Tatuaje J21 Reserva

Tatuaje J21 Reserva

TatuajeOrigin : Miami, FL
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : ~$10-11 each

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.

Construction for this smoke is pretty solid. Observing the wrapper there were no flaws, with the only exception being one slightly prominent vein wrapping through the length of the cigar. The seams were visible but essentially smooth and the edges only able to be seen when staring directly down the side along the foot. My punch, although I am starting to get to the point of needing a new one, made a perfect hole and the pre-light draw was fantastic. Those notes of pepper hinted at previously became more evident and a slight cinnamon flavor showed itself.

Breaking out my torch lighter, I toasted the foot and soon had a strong ring of fire going with a nice straight burn. Taking my first couple of puffs to get the toast evened out let loose a pepper BOMB! The notes of pepper that I smelled and tasted pre-light did not prepare me for this. A couple of puffs into this, however, and the pepper backed off just enough to allow an earthy flavor to come through. This was very pleasant indeed because I am not sure how long I could have stood the strength of the pepper alone.

At about the one inch mark the pepper blended into the overall balance of the smoke and caramel tones became apparent. The light gray ash was very tight and held on for some time.

Tatuaje J21 Reserva

The J21‘s flavor profile remained this way for about half of the smoke, with the pepper always being evident but fading in and out of the spotlight, sometimes letting its other cast mates have their turn. It was during an ebb in the pepper that I noticed a distinct taste of pumpkin and spice, which may have been nutmeg. Although the flavor (pepper vs coffee) and strength profiles are quite different, this is the same effect I noticed with a well aged Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 I smoked several months ago and one of the aspects that made it so enjoyable.

The pepper, earth and spice took over for the majority of the last half of this smoke and I was more than happy to nub this one.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this smoke. The draw was very tight and the burn sharp. I found myself only having to relight the smoke, which I take all blame for due to distractedness. The balanced profile made the entire stick enjoyable and the unique flavors kept me waiting to see what else would pop up. I feel very fortunate to have gotten a well aged one for two reasons. First, this was a very “big” cigar because of the amount of pepper it contained. Although I cannot speak to it, I feel as though a younger version of this might have the overall balance thrown off because of the pepper’s dominance. Second, it is very high in nicotine. I was actually a little buzzed after finishing this one and it smoked for roughly 1.5 to 2 hours. The aging likely reduced this some. Despite this, go out and get a few of these. Smoke one now and give the others some time in the humi. To be safe, whether young or old, make sure to have them after a solid meal. The $11.00 price point knocks it out of the everyday smoke range for many of us but it should be one that you try out if the opportunity presents itself.

Appearance : Rating: ★★★★☆
Construction : Rating: ★★★★½
Flavor : Rating: ★★★★½
Value : Rating: ★★★★☆
Overall Rating : Rating: ★★★★½ (4.25)