And the Winner is… Sunday, Sep 30 2007 

…Aaron Campbell!!!!!

Sorry for the late post but life kind of got in the way today. Aaron is the lucky winner of the Tatuaje Sampler. Congratulations Aaron and thanks to everyone who participated. I hope you all enjoyed playing as much as I enjoyed holding the contest. I also hope that I was able to point some of you to some interesting blogs that were new to you. I enjoyed doing this contest a lot so I’ll have to cook up another good idea for a second contest in the not so distant future.

Thanks again everyone and congratulations Aaron.

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Drawing for the Tatuaje Prize this Weekend Thursday, Sep 27 2007 

The entry deadline came and went at midnight last night so that means it is time to draw names for the 3 Cigar Tatuaje Sampler. I have already notified everyone who will be in the drawing. As it turns out everyone who entered got the questions right and will be in the drawing. For those who missed out but are curious here are the answers…

  1. My buddy Andy is an amazing cook. If you like food you’ll love his blog Andy’s Diner. Browse around his blog, there’s a lot of good stuff on there. Besides being an excellent cook, Andy is also a 1st class BOTL and he posts pictures of his cigars so browse through the photo gallery called Andy’s Humidor to see his impressive collection. He has also taken some tours of a few cigar operations in Miami. Find his pictures of these tours and look through them. They are pretty cool. What I want you to tell me is what three things did Andy purchase on his tour of Tabacalera Perdomo?
    7 cigar sampler of the La Tradicion Perdomo Reserve cigars, a beautiful black ashtray, and an Edicion de Silvio No. 2 Torpedo
  2. Now it’s time to check out Brian’s Random Thoughts. Brian’s blog is a good read and like Andy’s blog, it’s not just cigars. Browse around and read a little and I think you’ll like the place and find it an entertaining read. While you are browsing around answer this. Brian has a bunch of cigar reviews on his site and one of the cigars he reviewed is another one of Pete Johnson’s cigars (also made by Pepin Garicia) and a favorite of mine, but it isn’t a Tatuaje . Find the review I speak of. There are two parts to this question. A. What is the name of the cigar in the review I am referring to? B. In that review Brian states that he was hoping the cigar in question would be a cheaper alternative to another cigar that he likes. What cigar was he hoping it would be an alternative to?
    A.) The cigar is a cabaiguan belicoso finos
    B.) Hoping it would be a cheaper alternative to a Diamond Crown Maximus
    (more…)

Last Day To Get Contest Entries In Wednesday, Sep 26 2007 

Today is the last day to email in your contest entries.  It isn’t that hard to find the answers to the questions so there is plenty of time to get on on this.  I need to recieve all entries by midnight tonight to be eligible for the drawing.

 Click here for contest details.

Good Luck!

Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles Saturday, Sep 22 2007 

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 5.0″x50 ring

I was going to smoke a Cuban this afternoon. I went into the winecoolerdor and pulled out the cedar tray I use to hold my Cuban singles and in there was a misfiled Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles. I thought it over for a second and I ended up grabbing the Tatuaje. Such is the nature of my sickness. The Nobles is even my least favorite vitola (not to suggest that I don’t like it) in the Havana VI line, but for some reason I felt almost compelled to smoke it. I’ve smoked a bunch of the Havana VI cigars but have never put together a review of any of them so I figured this would be a good one to write up.

The Havana VI line is supposedly made with the same tobacco as the regular Tatuaje line, but the blend is obviously different. These cigars tend to be more of a medium bodied smoke compared to the powerful full bodied regular Brown Label line. Another difference is that the Havana VI is rolled in Pepin Garcia’s Nicaraguan factory, Tabacalera Cubana, where the regular line is rolled in Miami in his El Rey de los Habanos factory. Having the Havana VI rolled in Nicaragua allows for greater production because the Nicaragua factory employs many more rollers and is capable of producing cigars at a much higher volume and at a lower cost. The Miami factory only employs about 12 rollers, all of them class 8 master rollers. The Havana VI, like the regular Tatuaje is named after one of Pete Johnson’s dogs. This line is named after his dog Havana and the first letter in the names of each of the vitolas can be used to spell out the dog’s name. Your can read more about this in my earlier post, Trivia: Tatuaje – La Seleccion de Cazador.

