I didn’t intend to buy a whole box of cigars. And I wasn’t planning to spend $130. But that’s just what I did when I was lucky enough to come across a 10-count box of The Jekyll, the latest cigar from Tatuaje’s popular Monster Series.
My impromptu purchase speaks to the rarity of Monster Series cigars, the success of Tatuaje’s marketing, and the well-earned reputation Pete Johnson’s company has amassed over the years. I simply could not let the opportunity to buy The Jekyll slip through my fingers. And after smoking a few, I’m glad I didn’t.
Since 2008, Tatuaje has released an annual Monster Series smoke around Halloween, celebrating some of Johnson’s favorite characters from the horror genre, including The Frank, The Drac, The Face, The Wolfman, The Mummy, and The JV13 (Jason). This year it’s The Jekyll, a nod to the 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Next year, the Monster Series release will be The Hyde.
As is tradition, Johnson only produced 666 “dress boxes” of 13 The Jekyll cigars, with only 13 “unlucky” retailers getting the bulk of the boxes to sell. He also released 4,500 plain 10-count boxes, equating to a total run of just under 54,000 individual sticks. Each The Jekyll features an Ecuadorian Sancti Spíritus wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The single vitola (7 x 49) is made by My Father Cigars.
The Chuchill-sized smoke sports a silky exterior with a few prominent veins. Firm to the touch with a good weight in the hand, the cigar has a belicoso-like cap that’s expertly constructed. A precise guillotine cut at the very tip is all that’s needed to reveal a smooth cold draw. At the foot, the subtle pre-light notes include honey and sawdust.
Right at the outset, there’s a lot going on with the medium-bodied flavor. The profile is balanced with notes of sweet cream, cinnamon, damp wood, and white pepper. The aftertaste is long and characterized by both red pepper and cedar. The texture is bready, and the resting smoke has an incredible creaminess. As The Jekyll progresses, an understated hint of black licorice creeps in and out but never really grabs the spotlight. Throughout the two-hour smoke, the defining trait remains the interplay between spice and a creamy sweetness.
Being the weak man that I am, I couldn’t wait any longer than five days to fire up one of these, even though my box had been shipped and likely suffered through some winter conditions. Even so, the physical properties perform beautifully. The burn line never requires so much as a touch-up, the draw is clear and true, and the smoke production is excellent. It should be noted, however, the white ash is extremely flaky.
Those familiar with the classic tale will recall Mr. Hyde is the sinister split personality of the gentler Dr. Jekyll. So I would expect 2015’s The Hyde to be more intense. Hopefully I can hang on to a few The Jekyll’s to do a side-by-side comparison next year. For now, The Jekyll is an excellent, well-balanced smoke that’s well worth the $13 price and worthy of the Monster Series name. It earns the outstanding rating of four and a half stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys