In October 2010, Tatuaje released its third installment in its Monster Series: The Face. It was a significant release for a couple of reasons: first, it was the first “modern” monster to be used for the Monster Series project, following the release of The Frank (2009) and The Drac (2010); second it featured a new, smokable band that didn’t bear the Tatuaje name but instead made reference to the monster it was named for.
The Face draws its inspiration from the character Leatherface of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies, the first of which was released in 1974. There have been a total of six sequels, continuations and remakes since the original film, including a 2003 remake, a prequel in 2006, and Texas Chainsaw 3D, which was released in 2013.
The film’s premise revolves around Jed Sawyer, who as a child wore a leather mask to hide facial deformities and tumors, only to replace it with a mask made out of human skin later in his life. He and his cannibal family use sledgehammers and chainsaws to kill their victims, unsuspecting visitors to the rural Texas area where they live, using their flesh for meals.
Pete Johnson of Tatuaje replicated the Leatherface mask by using a piece of Ecuadorian Connecticut tobacco in place of a band, a somewhat jaggedly cut piece of leaf that does a fine job conveying the cigar’s relation to the movie. In addition, the original Tatuaje The Face was packaged in brown paper—similar to that of butcher paper—with a burlap band in place of a ribbon, all in a jagged and blood splattered wood box.
(Editor’s Note: Rather than rewriting history seven times, we’ve included the same basic history of the Monster Series across all eight reviews.)
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.
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)
Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Face
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Size: 4 3/8 Inches
Ring Gauge: 56
Vitola: Robusto Gordo
MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95.00)
Release Date: June 18, 2014
Number of Cigars Released: 20,000 Boxes of 1 Cigar (20,000 Total Cigars)
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
There are two parts of the Tatuaje Face that I feel compelled to check first: the unfinished foot and the tobacco leaf band. On the first cigar smoked, the band seems a little bit uneven and placed a bit higher than on the others, though I’m not quite so concerned with the cut as a bit of variety only lends to its authenticity. The foot has some variation as far as the amount of tobacco hanging off the end; on the first cigar it isn’t quite entirely closed, but seems to get about 80% of the filler covered, while on another sample it’s completely covering the foot and there’s a good bit sort of dangling off the end of the cigar. The cigar itself is smooth with an interesting color to the wrapper leaf that reminds me a bit of the rosewood and walnut woods I recall seeing some humidors made from. There is hardly a vein on the wrapper, and the ones that are there are so small that they are barely noticeable, but there is a good bit of toothiness and a slight sheen from the leaf’s oils. Only one cigar showed its seams and none had any visual issues beyond that. There’s a touch of give to the cigar, not a lot save for just one spot that shows more give than the rest. The pre-light aroma shows a leading note of tobacco that has notes of dry leather, soil and dry wood, while the cold draw is spot on as far as air flow, with a faint soil note coming through along with some sweet pepper and leather.
It seems that that the amount of wrapper leaf covering the foot has a pretty substantial impact on the cigar’s beginning; the first cigar that I smoked didn’t have much and as such the few puffs of aren’t terribly peppery on the palate; with the second cigar, the increase of excess wrapper leaf at the foot delivered much more in the way of sweet earth and pepper. Either way, a breeze that put some of the smoke back in my face lit up my nose with plenty of black pepper picked up, again with just a touch of sweetness. There isn’t quite as much on a subsequent retrohale though, with notes of dry soil, white pepper and a subtle sweetness. There was some variance in how long it took the flavors of the Tatuaje Face to really start to open up, but when they do, expect a hearty helping of Mexican terroir, and a good showing of it that has become fairly synonymous with the leaves used by the My Father Cigars S.A. factory. Through the first third the technical performance has been great, with a straight and even burn line, and tight ash with distinct puff rings that holds on well past an inch in length. The flavors continue to be led by a slightly dry earth note that delivers plenty of stimulation on the palate, with pepper coming and going, never reaching overpowering levels but consistently making its presence known.
I’m surprised by the sweetness I find in the cigar, often a follow-up to the earth and pepper notes that are a bit more prominent, which in turn creates an interesting back-and-forth between the somewhat grittier soil note and the subtle chocolate sweetness that comes after it. The core flavors of the Tatuaje Face start distilling and intensifying by the midway point, almost becoming too focused at times and not leaving space for the blend to breathe or have any complementary notes added. A retrohale just past the midway point shows a lighter profile that is very manageable, still with a bit of soil and pepper but not in the same quantity or intensity as what the palate seems to get. The burn has by and large been good; the one time when the burn line got off-center, it corrected itself quickly to progress evenly by the midway point.
The final third of the Tatuaje Face is marked by a distinct sweetness that has me thinking brown sugar as well as a touch of grill to it—not grilled meats mind you, but the smell of an actual grill after it’s just been used. There is still a good bit of pepper left in the smoke, particularly when you allow it to sit in the mouth for a beat or two. A note of peanut butter jumps in as the burn line crosses the band, and while it’s in the background of the overall profile, it’s still fairly intense. The retrohales have picked up a pinch more pepper, still very manageable but a bit more upfront and pointed than they had been earlier in the cigar. The cigar continues to perform well both technically and flavor-wise, until the point when the heat simply overtakes the flavors and it’s time to put the cigar to rest.
- I’m not sure there’s a factory that consistently puts out cigars with quality Mexican San Andrés wrappers better than My Father Cigars S.A. is doing at the moment.
- The smokeable band continues to be an interesting idea, with La Gloria Cubana using it on the Trunk Show line, but it’s not really being used elsewhere. One advantage is that you never have to worry about damaging the wrapper when you take the band off.
- The flip side is that everyone knows what you’re smoking, which I’m not always a big fan of. Personally, I equate taking the bands off cigars to cutting the sleeve tag off of suits.
- As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a big movie fan, let alone horror movies; as such I’ve yet to see any of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies.
- In addition to the movies, there has been a comic book series and video game bearing the Texas Chainsaw Massacre name.
- Brooks Whittington reviewed the original Tatuaje The Face, as well as the Tatuaje Baby Face from 2012’s Little Monsters.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 15 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar has carried the Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters but appears to be out of stock at the moment.
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I'd forgotten how good the Tatuaje Face blend can be, combining a strong and somewhat unique showing of Mexican San Andrés with backing notes of pepper and sweetness that alternates between chocolate and peanut butter to create some complex flavors that hit my palate in nearly all the right places. The big ring gauge leaves a bit lacking for me, and I certainly don't think it's better than the Baby Face's smaller ring gauge, both in terms of what that cigar offered in flavor as well as mouth feel. But that aside, the Face is a remarkably enjoyable cigar in a bit shorter and much more readily available format than than original.