One of the more intriguing parts about cigar culture to me is how we perceive and talk about certain cigars that are no longer made. For example, if you talk to many people who have worked in the cigar industry since the mid-1990s, you will oftentimes hear them talk fondly about brands like Bahia, OneOff or Lars Tetens. All of the brands are sold today in one form or another, though none of those forms are the same as they were 20 years ago.
When I was getting much more serious about cigars, I would go on forums and see people talk about their most sought-after cigar releases. Two Tatuaje releases would oftentimes be brought up: the original Black Label Corona Gorda, i.e. the one that came in the jar, and the Tatuaje T110. Both were limited edition cigars that were already a few years old, meaning that the cigars were aging and starting to morph into something different than when they originally shipped to stores.
What was particularly fascinating to me—especially after smoking a then three-year-old T110—is that people would write on forums about how great these cigars were and how they wish they had more. Also, that people like me would pay a premium to buy these cigars, and it seemed clear that while the cigars were the same cigars, they didn’t—for better or worse—taste like the cigars that earned that accolades in the first place.
The T110 was the best example of this phenomenon because the cigar was blended to be quite strong and after three or four years in the humidor, the T110 was still strong, but not the ass-kicker that its name implied it was.
It’s based on an unreleased cigar named “Thermonuclear,” which Tatuaje’s owner Pete Johnson created in 2006, and around which a story developed that it used entirely ligero tobaccos. In 2009, the T110 was released as an exclusive for R. Field Wine Co. in Hawaii. The T was short for Thermonuclear and the 110 refers to the 110mm length of the cigar. In the imperial system, it measures 4 3/8 inches long with a 52 ring gauge. Of note, while the unreleased Thermonuclear was said to be all ligero, the T110 was not made entirely of ligero, and instead uses a mixture of ligero and high-priming visos.
R. Field Wine Co. received 390 boxes of 25 cigars, 200 of which were packaged normally and 190 of which were wet-packed in foil, meaning the cigars were specifically packaged to keep the humidity in the bundle, which can alter how the cigars age.
Seemingly ever since I started writing about cigars there were murmurs that the T110 would return, which it sort of did in 2011 when Tatuaje released Fausto, a regular production line based on the T110 blend. And while there have been many Faustos released over the years, the T110 took more than a decade to make it back onto shelves in April 2021.
This time it was 1,000 boxes of 25 cigars, which kept the same size, although with some slightly updated packaging. R. Field Wine Co. received 400 of those boxes, which came with the store’s name on them, while the other 600—without R. Field’s name on them—were sent to Tatuaje retailers nationwide.
But there was more.
Shortly after that cigar began shipping, two other versions emerged: a Capa Especial and a Reserva. Those familiar with Tatuaje’s various secondary bands know that the Capa Especial secondary band indicates that the cigar is likely to use an Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper, while the Reserva band typically means a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper is being used.
That is exactly what’s happening, though, in a somewhat surprising turn, there’s a lot more of each of these versions than the regular T110 as both the T110 Capa Especial and Reserva are limited to 2,400 boxes each.
- Tatuaje T110 (4 3/8 x 52) —July 2009 — 200 Boxes of 25 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje T110 (4 3/8 x 52) — December 2009 — 190 Boxes of 25 Cigars (4,750 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje T110 (2021) (4 3/8 x 52) — April 2021 — 1,000 Boxes of 25 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje T110 Capa Especial (4 3/8 x 52) — May 2021 — 2,400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (60,000 Total Cigars)
- Tatuaje T110 Reserva (4 3/8 x 52) — July 2021 — 2,400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (60,000 Total Cigars)
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje T110 Capa Especial
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 4 3/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Short Robusto
- MSRP: $10 (Box of 25, $250)
- Release Date: May 22, 2021
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (60,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
If you placed all three versions of this cigar on a table without bands and asked me to identify which was which, I don’t think it would be challenging. It certainly would be easy to pick out the Capa Especial version, as the Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper is not only lighter in color, but the veins have a unique look that is a pretty good giveaway. While there is plenty of oiliness to this cigar, it’s probably the least oily of the trio. There’s not much aroma coming from any of the cigars I smoke for the review, so little in fact that I try smelling the inside of the bundle to see if I can get any additional aromas. What little there is to pick up most reminds me of a roll of bread. Fortunately, there’s a lot more aroma-wise from the foot. It’s not only stronger—around medium-full—but has flavors of raspberry, chocolate and some terroir flavors. While it’s not a full-on dessert flavor, it is pretty sweet. The cold draw is also sweet and also around medium-full. There is a floral sweetness, something that reminds me of watermelon candy, earthiness, cocoa, leather and nuttiness. It’s balanced enough that some flavors are hidden, so it takes a few cold draws per cigar to get the full roster and experience.
