Tatuaje RC184 Thursday, Jun 21 2007 

Country: USA
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Figuardo 7.25″x57 ring

Picked up a box of these recently. I posted pictures in a previous post. Tatuajes are hands down my favorite cigars so when I ran across these hard to find beauties I had to pull the trigger on them. The presentation on these is very cool. Pete Johnson loves cigars and has a lot of respect and love for the history of Cuban cigars, and as a tribute he designed the packaging and presentation of this cigar in a “Retro Cuban” style hearkening back to the old style foil-wrapped Cuban perfecto cigars. In fact the RC in the name stands for Retro Cuban. The 184 is the cigars length in millimeters.

The aroma of these cigars is just amazing. I find it hard to describe but it is the richest most decadent aroma I have ever smelled from a cigar. This hefty monster has some weight to it and it feels good in your hand. It’s packed full of tobacco, firm with no soft spots. It lit easily which was surprising to me. I usually find perfectos a bit tough to get going. It started off surprisingly mellow lacking the trade mark pepper that is so common in cigars made by Pepin Garcia. The flavors of this complex cigar are rich and pronounced. It started off with lots of spice and leather. Once the draw opened up a bit the cigar picked up and it developed earthy notes with cocoa and nuts. The draw was perfect and I was surprised again, this time by the burn. It managed to stay straight better than most other perfectos I’ve smoked. The ash was firm and held on forever. As I neared the end of this two plus hour smoke it picked up in intensity and got a little peppery and leathery. The flavors were bold and full but it didn’t have the same punch, or buzz factor that a lot of the other Tatuajes have. That isn’t a bad thing seeing how large the cigar is. If it was as strong as a Cojonu or a Noella it would be hard to finish it I think. The RC184 has earned itself a spot very near the top of my list of all time favorites. It’s complex, delicious and a joy to smoke.

Rating – A+

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A. Pontillo Paragon Double Corona Monday, Jun 4 2007 

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Sungrown
Filler: International Long Filler
Size: Double Corona 7.5″x52 ring

A. Pontillo is the creation of an Apex, NC man named AJ Pontillo. AJ in conjunction with the Oliva cigar family developed a blend for his own line of boutique cigars. The first blend came in a natural and a maduro wrapper. It is an excellent medium bodied smoke that gained a lot of popularity regionally in the southeast. With the building success of his first release AJ developed a strong full bodied blend. This new blend is called the Paragon.

One of the things that is immediately noticeable about all of the Pontillo cigars is the heft. These cigars are packed full of tobacco and you can feel it in the weight of the cigar. The Paragon sports a dark oily and leathery sungrown wrapper that is nicely patterned with very small veins. The pre-light aroma of this cigar lets you know you’re in for a robust smoke. It starts out very peppery, producing big clouds of thick white smoke with a heady, rich tobacco aroma. About an inch and a half in the pepper gives way as the cigar smooths out some. The predominant flavors were earth and cocoa with a pleasant leathery finish. This cigar is heavy in both weight and flavor. Not a cigar you want to try on an empty stomach. The cigar picked up a bit again towards the end bringing a return of the pepper that was prevalent in the beginning. Start to finish this was a great hour and a half smoke. The draw was perfect and the ash held firm on a nice straight burn.

AJ has an interesting business model right now. As he works to build the distribution of his cigars he is starting things off by giving market exclusivity as an incentive to the first shop to sign up for an account with him. For example, here in his home area of Raleigh, NC the only place in Wake County that you can get his cigars is at Capital City Cigars. So, if you can find A. Pontillo cigars in your area, I recommend you pick this cigar up and give it a try. It’s a great smoke.

Rating – B+

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