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The second release in Tatuaje Cigars’ now iconic Monster Series is also the release with the most controversy, at least for those who ordered a box.

It was 2009 and Tatuaje was set to release the followup to The Frank, which had exploded in popularity after it was released. Owner Pete Johnson decided to name the second cigar in the series after perhaps the most memorable character in classic movie history: Dracula. In keeping with the theme, The Drac was a 6 3/4 x 52 torpedo covered in an Ecuadorian habano maduro wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua. In fact, the vitola was chosen specifically to represent a stake, with the red on black band on the foot instead of near the cap.

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There was one major difference between The Drac release and the other cigars in the Monster Series, both before and after. Instead of 666 dress boxes, The Drac was the only Monster release that had 1,300 dress boxes of 13 cigars, and with no plain boxes. However, unlike The Frank the year before, The Drac was shipped in coffins that were painted red on the inside.

As my prerelease review of The Drac explains, the cigar I smoked was sent to me after I won an online contest, and was never packaged in the boxes like the vast majority of the cigars that were released. As people began smoking the cigars from the dress boxes, accounts of strong, strange off flavors and scents started surfacing, eventually attributed to the fact that the coffins were apparently shipped before the paint scent had dissipated. In fact, Johnson released a statement about the situation here.

In 2012, Tatuaje released the Little Monsters, which included smaller versions of the first five Monster Releases. The blends were the same, though the Little Monsters were all rolled in 2012 and the cigars shrunk. For example, the Baby Face was a 4 3/8 x 50 version of The Face, a 6 3/8 x 56.

The cigars did keep the same unique looks as their larger counterparts: Baby Face used a strip of tobacco instead of a band, Wolfie kept the brushed foot of The Wolf and the box-pressed original Monster Series cigars translated into box pressing the smaller versions.

Tatuaje Monster Series Sampler Boxes

Two years later, Tatuaje released the Pudgy Monsters. These cigars took the same length as the Little Monsters, but used the original ring gauge of the regular Monster Series, meaning the Tatuaje Face was 4 3/8 x 56. Once again, the unique traits of the original Monster Series cigars carried over into the Pudgy versions, a sampler that included the first six Monsters Series release as well as two each of new blends, Chuck and Tiff—cigars based off the characters from Don Mancini’s Child’s Play films, specifically Bride of Chucky.

Now, two years later, Tatuaje’s Pete Johnson has a new sampler of smaller Monster Series, this time, Skinny Monsters.

It’s a grand departure from the Little and Pudgy form, with the release largely based off the Tatuaje Black Label Petite Lancero. This time, every cigar in the sampler measures 6 x 38 and is round. The cigars feature a typical parejo shape, instead of a torpedo for the Skinny versions of The Drac and The Wolfman.Tatuaje Skinny Monsters Box 1

Tatuaje Skinny Monsters Box 2

Tatuaje Skinny Monsters Box 3

A total of 10,000 samplers are being produced, containing one of each of the Skinny versions of the first eight Monster Series releases plus Chuck and Tiff. There are also plans to release 400 25-count dress boxes of each Skinny Monster. The dress box concept follows the regular Monster Series releases. Every Monster Series release has featured 666 boxes of 13—shaped like a coffin—that are specially decorated to mimic each release.

While the dress box Skinny Monsters do constitute special packaging, the boxes are based off of the Tatuaje Petite Lancero boxes, a vertical wooden box. In addition, these cigars will be sold at a later date—specifically the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in late July—as opposed to the regular Monster Series dress boxes, which are allocated largely to 13 different retailers each year with some other retailers receiving small quantities of one to three dress boxes.

In addition, Johnson has said that one of the Skinny Monsters may enter regular production.

With the Skinny Monsters, the Tatuaje Monster Series family now stands at 31 released cigars.

 

Tatuaje Monster Series Family

This is now the fourth release in The Drac series.

