Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Toro
Size : 6 x 52
Wrapper : Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Date Released : November 2010
Price : MSRP $10.00, aftermarket approx. $15-$25
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For those of you that read my Top 10 Cigars of 2011 article, many will see a lot of Pete Johnson cigars on the list. Pete has been on fire the last two years, and arguably the last 5 years. Since the first release of Noella Reservas back in 2006, people have been crawling over each other to access any of the limited production/B&M exclusives that Pete produces. The Barclay Rex has been touted as one of the greatest Tatuaje’s to have ever been made, close behind possibly the original jar release of the Black Label corona gorda (soon to be review in the making!). The B-Rex, for short, is the tweaked version of the widely popular Pork Tenderloin Meat Locker Series made for Gloucester St. Cigars in Boston, which was a fatter, tweaked version of the J21. Now, I never had the opportunity to smoke the Pork Tenderloin, but I was told by many it was an incredible cigar. Only around a little less than 5,000 cigars were made of the B-Rex making it very hard to find, and even worse, extremely desirable. This will be the third B-Rex I have smoked, with one being from the release, and two being just recently. This review being written after my last B-Rex in my possession, I am sad to see them gone :(
The B-Rex is dons a dark chocolate wrapper that appears very thick and stout. There is significant veining in the wrapper with a few that are very large. It has tight seams, is firmly packed, and has little give when squeezed. The characterizing assets of the B-Rex is it’s unique pigtail and closed foot. The cigar smells of faint leather at this point in its life. The band is Pete’s red, white, and blue striped band with gold trim that adorns his Exclusive Series of cigars.
The head cuts cleanly and displays a nice firm draw,… but not too firm. The closed foot lit easily and the draw remained perfectly firm. Lots of thick creamy smoke is produced by this stick. The burn produces a flaky grey ash that has some fliers come off in my lap at times. The burn is razor sharp through half of the stick and slightly wavers from then on but corrects itself. Never had much problems with the three cigars I have smoked over the last year.
Once the foot was torched I was met with initial black peppery spice to the back of my throat, and then I was hit with some Graham cracker and clove. The beginning peppery and graham flavors reminded me of another one of my favorite cigars, the El Centurion by Don Pepin. A half inch in and the pepper dials back quite a bit and sort cruises into some signature brown label Miami Tat flavors. The second half of the 1st third ends with touches of clove, leather, and cocoa powder.
The 2nd third is hitting a sweet spot of incredible rollercoaster like flavors. The consistent leather and woodsy flavors continue but coming in and out of the picture are floral and cinnamon notes. The creaminess is very enjoyable. At this point in the B-Rex’s life, the flavors are reminiscent of the RC184 in the 2nd third (another incredible Tatuaje cigar with Cuban flavor roots). Weird enough, the flavors sing more when the cigar is cherry red while taking semi-frequent puffs. The end of the 2nd third pops with meaty, chocolate notes,… nice!
The last 3rd of this cigar is where the flavors amp up and smack you like your doctor did when you came screaming into this world! A light pepper nuance sits on the tongue, and previous flavors have transitioned to dark chocolate, cinnamon, meat, and deep leather notes. A flavor bomb still for a >year old stick; this guy has some staying power and should age for many more years.
At release time, $10.00 was one heck of a bargain for this cigar. The complex flavors and large format really made this stick a steal at MSRP. Unfortunately word got out about how great these were and people were willing to pay premium for them. Recent box prices have been as high as $500 for a box of 25. I based my value on the going aftermarket prices. It’s only worth it if you want a really great cigar and have plenty of money burning a hole in your pocket.
Overall Rating :
In truth, if this cigar had been released during this last year, it would be battling it out with the Viaje Tower 45th for Cigar of the Year. This cigar still has plenty of life in it, proof positive of the genius that is Pete Johnson. He never disappoints in producing cigars that stand the test of time while still being incredibly good at release. Readers don’t fret, even though many will never have the chance to spark up a Barclay Rex 100, Tatuaje still has some spectacular regular releases that are widely available (ex. Black Petite Lancero, Cabaiguan Guapo, Fausto 127, Casita Criolla Short Churchill, RC184, and on and on,…). But for me, so far, this may be the best Tatuaje I have smoked since the original release of the Black Petite Lancero,…… at least until I do my review soon for the original release Black Corona Gorda. Cheers, beers, and lots of thick smoke! Until next time,…