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.
Origin : USA Format : Robusto Size : ~5.25 x 44 Wrapper : Ecuador (Habano) Filler : Nicaragua and Honduras Binder : Nicaragua Hand-Made Price : $195-230 for a box of 20 depending on vitola
Thanks to Velvet Cigars for providing a sampler!
The Bowery is a new release by Velvet Cigars from New York City. According to their press release, “the Bowery is a medium to full-bodied box pressed cigar, featuring four year-aged Nicaraguan and Honduran filler, with a Habano Ecuadorian wrapper.” Velvet cigars are hand-rolled in their Club in NYC by a team of Dominican rollers. I have never smoked anything from Velvet, so this is a completely new experience for me.
After last week’s debacle with the Series JJ White Label I usually would have put Don Pepin’s products out of my lineup for at least a short while to get the sour taste out of my mouth and intended to do just that. Shortly after writing the review, however, I received gifts from two separate individuals and each contained a Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Blend. Neither had read the Series JJ review and although this blend is not uncommon, I found it an interesting coincidence that they would both send a stick from the line. Always on the lookout for shorter smokes, I put the Perla 1952 size in my desktop humidor to rest and stowed the larger in my coolidor.
Today was yet another beautiful day in my tundra paradise. Not feeling like a particularly long smoke I reached for the Don Pepin Garcia JJ White Label that has been resting in my desktop for just over a month. I had been looking forward to this one for a while because I cannot seem to find enough smokes in the shorter vitolas.
First inspection shows a wrapper that is a bit more vein laden than I would like. Some of them are quite pronounced begging to affect razor edged burns. Despite this, the seams are unpronounced and the cap is nice and secure. Moving to the foot I notice two fairly pronounced dents that can only be described as pencil eraser sized divots. This leads me to believe that this one is under filled. Pinching from the head to the foot reveals a solid cigar with slight give. Unfortunately, there are two very significant soft spots. One is 2 inches from the foot and the other is right about where the larger band is located.
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.
Origin : USA Format : Robusto Size : 5 x 50 Wrapper : Connecticut Broadleaf (Maduro) Filler : Nicaragua/Mexico Hand-Made Price : $147.99 for a box of 20
The PIO Resurrection line is a new release from PIO cigars based in Miami, FL. Alberto Medina came back to the cigar market after some legal issues with the PIO Overture 1996. The Resurrection line comes in three vitolas: a Churchill, a Torpedo, and the featured Robusto. The cigars are box-pressed which can be seen by the cigar’s perfect square shape.
Thank you to Cuban Crafters for providing me with a sampler to try.
The cigars are rolled by a team of 10 rollers in Miami, rather than at Cuban Crafters' main facility in Nicaragua. This line seems to be the most premium offered by Cuban Crafters and has earned some nice reviews around the web, so I was looking forward to giving them a try.
Pete Johnson, brand owner of Tatuaje, has been releasing annual special edition cigars around Halloween he calls the Monster Series. One of this year's releases, and the subject of this review, is the Drac-2009. Before I go any further, let me address some major issues which have surrounded this cigar. The Dracs were shipped in painted and lacquered, coffin shaped boxes which have been at the root of the primary complaint. There have been numerous complaints about a terrible odor emanating from the box and even some about that odor and even a flavor having been imparted to the cigars themselves. The Drac is a Halloween themed cigar which of course, had to be released by 31 October, but according to Pete Johnson the box maker in Nicaragua wasn't able to complete the boxes until shortly before the release date. This resulted in the boxes not having time to air out before they were packed, wrapped in cellophane, and ultimately shipped. When opened by B&Ms or individual buyers at their final destination, the trapped odor from the paint and lacquer has poured out. The second complaint about these cigars is that many of the wrappers were damaged when the boxes were opened and the cigars were still "wet."