The Nobles is a good looking cigar with an oily, slightly veiny, chocolate brown wrapper. The pre-light aroma is a non-descprit tobacco aroma. My Palio made a perfect cut across an expertly applied triple cap. The initial draw delivered a predominatley woody/cedary flavor with a subtle floral undertone. The cigar felt solid and well packed and I found the draw to be spot on with just the right amount of resistance. It lit easily producing a lot of thick creamy smoke that had a subtle almost chocolate like aroma to it. Most notable was the lack of what has become a trademark of Pepin Garcia made cigars. The well know peppery start was not to be found here. It started off very smooth and almost mild. The smoke delivered a creamy, woody flavor which dominated the entire smoke and there was a distinct coffee bean flavor on the finish. I picked up the occasional faint note of cocoa but the flavors pretty much stayed consistent throughout. I have found the Nobles to be the most mild in the Havana VI line. Much more mild than the others like the Hermoso for example, which is my favorite size. The Nobles is also the most one dimensional size in the line lacking any real complexity, but the flavors it does deliver are very enjoyable. The burn was perfect and the ash was well formed and held firm, so from a construction stand point this cigar is excellent. Although this is by no means a bad cigar, it is actually quite good, it just doesn’t hold much for me and when I go for a Havana VI I will usually go for the Hermoso or Victorias as they have proven to be the most interesting and enjoyable sizes for me.

Rating – B

For other opinions on this cigar check out the links below.

The Keeper of the Flame – Havana VI Nobles

P.S. I promise my next review will not be a Tatuaje or Pepin cigar 🙂 .

Like free cigars. Check out my contest. It ends on September 26th so hurry and get in on the fun. Click here:  Win My Favorite Cigars!

Only a few Days left… Friday, Sep 21 2007 

Only a few days left to complete the scavenger hunt and getin on a chance to win three stellar Tatuaje cigars. Click the link below to see the details on how you can enter. It easy and doesn’t take that long to complete. Have your entries in by the 26th.

Win My Favorite Cigars!

After you finish up with my contest pop on over to The Stogie Guys and check out a contest they are running over there. They are asking you to do a little work as well, if you want to call writing a quick review of a tasty cigar work.

Tatuaje Reserva “A” Uno 9.25″x 47 Wednesday, Sep 19 2007 

Country: USA
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: “A” 9.25″x 47 ring

Well I decided to smoke another giant Tatuaje. I promise to smoke and review a cigar that isn’t a Tatuaje soon. I know I have been kind of a one trick pony lately with all these Tatuaje posts. I guess it is bordering on an unhealthy obsession. To follow up the RC233 I went with the slightly longer but much slimmer Reserva “A” Uno.

This long but slim cigar looked like it was going to take a long time to smoke and it did. Thankfully not nearly as long as a Tatuaje RC233 that I smoked recently. This one was about an hour and a half smoke. It’s a good looking cigar. A little bumpy and rustic looking but still a very good looking stick. I was a little careless pulling this from the humidor and to my horror I dropped the cigar. My heart sank as I picked it up and saw a break in the wrapper. But thankfully it turned out to be a fairly minor scar and it had zero effect on how the cigar smoked. You can kind of see the damage peeking out from the underside of the cigar in the picture.

It sports a triple cap like all of Pepins smokes and the head clipped nicely with my trusty Palio. The prelight draw was perfect and it gave an impression that I was about to smoke a powerful cigar. Well it was more of a medium bodied smoke. It lit nicely and the first 2 inches were dominated by that trademark Pepper that almost all of Pepin’s cigars seem to have. It is amazing the different flavor profiles he can create using just Nicaraguan tobacco and still he some home manges to have them all start out with that trade mark pepper. Once I got past the first two inches the cigar mellowed out considerably. It was a velvety smooth smoke. It was dominated with a creamy woody flavor with a slight hint of sweetness at times. As the smoke progressed I detected some caramel notes and some flashes of cedar. It picked up a little towards the end as it got a little peppery combined with a toasted tobacco flavor. Overall and very good and complex smoke. The burn was immaculate and the ash held firm but it was a little papery on the edges. A good smoke but not as robust as most of the Tatuaje line. Also a little pricey and a big commitment time wise. I enjoyed it and was glad I tried it but I won’t be reaching for this very often if at all. Mainly because of the size and also because some of the other vitolas in this line are bit fuller and are better smokes in my opinion. So I think the verdict on Giant Tatuajes is that they are good but not as stellar as some of the other vitolas. I only posted a review on the Regio and RC184 so far, but I would rate the Regio, RC184, Noella, Tanios, and the Havana Cazadores better than these giant vitolas. Of course I reviewed the Reserva SW as well, which if I had to pick a favorite, the Reserva SW would be it. Be sure to try the “A” Uno at least once though. It’s worth it.

Rating – B+

Want to try a Tatuaje? Check out my contest by clicking here and you might win yourself 3 stellar Tatuaje cigars.

Win My Favorite Cigars! Thursday, Sep 13 2007 

There has been a trend around the blogs recently to hold cigar contests and I thought I’d get in on the fun. If you happened to catch the contests over at CigarJack’s and Brian’s Random Thoughts, you know what I’m talking about. Mine is going to work a little differently. I’m going to make you do a little extra work for this one. I am delving into my personal stash of my favorite cigars for this and I’m giving away a premium Tatuaje Sampler. Three cigars worth approximately $30. You have a chance to win the following Tatuaje (Brown Label) cigars:

1 – Havana Cazadores (very hard to find vitola and considered the best in the line)
1 – Regios (the cigar that got me hooked on Tatuaje)
1 – Cojonu 2006 (eat a good meal first)

So, you are wondering what you need to do to win this treasure trove? How can you claim this sampler of the best non-Cuban cigars on the market today? You are going on a Cigar Blog scavenger hunt. The idea here is to maybe introduce you to some blogs you haven’t seen before or remind you of some you may have forgotten about, ect. Anyway, besides completing the scavenger hunt take some time to look around these blogs and book mark the ones you like so you can find your way back… (more…)

Tatuaje RC233 Wednesday, Sep 5 2007 

Country: USA
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Figuardo 9.125″x55 ring

So I’m probably building myself a bit of a reputation for being a Tatuaje “Homer” and I won’t deny it. They are fantastic cigars and even the cheapest of the line, the white banded P series is pretty darn good for a mixed filler yard ‘gar. Tatuajes have been dominating my smoking rotation as of late which is why they also have been dominating my recent reviews as well. So keeping with that theme here is yet another Tatuaje review. This time I put an RC233 to flame.

I spent the better part of Saturday reorganizing my new garage. I had two reasons for doing so. Number one, I needed to make room to move even more junk from storage to my garage, and number two it was time to get the man room setup. The garage is my room, the “man room” if you will. It is a great place of refuge from the chaos that goes on inside the house with a wife, two small children, a dog, and a bird. So I needed to clean up the garage and get my new (but old) 42 inch rear projection TV and sitting area setup in the garage. After all it was opening day of the college football season and if ever there was a deadline to have your man room ready, that would be the day. By the afternoon everything was set and I was chilling out watching football. Fast forward to the end of the greatest football game of all time as my alma mater, Appalachian State University (2-time defending 1-AA National Champions) put the beat-down on big bad Blue in the Big House!!!! I was jumping through the roof! I’m still riding that high today. I wanted to smoke the biggest darn stogie in my possession to celebrate. None bigger than the RC233.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

So off to the humidor I go and I pull out the 9+ inch foil wrapped perfecto. This is a good looking beast of a cigar. The size of it is a little intimidating and I know I’m settling in for 2 two and half hours or more with this bad boy. I explained the name of the Tatuaje RC’s a bit in my post about the RC184, but for a quick recap, the RC stands for “Retro Cuban” and the 233 represents the cigars length in millimeters. The RCs are limited in production making them kind of tough to find so when you come across one grab it if you ever intend to try them. Given the heft of the RC184 I expected its bigger brother to feel even heavier in the hand but was surprised that it didn’t. It seemed a little light for its size to me. A google image search located this handy picture showing the two RC’s side by side.

The head clipped nicely with my Palio. Like most perfectos getting it lit was a bit tricky. You need to get the burn up past the taper at the foot before the draw opens up enough to keep from popping a blood vessel while taking a draw. Once I got it going the draw was good but a little on the light side. I don’t know what Pepin does to his cigars that gives almost every one of them that trademark pepper right at the start but it was present on this cigar as well. Once I got a little over an inch or so into it the cigar mellowed dramatically. This is the mildest Tatuaje I have smoked so far and I’ve smoked many of them. The flavors were predominately coffee and cedar. I kept hoping for more flavors to develop or for the cigar to change things up a bit, but alas it did not. I have to admit I was a little disappointed. The flavors were quite good on this medium bodied smoke, but the cigar was a bit one dimensional. That’s not good for a cigar that boasts such a long length. There was still almost four inches left on the cigar when I found myself losing interest in it. I had gotten all I was going to get out of it and there was still about 45 minutes of smoking left on it. I persevered through the rest of the smoke but began paying far more attention to the football game then I did the cigar. It was a good cigar with superb construction, a good even burn , and good(albeit one dimensional) flavors but far too long and far too expensive for the experience it delivers. This is the 1st time I’ve found myself disappointed with a Tatuaje. I was especially surprised by this since the RC184 was an absolutely stellar cigar. Maybe it was a fluke, maybe not. I have two more in the humi and I’ll give it another shot the next time I’m in the mood for a two and a half hour smoke.

Rating – B

Box Purchase: Tatuaje Havana Cazadores Saturday, Sep 1 2007 

I am the proud owner of yet another box of Tatuajes. I recently started a great new job and got a little sign-on bonus with it. I decided that I earned myself a little reward for landing such a good gig so I took a bit of that bonus money and got me a box of the elusive Tatuaje Havana Cazadores. This particular vitola is reported to be Pete Johnson’s personal favorite and are considered by many to be the best in the regular brown label line (non Reserva or Cojonu). They tend to be darn hard to find too. These beauties measure in at 6 3/8′ x 43 ring. They are a sight to behold as you can see below (click each picture for an enlarged view).

You can read my review of the Havana Cazadores here.

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