength cigars, I think this will be enjoyed by all because the flavors are there and are so in your face that it makes you forget about the strength or at least tolerate it. This cigar is what I have come to expect from Pete Johnson and his broadleaf creations. It certainly seems to be his go to type of blend and I for one understand and am glad because we could use more cigars like this on the market. Its all about the flavor and balance and this cigar has all of that and then some.

Steve Valle

Steve Valle wrote for Smoking Stogie, a precursor to halfwheel, from 2010-2011.