Monday, January 25, 2010

Tatuaje Boris (Frank out of Costume)

This year has been filled with special release Tatuajes, and thanks to one of my generous customers (Thanks Craig!) I get to try one of this year's Monster cigar releases. Last year Pete Johnson started the Monster series, with The Frank (which unfortunately I didn't get my hands on). This year, the main Monster release was called the Drac (which I hope to review in the near future), with a side release of The Boris. This is slightly shorter than The Frank, measuring in at 7 X 49, with an Ecuadorian Sumatra Rosado wrapper. The Frank was box pressed, this one is not. 1,000 boxes of 10 were released of The Boris, a smaller number than The Drac.

Visually, this is an ugly cigar; bumpy, veiny, and slightly on the dry side. That being said, this, just like the rest of Pete/Pepins cigars, is very well made. After a quick clip with my Palio, The Boris shows a slightly loose draw with flavors of earth and strait tobacco. There is definitely some spice to this cigar, but it isn't as potent as the normal release Tatuajes. This blend has a definite sweetness to it, and something that I almost want to call peppermint. The burn has been nice and even, and the ash held for just over an inch. The flavor of this cigar is very different for a Tatuaje. Some of the trademark flavors such as that up front spice are there, but the core flavor of The Boris is very different, at least to me. The room aroma is very pleasant, and reminds me of sweet cedar. (which I am starting to taste in this cigar as well)

Pete got a lot of heat about the monster releases this year because of how limited they were and how the release was handled. I don't care about that kind of stuff, I think the idea of doing a special and fun cigar for Halloween is fantastic! Would I like to be able to get these cigars easier? Sure, but to me the fun of the Monster series, and other limited Tatuaje's, is the hunt. I haven't gotten my hands on all of his limited releases, but thanks to some very generous friends, and a little hunting of my own, I have done ok. I like Pete's marketing ideas, they are original and a different take on limited release cigars. Innovators in any field often get some grief for their methods and ideas, and newer guys to the industry like Pete are mixing it up, which is always good to see. What it all boils down to though is the cigar. You can have all the flashy and original packaging ideas you want, but if the cigar doesn't perform well, then it is all for nothing. That is not the case with Pete's cigars. If the cigars Pete/Pepin are putting out came in plain boxes without bands, I would still buy them, because they are just damn good! To me, all the fun packaging and limited releases are just the icing on the cake. The cigars are what matters, and they do not disappoint.

The Boris was definitely a tasty cigar. While I enjoyed this one, it probably doesn't break into the list of my favorite Tatuajes. That being said, if you got your hands on The Boris, you will not be disappointed. The peppermint finish I noted really sets this apart from other Tatuaje blends. This was lighter than I expected, ending up being a solid medium bodied cigar. This was a balanced, complex cigar, yet another tasty treat from Tatuaje.

Monday, January 18, 2010

San Cristobal Seleccion Del Sol

Today's review is of a new addition to Ashton's San Cristobal line. This is the Seleccion Del Sol, and has a sungrown wrapper grown in Nicaragua by Don Pepin Garcia (who also blends and rolls this cigar for Ashton). This Nicaraguan Puro comes in three sizes, and today I am smoking the Robusto (5x52)

The wrapper on this particular stick seems a bit dry and rough, but Sun grown wrappers aren't always the prettiest. This one is a nice dark brown and a little mottled. This line features a band on the foot to distinguish it from the regular San Cristobal line. The construction overall looks very nice, with a perfectly applied triple cap. The predraw flavor shows just a touch of cedar and nicely aged tobacco.

This cigar starts out with a nice bit of spice that I tend to notice with a lot of Pepin's blends. Behind the spice there is a definite flavor of sweet cedar. The mix of sweetness and spice really works nicely together. This seems a bit dialed back compared to the original San Cristobals. It is not as full bodied or as rich, but it is still an enjoyable cigar. At the halfway point I would consider this to be at the low end of medium bodied. There is just a touch of citrus on the finish as well.

