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Stogie Reviews: Tatuaje Black

22 Jul 2008

No suspense here. It’s one terrific cigar, a full-bodied corona gorda that more than matches the hype. From the Tatuaje-decorated ceramic container to the unclipped foot and simple cap, this cigar is designed to stand out.

Limited production and the luster of being Pete Johnson’s “personal cigar” put the Black on par with other highly sought sticks such as the Opus X and Ashton’s VSG. But with a price tag around $13, this Nicaraguan puro is far more affordable.

Prelight, I found surprisingly little aroma from the wrapper or the nearly closed foot. The brown wrapper was smooth with no large veins and the cigar felt a little soft from head to foot, but nothing stood out.

When lit, the cigar kicked off, as do so many of Pepin Garcia’s blends, with pepper. But what a pepper—not just hot, but full, rich, biting, and interesting. It was a taste that would build, fade, and build again throughout the cigar’s five and 5/8 inches. The flavors were complex and shifted often. Among those I encountered were leather, hay, dry cocoa, hints of ginger, and even at one point honey. Individually, the tastes would have been enjoyable; woven through with the pepper, they were great.

The draw on the 46 ring gauge stick was nearly perfect from beginning to end. The burn, which left a jet-black ring, was straight and required no attention. The ash was so tight that it required a tap to loosen it in the ashtray.

Perhaps most surprising was the fact that the Black never got harsh. And the finish was long and satisfying.

If you like full-strength cigars, smoke the Black if you can find it. I can’t imagine you won’t like it. I certainly did. In fact, I’d put it up among the best cigars I’ve had. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want it for my daily diet, even if I could afford it. There’s just a little too much power. Nonetheless, I can’t think of a cigar I would enjoy more occasionally. So, I can’t see how the Tatuaje Black deserves anything less than five out of five stogies.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

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26 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Tatuaje Black”

  1. furious Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 8:19 am #

    Looks a little bit rustic from here, but your review makes me want to grab a couple; that is, if I can find them.

  2. Sam Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 10:53 am #

    Anyone have a tip on finding these?

  3. Cigar guy Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 11:20 am #

    Agree great cigar but how is $13 more affordable than an Opus when 1/2 the line retails under that price?

  4. Chris V Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    Retail on Opus does not mean you can get them for the MSRP in my experience.

  5. George E. Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 1:46 pm #

    I'm certainly no expert on Opus prices, though I can't recall seeing one roughly this size as low as $13. But I have e-mailed Darlene at Tampa Sweetheart Cigar Co., the exquisite Fuente shop in Ybor City for some guidance on pricing and I'll let you know what she replies.

  6. Jon N. Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    If you guys can score OpusXs around the $13 range, where do you live and will you fly me out to visit you? 🙂

    Here in CA, I'm lucky if a local B&M carries any Opus sticks for under $30 apiece. Thanks a lot, state taxes and retail markups!

  7. dmjones Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm #

    Cigar guy,

    Where do you live that 1/2 the Opus line retails for less than $13? Here in SoCal, I've never seen an Opus (any size) for less than $16 or so and at Casa Fuente in Vegas, they start in the $20 to $25 range.

    Regarding this Tatuaje Black, I will definitely look for it at the couple of shops I know of that carry their stuff. Sounds like something I'd love to try, at least once.

  8. Rick James Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 6:58 am #

    i have seen opus here in nc from 8 to 30 per stick

    i cant wait to try the new black

  9. Cigar guy Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 12:21 pm #

    Living here in the midwest with relatively low Tob. Tax I have found Opus in these price ranges in Illinois, IN, MO, KY, OH, and PA while on vacation. I think you guys need to get out a little bit…….

  10. The Cigar Spy Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 2:00 pm #

    wow 5/5 ! I didn't enjoy as much, thanks for the review George!

  11. Jon N. Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 6:20 pm #

    Cigar Guy: I think, for obvious reasons, that taxes on tobacco tend to be lower the closer you get to "tobacco country." Unfortunately, Southern California is almost as geographically and politically far from tobacco country as it gets in the continental US. Here we get high tobacco taxes, oppressive smoking bans, and hefty sales taxes to boot. The price we pay for the weather and the blonde surfer girls, I suppose.

  12. The Stogie Guys Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 6:53 pm #

    Update from George:

    Earlier this week, several readers said I was wrong when I wrote that the $13 Tatuaje Black was “far more affordable” than the Opus X. So, I went to the source. Darlene at Fuente’s Tampa Sweethearts Cigar Co. faxed me a list of suggested MSRPs on Fuente Fuente Opus X. It lists 12 sticks in the “regular” line going from $8 for the Perfecion No. 5 (4 7/8” x 40) to $25 for the Perfecxion A (9 ¼” x 47).

    While many shops and retailers sell them for the suggested price, there are, of course, others who charge more. Just glancing at several Internet sites, I found price tags three or four times above Darlene’s list. And in states with cigar taxes, that’s added on. So, for some of you, these prices may seem pretty low. (The list she faxed is dated February 2007, but I’m assuming it’s the most current or, if not, pretty close.)

    The other aspect is what Opus X “limited” cigars cost. Her list has four: three are $23.95, the fourth $28.95. These more difficult to find Opus cigars were really what I had in mind when I wrote the review, though there’s no doubt I failed to make that clear.

    Interestingly, no one mentioned my reference in that same paragraph to the Ashton VSG. I got crossed-up on my initials. I meant to cite the more costly Ashton ESG.

  13. Jerry @ Stogie Revie Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 8:55 am #

    Nice review George…if you're lucky enough to find them, the Black is probably the best of the best from Tatuaje.

    On the OpusX, the only place I know that sells them for MSRP is if you have a JR Cigars in your area (not online, physical store).

  14. Craig Friday, July 25, 2008 at 7:56 am #

    I know a shop in Memphis that sells them for $12

  15. kING hEATLY Tuesday, December 30, 2008 at 12:08 pm #

    This is without a doubt my favorite smoke. I am a big fan of many of Pete's cigars, but the Tatuaje Black is the best by far. Before, you light this badboy up give it a cold puff or two and sense the flavors of raisins and other subtleties that give this cigar it's phenomenal flavor. Here in Atlanta, they go for about $12 a stick.

  16. Денис Friday, June 26, 2009 at 12:09 pm #

    Без особого преувеличения можно точно сказать, что пост тему раскрыл на все 100 процентов. 🙂

  17. Anonymous Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

    Читал про это уже на каком то другом сайте, но у вас намного интересней написано 😉

  18. Ираклий Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 5:19 am #

    Вопрос к автору , а вот у вас время у каждой статьи и в комментах пишется… Это какое? Московское? Заранее спасибочки за ответ.

  19. Charlo, The Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    If you like the black label try the Grand Cojuna, it's like Emril got a hold of it and added some BAM!!! to it. My local shop in San Antonio called Cigar Point carries most of the Tatuaje line.

  20. Clay Thomas Friday, June 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    I love this cigar. A friend put me on it and the shop I visit cant keep enough of them. They are hard to find, so if you can get them, I highly suggest it.

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