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In terms of limited edition series, it’s challenging to think of anything that truly comes close to Tatuaje’s Monster Series.

It originally began as an annual release around Halloween where a cigar was based off a specific monster character from film or literature. The plan was 13 large and relatively strong cigars with both the packaging and cigars themselves inspired by a particular character. Now in year nine of the planned 13, it includes a partnership with S.T.Dupont for limited edition accessories to go along with each release and three separate samplers based off of the Monster Series concept.

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Tatuaje Monster Series Sampler Boxes

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.

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

  • Tatuaje The Frank (7 5/8 x 49) — October 2008 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars (8,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Drac (6 3/4 x 52) — October 2009 — 1,300 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars (16,900 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Face (6 3/8 x 56) — October 2010 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 1,300 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (21,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Wolfman (7 1/2 x 52) — October 2011  666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 1,300 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (21,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Frank Jr. (5 5/8 x 44) — June 2012 — 10,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Lil’ Drac (5 x 48) — June 2012 — 10,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Baby Face (4 3/8 x 50) — June 2012 — 10,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Wolfie (5 1/2 x 48) — June 2012 — 10,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Mini Mum (5 3/4 x 42) — June 2012 — 10,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Mummy (7 3/4 x 47) — October 2012 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 3,100 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (39,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The JV13 (7 1/2 x 52) — October 2013 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Frank (5 5/8 x 49) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samplers of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Drac (5 x 52) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samplers of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Face (4 3/8 x 56) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samplers of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Wolf (5 1/2 x 52) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samplers of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Mummy (5 3/4 x 47) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samplers of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Jason (5 1/2 x 52) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samplers of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Chuck (4 x 50) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Tiff (4 x 50) — June 2014 — 20,000 Samplers of 2 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Jekyll (7 x 49) — October 2014 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Hyde (7 x 49) — October 2015 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Skinny Frank (6 x 38) — April 2016 — 10,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar & 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Skinny Drac (6 x 38) — April 2016 — 10,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar & 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Skinny Face (6 x 38) — April 2016 — 10,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar & 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Skinny Wolf (6 x 38) — April 2016 — 10,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar & 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Skinny Mummy (6 x 38) — April 2016 — 10,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar & 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Skinny Jason (6 x 38) — April 2016 — 10,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar & 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Skinny Jekyll (6 x 38) — April 2016 — 10,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar & 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Skinny Hyde (6 x 38) — April 2016 — 10,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar & 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Skinny Chuck (6 x 38) — April 2016 — 10,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar & 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Skinny Tiff (6 x 38) — April 2016 — 10,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar & 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)

Of all the cigars receiving changes as part of the uniformity of the Skinny Monsters, The Face has perhaps the most notable. Gone is the lighter tobacco leaf that once served as a band, now replaced by a brown on cream paper band. And that’s just the start of the changes.

Patrick Lagreid described the history of The Face in his review of the Pudgy Face:

The Face draws its inspiration from the character Leatherface of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies, the first of which was released in 1974. There have been a total of six sequels, continuations and remakes since the original film, including a 2003 remake, a prequel in 2006, and Texas Chainsaw 3D, which was released in 2013.

The film’s premise revolves around Jed Sawyer, who as a child wore a leather mask to hide facial deformities and tumors, only to replace it with a mask made out of human skin later in his life. He and his cannibal family use sledgehammers and chainsaws to kill their victims, unsuspecting visitors to the rural Texas area where they live, using their flesh for meals.

Pete Johnson of Tatuaje replicated the Leatherface mask by using a piece of Ecuadorian Connecticut tobacco in place of a band, a somewhat jaggedly cut piece of leaf that does a fine job conveying the cigar’s relation to the movie. In addition, the original Tatuaje The Face was packaged in brown paper—similar to that of butcher paper—with a burlap band in place of a ribbon, all in a jagged and blood splattered wood box.

Tatuaje Face Collections

The blend calls for a Mexican San Andrés wrapper from the seco priming over a blend of Nicaraguan fillers.

