Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Gift Review – Tatuaje Black

Another in our ongoing series of occasional reviews of cigars given to us as gifts. Featured this time is the Tatuaje Black Label Private Reserve, given to me by John at J&J Cigars back in November of ‘09.

Vitola: Corona Gorda
Origin: Nicaragua
Length: 5 5/8”
Ring Gauge: 46
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Nicaraguan (binder leaf)
Strength: Full
Price: $13

Produced by Don Pepin Garcia for Pete Johnson, it features a Nicaraguan wrapper (said to be binder leaf) with a rough texture and a rustic appeal that’s strangely enticing. The uncut foot was a first for me and it also gives the impression that you’re about to experience something quite different and at the same time very special.

I scored this cigar following Cigar Aficionado's 4-part rating system (Appearance & Construction, Flavor, Smoking Characteristics, and Overall Impression).

The pointed head is so intriguing that it’s hard to cut it off, though the sense of anticipation forces one to make quick work of it. The rough wrapper and sturdy parejo shape combine to give a sense of solid construction and strength even before you’ve smelled or tasted it. One detraction, visually, was that the wrapper was a bit dry looking, perhaps a byproduct of it being from binder stock.

Unfortunately, my sample drew rather tight, but I was optimistic nonetheless. This thing starts out strong, as most every reviewer has described before me. Through the middle portion I enjoyed a sweet wood, like a black walnut. This later gave way to a tannic period during which I struggled with burn problems. The final third rallied with a savory richness that I found very appealing.

The quantity of smoke produced varied at times but was lacking more so than I would have liked. I also found the ash a little unstable, as it fell early in the first third; though that did improve later.

My rating for the Tatuaje Black Label Private Reserve Corona Gorda is 89.
Here's the points breakdown:
I. Appearance & Construction: 13 pts (87% of the points possible)
II. Flavor: 21 pts (84% of the points possible)
III. Smoking Characteristics: 17 pts (68% of the points possible)
IV. Overall Impression: 28 pts (80% of the points possible)

As you can see by my scoring in the category of Smoking Characteristics, the experience was hindered significantly by the poor draw and burn. This is in stark contrast to the very pleasurable time spent recently with the Black Tubos that I acquired this past December.

Thanks again, John, for this very generous gift!

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