We have covered quite a bit of history about Tatuaje’s Private Reserve — otherwise known as the Black Label blend — lineup on this site over the years. As the story goes, the blend was put together after owner Pete Johnson visited a “famous island known for historic cigar making.” While there, he was given a cigar by a local resident that really impressed him, and he decided to try and recreate the blend for himself using Nicaraguan tobacco.

The first release was composed of a 5 5/8 x 46 corona gorda in 19-count ceramic jars in 2008, and there are now more than 18 different vitolas in the line, as well as four more that will be going into regular production this summer. Throughout all of the different releases, the blend has remained the same: a sun grown criollo wrapper grown in Estelí, Nicaragua covering tobaccos from Nicaragua in both the binder and filler.

The Tatuaje Old Man and the C was released in August 2012, and included a culebra as well as a Black Label Lancero in the same coffin. While it was a limited release, there was never a confirmation about how many were actually made, although there were at least 300 master cases containing 10 coffins produced. The MSRP for each coffin was $30, and they were rolled at My Father Cigars S.A. in Estelí.

Here is what I said in my original review back in August 2012:

My first thought when I hear of any new Tatuaje Black Label release is, “Does it taste like the original Corona Gorda?” The Corona Gorda had a fairly distinct and quite strong cinnamon note that was hard to deny and various Black Label releases have had various amounts of that flavor in the profile. For example, the Black Label Tubo had very little, while the closed foot Petite Lancero was spot on. I am happy to say that the Culebra has what I consider to be the classic Black Label profile—and in spades. Strong cinnamon, spicy wood and even a bit of floral note. There are some high expectations when talking about a Tatuaje Black Label release, and the Culebra nails the flavors perfectly. Better than the Black Label Tubo? Easily. Better than the new Black Label Lancero? Without a doubt.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Old Man and the C
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Culebra
  • MSRP: $7.50 (Coffins of 4 Cigars, $30 & Master Cases of 10 Coffins, $300)
  • Release Date: Aug. 10, 2012
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

As with most any culebra, the Tatuaje Black Label Old Man and the C is a sight to behold, with a mocha colored wrapper that is quite rough to the touch and a light hint of oil. The twisted cigar is spongy when squeezed and has no cracks in the wrapper that I can see. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of cinnamon, creamy nuts, leather, earth and dark chocolate, while the cold draw brings flavors of strong orange citrus, creamy nuts, leather, coffee beans and black pepper.

The Tatuaje Black Label Old Man and the C starts off with bitter espresso beans on the palate, interspersed with cinnamon, cedar, cocoa, earth, creamy cedar and a touch of floral. The orange citrus from the cold draw is in evidence on the retrohale—albeit not nearly as strong—as is some fairly aggressive black pepper. There is some interesting sweetness on the finish, but it is fairly light to start with.

Tatuaje Black Label Old Man and the C

Unfortunately, both the orange citrus and black pepper on the retrohale are long gone by the halfway point, replaced by a smooth, aged cedar note. There is still a tiny bit of cinnamon noticeable, but the main flavors revert to a more boring combination of dark chocolate, leather and coffee beans. The sweetness from the first half is almost much reduced, leading to less complexity overall in that regard as well.

Construction-wise, the Tatuaje Black Label Old Man and the C performs phenomenally with an excellent draw and a razor sharp burn throughout the cigar. There is plenty of dense, white smoke production, and while the overall strength was well-balanced, it did not come close to moving beyond the medium mark.

84 Overall Score

I found a fully intact coffin of these in my cooler while looking for something else, and decided to see what the three years had done for it. I have always been of the belief that Tatuaje's Black Label line does not age all that well for the most part—the exception being the original event only robusto that came in the three-packs, for some reason—and this bears that out, at least for this vitola. While the cold draw and first half was quite good, with obvious orange citrus notes on the retrohale, the profile really fell off a cliff after that, becoming quite a bit more smooth and monotonous, albeit still enjoyable. Having said that, both the burn and draw were fantastic, and I did not need to touch it up once. In the end, after three years, the Old Man and the C is a tale of two halves: a very good cigar for the first half, and an okay cigar for the second half.

Original Score (August 2012)
Redux Score (February 2016)
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Brooks Whittington

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.