14 Jul 2014
Recently I’ve been on a bit of a Tatuaje kick. Reviewing the Tatuaje Black Corona Gorda made me want to try the different Pete Johnson blends I had been aging, and seek out some of the cigars I hadn’t tried yet. I make it no secret that I’m a big fan of Johnson’s cigars, my only problem is the pricing. Most cigars are in the $9 to $12 range, and while that’s not ridiculous, it is out of my comfort zone for a “daily smoke.” Enter the Tattoo.
This cigar has been released before in a lancero, but this year Tatuaje released the blend in a robusto (5 x 50) called the Caballero. I’ve heard there are more vitolas coming, reportedly three, but until the IPCPR Trade Show later this month, this Robusto is the only size. Not many details have come out about the smoke. It is rolled by a Don Pepín García-related factory, and features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with some Nicaraguan filler.
The pre-light experience had me wary, to be honest. While I like the banding of the cigar, the wrapper did not have much oil, and there were large veins on all three samples I smoked for this review. None of them had any burn issues regardless, but they definitely do not compare to the flawless construction I’ve come to expect from Tatuaje. The foot of the cigar contains a light earthy aroma, with a bit of citrus in the back, and the pre-light draw was very similar.
Luckily, my actual smoking experience was better than I thought it would be. All of the samples had a perfect burn line. The draw was a little loose for my preference, but not problematic. The flavor from the Tattoo is simple and enjoyable. What starts out as a profile dominated by cedar and citrus gradually develops into a more earthy core as the stick burns down. By the second third, there were notes of coffee and cocoa present as well. I have often heard these described as tasting like a mocha, which makes a lot of sense to me.
I would also like to note that while I was expecting a peppery retrohale, there was actually very little black pepper present. While certainly some pepper could be noticed at times, this cigar did not start nor develop into a pepper bomb, like many Tatuajes or other smokes made by García.
Overall, I did enjoy the Tattoo Caballero, but it is not something that blew me away. The price point is really what makes this smoke appealing, as it’s cheap enough to work into most tobacco budgets. Before I give this cigar a final score, I’d like to also provide a small tip: Smoke these slowly. Any time I wasn’t paying attention and starting puffing too fast, they became a little harsh. With that said, the Tattoo Caballero is a cigar many will enjoy, and it would make a good lunch break smoke with a nice strong coffee. On that basis, I’m awarding it three and a half stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys