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Earlier this year—and with virtually no fanfare on this website, Instagram or other—a new Tatuaje showed up at stores.

While the cigar is new, both parts of its name are not. The Tatuaje Little Hassell is a continuation of Tatuaje’s portfolio of small cigars and also of Pete Johnson’s use of his middle name on cigars. There have been a variety of cigars have used the Hassell name previously, but the Little Hassell is different in two ways. First, it is sold nationwide; second, it doesn’t feature the Hassell band.

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The Little Hassell measures 4 x 38 and uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers. It was limited to 1,250 packs of 10 cigars, which were shipped in foil and featured a picture of a younger Johnson on the front.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Little Hassell
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: U.S.A. (Connecticut Broadleaf)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Petit Corona
  • MSRP: $3.75 (Bundles of 10, $37.50)
  • Release Date: Jan. 16, 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,250 Bundles of 10 Cigars (12,500 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Tatuaje Little Hassell is rolled well and the mud-colored wrapper doesn’t have a ton of veins. Aroma off the wrapper has a bit of a floral character, but not much else. For whatever reason, the covered foot is a bit more intense with the floral note now joined by some oak and a touch of sharpness. The first couple puffs of the cold draw taste muted but eventually, my palate picks up lots of floral flavors over raisin and some Spanish cedar, the latter of which seems to be the unique “cigar that was influenced by a humidor” flavor as opposed to what I normally pick up. Of note, one sample has a slightly open cold draw, which is a bit odd given the covered foot.

The Tatuaje Little Hassell reminds me of a Cuban at the start. There’s a lot of cedar and oak with some sourdough bread and a touch of floral flavors, spices and creaminess. Unfortunately, those delicate and balanced flavors don’t stick around much longer. Instead, there’s a ton of dry nuttiness, some bread flavors at the back and at times a vegetal flavor. Retrohales of the Tatuaje deliver a lot of black pepper and cinnamon and if that’s not enough, there’s red pepper and cinnamon on the finish. One sample is a bit more pleasant with creaminess and fresh orange zest. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. While the flavor isn’t my favorite, the construction is incredible. The draw is as good as it gets, smoke production is high and the burn is progressing with near surgical precision.

For better and worse, the second third of the Little Hassell is more intense than the first third. The good news is that at times, the flavors are a bit easier to take in more concentrated form. For the first part of the second third there’s an earthiness and milk chocolate that takes over the profile. Unfortunately, the retrohales are still a bit much due to a liquid smoke-like toastiness, hickory and some pepper, all of which are very sharp. After the midway point, the profile lightens up a bit with lemon and pizza dough. There’s still some sharpness, now on the back of the throat, but better than the retrohale. One sample has an intense amount of pepper on the lips—something that wasn’t there at the beginning of the second third—but it disappears at the halfway mark. The flavor is full, body is full and strength is full. Construction remains fantastic.

There’s a brief moment where I think that the Little Hassell might have finally hit a point of maturity and balance. The floral flavors return, oranges and lemons are present, but none of them last. Earthiness and toastiness dominate most of the final portions, which are better than the first third, but not my favorite flavor profile. Retrohales on one sample deliver a soapy characteristic which is as appetizing as it sounds. The finish has the bread flavor that was present in the opening puffs of the cigar. Flavor is now medium-full, body is full and strength is medium. As expected, construction remains flawless until the end.

Final Notes

  • These cigars were smoked in early March. Due to scheduling conflicts, this review was delayed.
  • This is one of the most affordable cigars I’ve reviewed in quite some time.
  • One of my samples didn’t seem to have a covered foot, which seems to probably be a result of damage turning transit.
  • I am not sure what to make of the intense pepper flavor on the lips. It wasn’t there during the first third of any cigar, but showed up in the second third of one sample and then disappeared. Normally when I pick up pepper on the lips it’s present at the beginning and then fades.
  • Due to the size, I found myself having to fight the urge to take consecutive puffs in one sitting.
  • The good news is construction was incredible. The smoke production was about as good as any Tatuaje I’ve ever smoked and at times the cigar seemed like at times it was able to smoke itself due to the combination of the draw and smoke production. Furthermore, the burn was about as even as I’ve ever seen in a cigar.
  • Unfortunately, I found the flavor to be far too sharp and very rarely making sense.
  • Those comments probably won’t make much sense next to the score. The reason this cigar scored as high as it did, even if I found the flavor to be problematic, is because it never lost points for construction and I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with balance.
  • Tatuaje advertises on halfwheel.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
87 Overall Score

Small cigars from Pete Johnson have been a favorite of mine and this website in general, but this was a miss for me. At times there were pleasant flavors, but the harmony was off from start to finish and the cigar progressed in a manner that at best can described as illogical. Perhaps a couple years in the humidor fixes some of the issues I have with the flavor; if not, it's not the end of the world as at $3.75 I'm not terribly concerned as to what happens next.

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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