Overall, the new San Cristobal Seleccion Del Sol is a solid cigar. The construction and burnline are pretty much perfect. I didn't have to touch up the burn at all, which is always nice. I think I prefer the standard San Cristobal line over the new one though. I like the richness of the originals, as well as the dried cherry flavor combined with the spice that they offer. This one has some spice to it, but just a little. The sweet cedar flavor and slightly citrusy finish is very tasty on the new one. I was expecting a full bodied cigar, but this one lands at the low end of medium. The price of the robusto is around $8 if I'm not mistaken. These will be great to smoke when I want something medium bodied with a nice complexity to the flavor.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Liga Privada T52

Today's review is of Drew Estate's new Liga Privado T52. Drew Estates is known for its flavored/infused cigars, but have started doing more traditional cigars recently. The wrapper is grown/harvested in a new manner, called Stalk Cut. My buddy Matt did a really nice write up on this stick, including a history of what stalk cut means, so instead of rewriting it all here and if you are interested, check it out over at Matt's Cigar Journal. I am smoking the Robusto, which measures in at 5 X 52.

Visually this cigar is stunning. The wrapper is almost dripping with oils, and it is super smooth and very dark. The construction overall looks very impressive, down to the very well applied cap. The predraw shows a slightly open draw, with flavors of musty tobacco and just a touch of leather.

Right away this is a very flavorful cigar, and it is producing a ton of fragrant smoke. There is a definite flavor of black pepper, leather and a touch of sweetness I haven't quite identified yet as anything other than just a slightly sweet characteristic. After about an inch, the spice calmed down and the leather flavor and just a little bit of espresso come up to the front. The burnline is razor sharp. The construction on this cigar is just phenomenal.

This cigar was a pleasant surprise. Its nice to see Drew Estates doing something that's worth smoking, because I am definitely not a fan of their flavored cigars. After smoking the Nosotros, which was a team-up of Dion from Illusione and Drew Estates, I was excited to try this cigar. It certainly didn't disappoint. This cigar was full flavored, with loads of leather, espresso, and black pepper. I was expecting a full bodied cigar, but this one settled in to a solid medium bodied. These are a bit pricey, the robusto sells for around $10.50, so it isn't one I will be smoking frequently, but it is beautifully made and very flavorful. So, put your opinion of Drew Estates aside (if it was a negative one) and seek out this cigar. Yeah, its pricey, but definitely worth trying!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tatuaje Verocu Tubo

Today's review is of the new Tatuaje Verocu Tubo, my first cigar of 2010! This, along with the Black Tubo I also reviewed are re-releases of blends that have been used before, but in a different size. This torpedo measures in at 6 1/8X52, and like all Tatuajes, is a Nicaraguan Puro. The very dark and oily wrapper on this cigar is flawless. Construction-wise this seems perfect, no soft spots and rolled with care. I love the way the red band looks against the dark wrapper, and the 2nd band that says Verocu Tubo is a nice touch. Just like the Black Tubo, I love the packaging on these. I can't decide which is cooler looking, the red or the black tubos!

The draw is perfect, and shows crisp tobacco and musty earth flavors. Even after just the first draw, I know I am going to enjoy this cigar. This tastes exactly how I expected it to, just like the other Verocu blends (the East and West coast editions released in 2007 and the current no.9 carried by Holts). This is showing plenty of complexity, with cedar, classic Tatuaje spice, leather and earth. The burnline is starting off a little wavy, and the ash is very white and solid, hanging out for about around an inch. I would say this is a solid medium bodied cigar. After a quick touch up with my torch, the burn got back on track without any further issues. My only complaint is that after I took off the bands, the wrapper swelled in that spot and cracked, but I was able to smoke through it without it falling apart on me.

Yet again, another great cigar from Pete Johnson/Pepin. The Verocu blend is fantastic, and the wrapper on this cigar is just stunning to look at (and it tastes damn good too!) This cigar is very smooth, with loads of cedar, earth, leather and of course some spice mingling around in there. These retail for $11 and are available in boxes of 10, and course they are limited like the Black Tubo. These are a few bucks cheaper than the Black Tubos, but you won't be let down by either of them! I have one of these left, and after smoking this one, I am going to need to get my hands on a few more.