First released in 2008, Tatuaje’s extremely popular Monster Series has seen numerous releases in the main line, as well as two additional sub-lines: the Little Monsters, which are made up of smaller versions of the original Monsters, and the Pudgy Monsters, which combine the same ring gauges as the original Monster releases with the same length of the Little Monsters.
My original review of the Tiff explains more of the history behind the series:
Last year, Johnson began talking about a project known as “fat little monsters,” a take on the 2012 Little Monster samplers, which was a take on the über popular Monster Series. Tatuaje’s origins with monsters dates back to October 2008 when the company released The Frank as part of its Monster Series. The plan was simple, cigars based off of monster characters from films with names, boxes and even some times blends paying homage to each Monster’s respective personality. The series has become an annual thing, arguably the most anticipated and craze-filled cigar release of each year.
Given the Monster Series name, it should come as no surprise that the cigars themselves are large. As such, in 2012, Johnson created the Little Monsters to allow smokers to see how the first five Monster Series release performed in a smaller format. Pudgy Monsters, which is the final name for the “fat little monster” idea, share many details with the 2012 project, both are 10-count samplers, the boxes for both are rather similar, both began shipping in June of their respective years and more importantly, both are smaller takes on Pete Johnson’s popular Monster Series.
The Tatuaje Tiff is part of the Pudgy Monster series, which also includes the Chuck (4 x 50), Frank (5 5/8 x 49), Drac (5 x 52), Face (4 3/8 x 56), Wolf (5 1/2 x 52), Mummy (5 3/4 x 47) and Jason (5 1/2 x 52). Each sampler box contained one of each of the Frank, Drac, Face, Wolf, Mummy and Jason, as well as two each of the Chuck and Tiff, and had a suggested retail price of $95. Both Tiff and Chuck were exclusive to the Pudgy Monster sampler.
Here is what I wrote about the Tiff in my original review back in June 2014:
Creamy, slightly sweet and nutty profile, if that part of the Tiff profile sounds familiar, it because it is. What I was not expecting was a significant amount of spice on the palate and an overt honey sweetness, as well as an uptick in strength. While the Tiff is well balanced, I found myself wanting a bit more complexity in the blend, and the fact that each of the three samples I smoked got very hot with about an inch left was slightly disappointing. While I enjoyed the Tiff blend immensely, I think Johnson makes a much better Connecticut cigar in the regularly produced, often overlooked, Cabaiguan blend.
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Tiff
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Petit Robusto
- MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95)
- Date Released: June 18, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 20,000 Boxes of 2 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Redux: 1
Outwardly, the Tatuaje Tiff looks identical to the samples I smoked for my original review: a small cigar covered in a golden brown wrapper that is quite smooth to the touch and exhibits just a touch of oil. There are no veins visible at all, and it is moderately spongy when squeezed. Aroma coming off of the wrapper is a combination of hay, manure, chocolate and leather, while the cold draw brings flavors of leather, creamy cedar, hay and espresso.
Starting out, the Tatuaje Tiff immediately brings some noticeable spice on the palate, along with flavors of strong peanuts, milk chocolate, espresso, leather and hay. There is a very distinct honey sweetness that is exclusive to the retrohale, but it adds a nice amount of complexity when combined with the white pepper that is also apparent. The profile remains very consistent until after the halfway point, when the dominant flavor shifts to a creamy leather and cedar combination, while the pepper and sweetness begin to slowly recede, a trend that continues until the end of the cigar.
Construction-wise, Tiff features an excellent draw throughout, and while the burn is not razor sharp for the entire cigar and does need to be touched up every once in a while, it never got so bad as to negatively impact the profile. The smoke production and strength level were about the same as the first time I reviewed it, but one major change in the Tiff was the fact that I was able to smoke the cigar down to less than an inch left before it got too hot to continue, an improvement in that regard.
The first time I smoked the Tatuaje Tiff, I was surprised at how much spice and pepper there was in the blend, both on the palate and on the retrohale, and I wondered then how some resting time would change that aspect. Thankfully, some time seems to have ground down the edges in that regard, making the profile more balanced and allowing a touch more complexity into the mix. The core flavors still remain the same, as does the honey sweetness on the retrohale, but I think this is a better cigar now than when fresh, albeit not by much, and think it will continue to improve with more time.