Category Archives: Tatuaje

Blind Reviews Part 15

Over at the Half Ashed forums we have a little “cigar pass” going on. Each person involved sends two unbanded cigars to another person in the “Blind Review Pass.” For the next few weeks I’ll be posting (with permission) those blind reviews. If you have never smoked a cigar blind, or unbanded, I would highly recommend it. Get some friends together and trade cigars with the bands removed, or have your wife take some bands off a few sticks in the bottom of your humidor. You’ll be surprised at how much a band can affect your perception of a cigar.

Today’s review is Half Ashed host’s THIRD unbanded, because apparently he is so special he gets 3 cigars… From Kip…


Dimensions: 5.5 x 42 ring
Color: Medium brown; some slight mottling
Complexion: Dry to the touch, with some “microtooth”
Pack: Evenly distributed throughout
Prelight: Draw was exceptional; firm but free. Provides sweet hay and slight cedar flavors cold. Aroma faint but dark and syrupy
Overall Construction: A seemingly well made cigar.

The Smoke
The first puffs from this cigar were…almost…salty. Like, “western shores of the Isle of Skye, in the tall shadows of the Cuillin Hills” kinda maritime saltiness. Bold, but fleeting. I like it. This is followed up with some pepper – not dried, crushed pepper; fresh, vegetal green pepper. Again, I like it. The pepper falls off from the flavor after a few minutes, but remains clear on the retrohale. A bold start.
By the second inch the cigar begins to have a drying effect on the palate. The flavors are sharper, and still carry some of the early saltiness (albeit to a lesser degree).

By the final leg of the smoke, the spice has kicked back in. The earlier peppery flavors have returned, and I get a noticeable nicotine burn on my soft palate. I’m smoking it first thing in the morning, and have to say if it was a Churchill I’d be in trouble. Thankfully, in this smaller corona it’s a bit more nicophobe-friendly. I’d deem these latter flavors a bit more leathery than the earlier portions as well, with an occasional rogue puff that had a slight medicinal quality to it.

This cigar strikes me as straight-up Nicaraguan, with its peppery core and nicotine edge. While it has some Pepin-like characteristics, it doesn’t “feel” My Father-ish like the other two from zedman. Unless it’s a one-off AJF that doesn’t fit his normal mold I don’t think it’s one of his either (although the dry spice is a bit reminiscent of his style). It reminds me of some of 1502’s offerings, but that’s a vague recollection and not something I’d put any money on.

The Reveal

That “Bad Boy” in question was the:
La Casita Criolla HCBC Oct ’11
I bought those too in ’13 from someone. I knew I liked them, but wanted to know how a complete broadleaf cigar aged. I like them a lot still for that flavor profile.
You and I get a lot of the same flavors from the cigars in your unbanded, which means that I need to keep an eye on your reviews a bit more closely from here out.
Good job Kip.

Blind Reviews Part 14

Over at the Half Ashed forums we have a little “cigar pass” going on. Each person involved sends two unbanded cigars to another person in the “Blind Review Pass.” For the next few weeks I’ll be posting (with permission) those blind reviews. If you have never smoked a cigar blind, or unbanded, I would highly recommend it. Get some friends together and trade cigars with the bands removed, or have your wife take some bands off a few sticks in the bottom of your humidor. You’ll be surprised at how much a band can affect your perception of a cigar.

Today’s review is Half Ashed host’s second unbanded. From Kip…


Dimensions: 4.375” x 50 ring
Color: Medium brown; slightly rumpled wrapper
Complexion: Slight oil and somewhat smooth. No discernible tooth.
Pack: Evenly distributed throughout
Prelight: Draw was a bit tight but tolerable, providing bright sweet woodsy flavors cold. Aroma faint but lightly cedar
Overall Construction: B+. A well made cigar.

