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Cigar Review: Tatuaje La Vérité Churchill 2009

28 Dec 2011

Tatuaje creator Pete Johnson has called his series of Vérité cigars his “most serious project to date.” This statement resonates with the many enthusiasts who consider Tatuaje to be among the world’s best cigar outfits.

I can understand why Johnson holds Vérité (French for “the truth”) in such high regard. “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 his website. “The seed varietal varies from year to year based on the crop planted and the tobacco yielded.”

Also like wine, Johnson uses a futures system to sell the cigars before they’re available for consumption. Even though it would not ship until July, the second vintage, 2009, went on sale back in March. That’s when I bought a box of 10 La Vérité 2009s for $150. (I also bought a box of 10 L’Espirit de Vérité 2009s for $120.) These prices respectively increased to $200 and $160 in April, then again to $225 and $180 in May.

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.

Visually, the Churchill is very similar to L’Espirit de Vérité. It has a medium brown, somewhat reddish exterior leaf that’s oily and textured. The seams are easy to pick out and several thick veins run the length of the seven-inch cigar. But the overall impression is one of quality, and the faint pre-light aroma of earth and cocoa proves to be a good predictor of the complex smoke that’s to follow.

Where L’Espirit de Vérité 2009 starts with pepper, raisin, and cocoa and later transitions to creamier, nuttier tones, the Churchill is creamy from the get-go. Flavors of cashew, raisin, and mint are apparent at the outset. Later, towards the midway point and beyond, a dry wood taste takes center stage as most of the creaminess dissipates. The physical properties are also excellent, as you would expect from a cigar that now costs over $25 apiece (if you are lucky enough to find one).

If pressed, I’d have to say that L’Espirit de Vérité 2009, a robusto-sized smoke, is slightly more enjoyable than this Churchill. But it’s really close, and that’s high praise. The Churchill has ample complexity, subtlety, and several interesting transitions along the way, earning it a rating of four and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

7 Responses to “Cigar Review: Tatuaje La Vérité Churchill 2009”

  1. Jonathan Drew Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    This is an exceptional cigar and an exceptional way to market the brand.

    Great review and Kudos to PJ ..!


  2. Anders I Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    What a terrific smoke this is! The 2009s are far better than the 2008s, and I would agree the Robusto is better than the Churchill.

  3. chas Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    I saw both sizes today locally and passed due to recent construction issues with other PJ stuff. I would love to try, but avion next to it was more affordable given my reservations.

  4. mighty Friday, December 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    I am still not as convinced on Tatuaje's products as I used to be. So many construction issues on top end stogies. In fact, just recently I had a Cabaiguan that had a hole darn near the size of a pencil running straight through the middle of it. Needless to say I could barely get any smoke to come out of the thing which obviously then led to no flavor and another bummer of an experience.

    Are the wrappers better this year on these Verites? Last year I had a lot of the wrappers just completely fall apart on me.

    • Patrick A Friday, December 30, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

      I smoked a bunch of the 2009 Churchills and Robustos and didn't encounter any wrapper issues or construction problems.

      • mighty Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

        Thanks for the info. I might just have to pick up a robusto now if I can find one. When my wrappers didn't bust last year, they really were a very nice smoke. It also seems most people are saying this years edition is better than last.

  5. Sun Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    "pepper, raisin, and cocoa and later transitions to creamier, nuttier tones"–really that what you tasted. I am sure that you are reflecting your honest perspective but I am amazed that you can discern those flavors. Hats off. All I taste is the tobacco with varying degrees of strength and creaminess.