from the Stogie Review Fan Forums
I am a huge Tatuaje fan, but I wasn’t always. The first experience I had with a Tatuaje was a miserable one. It was a Havana VI Almirantes I had several years ago that was so poorly constructed I could not even smoke it. So I stayed away from the brand for some time.
Then, one of my friends was nice enough to share a Havana VI Angeles with me, and I was very impressed. It had none of the same construction problems as the first Havana VI I smoked. So, chalking the first one up to bad luck, I decided to try a few more Tatuajes. I soon came across the J21. From that day on, I have been a Tatuaje fiend.
So last month, I get a call from Dave Blanco telling me his “his friend is in town”. I had a midterm the next day, so I declined to go out with them. Dave saw this as unacceptable, and wore me down over the course of the next few days. So he picks me up from the train station around 10PM, and refuses to tell me where we are going. He starts heading into Old Town, and stops at Updown Cigars.
We walk in, and Pete Johnson is standing behind the counter like he owns the place. He was handing out cigars left and right, cracking jokes, and just being Pete. A bunch of us ended up going out to a nearby bar, and it made for an awesome and memorable night.
Pete himself was extremely generous, and was nice enough to give me a few very special cigars, including two pre-release L’esprit de Verites.
I don’t know much about this particular cigar, other than all the tobacco is from one farm, and was harvested in 2008. I have heard this is going to be one of Tatuaje’s more expensive cigars, and will also come in a Churchill format to be called “La Verite”. Dont quote me on any of that though.
So lets get to the review:
The medium-brown wrapper has some oil to it and several medium sized veins. There are a few green splotches and some bunching near the veins, reminiscent of many Cuban cigars. The cap is adhered neatly, and there are no soft or hard spots. The foot is evenly packed with tobacco.
The prelight aroma is mainly of barnyard, and has a sneeze inducing spice to it.
Cold Taste: There was a slight sweetness to the pre-light draw reminiscent of raisin. There is also a very strong spice element that lingers for some time.
The cigar lit up easily with a few wooden matches. Right off the bat, the first few puffs had lots of rich, clean, nutty tobacco with black pepper, wood and raisin on the finish. The body started off in the full category, and the smoke texture was very creamy. The draw was absolutely perfect, even the smallest drag gave rise to giant plumes of smoke. The burn line was razor straight, and the ash completely white.
Halfway through the first third, the spice started to fade into the background and the wood started to be more prominent. The raisin like sweetness was also starting to pick up, and was very pleasant. The body fell into the medium-full range, and had a hell of a nicotine kick, despite being incredibly smooth.
By now the flavor had changed considerably. While still nutty, the black pepper had near completely faded out. The raisin and wood flavors were now even more at the forefront, and were accompanied by a muted white pepper. The burn, ash, and draw were still flawless in this third.
The woody flavor that started off in the background had now taken center stage. The sweetness was fading a bit, and the body crept back to full. At this point, the burn started to wave a bit, and required a few minor touch ups. This cigar remained smooth all the way to the nub.
Overall: This is a truly special cigar. I think Pete and Pepin have made some amazing cigars, but this could be their best. I don’t know the price point on these yet, but as they aren’t going to be cheap, they probably aren’t going to be something I will be smoking too regularly. But I definitely plan to snag a few more when they are released. Apart from a few burn problems in the final third, I cannot find a single thing wrong with the Tatuaje L’esprit de Verite. It is everything you could possibly want in a cigar.
Like It: It was amazing.
Recommend It: Absolutely.
Buy it again: How many depends on the price.
Recommended Pairing: Nothing too overbearing. This cigar is remarkably complex, and while full bodied, I can easily see it being overpowered some spirits. I would look for something with a strong woodsy component, which would complement that of the cigar. Two that came to my mind were Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 and The Glenlivet French Oak Reserve