The Smoke
At first puff, the cigar gave some mildly off flavors – like it was a bit young. This subsided after a few minutes, however. Once gone, it is replaced by a lemony tartness. In these early minutes, I struggled with the draw more than I initially expected – I got some “burnt” flavors that I expect are likely from my overpuffing trying to get more smoke/keep it lit. The cigar was flirting with overheating by the time I got to the end of the first half-inch. It was very hot well behind the burn line. I slowed down more at this point, which seemed to help some (although it brought about more relights, so it may be a moot issue). By the beginning of the second inch I got the burn in check, and was rewarded with a delicious (and unique) caramel-butterscotch flavor. Though not entirely foreign to me, it’s something I rarely encounter. I’m feeling like zedman is throwing me a curveball with this cigar. It’s not familiar, yet not-quite-unknown either. It feels like the very early DPG Blue, before the blend was kicked up a few notches (but I don’t believe that line ever came in this size). Once the draw/burn issues were worked out, the blend was about as cohesive as any I’ve had – the flavors all centered around a common palette, ranging from the sweet light baking spice to the (occasional) caramel. There’s a bit of a tingle with retrohale, but very little sharpness/spice overall.
By the final portion of the cigar, the family of flavors has widened a bit, taking a noticeably more woodsy tone. It was still very enjoyable, just in a different fashion. It finished strong with this woodsy core and just about zero spice.

I’m again at a loss. With my suffering batting average for unbandeds recently, my confidence is shaken. The tone of the flavors made me think Nicaraguan, but the diminished spice seemed uncharacteristic of most current manufacturers down there. It didn’t display the sweet/sour interplay I’ve grown accustomed to with some of Craig’s Cuban contributions (although not far off…maybe I’ll reconsider this). Maybe Dominican? It was somewhat akin to a few of the Fuente-made Ashton products from years past, although I’d stop short of pointing at left field with that guess.

The Reveal

Great googly moogly Kip. You are so close at some times, then pull away a bit later.
These are far from young, as I got them in ’13, but the box code was from ’06.
I feel that over the 2 years that I have had them, they have turned completely into a cedar bomb, just like you said; woodsy. I like the fact there there is very little spice left, and thus makes this a hard guess now.
Your cigar in question was:

Tatuaje La Riqueza Short Robusto Cabinet ’06
The cabinet selection are where it’s at. I think I would prefer, now that I have experience with them, to get and smoke them fresh with that power.

Blind Reviews Part 6

Over at the Half Ashed forums we have a little “cigar pass” going on. Each person involved sends two unbanded cigars to another person in the “Blind Review Pass.” For the next few weeks I’ll be posting (with permission) those blind reviews. If you have never smoked a cigar blind, or unbanded, I would highly recommend it. Get some friends together and trade cigars with the bands removed, or have your wife take some bands off a few sticks in the bottom of your humidor. You’ll be surprised at how much a band can affect your perception of a cigar.

Today’s review is from Your’s Truly!!. I smoked this cigar right before I had my wisdom teeth removed. The second cigar will be smoked post-recovery.

Unbanded Robusto

Unbanded Robusto

A mottled, dark brown wrapper covers this unknown robusto. There are several large, pressed veins a triple cap. I get a very faint chocolate aroma off the wrapper and almost nothing off the foot. There are no oils on the wrapper, and the dryness and faint aromas make me think this cigar has some age. The cold draw is slightly woodsy and a little tight.

The first draws are peppery, especially on the retro hale, while the smoke in my mouth is dry with a nice finish. There are some faint earthy flavors in the background that I can’t pick out yet.
Well into the first third I can finally pinpoint some dry cocoa. The burn has a slight slant but keeps up with itself, and the ash is flaking all over my car. Despite the flaky ash, I’m liking this so far.

The second third loses the cocoa and an oak flavor dominates. For some reason it reminds me of rough hewn oak boards. The pepper had dropped significantly, leaving a little bit of white pepper sharpness in my nose. About halfway through I got 2 puffs of deliciously dark leather, but it faded as soon as it appeared. Toward the end of this third the smoke developed a smokey-whiskey flavor that I often get in Nicaraguan cigars.

The smokey-whiskey flavor was short lived, and the final third has resumed the same oak flavor as before. I’ve had to touch up the burn line a few times in this second half, but overall the cigar has performed well. The finish is a little stale at this stage, but that’s to be expected at the end of a cigar. A touch of sweetness that wasn’t present at all in the rest of the smoke shows up briefly at the very end, and accompanying it is the dark leather from earlier.


I would guess this has a broadleaf wrapper based on looks. As for the blend, I thought it was a Dominican pro, but the woodiness and Nicaraguan flavors threw me off. However, I’m sticking with Dominican and I’ll throw in Honduras since the woodiness seemed different from a Nicaraguan wordiness. I’m guessing Camacho or (a really good) Rocky Patel.

