There have been a lot of legendary releases wrapped in broadleaf, but, in my opinion, no manufacturer deserves more credit for bringing it back into the lexicon of the American cigar market than Tatuaje.
Pete Johnson has released a plethora of broadleaf cigars over the years a few of which are amongst the highest-rated cigars on this site. Many of Tatuaje’s broadleaf-wrapped cigar sport a Reserva secondary band and last year Johnson showed off a massive box containing 10 vitolas, all broadleaf -wrapped versions of Tatuaje’s Selección de Cazadores, i.e. Brown Label, series and wearing the black on gold secondary bands.
The Tatuaje Reserva Broadleaf Collection is a throwback not only to Tatuaje’s roots, but also a unique packaging option of yesteryear.
- Tatuaje Havana Cazadores Reserva Broadleaf (6 3/8 x 43) — $11 (Boxes of 10. $110)
- Tatuaje Unicos Reserva Broadleaf (6 1/8 x 52) — $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
- Tatuaje Noellas Reserva Broadleaf (5 1/8 x 42) — $9 (Boxes of 10, $90)
- Tatuaje Tainos Reserva Broadleaf (7 5/8 x 49) — $13 (Boxes of 10, $130)
- Tatuaje Especiales Reserva Broadleaf (7 1/2 x 38) — $11 (Boxes of 10, $110)
- Tatuaje Regios Reserva Broadleaf (5 1/2 x 50) — $11 (Boxes of 10, $110)
- Tatuaje Reserva SW Broadleaf (7 x 47) — $13 (Boxes of 10, $130)
- Tatuaje Reserva J21 Broadleaf (5 x 50) — $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
- Tatuaje Reserva K222 Broadleaf (5 7/8 x 52) — $14 (Boxes of 10, $140)
- Tatuaje Cojonu 2003 Reserva Broadleaf (6 1/2 x 52) — $14 (Boxes of 10, $140)
As expected, the boxes are massive.
In the case of the Especiales Reserva Broadleaf, it’s part of the first six sizes of the Selección de Cazadores, aptly abbreviated as HUNTER, the first letter of each of the six vitolas. Cazadores translates to hunter, which was also the name of one of Johnson’s dogs.
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Especiales Reserva Broadleaf
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 7 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 38
- Vitola: Lancero
- MSRP: $11 (Boxes of 10, $110)
- Release Date: Feb. 14, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Right out of the box, there are no surprises. It’s a broadleaf version of the Tatuaje Especiales, a cigar I’ve smoked countless times. The secondary band and dark wrapper are new, but the 7 1/2 x 38 size and pigtail are not. Aroma off the broadleaf is also familiar with a big helping of baker’s chocolate, acidity, barnyard and some spice towards the back. The foot is somewhat similar, though the chocolate is a touch sweeter, there’s a lot more leather, some buttermilk and a bit stronger than the medium-plus profile. Cold draw is a bit more muted with some barnyard, muted; leather, muted; passionfruit, mild; and some ammonia, also muted. Of note, two samples seem a bit toasty, even though my lighter hasn’t left the table yet.
It begins toasty and peppery thanks to a sharp jalapeño note. There’s some Lay’s potato chips, a sharp acorn flavor and some lemon cream. Despite retrohales, the flavor is concentrated almost exclusively to the mouth and a lot of that is in the middle of the tongue. Within five minutes, a tale of two cigars begins. On two samples, there’s some toasted flavors, cream cheese, roasted flavors and a wasabi pepper that really excels on the finish. The other cigar has a very sharp pepper, creaminess, wet leaves, ketchup and honey mustard. The difference between those two experiences is the draw. It’s never great, but one cigar forces me to make two additional cuts, and while that cigar had more flavors, it is dominated by the sharp pepper, something likely caused by my puffing technique. Burn is fantastic with inch-plus chunks of even ash. Strength is medium-full, an uptick from the initial puffs of the Tatuaje, body is full and flavor is medium-plus.
