There were lots of questions to be had two years ago when Pete Johnson released the Little Monsters. How would any of the cigars taste in smaller size? What did a fresh version of The Frank taste like? And then of course there was The Drac question. Because of its boxes, the original version of The Drac is believed by some to have been ruined by paint. As such, many who purchased the cigar believe they never had the opportunity to actually see what the cigar would taste like. There’s a new version of The Drac, one closer to the original, and as such, it’s time to ask the question again.
(Editor’s Note: Rather than rewriting history seven times, we’ve included the same basic history of the Monster Series across all eight reviews.)
Last year, Pete Johnson of Tatuaje began talking about a project known as “fat little monsters,” a take on the 2012 Little Monster samplers, which was a take on the über popular Monster Series. Tatuaje’s origins with monsters dates back to October 2008 when the company released The Frank as part of its Monster Series. The plan was simple, cigars based off of monster characters from films with names, boxes and even some times blends paying homage to each monster’s respective personality. The series has become an annual occurrence, arguably the most anticipated and craze-filled cigar release of each year.
Given the Monster Series name, it should come as no surprise that the cigars themselves are large. As such, in 2012, Johnson created the Little Monsters to allow smokers to see how the first five Monster Series release performed in a smaller format. Pudgy Monsters, which is the final name for the “fat little monster” idea, share many details with the 2012 project, both are 10-count samplers, the boxes for both are rather similar, both began shipping in June of their respective years and more importantly, both are smaller takes on Pete Johnson’s popular Monster Series.
Five of the Pudgy Monsters share the ring gauge of the original Monster Series release and the length of the Little Monsters.
- Frank (5 5/8 x 49), based on The Frank (7 5/8 x 49) and Frank Jr. (5 5/8 x 44)
- Drac (5 x 52), based on The Drac (6 3/4 x 52) and Lil’ Drac (5 x 48)
- Face (4 3/8 x 56), based on The Face (6 3/8 x 56) and Baby Face (4 3/8 x 50)
- Wolf (5 1/2 x 52), based on The Wolfman (7 1/2 x 52) and Wolfie (5 1/2 x 48)
- Mummy (5 3/4 x 47), based The Mummy (7 3/4 x 47) and Mini Mum (5 3/4 x 42)
Last year, the company released The JV-13 (7 1/2 x 52) based on the character Jason. Johnson’s pudgy take on the JV-13 is Jason, a 5 1/2 x 52 cigar.
Each Pudgy Monster box has one of the aforementioned six cigars. The remaining four cigars are split up between two different 4 x 50 releases, Chuck and Tiff—based on the characters of Chucky and Tiffany from Don Mancini’s Child’s Play films, specifically Bride of Chucky.
With these releases, the Monster Series and its related releases, now stand at 19 cigars.
- Tatuaje The Frank (7 5/8 x 49) — October 2008 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars (8,658 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje The Drac (6 3/4 x 52) — October 2009 — 1,300 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars (16,900 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje The Face (6 3/8 x 56) — October 2010 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 1,300 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (21,658 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje The Wolfman (7 1/2 x 52) — October 2011 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 1,300 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (21,658 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Frank Jr. (5 5/8 x 44) — June 2012 — 10,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Lil’ Drac (5 x 48) — June 2012 — 10,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Baby Face (4 3/8 x 50) — June 2012 — 10,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Wolfie (5 1/2 x 48) — June 2012 — 10,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Mini Mum (5 3/4 x 42) — June 2012 — 10,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje The Mummy (7 3/4 x 47) — October 2012 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 3,100 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (39,658 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje The JV13 (7 1/2 x 52) — October 2013 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Frank (5 5/8 x 49) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samples of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Drac (5 x 52) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samples of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Face (4 3/8 x 56) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samples of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Wolf (5 1/2 x 52) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samples of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Mummy (5 3/4 x 47) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samples of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Jason (5 1/2 x 52) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samples of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Chuck (4 x 50) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samples of 2 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje Tiff (4 x 50) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samples of 2 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
The suggested retail price for each 10-count box is $95. There will be 20,000 boxes, which began shipping in mid-June. Like the Little Monsters, the cigars are expected to be released in multiple shipments.
For The Drac blend, this is now the third release: The Drac, Lil’ Drac and (the) Drac.
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Drac
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95.00)
- Date Released: June 18, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 20,000 Boxes of 2 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
I don’t think there is a band that has faded quite like The Drac. The original is quite dull now, which means the brighter band and the oily wrapper make for a nice contrast. There’s a mixture of sweet cocoa and an overpowering red pepper from a relatively full wrapper. The foot is sweeter, less distinct, with notes of graham cracker, acidic pepper and roasted nuts with far less pepper than the wrapper. Cold draws are inconsistent with one being grassy, earthy and having pungent leather; the other two have gigantic red pepper notes with sweet cocoa.
