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The Tatuaje Monster Series needs no introduction, but an explanation wouldn’t be a bad idea.

In 2008, Tatuaje released The Frank, the first of what is expected to be 13 Monster Series releases. The Frank was based on the main character from Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein. It came in a coffin-shaped box with green bands.

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Since then, every October Tatuaje has released a new Monster Series cigar, based off a horror character from classic literature or film. There is no annual cigar release that causes as much excitement as the Monster Series, particularly its specialized dress boxes.

Every year 13 retailers are selected, known as The Unlucky 13, to receive the bulk of the 666 numbered dress boxes. Those retailers each receive 31 dress boxes, each containing 13 cigars, while the remaining 263 dress boxes heading out to Tatuaje accounts around the country, who generally receive between one and three boxes.

This year, the Unlucky 13 were:

  • 8 to 8 Cigars
    Villa Park, Ill.
    630.993.1234
  • Beehive Cigars
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    801.566.5178
  • The Cigar Box
    Columbia, S.C.
    803.252.0084
  • Cigar Smiths
    Tiverton, R.I.
    401.816.5122
  • Delaware Cigars
    Newark, Del.
    302.836.4889
  • Emerson’s Cigars
    Virginia Beach, Va.
    757.424.7332
  • En Fuego Cigars
    Las Vegas, Nev.
    702.384.9262
  • Habana House Cigars
    Austin, Texas
    512.996.8706
  • Mission Pipe Shop
    Pleasanton, Calif.
    925.463.0100
  • Smokers Delight
    Union, N.J.
    908.810.7352
  • Smoke Inn Wellington
    Wellington, Fl.
    561.753.4558
  • Tobacco Barn
    Lake Forest, Calif.
    949.830.7110
  • V.Cut Smoke Shop
    Los Angeles, Calif.
    323.655.5959

Since 2010, Tatuaje has released a much larger amount of 10-count “plain” boxes. The addition of plain boxes has allowed of consumers who simply want to smoke the cigar to have a chance to without having to deal with all of the work and added money that oftentimes goes along with trying to get dress boxes. These boxes contain the identical cigar, though the 10-count versions have cigars in cellophane while the dress boxes cigars are just packaged in a bundle.

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This year’s release is The Krueger. It’s based on the Freddy Krueger character from Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. As for the cigar, it is a 7 1/4 x 48 box-pressed torpedo with a Mexican San Andrés wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers. The size is based on the Tatuaje Cojonu 2009 molds, but The Krueger is a bit longer.

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  • 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)[ref]Pete Johnson said there were just under 60,000 cigars released, exact numbers have not been confirmed.[/ref]

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The dress box feature a red and forest green pattern similar to the sweater worn by Freddy Krueger and the sides of the box have indentations that mimic Krueger’s face.

It’s priced one again at $13. If you are noticing a theme with the numbers, it’s intentional. The numbers six and 13 are used for almost everything, both numbers are considered to have dark connotations.

While the former Monster Series is at nine releases, there are quite a few more cigars. In 2012 Tatuaje released the Little Monsters, smaller versions of the first five Monster Series releases. In 2014, Tatuaje added the Pudgy Monsters, which included the first six Monster Series blends with the length of the Little Monsters, but the ring gauge of the original Monsters. This year, Tatuaje released the Skinny Monsters, which saw the first eight Monster Series releases put into a 6 x 38 petit lancero format.

In addition, two other blends Chuck and Tiff, have been part of the Pudgy and Skinny Monsters releases. While neither have a large Tatuaje Monster Series release, they are based off of the characters from Don Mancini’s Bride of Chucky.

There are expected to be at least 20 more cigars for the growing Tatuaje Monster Series family, the company showed off Skinny Monster Cazadores (6 4/8 x 48) and Lancero (7 1/2 x 38) blends that are expected to be added next year.

For now, the Tatuaje Monster Series family has 32 cigars.