The T110 Capa Especial starts with peanut butter, creaminess, a savory bouquet of flavors that disappear too quickly for me to make sense of, daffodils, and some white pepper. It’s medium-full in just about every way, similar to the first puffs of the other two new T110s I’ve smoked. While the peanut flavor dominates one cigar, the other two cigars see it reduced giving way to a mixture of bread over chocolate sweetness as the main flavors. Behind that, there’s creaminess, white pepper on the tongue and a hint of red pepper that lingers around for a while. The peppers are both quite mild, but they also seem like a clear foreshadowing of what’s to come. The finish has a deep Ritz cracker-like flavor over bread, creaminess, an underlying sweetness and somewhat of an herbal bite. Retrohales taste like Country Time lemonade powder before bittering out thanks to lots of walnuts and meatiness. It finishes with more of the meatiness, though the herbal flavors and red pepper stick around. Intensity-wise, the flavor is close to full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-full. Construction is excellent overall, though the burn is super quick as I’m about an inch in after less than 30 minutes. This is surprising not just because of my slow smoking times, but also because of the strength.
While I don’t think it’s wrong to call the second third “earthy,” I don’t think that is an accurate description of what’s happening. There’s a mixture of peanuts, meatiness and leather—which combined can taste a bit earthier—but there’s also some mild roasted flavors, a bit of white pepper and some creaminess. Nuttiness and herbal flavors take the top spots in the finish, joined by a harsher white pepper, rich earthiness and some saltiness. For about five minutes each, the finish of two cigars turns to a bourbon-like flavor. It’s rather unique and unlike my last review—a bourbon-themed cigar—this actually tasted pretty close to smoking a bourbon. Retrohales have white pepper, meatiness and some creaminess. It finishes pretty similar though there’s more meatiness and an added cinnamon flavor. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is somewhere between medium-full and full. Each cigar needs a touch-up to correct some sort of a burn issue.
After a somewhat pedestrian second third, the final third of the Tatuaje T110 Capa Especial takes a noticeable turn thanks to a new green licorice flavor. It joins the creaminess as one of the strongest two flavors, sitting on top of a reduced meatiness and a slightly softer white pepper. While I couldn’t taste any nuttiness when the smoke was still in my mouth about five seconds after it leaves the nuttiness comes back. The other main difference between when the smoke is in my mouth and when it has left my mouth is that the Tatuaje seems to add some sourness. Retrohales have creaminess, some cinnamon and a taste that reminds me of strong tobaccos. It’s tough to describe, but if you ever get a chance to smoke individual tobaccos, some of the stronger nicotine tobaccos have a unique taste and it’s one that I find here in the retrohale. Despite the strength of the cigar, this is the first time I find that taste specifically. The finish of the retrohale has creaminess, more toastiness and some white pepper, which there’s less of, but what I’m able to detect is more intense. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is just south of full.
- If you have a Tatuaje Thermonuclear and wouldn’t mind parting with it, please contact us.
- In May, Tatuaje sent 50 boxes of the T110 Capa Especial to Grand Cathedral Cigars, a Tampa retailer, for its grand opening. The rest of the T110 Capa Especiales shipped alongside the T110 Reserva during two July shipments.
- In just about every way, the second third of the T110 is my least favorite. It’s not bad, but it’s not as good flavor-wise and each cigar seemed to have the burn go off track a bit. On two of these cigars, it seemed like tunneling would have happened had I not touched up the cigars. Fortunately, each cigar just took one touch up to right the ship.
- I definitely think this has less nicotine strength than the other two new Tatuaje T110s. I’d be curious to know if this is simply due to the change in the wrapper, or if some other part of the blend was tweaked to accommodate the wrapper, or it’s just my perception of what’s happening. If I had to guess which is the likeliest cause, I’d say it’s probably the second option followed closely by the third.
- I’d say this is just south of full, but it’s not the strongest cigar I’ve smoked in the last month.
- This is one of the few cigars where the flavors I taste in the mouth are more complex than what I was able to find while retrohaling. This is particularly noticeable in the second half of the cigar.
- The T110 bands discolor pretty noticeably as the cigar burns on. I cannot tell if this is due to the heat in the cigar or maybe even the ashtray, but as you can see above, even with the burn line noticeably away from the bands, the white is already turning a different color.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- While the burn rate slowed down a bit after the first third, this was still a very quick cigar for me to smoke taking just under one and a half hours each time.
- Site sponsors Corona Cigar Co. and JR Cigar list the T110 Capa Especial, though neither currently have it in stock.
I remember having a casual debate with Brooks Whittington about which of the trio would be the best. He’s always had a large soft spot for the Capa Especial secondary band and the Sumatra wrapper that comes with it. I’m a fan of the various Capa Especial cigars that have come before this, but I’m also a bit more hesitant to just assume that because I liked the Capa Especiales before it would work with the T110, which is a very different blend than most. My fear was that the process of getting the Sumatra to work would lead to a softening of the overall profile that took away too much from what makes the T110 a unique cigar: its power. I think that happened as this is certainly softer than the early T110s I’ve smoked, the remade T110 from earlier this year and the T110 Reserva. That being said, it’s my favorite of the 2021 versions, and it’s not very close. Everything Brooks hoped would happen—the Sumatra’s flavor adding complexity to pair with the strength—has happened.