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Brooks Whittington and I sat around the office the other day and had a debate—what’s the best Tatuaje Monster Series dress box of them all? It’s hard to knock any of the six so far, but The Wolfman, with its unique indentions on the top of the box, made to mimic the clawing of the wood might just set it apart. There’s little chance we will ever agree on what’s the greatest, but my vote very well might be cast for The Wolfman. As for the cigar, today it’s back in the picture thanks to the recently-released Pudgy Monster series.

(Editor’s Note: Rather than rewriting history seven times, we’ve included the same basic history of the Monster Series across all eight reviews.)

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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.

Five of the Pudgy Monsters share the ring gauge of the original Monster Series release and the length of the Little Monsters.

Last year, the company released The JV-13 (7 1/2 x 52) based on the character Jason. Johnson’s pudgy take on the JV-13 is Jason, a 5 1/2 x 52 cigar.

Each Pudgy Monster box has one of the aforementioned six cigars. The remaining four cigars are split up between two different 4 x 50 releases, Chuck and Tiff.

With these releases, the Monster Series and its related releases, now stand at 19 cigars.

Tatuaje Monster Series Collection

 

Tatuaje Pudgy Monster Box 1

 

Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters Box 2 Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters Box 3

Tatuaje Wolf 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Wolf
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Torpedo
  • MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95.00)
  • Date Released: June 18, 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: 20,000 Boxes of 1 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

I liked the original look of The Wolfman, but the Wolf looks great with the band and unfinished foot much closer in relation. It’s extremely easy to identify the Ecuadorian sumatra wrapper, the clean vanilla and cocoa notes are incredibly distinct. The foot provides much more leather, meatiness and sassafras—a lot more complexity than the wrapper with a significant amount of sweetness. The cold draw of the Wolf is familiar, although the sassafras turns more root beer like with cocoa, some white pepper, twang and nuttiness.

I was concerned by a slightly open cold draw, but greeted by an even more open draw at the start of the Wolf’s first third. A familiar nuttiness and sweet leather star the Tatuaje, the finish is toasty with a bit of cocoa and grass, no signs of that twang I found earlier. An inch and the Wolf has a nutty core, vanilla and creaminess. At the inch mark, the draw tightens up to an ideal place and adding a bit of citrus for a few puffs, although it quickly disappears. It is the lightest of the Pudgy Monsters I’ve had to date: medium-plus in body, medium in flavor and mild to medium in strength. 

Tatuaje Wolf 2

The nuttiness fades and a generic sweetness emerges, although the overall flavor has not picked up much. A dry bitter cocoa adds itself to the mixture, a bit of earthy barnyard cuts through the sweeter profile as well. Spices and butterscotch join the Wolf after the halfway mark, another dimension to what’s a pretty lively profile. Strength is medium, a noticeable tick up from the first third. Construction-wise, the Wolf requires a few touch-ups, but nothing beyond that and the draw has settled.

Tatuaje Wolf 3

There’s a building harshness with an inch a half left, although at the one-inch mark it disappears. The Wolf adds toastiness and harsh grass, but it’s still very much sweet. Strength ends medium, nothing more than three inches prior. As concerned as I was after the cold draw and initial puffs, the construction of the Wolf ends great: solid chunks of ash, a great draw and decent smoke production, although a bit inconsistent.

Tatuaje Wolf 4

Final Notes

  • While the Wolf bands are a pain to photograph, they are my favorite of the bunch.
  • With the reveal of Jekyll and Hyde at the 2014 IPCPR convention and trade show there are 21 announced Monster-related cigars and at least 26 if Johnson finishes the series. I have to imagine there will be more before the series finishes in 2020.
  • Johnson has long talked about how the Ecuadorian sumatra he used for limited releases is limited due to an issue with the seed changing between crops. At this point, I wonder how much is left.
  • As far as I’m concerned, if you are going to do a shaggy foot, this is the way to do it. No random shard of tobacco falling into my lap or humidor, but you still get the same effect when smoking.
  • For those unfamiliar with sassafras, its the plant behind root beer.
  • At this point, the Pudgy Monster craze has begun to die down. I don’t think that’s because there are less boxes being sold, but less hysteria because retailers are not sold out.
  • Strength is medium at its strongest point, far and away the lightest of what’s in the Pudgy Monster box.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 30 minutes.
  • Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. carries the Pudgy Monsters. If they are backordered, check back later.

Leave a comment in any of our (to-be) eight Pudgy Monster reviews to be eligible to win a Pudgy Monster sampler. You can enter up to eight times, once per review. The winner will be announced on Aug. 9, a week after our final Pudgy Monster review is published. Contest rules are here.

90 Overall Score

At this point, I have smoked all of the Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters, by the time I got to the Wolf, I was about ready to give up on finding any gem. While the cigars are for the most part good, they fail to live up to the ridiculously high bar Pete Johnson has set for Tatuaje. The Wolf is both special and unique, and while it's not the greatest cigar Johnson has put his name on, it's worth seeking out, and then some. Most importantly, I think the Wolf works better in this format than its original and Little Monsters comparisons, something I cannot state about the rest of the line.

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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