Tatuaje The Drac Family

Tatuaje Skinny Drac 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Skinny Drac
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian habano maduro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Petite Lancero
  • MSRP: $8.50 (Samplers of 10, $85)
  • Release Date: April 15, 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: 10,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar & 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 

Unlike the rest of the Drac cigars, the Skinny Drac is covered in a dark espresso brown wrapper that features some significant tooth to it as well as noticeable oil. The cigar is nicely spongy when squeezed and there is an obvious box-press to the foot, although that is due to how they were packed in the boxes. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet oak, leather, manure, dark chocolate and earth while the cold draw brings flavors of strong leather and earth, oak, coffee beans and raisin sweetness.

The Skinny Drac starts off the first third with a dominant combination of both earth and creamy oak, interspersed with other notes of leather, bitter cocoa nibs, cinnamon and black licorice. The raisin sweetness from the cold draw is quite evident on the finish, while the retrohale is alive with black pepper. Construction-wise, the draw is wonderful so far, and the burn is giving me no trouble at all while the smoke production is well above average. The overall strength is aggressive rom the first puff, but not overwhelming, and ends the first third just short of the medium mark.

Tatuaje Skinny Drac 2

Thankfully, the raisin sweetness from the cold draw and the first third sticks around in the second third of the Skinny Drac, actually becoming bit stronger and combining nicely with the same dominant flavors of creamy oak and gritty earth. I am also picking up notes of dark chocolate, leather, meat, tobacco and slight coconut, but the black pepper on the retrohale has dissipated somewhat. Both the burn and the draw continue to impress, and the smoke production shows no signs of letting up. Strength-wise, the Skinny Drac hits the medium mark early on in the second third, but stalls out quickly, and seems content to stay in that range for the moment.

Tatuaje Skinny Drac 3

The now familiar combination of creamy oak and gritty earth combined with a rich raisin sweetness continues to define the Skinny Drac in the final third, along with other flavors of espresso beans, dark cocoa, leather, hay and a touch of citrus the flit in and out. The black pepper on the retrohale continues to be very noticeable part of the profile and I pick up a touch of spice on my tonge that adds a bit of zing to the experience. The draw is as excellent as ever, and while I do have to touch up the burn once, it is not bad enough to concern me. After being quite aggressive in the first third, the strength ends in about the same place it was at the end of the second third, a solid medium.

Tatuaje Skinny Drac 4

Final Notes

  • As you can see in the photograph of the four different The Drac releases above, the wrapper on all three of the Skinny Dracs I smoked for this review were substantially darker than the three that preceded it.
  • The Drac release has been the only one of the four Drac cigars—as well as the only cigar in the entire Monster series—that features the cigar band on the foot.
  • In addition to the fact that the only packaging for The Drac was dress boxes of 13, Johnson also included 13 Spooky Tickets in 13 random boxes, which entitled the recipients to register for a drawing to win a Ducati Monster 696. Around the same time, the artist named Sam Heimer that produced the Spooky Tickets released a very small number of master edition with all of the tickets on one 16 x 20 sheet of paper, that looks like this.
  • I smoked one or two samples of The Drac from a dress box soon after my original review, and they were as bad as has been reported. Bad enough that I have refused to smoke any since.
  • Tatuaje Cigars advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 35 minutes.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigar Hustler, Cigar.com, Corona Cigar, JR Cigar, Lone Star State Cigar Co. (972.424.7272) and STOGIES World Class Cigars (713.783.5100) all carry the Skinny Monsters.
89 Overall Score

The prerelease Drac that I smoked back in 2009 was a very, very good cigar, one that I still remember quite fondly. The Skinny Drac has a number of the same attributes that I remember in the original—most notably the raisin sweetness that was present throughout the cigar — but the flavors were neither as distinct nor as strong, and the overall profit—is noticeably more linear. A nice cigar, and one that I will be smoking again, but not one that I would buy an entire sampler for.

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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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