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Lets take a walk down memory lane, shall we? All the way back to a simpler time known as 2008, the year the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots with a score of 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII; Kosovo declared independence from Serbia; and Beijing, China hosted the 29th Summer Olympic Games.

However, 2008 was also the year that aTatuaje Cigars started a genuine cigar phenomenon with the debut of a 7 5/8 x 49 box-pressed cigar named The Frank. Covered in a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and packaged in 13-count boxes that were built to simulate a coffin—including random splashes of red paint to simulate blood—the limited release was named after Frankenstein’s monster in the book of the same name.

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Those first boxes in that first release started trends that would persist in the  Monster Series for the next 10 years, albeit with some changes to parts: 666 hand-numbered 13-count dress boxes, cigars that feature an MSRP of $13 each, with the total number of dress boxes sent to 13 different retailers every year.

Changes included the addition of 10-count “ plain” boxes of the same cigars in 2010 in an attempt to placate demand and try and stop the significant markups that were being seen on the secondary market, adding cellophane to the cigars in the dress boxes for both The Michael and The Bride and the fact that Tatuaje owner Pete Johnson retroactively named two of the releases—the Chuck and the Tiff—officially as the 11th and 12th members of the series, despite the fact that both were sold exclusively in the in Pudgy Monster samplers in 2014.

From the start, Johnson had said he wanted to stick to the numerical theme and only release 13 of the Monster Series cigars, and so for the last release he decided to go back to the beginning. In March of last year he announced that the 13th and final release would be named The Bride, based on the character in James Whale’s movie The Bride of Frankenstein that debuted in 1935. The 7 1/8 x 49 Churchill extra is composed of a Connecticut broadleaf rosado wrapper covering both a binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and is described by Johnson as “medium plus” and an “elegant monster.”

Each cigar carries a retail price of $13 and total production is the same as last year’s The Micheal release: 666 dress boxes of 13 cigars and 4,500 boxes of 10 cigars for a total of 53,658 cigars. The cigars were rolled at My Father Cigars S.A. factory in Esteli, Nicaragua and 403 of the dress boxes were shipped to the Unlucky 13 retailers on Sept. 29, while the remaining 263 dress boxes were shipped to other Tatuaje retailers in mid-October.

This year, the Unlucky 13 retailers were:

  • Ambassador Cigars & Spirits — Troy, Mich. (248-250-9716)
  • Big Sticks Fine Cigars — Mesa, Ariz. ( 480-668-6099 )
  • Boiling Springs Wine & Cigar — Boiling Springs, S.C. ( 864-804-6069 )
  • Burn Premium Cigar Specialists — Burnsville, Minn. ( 952-808-9259 )
  • Cigar Warehouse — Sherman Oaks, Calif. ( 818-784-1391 )
  • Harry’s Smoke Shop — Philadelphia, Penn. ( 215-925-4770 )
  • Heritage Premium Cigars — Martin, N.J. ( 856-988-7665 )
  • Industrial Cigar Company — Frisco, Texas ( 469-305-7360 )
  • Tobacco Haven — Brookline, N.H. (603-673-1178)
  • Smoky’s Tobacco Cigars & Gifts — Knoxville, Tenn. ( 865-693-8371 )
  • TisMart Cigar Shop & Lounge — Brewerton, N.Y. ( 315-622-8889 )
  • Tobacco Locker Cigar Bar — Port Charlotte, Fla. ( 941-255-8825 )
  • The Vault — Meridian, Idaho (208-901-0217)

That means this is only the 11th release to get the full Monster treatment: dress boxes, Unlucky 13, etc.