The Reveal
Turns out this was a Tatuaje La Casita Criolla HCR 5×50.
This is a Nicaraguan cigar with 100% broadleaf tobacco for filler, binder, and wrapper. Another delicious smoke from the My Father factory.

Tatuaje Tattoo

Tatuaje Tattoo

-Country – Nicaragua
-Wrapper – Ecuadorian Habano
-Binder – ?
-Filler – Nicaraguan
-Size – 5 x 50 Robusto
-Price – $5ish, $7.50 local

Appearance, Pre-light
The Tatuaje Tattoo sports a dark brown, even colored wrapper. Oils are noticeable, as are the small veins and seams. The foot smells of sweet tobacco and the wrapper smells the same, only stronger. The cold draw offers no sweetness, but is very woodsy. This may be a “perfect” draw in my book; open but not loose, and giving the slightest tug of resistance.

First 3rd
Upon lighting, the first puffs are smooth, sweet, and spicy. The sweeter baking spices coat the soft palate, while the more peppery spice come through on the retro-hale. Smoke billows forth from the foot after taking a pull but slows down when the cigar is resting, making it fun to smoke and not at all annoying when it’s sitting in my hand. The finish fades away nicely, reminding me that I’m smoking something tasty without making me reach for a drink. A plum-like darkness appears about 3/4 of an inch in and the sweetness from that flavor lingers on the palate for over a minute. The burn line wavers quite a bit so far, but the single touch-up has had no adverse effect on the flavors. The pepper in the retro-hale has been replaced by a sweet, cedar-like woodiness coming into the second third.

Tatuaje Tattoo

Tatuaje Tattoo

Second 3rd
Into the second third I notice a big drop off of the sweetness. Instead I’m finding notes of charred oak and some leather, but not an earthy leather. The smoke is still extremely smooth, and unfortunately the burn line continues to wander. Some cinnamon flavors pop in now and then, along with the original sweet baking spice. Well into this third a definite earthiness is showing up. While not my favorite flavor in cigars, in this blend it is balancing well with everything else that is going on. Two inches in and the ash has yet to drop, proving that made by the right people, inexpensive cigars can still be premium works of art.

Last 3rd
The final third of the Tatuaje Tattoo is bringing something to the mix I can’t quite place. It’s something I occasionally find in Nicaraguan cigars, and I default to calling it a “smokey-whiskey” flavor because I find alcohol-like tannins mixed with smoked tobacco notes, all wrapped in this one flavor. It is a very savory flavor, and in this cigar it’s like eating a smokey steak after a sweet pie. The strength is becoming noticeable now, but far from overwhelming.

At this price, there is no reason not to stock up on these delicious, dark cigars. A novice might find the strength a bit overwhelming, but anyone else with a penchant for full-flavored cigars will love this.

Flavor – Full
Strength – Medium-Full
Body – Medium-plus
Construction – OK

I can’t recommend these enough. If you want a bold, tasty cigar that won’t break the bank, then the Tatuaje Tattoo is for you.

3.5 out of 5

Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival (Preview)

I spent the last weekend in Broomfield, Colorado at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival (RMCF). I have some stories to tell about this awesome event, but before I write it all out I thought I’d share some highlights with everyone.

Yes, these are (most of) the bands from all the cigars I smoked during the weekend.



We smoked the whole way there and back…

Riding there

Riding home

These cigars were included in the ticket price! (Mine, Tom’s, and Rich’s)

Grab bag

I got to meet and chat with a lot of my favorite cigar makers and reviewers…Pete Johnson, Delicia (Cigar Vixen), and Jonathan Drew!

Pete Johnson

Pete Johnson

Delicia, the Cigar Vixen

Jonathan Drew

Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate was cutting and lighting a free Liga “A” for anyone who wanted one.

Liga "A"

Liga “A”

A few of the stogies from throughout the day at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival…

Iconic Leaf Recluse Amadeus

Iconic Leaf Recluse Amadeus

Oliva Serie G (box pressed Churchill)

Oliva Serie G (box pressed Churchill)

Liga Privada "A"

Liga Privada “A”

Butts and Rabbits!!



All in all I came home with around 80 cigars!


