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In early 2009, it was announced that Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars would be incorporating a somewhat unique idea from the wine industry into the cigar world. He would be releasing a cigar named La Vérité—French for the truth—which would be totally comprised of tobacco from one farm in Estelí, Nicaragua, José “Don Pepín” García’s La Estrella farm in Estelí, Nicaragua.

Every year, the cigars would be rolled and then aged in master cabinets for a whole year or more until the next year’s release; i.e. the 2008’s were rolled in 2009 and released in 2010. This years’ release was rolled in 2010 and released in 2011. In fact, he is not only using tobacco from one year and one farm, he has also changed the traditional cigar aging process, which normally takes place in bales and decided to let the tobacco age largely in the form of a complete cigar.

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There are 50,000 total cigars for the two La Vérité releases.

  • La Vérité — 30,000 Total Cigars
    • 2,300 Boxes of 10
    • 220 Boxes of 25
    • 20 Boxes of 50
    • Five Boxes of 100
  • La Espirit de Vérité — 20,000 Total Cigars
    • 1,500 Boxes of 10
    • 200 Boxes of 25

The unique pricing for these cigars, like in the wine industry, is based on the idea that people get a bigger discount on the actual cigars the earlier they purchase them. For the 2009 vintage, futures pricing of the La Vérité Churchill and L’Esprit de Vérité Robusto are being offered at three different tiers depending on when they are purchased.[ref]After the La Vérités actually ship to stores, the full retail pricing of $25 for La Vérité and $20 for L’Esprit de Vérité will be charged.[/ref] Also note that retailers have to charge you in full before the cigars are sent, in order to take advantage of the futures pricing. The cigars are scheduled to be sent out in late June of 2011.

  • Tier No. 1 was available from March 16, 2011 through April 15, 2011 at a savings of 40 percent: $15 for the Churchill and $12 for the Robusto.
  • Tier No. 2 is available from April 16, 2011 through May 15, 2011 at a savings of 20 percent: $20 for the Churchill and $16 for the Robusto.
  • Tier No. 3 is available from May 16, 2011 through June 15, 2011 at a savings of 10 percent: $22.50 or the Churchill and $18 for the Robusto.

The main difference between the 2008 La Vérité and the 2009 release is that in 2008, Pete used tobacco from only one variety of tobacco (habano criollo), while the 2009 version blends three different varietals from the same farm and year, including pelo de oro, which was also used in the My Father LE 2010 and the My Father LE 2011.

Tatuaje La Verite 2009 2

As with the 2008 release, the 2009 crop features two different vitolas, a Robusto and a Churchill, each comprised of different amounts of three different types of tobacco from the same farm:

  • L’Esprit de Vérité  (5 x 50) — 55 percent Habano Criollo, 35 percent Criollo 98, 10 percent Pelo de Oro
  • La Vérité (7 x 47) — 50 percent Habano Criollo, 35 percent Criollo 98, 15 percent Pelo de Oro

Says Pete Johnson:

The 2009 growing season experienced a lot of sun, much more than in 2008, which is the key to strength in the tobacco.  That, in combination with the three tobacco strains (Habano Criollo, Criollo 98 and Pelo de Oro) make for an exciting blend.  I’m especially fortunate to be able to use the Pelo de Oro which was grown in 2009.  In 2010, it was replaced with Sancti Spiritus, which is very similar, and therefore only a little Pelo de Oro was grown, which probably won’t be enough for the 2010 blend.

Tatuaje La Verite 2009 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje La Vérité 2009
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (La Estrella)
  • Binder: Nicaragua (La Estrella)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (La Estrella)
  • Size: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 47
  • Vitola: Churchill
  • MSRP: $25[ref]See pricing structure above.[/ref]
  • Release Date: June 2011
  • Number of Cigars Released: 30,000 Total Cigars
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1

The cigar itself is impeccably constructed, with a great looking triple cap. The wrapper is a dark red-brown color, has a bit of oil on it, is almost velvety smooth—quite a bit smoother than the 2008 version, as you can see in the photo above. The wrapper smells of dark, slightly bitter coca, coffee and cedar. It has the optimum amount of give when squeezed.

The first third has an interesting opening, with a rich aged tobacco note, along with flavors of cedar, leather and just a tad bit of spice and pepper on the tongue. There is also a sweetness in the background that fades in and out, and I wrote down “butterscotch” to describe it—kind of a creamy, buttery, sweet note that goes well with the rest of the flavors.
Tatuaje La Verite 2009 3

The second third had many of the same notes: the profile remained sweet, although the butterscotch flavor was not as prevalent, and notes of cedar, nuts and dark chocolate flowed in and out, along with that same rich aged tobacco. The pepper from the first third disappeared, but the spice was still around on the tongue.

Tatuaje La Verite 2009 4

The final third kept the same profile, but the aged tobacco note took center stage, along with a stronger sweetness. Flavors were pretty much unchanged from the first two thirds, but there did seem to be a note of almonds on the finish that I quite enjoyed.

Tatuaje La Verite 2009 5

Final Notes

  • This is not the most complex cigar in the world in terms of flavor changes, but I really don’t think that is the main point that Johnson is trying to hit. The Flavors it does have are amazingly rich, and the profile is right up my alley for a medium strength cigar. The profile reminded me a bit of the Illusione Singularé.
  • I have to say, I am very impressed with what Johnson is trying to do with this cigar—not just in pricing, but also the idea of using tobacco from one farm—I think that anything different is a good thing for the industry and I love the fact that this idea pushes the boundaries of what people are used to in the cigar world.
  • While the churchill has 15 percent pelo de oro in the blend, I honestly don’t think this cigar got much above a medium in strength.
  • Unlike the 2008 release, the 2009 release will feature secondary bands. The band will have Tatuaje printed on it and will be Gold and white on the La Vérité and silver and while on the L’Esprit de Vérité.
  • There were some well documented wrapper problems with the La Vérité 2008, but if all of the wrappers on the 2009 crop were like the one on the one I smoked, that will not be a problem with the 2009 release.
  • The burn and draw were absolutely perfect for the entire smoke. I never had to touch up the burn at all.
  • The cigar seemed to burn a bit slowly and the final smoking time was one hour and 55 minutes.
91 Overall Score

The biggest questions I had before smoking this cigar was: is it better than the 2008 release? and is it worth buying a box sight unseen, three months before they are released? Well, I can safely say that the answer to both questions is yes. The 2009 La Vérité is quite a bit better than its 2008 brother. Honestly, at the first tier futures price, this cigar is a great buy and I will be picking up a couple of boxes, post haste.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

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.

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