  • Tatuaje The Frank (7 5/8 x 49) — 2008 — Based on Frankenstein — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars (8,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Drac (6 3/4 x 52) — 2009 — Based on Dracula — 1,300 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars (16,900 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Face (6 3/8 x 56) — 2010 — Based on Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre — 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) — 2011 — Based on The Wolf Man (1941) — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 1,300 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (21,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Mummy (7 3/4 x 47) — 2012 — Based on the Boris Karloff character from The Mummy — 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) — 2013 — Based on Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Jekyll (7 x 49) — 2014 — Based on Dr. Jekyll from Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Hyde (7 x 49) — 2015 — Based on The Hyde from Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Krueger (7 1/4 x 48) — 2016 — Based on Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 5,000 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (58,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Michael (6 1/2 x 52) — 2017 — Based on Michael Myers from Halloween — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 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 Bride (7 1/8 x 49) — 2018 — Based on Valerie Hobson from The Bride of Frankenstein — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 Total Cigars)

In addition to the full-sized Monsters, there have been five samplers released that include the same blends of various Monster Series releases in different vitolas. The first sampler in 2012 was dubbed the Little Monsters and included smaller versions of the first five full-size Monster Series releases. Two years later, Johnson released the Pudgy Monsters sampler, which included one each of the first six Monster Series—as well as two each of Chuck and Tiff in 4 x 50 vitolas—with the same lengths as the previous Little Monsters, but each cigar had the ring gauge of the original Monsters.

The sampler train continued in 2016 with the addition of the Skinny Monsters, which included the first eight Monsters Series cigars plus Chuck and Tiff in 6 x 38 petit lancero vitolas. That was followed by two more 10-count samplers last year: the Skinny Monsters Cazadores, which included the eight original Monster blends plus Chuck and Tiff in 6 3/8 x 43 size, and the Skinny Monsters Lanceros, which feature the exact same concept, but in 7 1/2 x 38 vitolas.

That brings the total number of Monster Series and its related brothers and sisters to 54 different cigars.

  • 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)
  • Tatuaje The Krueger (7 1/4 x 48) — October 2016 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 5,000 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (58,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje Skinny Cazadores Frank (6 3/8 x 43) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Cazadores Drac (6 3/8 x 43) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Cazadores Face (6 3/8 x 43) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Cazadores Wolf (6 3/8 x 43) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Cazadores Mummy (6 3/8 x 43) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Cazadores Jason (6 3/8 x 43) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Cazadores Jekyll (6 3/8 x 43) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Cazadores Hyde (6 3/8 x 43) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Cazadores Chuck (6 3/8 x 43) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Cazadores Tiff (6 3/8 x 43) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Lanceros Frank (7 1/2 x 38) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Lanceros Drac (7 1/2 x 38) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Lanceros Face (7 1/2 x 38) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Lanceros Wolf (7 1/2 x 38) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Lanceros Mummy (7 1/2 x 38) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Lanceros Jason (7 1/2 x 38) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Lanceros Jekyll (7 1/2 x 38) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Lanceros Hyde (7 1/2 x 38) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Lanceros Chuck (7 1/2 x 38) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje Skinny Lanceros Tiff (7 1/2 x 38) — May 2017 — Regular Production
  • Tatuaje The Michael (6 1/2 x 52) — October 2017 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 Total Cigars)
  • Tatuaje The Bride (7 1/8 x 49) — October 2018 — 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 Total Cigars)

Finally, Johnson has indicated that it is likely that the Monster Series will continue on in some way after 2018—other than the limited, but regular production Skinny Monster samplers—although what that looks like is still unclear.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje The Bride
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: U.S.A. (Connecticut Broadleaf Rosado)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 1/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 49
  • Vitola: Churchill
  • MSRP: $13 (Boxes of 13, $169)
  • Release Date: Sept. 29, 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 4,500 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (53,658 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Visually, The Bride is quite a bit larger that I would have thought a cigar with that name would be, and is covered in a gorgeous espresso brown wrapper that looks like it is dripping with oil. The Connecticut broadleaf leaf is extremely rough to the touch, but interestingly, there are very few veins that I can see. I can feel a few different hard spots—grouped almost entirely under the band—and the cigar is very hard when squeezed. Aroma coming off of the wrapper strong earth, sweet cashews, creamy cedar, grass, cocoa nibs and black pepper while the cold draw brings flavors of distinct bitter espresso, leather, creamy hay, floral, dark chocolate and a buttload of both black pepper and spice on my tongue.

