It’s refreshing to see companies and individuals in the cigar industry try new things, whether it be using a new varietal of tobacco, experimenting with new sizes, or in the case of Tatuaje’s La Vérité, borrowing a page from the wine world in how the cigars are offered to customers.
When the project debuted in 2010, the cigars were offered with futures pricing; effectively early retailers paid a lower cost than those who waited, with savings of either 10, 20 or 40 percent. The expectation was that the tiered pricing would be passed onto consumers, but it never really happened, and as such Tatuaje eventually scrapped the plan.
The first two releases came in 2010 and 2011, using tobacco from the 2008 and 2009 crop years, respectively. While it looked like this could very well become an annual release, the project virtually disappeared until late 2014, when Johnson began teasing a new installment that would use tobacco from the 2013 crop. Initially the cigars were targeted for August 2015, though because of the tobacco a caveat was issued that said it might not be until December that they’d be ready.
That target date came and went as well, with a new one of spring 2016 being announced at the start of the year. The cigar made an appearance at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, though it wasn’t until November 2016 that they finally began shipping on a widespread basis. For those interested, the cigars were rolled between Feb. 2 and May 29, 2015.
As with the first two releases, this third installment is offered in two sizes: La Vérité 2013 (7 x 47, $20) and L’espirit de Vérité 2013 (5 x 50, $16). Production of the former is set at 21,600 cigars, split into 1,910 boxes of 10, 72 boxes of 25, six boxes of 50 and four boxes of 100. The smaller L’Espirit de Vérité 2013 gets a slightly larger production: 24,400 cigars with 2,230 boxes of 10 and 76 boxes of 25 being created.
All of the tobacco comes from the García family’s La Estrella farm in Estelí, Nicaragua, with 55 percent criollo 98, 23 percent habano and 22 percent corojo 99. Johnson considered it to be a special crop that merited the creation of another La Vérité release, saying that “I found that the blend is so concentrated, I wanted to keep the power in the cigar,” and noting that it is a cigar built to age.
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje L’espirit de Vérité 2013
- 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: $16 (Boxes of 10, $160; Boxes of 25, $400)
- Release Date: Oct. 31, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,230 Boxes of 10 Cigars and 76 Boxes of 25 Cigars (24,400 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Minus the fairly ornate primary band and white secondary band that bears the Tatuaje name, the L’espirit de Vérité 2013 is a fairly standard looking cigar with an even shade of brown that is tanned but not overly dark. The wrapper has a few veins that run its length, but nothing out of the ordinary, and a fine grit texture on the fingers. The roll is generally firm with flat seams and occasional spots that show some give, with a tidy cap on each sample. The foot offers a very enjoyable aroma of slightly sweet breads, macadamia, and a small amount of light pepper. The cold draw has a touch of resistance that is just right, while the flavors are a bit heavier; the bread is a touch thicker and offers either no sweetness or a more syrupy sweetness, depending on the sample. Pepper is fairly mild here as well.
The first puffs of the Tatuaje L’espirit de Vérité 2013 repeat the bread flavor picked up before the cigar was lit, and it takes just a few puffs to encounter more pepper than I found on the pre-light aroma and cold draw combined. The smoke has an almost surprising warmth to it, both in character and actual temperature, and my first retrohale is fairly peppery. As the burn line makes its way through the first third, the ash begins to curve and flower a bit, while the pepper straightens out into a clean and bright sensation in the nose. The flavor remains a bit milder, picking up a bit of butter and dry wood, the latter focusing on the front of the tongue, but it’s far from lacking most of the time.
Other than a bit more pepper towards the from of the tongue, the second leg of the Tatuaje L’espirit de Vérité 2013 takes the baton seamlessly from the first, continuing with base notes of wheat bread and woods, though the blend stops short of getting overly dry or toasty, something I appreciate as doing so would seemingly detract from its depth. The midpoint of the cigar is where the fulcrum lies, as it is in the space of about an inch or so that the cigar either makes a marked evolution of flavor and strength, or stays truer to the course it’s been on; either way it goes, the results are quite positive. The tail end of the second third manifests as either surprisingly mellow on the palate, though the pepper has taken some noticeable steps back towards prominence and now rates as being a distinct contributor to the flavor, or suddenly full and noticeably deeper in flavor than it had been previously.
With the second third generally providing small increases in pepper, the start of the final third provides a sizable one as the overall profile suddenly becomes much richer and fuller. The wood note that has been part of the cigar is almost instantly transformed into fresh cut lumber that is deep in flavor, while the pepper shows its own complexity as well as contributing significantly to the complexity of the cigar. While the cigar did a good job avoiding getting too toasty in the second third, it can’t hold off in the final third, finally succumbing to a bit of toast and char not much later. With the burn line remaining generally quite even and the draw almost spot-on, the combustion rate of the Tatuaje L’espirit de Vérité 2013 has also slowed a bit. It’s only in the final inch or so when the flavor gets to be a bit too much, picking up notes of steak sauce and bark that would be better in less intensity, as well as if they had been present prior to this point. The pepper becomes a bit more blunt on the palate, a drastic departure from where it was at the end of the first third, though thankfully it stays pleasant on retrohales.
- While the flavor progression is generally the same, the earlier the ramp up begins, the stronger the cigar finishes. While I like having a bit more fullness in the second half, it does come at the expense of the final inch or so.
- I’ve always liked the shape of the La Verite bands; their design reminds me of large, antique mirrors.
- I do find it interesting that a 5 x 50 now feels relatively tiny given the shift of cigar sizes.
- For some reason, the final third of the third sample really struggled to burn and stay lit. It was the only technical issue I had with any of the cigars.
- During the 2017 Puro Sabor festival, the García family hosted lunch at Finca La Estrella, the farm where the tobacco for this cigar comes from and that is adjacent to the My Father Cigars S.A. factory.
- La Vérité is French for the truth, while L’espirit de Vérité means the spirit of truth.
- Brooks Whittington reviewed the never-released Tatuaje L’espirit de Vérité 2010.
- Tatuaje advertises on halfwheel.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hours and 35 minutes on average.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Corona Cigar Co., Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136), Smoke Inn, and STOGIES World Class Cigars carry the Tatuaje L’espirit de Vérité 2013.
It’s been quite some time since I last smoked a La Vérité release, so there was no inherent bias or thought as to what this latest edition would hold, other than Pete Johnson’s comment about the blend’s concentration, power, and ability to be aged. Suffice to say I am quite impressed by this, as at it starts fairly mellow and subdued before reaching a peak of complexity and depth that is remarkable, yet it never relies on an overt use of pepper to achieve its end goal. Smoke two or three of these and you will quickly find yourself longing for that transitional point that comes either in the middle of the second third or at its end; the only thing left is to decide which one you prefer.