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Cigar Review: Tatuaje L’Espirit de Vérité 2009

21 Jul 2011

When I interviewed Tatuaje creator Pete Johnson in the summer of 2010, right around the time the 2008 Vérité was set to become available, he told me the line was his “most serious project to date.” This statement resonated with many enthusiasts who already considered Tatuaje to be among the world’s best cigar outfits.

I can understand why Johnson held Vérité (French for “the truth”) in such high regard given the uniqueness of the venture. “La Vérité Vintage,” as he calls it, brings a vintner’s approach to cigar making, employing a wrapper, binder, and filler all grown on the same farm. “Much like a single vineyard wine, La Vérité showcases the soil where the tobacco was grown,” reads the Tatuaje website. “The seed varietal varies from year to year based on the crop planted and the tobacco yielded.”

Also like wine, Johnson hoped to use a futures system to sell the cigars before they became available for consumption. That ambitious plan fell through for the first vintage, which was cultivated in 2008—not all that surprising given that it took decades of consistent wine making for top Bordeaux wines to develop a robust futures market. But the second vintage, cultivated in 2009, was partially sold via futures. Submitting my payment before April 15 of this year, I procured a box of 10 L’Espirit de Vérité 2009s for $120. These robusto-sized smokes (5 x 50) were recently delivered.

Like the 2008 Vintage, all of the tobacco in this cigar comes from La Estrella, the Garcia family’s farm in Nicaragua, and is handmade under the direction of Jaime Garcia at My Father Cigars. Unlike the 2008 Vintage, which was made with 100% Habano Nicaraguan tobacco, L’Espirit de Vérité 2009 is comprised of 50% Habano, 40% Criollo ’98, and 10% Pelo de Oro tobacco. It comes double-banded with a triple cap, a beautiful red wrapper, and pre-light notes of earth and molasses.

While I don’t recall trying either of the two vitolas from the 2008 Vintage, I know that some cigar enthusiasts found those cigars to be somewhat lacking in complexity relative to the price point. You certainly can’t say that about the 2009 Vintage. L’Espirit de Vérité starts out with a medley of black pepper, raisin, and cocoa, transitioning to creamier, nuttier tones after an inch. The spice intensifies in the final third.

Throughout the 90-minute smoke, the combustion qualities are excellent. All of my samples displayed clear draws and perfectly straight burn lines with finely layered white ashes. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a cigar that costs $18-20 now that the futures market is closed.

Sure, that’s a hefty sum, and one that almost certainly makes L’Espirit de Vérité 2009 too expensive for everyday consumption. But I would advise all cigar fans—particularly Tatuaje fans—to try at least one of these complex delicacies before they’re gone for good. This is an outstanding, well-balanced experience you won’t soon forget, one that’s worthy of four and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

5 Responses to “Cigar Review: Tatuaje L’Espirit de Vérité 2009”

  1. Franco Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    This is an outstanding smoke…far better than the 2008 L'Espirit and definitely one of Pete Johnson's finest to date. I also bought futures to secure this at $12 apiece, and it delivers.

  2. Jim Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    Just curious, Pat. What kept you from giving it the full 5 stogies?

    • Patrick Ashby Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 11:13 am #

      Jim: I thought long and hard about that. We take our five-stogie ratings very seriously, and, in the end, I just didn't think this cigar was worthy of such distinction. But it was very, very close.

      I do take value into consideration — so I'd probably award this cigar a perfect rating if it cost less than the current price of $18-20.

  3. mighty Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    I have lost a lot of respect for Tatuaje over their last few releases. BUT, I still have high hopes that they can right the wrongs that I have noticed.

    1. The Red and Black tubos (Verocu) had major construction issues. Every single stick from multiple different boxes were bad. Tunneling terribly, only one side burning, etc. Where I live these run $12-14 each. Way too much to have so many consistent issues.

    2. The 2008 La Verite had major wrapper issues. Many of these cigars literally blew up on me, but some smoked perfectly. This ended up being a known issue, but still, for 15-18$ a stick, watching your cigar blow up from a bad wrapper is just agony. I even told the Tatuaje rep about my cigars blowing up, and this AFTER they knew about the bunk wrappers, and he just said, that's a bummer.

    3. Last year's Halloween cigars being too freshly painted, and many smelling of paint, also did not leave a good impression.

    I used to really respect Tatuaje for much of their line even though they could get expensive, but these major issues makes me very reluctant to try their new expensive cigars, or to recommend this line. They can still win me back to my once easy praise, but it's gonna take work.

    Glad to hear this Verite is smoking nicely.

  4. CdJ Monday, August 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    I'm with mighty for the most part. I am still smarting about the monster debacle two years ago…and tread carefully when buying PJ cigars. I have just ordered some of the newest release, but only a few to begin with. Great review here, but even though I know exactly where I can find these, I'm buying a t52 toro and saving the that's a cigar.