There is a toasty cedar aroma with some notes that smell like rising chocolate chip cookies. The Drac, begins with mouthwatering notes of oatmeal, cedar, earth, creaminess and no signs of pepper. It’s a much tamer version then what I found on two of the cold draws, where the red pepper was truly overwhelming, but it slowly gets back there. The red pepper notes begin to pick up, some dark chocolate and burning cedar notes. There’s also a sweet and salty contrast with the Drac, which isn’t something I would peg as being a regular feature for the blend, but is thoroughly enjoyable. Strength is medium-full with little hint of it increasing.
The oatmeal note remains for the middle parts of the Drac, but it is becoming overwhelmed by other notes, notably the red pepper which is now almost entirely dominating the retrohale. The cocoa note sweetens to more of a milk chocolate, although it’s much more retrained as a secondary note. Temperature of the smoke is warming, but I actually find that it benefits the profile, particularly drowning out every ounce of grassiness and making the profile warmer. Strength is still medium-full. Construction of the Drac leaves a bit to be desired with a lighter needed to fix an uneven burn, particularly towards the second half.
Things harshen a bit as the torpedo begins to thin out. What it is left with is some saltiness now mixed with a sourness, somehow creating a lot of good. While I have little nice to say about the burn of the Drac, the flavors are great: creaminess, remnants of pepper, semi-sweet chocolate on the tongue, cedar and a refreshing citrus and fading pepper note on the retrohale. Strength seems to have receded a bit, still never able to hit the full mark. Eventually, the Drac has had enough and I put my lighter and the Drac down.
- Construction was frustrating. I would recommend cutting off a bit more than you normally would, as that dramatically helped me. That being said, the final third was consistently disappointing with trying to stay lit.
- To help deal with the confusion: the Drac refers to the Pudgy Monster version, The Drac refers to the original.
- As for the paint. Some had issues, others said removing the cigars and letting them rest resolved the issue. I’ve had some that definitely seem infected, others that did not. Tatuaje is not the only manufacturer to have issues with it—Nat Sherman’s Sterling had a few boxes from the first shipment suffer—but it is far and away the most high profile incident.
- The Drac, big The, is the only one of the trio to not come in cellophane, something that arguably might have helped the cigar avoid the paint issue.
- I smoked a Lil’ Drac along with the trio of Dracs I smoked for this review. It’s substantially more medium than I recall it being in 2012 and definitely a cigar that now requires your full attention, as opposed to one that commands your full attention. I smoked a couple Lil’ Dracs when it was first released two years ago, I’d prefer that experience over this one.
- This is one of those rare times in which I find the final third to be the most exciting.
- Much like the Little Monsters, the Pudgy Monsters will ship in waves. While the first one sold out quite quick, the second one should be landing around today at most places. Give it a few weeks and you should not have much issue walking into a store and finding a box to purchase. That’s what Pete Johnson wanted: the ability for those who want the cigar to buy them at will over the course of a few months.
- Inevitably, they will sell out, but even now finding a box of Little Monsters for ~$85, slightly over retail, requires only a bit of patience and hardly any luck.
- After looking at the 19 iterations of the Monster Series next to one another, Brooks Whittington asked me if I thought we had reached a point of too much for the Monster Series. In one regard, no, there are plenty of monster characters left. Johnson’s original plan was to do a total of 13 different characters, although he seems wiling to admit that was ambitious. It does seem a bit challenging to do another one of the Little Monster/Pudgy Monster releases while staying true to the blend as it’s hard to imagine Johnson finding a fourth vitola for something like The Drac.
- If we see another sampler-style release, I would not be shocked if it was something where blends were modified. How about The Frank with the wrapper from The Mummy in the Lil’ Drac size? Or perhaps we have reached that point of excess.
- Strength-wise, the cigar remained pretty much in the medium-full range throughout. Despite some of the notions on the cold draw, it was never overwhelming.
- I’m about halfway through smoking the eight cigars that make up the Pudgy Monsters series and I definitely am not noticing the need for slowing down to be as apparent. Almost unanimously, halfwheel’s reviewers noticed that the Little Monsters were dramatically improved while slowing dow. As far as the Drac was concerned, I was actually impressed with the cigar’s ability to perform while being puffed on quickly and actually preferred it to some of the flavors that occurred when dramatically slowing down. To me, this is a cigar that definitely enjoys being smoked at a bit less than a puff a minute, a bit quicker than my typical smoking rate. Final smoking time was one hour and 15 minutes.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. carries the Pudgy Monsters. If they are backordered, check back.
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The Drac, little the, is not magical, but it is very good. Its size is like a good book, ending leaving me wanting a bit more. But it isn’t without its flaws, construction that ranges from tricky to somewhat declining, but the cigars managed to stay lit—with the assistance of a lighter—until the end, albeit, varying points of end. Does it live up to my hopes and dreams of The Drac? No. Would I be opposed to seeing this on shelves on a regular basis? Absolutely not.