Tatuaje Verocu Tubos Monday, Jun 14 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Torpedo 61/8″ x 52 ring
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The Verocu extension of the Tatuaje Havana VI line was first introduced as a two vitola regional release. There was the West Coast version, the No. 1 Lado Occidental, and the East Coast’s No. 2 Zona del Este. Each was sold in cabinets of 50 cigars. They were a huge hit and remain a favorite of many Tatuaje fans. They were a limited release however, and much to the dismay of those fans, they are no longer made and extremely hard to find and generally unavailable. If you don’t already have some you aren’t likely to get any. But despair not, there have been subsequent releases of the Verocu blend like the No.9 which is a Holts exclusive. The most recent addition to the line is the Verocu Tubos, a tubed Torpedo measuring an ample six and one eighth inches in length and sporting a beefy 52 ring gauge. It comes armored in a very nice, bright red aluminum tube and is available in boxes of 10.

This torpedo is not a particularly pretty cigar but nor ugly or rustic either.  The wrapper is dark, mottled, and slightly veiny.  It is well filled with no soft spots and smells of cedar and leather.  The draw is a little on the loose side but not too much so.  The first draw has a predictable peppery bite to it before settling in to a spicy, earthy core with complimentary notes of cedar, leather, and tobacco which seem to come and go as I made my way through the smoke.  The last third brought lots of earth and black pepper that over powered everything else and was a bit over the top even for me but didn’t really detract much from the rest of the experience.  The Verocu Tubos is a fairly well-balanced, robust, and complex smoke with a sneaky bit of power to it.

There has been lots of talk about cracked and split wrappers with this cigar.  I didn’t have any of those problems but I did have several burn issues.  The cigar tunneled a bit at one point, then it started to canoe. It also went out on me three or four times.  These burn issues are very uncommon in my experiences with Tatuaje cigars.  Right now I am just going to chalk it all up to being a result of shipping conditions and I am hoping all that will work itself out with a few more months of rest in my humidor to acclimate and re-hydrate because the cigar did seem a touch dry to me.  Time will tell and I will probably wait another 6 months before I try another one to see where they are at.

Overall I’d say this was an excellent smoke with great body and good flavors.  If the burn issues do manage to work themselves out then I would rate this as an excellent cigar.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2009 Sunday, Jun 6 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo Ligero
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Torpedo 6.75″ x 48 ring

The Tatuaje Cojonu 2009 is part of the Cojonu extension of the Tatuje Brown Label line.  Also known as Tatuaje Miami, Tatuaje Classics, Tatuaje Cabinet series, and even more formally (and very rarely) as Tatuaje La Seleccion de Cazador.  The Cojonu extension is a series of very strong cigars that are released in a new shape every three years.  It started with the Cojonu 2003 which was a long toro, and that was followed by the Cojonu 2006; a belicoso.  So 2009 predictably brought us the next installment which happens to be a very long torpedo with a very short and rounded taper at the head.  As I have always understood it, each of these cigars is the same blend with the same binder and wrapper,  the difference with each edition being the vitola.  So it is good to note that the year on these cigars does not refer to what most cigar smokers normally associate a year with.  It doesn’t have to do with the crop, or the year it was made.  It is simply the name of the vitola.  Much like the Lonsdale in the classic Brown label line is called a Havana Cazadore, this torpedo is called 2009.  All three vitolas are regular production cigars and all three are still made and available today.

As I mentioned the Cojonu blend is much stronger in body and power than the already quite robust standard Brown Label blends.  The story goes that the name of the line, Cojonu, is a play on a slang Spanish term meaning “ballsy”.  An obvious reference to the strength of the blend.  The Cojonu wrapper is an aged ligero leaf so it had plenty of time in the sun while it was growing and the result is a very dark and very rustic looking wrapper.  The flash in my photo doesn’t do it justice as it sort of bleeds out the color making it appear a much lighter shade of brown than it appears in living color.  It is well filled, and a pre-light  test draw revealed a good but slightly lighter than expected draw.

It is commonly held that if you take what is essentially the same cigar and change the size, it changes the flavors and experience.  I subscribe to this with the following assumption.  When you change the size you are not merely changing the length but also the thickness, or ring gauge.  I think that goes to explain why, in my opinion,  there is virtually no difference at all between the Cojonu 2003 and the 2006.  Both cigars are a 52 ring but the 2003 has about an inch on the ’06 in length.  In that case there were no discernible differences in the two vitolas in my opinion.  To me, they tasted and smoked identically.  The 2009 stepped down a bit on the ring gauge to a 48 ring.  This time I noticed a difference.  A large one actually.