Anyone who takes a cold draw off of the Tatuaje The Bride will not be surprised with how the profile immediately starts out, as its follows almost exactly with the familiar flavors of distinct ground coffee beans, hay, cinnamon, gritty earth, leather and cedar. While there is not an abundance of either black pepper or spice at the top of the cigar, I can feel them building in the background. For almost the entire first third, the profile is creamy and slightly sweet, with a nice molasses note coating the finish. Construction-wise, the draw is just a bit looser than I prefer after a straight cut, and while burn is a bit wavy, it is not close to bad enough to negatively impact the overall experience. In terms of strength, The Bride starts out well below the medium mark but increases quickly as the first third burns down, hitting a point a bit south of medium by the time the first third comes to an end.

The profile of The Bride takes a fairly major shift in the second third with significantly more black pepper and spice—on the retrohale and on my lips respectively—as well as just a touch less of the molasses sweetness from the first third. While there is still quite a bit of ground coffee up front, there are other flavors beginning to challenge for dominance, including sawdust, creamy cedar, floral and dark chocolate. Thankfully, the draw has tightened up nicely by the time the halfway point rolls around, and the burn has become noticeably more rigid as well. However, the strength seems to have stalled, and while the cigar does come very close to a solid medium by the end of the second third, it fails to reach the crest of the hill.

Thankfully, the final third of The Bride features a return of the molasses sweetness that was present in the first third; and in fact, there is quite a bit more of it, which increases the complexity of the other flavors significantly. Speaking of the other flavors, the profile features quite bit of the now familiar ground espresso bean as the dominant flavor, as well as other flavors of cedar, barnyard, cocoa powder, floral and toast that flow in and out. Although there is still a noticeable amount of both black pepper and spice, they are well-balanced with the aforementioned molasses sweetness and both the burn and draw continue to be excellent until the end. Strength-wise, the Tatuaje The Bride ends up easily near the top range of the medium mark, and while the black pepper on the retrohale does get a bit overwhelming near the end of the cigar, it is past the point that I should have put the nub down anyway.

Final Notes

  • I can distinctly remember finding out about The Frank after reading the Brothers of the Leaf forum and calling up one of the stores that they were sent to. After asking if they had any left, I was told there were multiple boxes I could purchase; and, in fact, if I purchased more than one box I could get a discount. Sadly, I just bought the one box.
  • Although the box for The Bride looks vaguely similar to The Drac, The Wolfman and The Michael, all three of them are quite different in size and the way the edges are cut. In fact, no two of the dress boxes are the same.
  • Elie Bleu produced a custom J-12 lighter for Tatuaje The Bride that is limited to just 411 pieces and has an MSRP of $270.
  • One last time for those of you who may not know: Johnson has said many times that he does not consider The Boris to be part of the Monster Series, which is why it is not in the group photo above. Having said that, sharp-eyed viewers will remember that The Boris was actually listed with the other Monsters on the Tatuaje website.
  •  The stores chosen every year are called the “Unlucky 13″ for a reason: not only do they have to deal with an avalanche of calls asking about the dress boxes, but they are vilified no matter what they do in terms of whom they sell their allotment of dress boxes to, whether local or call in orders.
  • Every Monster release so far has had 666 dress boxes, except for the obvious exceptions of Chuck and Tiff. However, that list also includes The Drac, which had a total of 1,300 dress boxes produced (but no regular boxes.)
  • Although Johnson is well-known for his numerous Connecticut broadleaf-covered special releases, it is interesting to note that Connecticut broadleaf has only been used twice before in the Monster Series, The Frank back in 2008 and The Michael in last year.
  • Construction was very good overall, with two samples needing only one touch-up, albeit at different points in the cigar.
  • Tatuaje advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged two hours and 14 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of The Bride, site sponsors Cigars.com, Corona Cigar Co., Famous Smoke Shop, JR Cigar and Serious Cigars have them in stock.
91 Overall Score

When discussing the Monster Series, the same questions inevitably come up, including the most common: What is the best Monster Series blend? While I have—at a minimum—really enjoyed most of the cigars in the series, for me The Bride is near the top, even as fresh as it is when I smoked them. Flavorful and complex, powerful but balanced, The Bride features multiple flavor transitions as well as an abundance of molasses sweetness and nuance seemingly behind every curve. Is it the best Monster Series release of all time? No, but it is close, and I am looking forward to seeing how the blend develops over the next couple of years.

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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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