Outside of a toastiness, I don’t find much similarity between my Tatuaje Especiales Reserva Broadleaf experiences. On the samples with better draw, the toastiness dominates in more of a campfire note and some oak. Strawberry, buttermilk and a pepper accent the core with the pepper starting in the middle, expanding outside of the tongue and then covering the inside of the cheeks. Oddly, the sample with the draw issues has a lot more complexity, though it’s only from puffs when the cigar is able to deliver ample amounts of smoke to my mouth. Those complexities include toastiness, walnuts, mushrooms, a mayonnaise-like creaminess and a wasabi pepper. Construction isn’t getting any better on the one sample, something that I am 99 percent confident is due to a very hard knot right around the band of the cigar.
Unexpectedly, I’m able to find quite a bit of common ground on all three cigars in the final third. Toastiness still dominates, but it’s joined by some sweet chocolate that reminds me of German chocolate cake, passionfruit, some rice cakes and a mixture of red pepper flakes and wasabi. It certainly retains the toasty and peppery mixture, something that seems appropriate given the heavy nicotine content in the final third. As is often the case, particularly with lanceros, I’m forced to pay attention to the burn quite a bit, puffing a bit quicker to prevent the cigar from going out.
- There were some questions in Patrick Lagreid’s review of the Unicos Reserva Broadleaf about how we decided which cigars to review and when. It’s all pretty much random as far as scheduling. Brooks Whittington chose which sizes he wanted to review and I opted for the Especiales given that I was curious to see how the broadleaf affected the profile.
- While it’s not shelf-friendly, I love the packaging. The most recent similar use that comes to mind is the Cohiba Selección Reserva 2003.
- On that note, the 10-count boxes will help retailers immensely.
- For those wondering, the cigars come in cellophane.
- A few years ago, a product like this would have brought the industry to a standstill. Now? It didn’t seem to garner any special fanfare. I certainly understand some of it, not only is there a ton of new cigars, but there’s a lot of new Tatuaje and L’Atelier products that have hit the market recently–and even more on the way.
- Each of the Broadleaf Collection cigars contains a modified Reserva band that features the word “Broadleaf” on the bottom of the band. This is particularly useful in the case of cigars like the K222, where the normal cigar has a Reserva band, and the Noella and Regio Reserva which have been released in broadleaf form before.
- For those unwilling to do the math, there’s no discount for buying a 10-count box of each compared to the sampler. Both would add up to 100 cigars for $1,200 at MSRP.
- Two of the three samples I smoked had a knot right where the band is. This is not the first time over the last few years I’ve experienced draw issues with a Tatuaje lancero. The other sample was not great draw-wise either, but certainly nothing like the first cigar.
- As I’ve mentioned before, draw and burn issues affect flavor and this was very evident in the first sample, which suffered from me having to double and triple puff. For those wondering what that looks like, it’s a process where I would take a puff, though little to no smoke would emerge in my mouth, I’d then take another and sometimes a third puff until I got smoke in my mouth. That smoke was not particularly pleasant flavor-wise thanks to the increased temperature.
- On that note, while I bring a glass of still water out with me to smoke, I try to avoid drinking any of it at all cost as the water does affect the flavor of a cigar. That first sample, the one with the worst draw issues, led me to want to drink a lot of water, though I avoided it for the most part.
- I only recall smoking one regular Especiales in the last year or so. That cigar didn’t have any draw issues.
- Strength starts medium-plus and ended full with a ramp up right after the middle portion of the cigar. The latter half is not for the faint of heart and the strongest lancero I’ve smoked outside of the Fuente Fuente OpusX Maduro Phantom.
- Tatuaje advertises on halfwheel.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time is a lengthy two hours and 10 minutes.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Corona Cigar Co., Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136) and Smoke Inn all carry the Tatuaje Broadleaf Collection, though in various configurations and offers.
Even on the best of the three samples, the draw was not good. Not "not good for a lancero," rather not good at all. I don't have half of the samples from the 10 we purchased, as some were sent to other staff members for their own personal smoking, but I found another knot on one sample while the other one didn't show any hard spots. In many ways, I wonder what could have been. I have no doubt that this would still be a very toasty and peppery cigar, but I wonder if the secondary flavors—which were oftentimes very complex—would have shown through more.