When a cigar gets smaller the blend has to change in some ways.  While the percentages of the different filler types used in the blend may remain consistent, the simple fact is you cannot cram the same amount of tobacco, in the same configuration into a thinner cigar.  So while you are smoking, the percentage of ligero to seco that is burning may be the same, in the thinner cigar there is simply less total ligero and less total seco burning at the same time than there is in the thicker cigar.  So it just goes to figure that there would be a difference in how the cigar tastes and behaves in general.

So how does all this come into play with the Cojonu 2009.  Well the first thing I noticed was that the 2009 is noticeably milder that it’s brothers.  That is not in any way to suggest it is a mild cigar.  It is still a full bodied smoke, but it doesn’t have the same “kick you in the head” effect that the other two seem to have.  One thing I have always been impressed with when smoking the Cojonu cigars is how smooth they are despite their ample power.  This is still true with the 2009, and the toned down power has another favorable side effect.  I believe it allows some more of the subtitles of the blend to come through.  The flavors are very similar to the previous two versions, they just come to play at different volumes now.  The peppery start is there, just less overwhelming.  The core of earth, hardwoods, and cocoa are there as well and seem to have a creamy texture to them.  The most notable change however is the cherry notes.  In the ’03 and ’06 I’d get fleeting hard to pin down flashes of cherry every once and a while as if it could only muster the strength to push past the other more robust flavors occasionally and only for a brief moment.  With the 2009, the cherry notes are less subtle and easier to detect, balancing out the less sweet core flavors very nicely.  I have smoked a couple of these cigars now and I can safely say the 2009 is my favorite Cojonu.

Perdomo Grand Cru Maduro Torpedo Monday, May 24 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan Long Filler
Size: Torpedo 6.0″ x 54 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

This new offering from Perdomo is a Nicaraguan puro that is made with 100% Semilla Habano tobacco.  Simply said, it is all Cuban-seed, Nicaraguan grown tobacco and they all happen to be selected from the same 2004 crop.  It is offered in 4 run of the mill sizes and in three different wrappers.  You can have it in a Connecticut Shade, Nicaraguan Corojo, and a Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper.  I was curious when I saw it was available in a Connecticut Shade wrapper.  Where was that particular wrapper grown?  Do they grow that wrapper in Nicaragua?  I’m not sure but I didn’t think that wrapper type is grown anywhere in that country.  If it isn’t grown in Nicaragua, then that version obviously couldn’t be called a “Nicaraguan Puro” but I guess that doesn’t really matter.  Back to the cigar at hand.  For this review, I will be smoking the Maduro variety in the Torpedo format.

This one started off like another Perdomo cigar.  One I don’t care for.  There was a bitter and metallic flavor that reminds me of sucking on a penny.  Unlike that other cigar though, this one improved quickly and dramatically.  After a few puffs of that unpleasant metallic taste the cigar became very earthy and leathery with a slightly tannic finish.  Although not a very dynamic smoke I found it to be enjoyable.  The construction was impeccable which is typical of Perdomo cigars in my experience.  The Grand Cru is a medium bodied smoke and easily the most robust offering I have ever tried from Perdomo but even still it falls well short of being full-bodied.  Perdomo seems to be reluctant to make a truly full-bodied smoke, but they did seem to turn it up a notch for this blend.  In the last third earth was still the dominant flavor complimented by notes of black coffee with the finish turning a bit peppery.

This was a good smoke and my hope is that the metallic start was just a fluke although it isn’t the first time I have gotten that from a Perdomo cigar.  I plan to give this cigar another try soon.  Outside the first few puffs I really enjoyed it.

Tatuaje “The Drac” Wednesday, Mar 3 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Torpedo 63/4 x 52 ring

Plenty has been said already about the Tatuaje Drac and the rest of the monster series.  I have talked about them at length in my posts on The Frank and Boris.  I’ll just do a quick summary here.  The Drac is the 2nd in a limited edition series of cigars by Tatuaje that is release around Halloween every year.  they are extremely limited and highly sought after making for an extremely hard to find cigar.  Last year I was lucky enough to get a whole box of The Frank.  This year I wasn’t so lucky but I did manage to get my hands on two of The Drac cigars.

The Drac is a large Torpedo that comes in a shiny black lacquered, coffin-shaped box.  The torpedo shape imparts a fang like or stake like image either of which is appropriate for a cigar named after the worlds most famous vampire.  It has a black and red band at the foot and is stored in its coffin upside down with the foot of the cigar at the top of the coffin just as Dracula was reported to sleep in his coffin upside down.

