Origin : USA
Format : Double Corona
Size : 7 5/8″ x 49
Wrapper : Sun-Grown Broadleaf
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Price : $13 each
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The Frank. You may have heard of it. The Frank (short for Frankenstein’s monster of course) is 1st of a hopefully long line of Monster Series cigars released by Pete Johnson of Tatuaje fame for Halloween. Thirteen evil cigars are stuffed into a blood-splattered coffin and were distributed to only 13 ghoulish retailers randomly selected from a drawing, 666 terrifying boxes total. Empire Cigars was lucky enough to be one of the thirteen stores selected to carry the Frank.
The Frank is adorned with an eerie green band that separates it from all of the other Tatuaje lines. The Frank is slightly box-pressed (very Frankenstein-y) and is long and big. Pete has revealed (at Brothers of the Leaf) that the Frank is actually a Tatuaje Taino with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.
Now about this wrapper: this has to be the toothiest wrapper I have ever felt and seen. Seriously! It feels like coarse sandpaper! I couldn’t wait to try it!
It’s been a while since I tried the Taino size, so as far as comparing the Frank to the Taino; I am working off memory (a poor one at that), so please bear with me.
Right away the Frank shows me it is truly a monster. I am punched in the face with a strong pepper core. Also present is an underlying sweetness in the aftertaste, which must be due to the CBL wrapper.
I know this cigar is going to be good quality (as Pete says, “I don’t make sh!t cigars!”) and I am rewarded with a nice long finish that has some interesting characteristics to it. I’ll get to those in a second. The ash holds tight and is dark gray and black and holds on for over an inch. The burn is spot-on even.
It took me a while to characterize that “interesting” flavor I mentioned above and I know this is going to sound pretentious but I can only describe it as marzipan, a combination of cream and nutty (almond) flavors. It’s unusual, but good.
As I smoke the first third of the cigar, I am slightly surprised that there are no cocoa or coffee flavors yet, which I would expect out of a CBL-wrapped cigar.
What this cigar really shows me is the effect of the wrapper on the overall flavor of the cigar. It really shows how special Pete’s and Pepin’s Corojo ’99 wrapper is (man I hate dangling participles). The Corojo wrapper really helps even out a lot of the pure strength with its earthy and leathery flavors. That seems to “hide” (in a complimentary yet subduing way) some of the outright pepper to the blend. With the CBL wrapper, you have a competition between filler and wrapper. Some puffs I get more pepper, while others I get more sweetness.
Have you ever tried some of that funky gourmet chocolate, the one with dark chocolate and cayenne peeper, that’s all the rage these days? Or maybe Mexican chocolate? This to me is what I’m getting in the second third of the cigar… with a strong helping of coffee.
Halfway in, the cigar has changed again, the spicy pepper has now moved to the backburner, but you know its still there when you blow the smoke through your nose. Now it’s mostly cocoa powder and coffee with some nuttiness with a little leather that gives it a tannic bite.
A third of the way through this now “gentle giant” is a little smoother and a little more refined. But there is more than just cocoa; there is a subtle strength, which lets you know this fellah could open up at any minute.
And if on cue, the last quarter of the smoke really picks up with loads rich spice, leather and licorice.
As I smoke this to the nub, I note that the burn is still even just as the last bit of this cigar envelopes me with flavors of rich chocolate, espresso, and licorice.
I really enjoyed this cigar right down to the end. Pete has provided yet another great cigar (albeit in sadly limited quantities). My only complaint was that every now and then I got just a little bit of youth to the cigar, which will certainly disappear as the cigar ages. I want to wait and smoke the rest, one every subsequent Halloween until I’m out!