This is Agent 24. My mission was to review the Tatuaje RC 184. As a member of The Cigar Spy agency, I promise to respect the A.S.H.E.S. code of honor.
Tatuaje is the brainchild of Pete Johnson, who along with Jose “Don Pepin” Garcia rolls these cigars in Little Havana, Miami, Florida. They use first generation Cuban seed grown in Nicaragua. The RC stands for Retro Cuban and the 184 is the length in mm. It is one of the special blends for the Tatuaje Cabinet Series.
I got the chance to smoke the new Esprit de Verite from the crazed mind of Pete Johnson creator of Tatuaje, Cabaiguan and El Triunfador cigars. This project, from what I understand, is a labor of love and something Pete has heavily invested his time in. The idea behind the Verite’s is to create a single cigar from a single vintage crop. The 2008 Vintage is available in either a Churchill (as the Verite) and as a robusto (the Esprit de Verite). All tobacco was harvested from Don Pepin’s farm in Nicaragua.
This is a cigar that I came across immediately following the release of Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 list of 2009. Naturally, being the obsessive-compulsive BOTL that I am, as soon as the list was published I immediately went to my local tobacconist to search out the 22 cigars on the list which are available in the U.S. My long trek through the top 25 list spanned several months, two states, and at least a half-dozen shops (and I still haven’t smoked the Opus X). Some of the cigars I smoked, of which reviews are forthcoming, were positively superb (the Padron 45th, the Casa Magna Solomon, and the Padilla 1932, to name a few), some not so much, some pretty good but simply not worth the hype, or the price tag, or both; but the broke college student in me holds in highest esteem those smokes that can consistently put a smile on my face for less than 12 dollars. The cigar that I’ll be reviewing today does just that, and for a mere 6 dollar price tag and about 70 minutes smoke time, you simply can’t go wrong.
The Verocu extension of the Tatuaje Havana VI line was first introduced as a two vitola regional release. There was the West Coast version, the No. 1 Lado Occidental, and the East Coast’s No. 2 Zona del Este. Each was sold in cabinets of 50 cigars. They were a huge hit and remain a favorite of many Tatuaje fans. They were a limited release however, and much to the dismay of those fans, they are no longer made and extremely hard to find and generally unavailable. If you don’t already have some you aren’t likely to get any. But despair not, there have been subsequent releases of the Verocu blend like the No.9 which is a Holts exclusive. The most recent addition to the line is the Verocu Tubos, a tubed Torpedo measuring an ample six and one eighth inches in length and sporting a beefy 52 ring gauge. It comes armored in a very nice, bright red aluminum tube and is available in boxes of 10.
The Tatuaje Cojonu 2009 is part of the Cojonu extension of the Tatuje Brown Label line. Also known as Tatuaje Miami, Tatuaje Classics, Tatuaje Cabinet series, and even more formally (and very rarely) as Tatuaje La Seleccion de Cazador. The Cojonu extension is a series of very strong cigars that are released in a new shape every three years. It started with the Cojonu 2003 which was a long toro, and that was followed by the Cojonu 2006; a belicoso. So 2009 predictably brought us the next installment which happens to be a very long torpedo with a very short and rounded taper at the head. As I have always understood it, each of these cigars is the same blend with the same binder and wrapper, the difference with each edition being the vitola. So it is good to note that the year on these cigars does not refer to what most cigar smokers normally associate a year with. It doesn’t have to do with the crop, or the year it was made. It is simply the name of the vitola. Much like the Lonsdale in the classic Brown label line is called a Havana Cazadore, this torpedo is called 2009. All three vitolas are regular production cigars and all three are still made and available today.
First of all, I am really sorry for the lack of my reviews lately. I’ve been through some important changes in my life (new job, new home, new city…) which barely allowed enough time to take care of the website. I would like to thank all the reviewers for bringing you fresh content every week. During the last months I’ve been mostly smoking cigars for pleasure, relaxing with a glass of cognac after a long day. I didn’t feel like reviewing a Petit Edmundo again, or a Party Short. Last week, however, I did some on- and off-line shopping and also received a little package from Cayman islands (more on that in one of the next reviews), so I’ve got some interesting experiences to share with you.
We’ll start with a Tatuaje J21 Reserva. This is the very first Tatuaje that I tried (can you believe that?) and I was really curious to see whether it would live up to its reputation (you can check Joe’s review for example).
Plenty has been said already about the Tatuaje Drac and the rest of the monster series. I have talked about them at length in my posts on The Frank and Boris. I’ll just do a quick summary here. The Drac is the second in a limited edition series of cigars by Tatuaje that is release around Halloween every year. They are extremely limited and highly sought after making for an extremely hard to find cigar. Last year I was lucky enough to get a whole box of The Frank. This year I wasn’t so lucky but I did manage to get my hands on two of The Drac cigars.
Please welcome Joe K, our new reviewer. Here is a short intro that he wrote:
Joe K calls the upper Midwest home, currently residing in Wisconsin with his wife. Although he smoked cigars on and off throughout the past 8 years or so, it was not until this past year that he grew a certain affinity for them. While traveling, he mentioned to a business associate that he was looking for some cigars for his mates in light of his upcoming nuptials. That business associate generously gave him a La Riqueza #3. Finding it and the following two so enjoyable, Joe went out and bought a box of the La Riqueza #3's the very next day. Most enjoyable for him are Medium to Full bodied smokes that offer a lot of complexity and flavor changes.
Today, he reviews a Tatuaje J21 Reserva. Enjoy!
If I can say one thing about Tatuaje, it is that they are very confident in their product. Instead of relying on overly flashy bands and packaging, the cigars are allowed to do their own talking and the J21 does not stray. The standard solid brown background, adorned with the Tatuaje signature and Fleur de Lys, is very unassuming. The only indication that this is a unique smoke is the addition of a second “Reserva” band, which adds some definition but is still remarkably simple.
Having received this stick from a fellow BOTL who somehow managed to let this one sit for a while, I was not surprised to notice the buildup of plume on this cigar. A very nice sheen presented itself on the surface of the wrapper due to the delicious oils coming forward. A prominent smell of pepper came through when testing the foot.