The Drac delivers pleasant medium bodied flavors of wood, earth, and leather with subtle sweetness on the finish.  The draw was excellent, but the burn on my first sample was not good at all.  It required constant attention continually becoming uneven.  The ash was very flaky and did not hold well at all.  The cigar also went out on me twice during the last half of the smoke and it wasn’t due to inattention as I was trying very hard to keep the thing burning right and lit.  These kind of construction issues are not at all typical of Tatuaje cigars and based on what I have read about The Drac, they really aren’t at all typical of this smoke either.  I think maybe I just got a bum stick or maybe I didn’t give it enough time in the humidor to settle in.

I have one more Drac and I am going to give it some significant time to rest in my humidor before I revisit this cigar.  Flavor wise it was a very good and very enjoyable smoke if not as complex as most other Tatuajes, but the burn issues really detracted from my enjoyment of it.  Whenever I have a cigar that performs this way I chalk it up to a likely fluke and I make plans to revisit the cigar in the future.  That is exactly what I plan to do with The Drac.

Cain Maduro Torpedo Monday, Nov 9 2009 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero (Jalapa, Esteli, Condega)
Size: Torpedo 6.0″ x 54 ring

My previous review was of the Cain Habano Robusto.  In that review I detailed a bit about the makeup and story of the this straight Ligero cigar so click on over and check that out as well.  Today I am smoking the Maduro Torpedo.  I was trying to find some more information about this wrapper and was unable to find anything definitive about it.  I have seen it referred to as a Nicaraguan Maduro, a Mexican Maduro, and even a Brazilian Maduro wrapper.  I am not sure which it is at this point.  I am not inclined to agree with the Brazilian label though.  As Maduro wrappers go this one doesn’t have much tooth to it, and in my experience, the Brazilian maduro is on of the toothiest maduro wrappers I have seen.  That is just an opinion and a guess though.  It could very well be Brazilian, I just don’t know right now.

The wrapper on the Cain Maduro  is dark and mottled with a few prominent veins running across its surface.  It has a slight tooth and oily appearance.  This cigar starts off very similar to the Habano.  I ti s smooth and creamy, medium bodied without much power.  It has a very nondescript, sweet maduro flavor to it .  I began to wonder if this one would pick up in the last third like the Habano did, but it did not.   It was very one dimensional.  The flavors never changed and it never developed any power.  It was surprisingly light for an all ligero cigar and flavor wise it was pretty boring.  The Habano version was much better.  This cigar just never did anything for me.  I’ll be smoking the Habano again, but I don’t have any interest in revisiting the maduro.

Rating – C

The Edge Lite Torpedo Friday, Mar 6 2009 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Grown Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Torpedo 6.0″ x 52 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

This review of The Edge by Rocky Patel is part of a mini series of reviews on three varieties of The Edge line of cigars. This series of reviews is made possible by CigarsDirect.com. Cast your vote for your favorite version of The Edge in our poll.

This is a good looking torpedo with a creamy, light brown Ecuadorian grown Connecticut wrapper. It is fairly smooth and silky looking with only a few small veins. It is well filled and has a pleasant tobacco aroma. This is a handsome looking cigar.

The Edge Lite starts off very smooth and remains smooth all the way to the nub.  The initial flavors were creamy and woody with no spice at all.  It was mild and pleasant, but not at all bland.  The flavors are light and crisp, and they remain pretty consistent throughout the smoke, nicely complimented by notes of toasted nuts and hints of leather at different points in the smoke.  It has a slightly sweet finish that doesn’t linger for too long.  The burn was perfect from start to finish.  It produced a ton of thick creamy smoke and had a firm white ash.  The construction on this cigar was superb.

On his website Rocky boasts that The Edge Lite is the perfect Golf Course cigar.  He says you can sit this cigar down for 10 to 15 minutes and when you pick it back up it will still be lit and ready to smoke. I was skeptical so I put it to the test and put the cigar down for a little more than 10 minutes.  I picked it up and took a puff…  I’m impressed.  It had stayed lit and the burn remained straight.  I have never had a cigar that could go a whole 10 minutes without a draw and still stay lit.  I am a little curious how Rocky has accomplished this, but he tells the truth.  This cigar will stay lit, even without you drawing on it for more than 10 minutes.

The Edge Lite has turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  It is smooth, consistent and flavorful.  I think it is an excellent example of a mild cigar that actually has flavor.  At less than $6 a stick, I think this could be a nice cheaper alternative to a Cabaiguan.  I am not saying it is a replacement for them, just a cheaper “alternative”.

Rating – B+

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