Oh, what could have been.

In 2010, Tatuaje released the first in what was supposed to be annual series of cigars incorporating tobacco that was all grown on one farm. Named La Vérité—which translates to the truth—the project was inspired by brand owner Pete Johnson’s love of wine.

The basic premise of the series was simple: produce two different cigars— La Vérité, a 7 x 47 churchill, and L’Espirit de Vérité, a 5 x 50 robusto— with all of the tobacco sourced from the García family’s La Estrella farm in Estelí, Nicaragua. Although they were released in 2010, the first release of La Vérité was actually composed of tobacco from 2008, while the 2011 release was composed of tobacco from the 2009 crop. In addition, each release was aged in master cabinets for more than a year before being packaged in a variety of formats and sent to retailers.

After the 2009 vintage, the assumption was that La Vérité would continue to be released, but year after year passed, and there was very little news on any new blends.

At an event in 2011, Johnson handed me a robusto and told me that it was a prototype of a L’Espirit de Vérité 2010, something I had never seen before. I meant to smoke it immediately, but life got in the way, and the cigar rested with the rest of my stash until I found it this year and decided to smoke it for this week.

According to Johnson, the 2010 release had no pelo de or in the filler, a key component in the previous two releases. Instead, the cigar was composed of corojo, criollo and Sancti Spiritus tobacco, along with the possibility of some habano.

When asked why the 2010 release never materialized, Johnson wrote in an email, “Never pulled the trigger. Sat on the tobacco and then time got away from me.”

As was announced yesterday, there will be a La Vérité release this year, using 2013 tobacco.

Tatuaje L’Espirit de Verite 2010 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje L’Espirit de Vérité 2010
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: n/a
  • Release Date: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1

Visually, the Tatuaje L’Espirit de Vérité 2010 is an impressive specimen, with a very brown wrapper that is relatively smooth to the touch and has some veins that–while numerous–are not distracting in the least. The cigar is quite hard when squeezed and also features an abundance of oil. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of fragrant cedar, earth, manure, dark chocolate and nutmeg sweetness, while the cold draw brings flavors of cinnamon, barnyard, cedar, espresso beans, black pepper and a bit of a floral note.

The Tatuaje L’Espirit de Vérité 2010 starts off with some of the most fragrant cedar and spice combination I have ever tasted in a cigar, a great combination that really made me sit up a take notice right off the bad. There is some very nice spice on my tongue as well as some black pepper on the retrohale, along with other flavors of anise, creamy almonds, bitter espresso beans, earth, leather and a touch of butter. I also notice some very faint maple sweetness on the retrohale and a nice floral note on the finish. Both the burn and draw are phenomenal so far and smoke production is well above average off the foot. The overall strength hits a point close to medium by the end of the first third, and is still increasing.

Tatuaje L’Espirit de Verite 2010 2

While the cedar and spice combination remains the dominant note in the profile during the second third of the Tatuaje L’Espirit de Vérité, the background flavors are becoming more aggressive. Flavors of buttery popcorn, sweet white chocolate, cinnamon, almonds and barnyard flit in and out, while the maple sweetness on the retrohale has increased noticeably. The floral note on the finish is long gone by the halfway point, but there is a bit more pepper on the retrohale than in the firs third. Construction-wise, the draw remains excellent, but the burn is the star of the show, still razor sharp and never coming close to needing a touch up. The strength did increase a bit compared to the first third, but has seem to stall out at a solid medium by the end of the second third.

Tatuaje L’Espirit de Verite 2010 3

The final third of the Tatuaje L’Espirit de Vérité 2010 features a bit less of the spicy cedar at the forefront of the palate, as it is slowly replaced by a wonderful tart almond note. I am also tasting some fairly strong flavors of lemon citrus, cinnamon, dark cocoa, leather, earth and vanilla beans. The maple sweetness continues to be a major player on the retrohale, where it combines nicely with the pepper that is still present. Neither the burn or draw are giving me any problems at all, and the cigar is a joy to smoke in that regard. The overall strength stops increasing and ends at a solid medium by the time I put the nub down with less than an inch to go.

Tatuaje L’Espirit de Verite 2010 4

Final Notes

  • I have no idea where we were when Johnson gave this to me, but the band I put on the cigar says that I received it more than four years ago, in November of 2011.
  • I was a little surprised at the strength this cigar exhibited considering its age.
  • I liked the 2008 release of the La Vérité, and loved the 2009 version even more, but one thing I know is that both blends were significantly improved after a bit of age, at least to me.
  • While many were confused by the concept of futures, the different packaging options and some of the other oddities surrounding the release at the time, that fact is perhaps the most important of what Johnson intended: cigars that would get better over time.
  • The construction on this cigar was quite simply one of the best I have experienced in the last six months, with a razor sharp burn line for the entire cigar as well as an amazing draw that gave me just the right amount of resistance.

Tatuaje L’Espirit de Verite 2010 ash

  • I took a photograph of the ash that came from this cigar, as it only came off in three large chunks.
  • The cigar smoked for this review was given to halfwheel by Pete Johnson.
  • Tatuaje advertises on halfwheel.
  • The final smoking time for this sample was one hour and 15 minutes.
94 Overall Score

To me, one of the best things about the La Vérité series was just how different they tasted compared to the rest of the Tatuaje portfolio and the 2010 prototype continues that trend. The profile is astoundingly complex with flavors coming hard and fast from every angle, never giving the palate a chance to rest. Throw in the phenomenal construction, and this is one great cigar. It is a shame that it was never produced, but the news of the next release coming this year should dull the pain a bit for fans of the series.

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Brooks Whittington

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.