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  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje The Krueger
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Vitola: Belicoso Extra
  • MSRP: $13 (Boxes of 13, $169; Boxes of 10, $130)
  • Release Date: October 3, 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: 666 Dress Boxes of 13 Cigars & 5,000 Plain Boxes of 10 Cigars (58,658 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

As with most of the Monster Series releases, The Krueger is both long and imposing, with a dark mocha brown wrapper that is sandpaper rough to the touch and a torpedo cap as well as a fairly noticeable box press. In addition, the cigar does have a number of very prominent veins running up and down its length, and there is almost no oil visible that I can see. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of creamy nuts, cedar, earth, anise, manure and dark chocolate, while the cold draw bring flavors of strong gritty earth, hay, cashews, cocoa nibs and black pepper.

The first third of The Krueger starts off with a bang, with a profile that combines strong maple syrup and black pepper on the retrohale to easy become the dominant flavors. Other notes of dark chocolate, dank earth, dried tea leaves, cedar and leather flit in and out, and I am noticing a bit of spice on my tongue. The burn is fantastic so far, while the draw is excellent after a Dickman cut and the smoke production is massive of of the foot. Strength-wise, The Krueger starts out fairly mild at first, but quickly ramps up noticeably, ending at a point close to the medium mark by the time the first third is finished.

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While the black pepper from the first third calms down a bit in the second third of The Krueger, the maple syrup sweetness is still a major part of the profile. In addition, the dominant flavor has morphed into a creamy cashew note, followed closely by other flavors of earth, tea leaves, cocoa nibs, milk chocolate, leather and cinnamon. Construction-wise, the draw continues on its fantastic line, and while I am forced to touch up the burn right after the halfway point, it is fine after that. The smoke production remains quite high, and while the strength does hit the medium mark just before the end of the second third, it does not seem to want to go much further than that anytime soon.

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An interesting floral note hits my palate during the final third of The Krueger, and while it continues to be noticeable until the end of the cigar, it is never very strong. The dominant flavor remains the same creamy cashew note from the second third, followed by other flavors of leather, earth, barnyard, bread, cinnamon, roasted coffee and a touch of floral. The maple syrup note has morphed into more of a graham cracker sweetness, and there is an increase in the black pepper on the retrohale as well. The draw is as excellent as ever, and the burn has evened up nicely, while the overall strength hits a point just above medium by the time I put the nub down with a bit less than an inch to go.

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Final Notes

  • The Krueger is only the third cigar in the Monster Series to be box-pressed, with the first being The Frank in 2008 and the second being The Wolfman in 2012.
  • It is also only the second release in the series to utilize a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, the only other being The Face in 2011.
  • Since the first release in 2008, the Monster series has followed a specific pattern: two classic monsters followed by one newer monster. If that continues, that means that next year’s—and the year after— monster will be classic ones. There are very few real classic monsters left, so I think that Johnson is going to have to get a little creative in the future. A candela-wrapped The Creature from the Black Lagoon is a possibility, or perhaps The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Invisible Man or even The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Every Monster Series release so far has had 666 dress boxes except for The Drac, which had a total of 1,300 dress boxes produced, but no non-dress boxes.
  • Two of the three samples I smoked had that wonderful combination of distinct maple syrup and black pepper on the retrohale throughout, while the third was just full of black pepper and sans any sweetness whatsoever. While still a good cigar, if that third sample had been the same as the other two, the final score would be significantly higher.
  • Each of the bands on the Monster series cigars— and especially the colors of the bands—are representative of the specific Monster Series they are attached to. In an email, Johnson told me that the red lettering on a green background is meant to invoke Freddy Krueger’s signature sweater that he wears in the movies.
  • This was a slow burning cigar, and as a result, the final smoking time for all three samples average just under two hours.
  • Tatuaje Cigars is a sponsor of halfwheel.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • If you would like to purchase any of The Krueger, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Cigar Hustler and Lone Star State Cigars (972.424.7272) have them in stock.
89 Overall Score

Anyone who has read my reviews with any regularity knows my affinity for cigars with a sweet and peppery profile, and that is something The Krueger has in spades, at least in two of the samples I smoked. The cigar is at times complex while at other times reserved, but the one thing that never suffered is the balance, which remains excellent throughout. In addition, the both the construction and the smoke production are fantastic overall, with the draw being the real standout after I utilized a simple dickman cut with each sample. No, it is not the best of the Monster Series—for me, that remains The Frank from 2009—but it is a worthy addition to the line, and one that I think will age well.

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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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