Tatuaje Skinny Face 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Skinny Face
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Petit 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: 3

I certainly was interested to see what approach Pete Johnson would take with the band for the Skinny Face. I’m a bit surprised it wasn’t a brown-based band, but given the slight change to The Wolfman band, I suppose that would have created confusion. Also gone are the covered foot and nipple caps that were present on the first three versions of the Face. All four Skinny Faces I’ve seen feature slightly darker wrappers than what I’ve found on The Face previously, though I’m not sure I could have judged that off memory. The wrapper itself is oily, though I notice two of the cigars feature somewhat loose seams in various places. Aroma off the wrapper has oak, burnt nuts and barnyard. From the foot I pick up a big, sweet, burnt chocolate chip cookie flavor with some dry pieces and burnt toast behind it. The cold draw features another chocolate-dominant flavor, this time a milk chocolate, alongside barbecue sauce, leather and some nuttiness.

The Skinny Face features sweet cocoa, hickory, a mild pepper and lemon on the tongue. I do struggle to find flavors beyond the toasty descriptor and the pepper, but after a few puffs things define themselves a bit more. It’s a strong and aggressive profile that could be generically described as toasty alongside some hickory, whiskey-soaked oak, Chinese five spice and a short, sweet cocoa flavor. The ash holds firm for an inch and then falls. Smoke production is slightly above average and the draw is a bit tight. Strength and body are both medium-full, certainly not how I remember The Face.

Tatuaje Skinny Face 2

Sourness and saltiness both enter the profile in the second third. I continue to struggle picking out flavor descriptors as the profile becomes much more compact. It’s not that it lacks flavor, but it’s a short-lived sensation of individual flavors before the sourness and saltiness kick in for a finish. There’s still a chocolate sweetness, a pork rib-type meatiness and then the aforementioned sour and salty combinations. Retrohales don’t do much to provide a unique flavor in the nose, but it does coat the back of my throat in red pepper for the finish. Unfortunately, the draw tightens on the first and third samples—more on the second below—which hurts smoke production.

Tatuaje Skinny Face 3

Into the final third and the salty and sourness are still very much present. The chocolate notes from earlier are a bit more muted and have shifted to a dry hot cocoa powder. It’s very much the continuation of the second third, albeit with some rearranging of flavors; the meatiness is now dominant on the finish over a Pringles-like saltiness. The flavors have fortunately gotten out of the compact nature of the middle portions. A burnt coffee and meatiness flavor is found on the finish, while the pepper is consistently on the back of the tongue regardless of retrohaling. It’s certainly the most enjoyable part of the cigar for me flavor-wise, but I do have to fight to keep the cigar lit, including smoking at a bit higher pace to avoid the Skinny Face from going out.

Tatuaje Skinny Face 4

Final Notes

  • The boxes of the Skinny Monsters feature unique blood splatters.

Tatuaje Skinny Monsters Lids

  • The second sample I smoked was fairly close to being plugged. Two recuts couldn’t overcome the knots in the middle and top portions of the cigar. While that certainly torpedoed the construction score, the flavor wasn’t too far different from the other samples, though the cigar was a bit smoother flavor-wise.
  • I smoked the Skinny Face on three consecutive days. The first sample was noticeably more aggressive than the other two. I’m hard-pressed to believe that 48 hours had that much to do with it, particularly given the cigars weren’t rolled last week, but the differences were noticeable, coincidental or not.
  • That being said, all three cigars were medium-full in strength.
  • Tatuaje advertises on halfwheel.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • 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.

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84 Overall Score

Plugged sample aside, this is what I would consider a subpar Tatuaje. Sure, the bar is set pretty high, but I can’t see myself reaching for a 25-count box of these anytime soon. The Monster Series has never been a bastion of delicate and precise flavors, but I don’t feel like this blend has translated well into the thinner format. While it certainly has an edginess to it, it lacks the punch that I expect from Monster-related blends. While I wouldn’t describe the Monster Series in general as an acquired taste, the blends are certainly unique and not for everyone. For better or worse, the simple test for any of the sampler versions of the Monster Series is: could I identify the smaller version as the original Monster Series blend simply by smoking? The answer here is a big no.

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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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