Cigar News for Friday, August 8th 2014

Industry News

As you may or may not know, the cigar industry’s biggest trade show finished up last week. This year’s IPCPR (International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers) was held in Las Vegas and boasted a wonderful turn out by cigar makers and retailers alike. Here are some in-depth looks at the show, brought to you by the industry leaders of cigar media.



Cigar Federation

New Cigars

With so many new cigars, it’s impossible to cover them all. However, I do have an exclusive scoop on a few of the new cigars that Poor Richard’s will be receiving from IPCPR.

Drew Estate’s Undercrown is in store now, along with the Nica Rustica.

New Padilla cigars are on shelves.

The new Gurkha Cellar Reserve is in-house now. I reviewed the 2013 here.

The incoming list of cigars has me drooling. here are my top three picks that I will be rushing out to buy as soon as they arrive:

Joya Red – If it is half as good as I’ve heard, I’ll be filling my humidor. Here’s a look at the Joya Red from Cigar Federation.

Illusione “R” Rothchildes – This is a budget line from one of the industry’s top boutique companies. It’s not new, just new to Montana.

Tatuaje Tattoo – Another budget cigar, this time from Pete Johnson. I love the Havana VI, so this is an exciting release for me. Here is the Half Ashed episode where they reviewed it.

Tatuaje “The Face”


-Country -Nicaragua
-Wrapper -Mexican San Andreas
-Binder -Nicaragua
-Filler -Nicaragua
-Size -Sublimes Extra 6 3/8 x 56
-Price -$13 to $18 when released, hard to find now.

Appearance, Pre-light
The first thing you notice when looking at “The Face” is the tobacco leaf band. After that you see a unique nipple and a closed foot that, when added to the band, make this cigar scream, “I’m special!”

First 3rd
“The Face” brings a huge amount of sweetness off the closed foot. Once into the body of the cigar there is the typical Tatuaje baking spice, and also notes of red pepper. A sharp black pepper lingers on the finish, and the draw and burn are fairly tidy. The flavors are medium-plus, bringing smoothness and spiciness at the same time. Well into first 3rd “The Face” develops a nice, dark sweetness on the finish. It’s not putting out lots of smoke, but that’s fine with me as the flavors are so good. I am really enjoying the baking spice. It comes across incredibly full in the mouth, when usually I pick that flavor up in the retro-hale. The black pepper subsides quite a bit as the cigar reaches the second 3rd, and the finish remains for four or five minutes.

Second 3rd

Into the second 3rd some dark and dusty chocolate or cocoa comes into the mix, a bit like that spicy Mexican chocolate. The flavors are all coming together now, not so much developing as deepening, and I would call them full. The burn gets wonky now and then but self corrects. (Although I did touch it up a few times, this didn’t affect the flavor.) That dusty cocoa is coming through nicely in the retro-hale, and a sugary sweetness on finish is making me smack my lips after exhaling. It seems every 2 or 3 puffs “The Face” shows something different; chocolate, dusty cocoa, sugary finish, baking spice, and a subtle smokiness. The draw is making me work a bit, but this cigar is worth it.

Last 3rd
Some earthiness is coming through in the last 3rd with a tea-like finish. Smoke and earth are dominating right now, but if I let the finish go for about a minute I still get a sweetness that pops through. A grilled meat flavor is showing now, and the baking spice comes in now and then, albeit “darker” than before.

The first 3rd of “The Face” was definitely my favorite. All the different flavors and transitions were as exciting as any movie or fireworks display. The second 3rd was extremely complex and deep. I appreciated the evolution of the flavors even though I preferred the lighter, sweeter side of things at the beginning. The last 3rd was good, but a bit static compared to the first two. At just shy of two hours, this is probably one of the most entertaining and delicious cigars I’ve ever smoked.

Flavor Full
Strength Medium-Full
Body Full

If you find one of these, buy it and savor it. “The Face” is a cigar that
needs no accompaniment, it is entertainment all by itself. Worthy of a rating like…
4.5 out of 5

Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles

-Country -Nicaragua
-Wrapper -Nicaragua
-Binder -Nicaragua
-Filler -Nicaragua
-Size -Robusto (Nobles) 5 x 50
-Price -$7, $8 local

Smooth, full flavor. Slight dustiness. Delicious and sweet, packed with baking spice flavors.


I panic if I run out of these. A true “must have” cigar that scores a…
4 out of 5