Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tatuaje Boris

7 1/8 x 49


The first, and to date, only cigar to be released in the Monster series "Out of costume" line, the Boris has gained some notoriety, and popularity, and is currently a highly sought after, much loved, much hyped, now virtually impossible to find rarity, in the world of limited, special, holiday, single store release, region edition, whatever... cigars. As a horror movie fanatic (the classic stuff, not SAW, but that is a different entry for a different blog...) I love the concept behind both the Monsters and the Actor cigars. I hope that Pete does more of these monster out of costume cigars (which now could be Bela Lugosi, or Gunnar Hansen) sometime, based just on the concept. The Boris, name for Boris Karloff, the actor who probably most famously portrayed Frankenstein's monster in the 1931 Universal classic Frankenstein, features an Ecuador grown Sumatra Rosado wrapper around Nicaraguan fillers and binder. It is a slightly fat Churchill vitola, with a simple white version of the classic Tatuaje band.


This particular stick has a slightly more vein-heavy wrapper than I would have expected, that is sort of a medium chocolate brown, almost a Cameroon wrapper color actually, despite being Ecuador Sumatra. As with most everything Pepin makes, the construction is spot on, triple cap, tight, straight, even seams, even pack, not too full, not underfilled. The aroma from the foot is a sweet, floral tobacco. I have heard this cigar described as having a very specific minty flavor and aroma to it, but at the moment, I'm not getting that, at least from the cold aroma. Cold draw... ah, there it is, that gentle hint of mint. Not the dominant flavor, though, as some reviewers would have you believe. Certainly present, but delicate, not dominant. The cold draw offers, primarily, a floral, mild tobacco, with a round, oily, nutty core flavor, with just a touch of mint on the tongue. the cold draw is perfect, by the way, offering just a touch of resistance.

Lit at 2:15pm.

Interesting. Smoke production isn't great here at the beginning. The flavor profile is surprisingly delicate as well. Light, and floral tobacco, still that touch of mint, almost no pepper, which is a big surprise from a Pepin/Tatuaje/Pete Johnson cigar. Some of this subdued character may be a result of age, as these cigars were released in 2009, making them well over a year old now.


By about the half inch mark, the smoke production has picked up to what I would consider normal. I am unsure of the cause for the early lack of smoke, but it is fine now, so no worries. The flavor profile hasn't changed any yet though, still a gentle, floral tobacco, maybe a little herbal even, with that sweet minty note, and just the slightest pepper on the otherwise gentle finish. I am frankly... downright shocked at the personality of this cigar. I have long heard about how good it is, but never really about how smooth and refined it is. Body at this point is right smack dab in the middle of medium. The smoke is oily, and thick on the palate, but there isn't a ton of strength behind it. I'm already sad that this isn't a regular production cigar, and that finding more of these would both be quite a task, and cost a pretty penny.


The ash is thick, and firm, holding for a good bit over an inch so far. The pepper blast I expected at the beginning, as is characteristic of Tatuaje, has sort of gradually built up, to a smooth, rounded pepper tingle and flavor over the course of this first third, now taking a seat as the primary flavor and sensation lasting through the finish, following the still smooth, delicate, floral tobacco core, with that sweet, herbal, mint dancing around in the middle. What a combination!

Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning due to how it reflects on construction... the ash has now held on firm for the entire first third, which on a 7 1/8" cigar, is a big ash! Had to hit it with a touch up at about the halfway point to get it burning properly again (wanted to go out), but that may have been a result of my slow pace today. The progression of flavor through this cigar so far hasn't been one of dramatic change, but rather just a slow, subtle darkening, with the light floral tobacco flavor taking on a gradually more earthy, and rich flavor, still floral, but less delicate, less subtle. The burn itself has also slowed down as it has progressed, which to me is a sign of quality construction and perfectly cured tobacco. At a time when limited release cigars are a dime a dozen, with many of them seeming rushed, and not particularly special, this cigar definitely is showing the high-end quality that one would expect from a truly "special" cigar.


The construction and performance continue to be fantastic, with the ash holding on basically for 1/3 of the cigar at a time. The flavors remain phenomenal as well. Complex, subtle, smooth, and delicious. One thing I will admit, that could potentially be seen as a flaw, is the attention that the cigar now seems to demand. If not drawn on at least one per minute it seems to want to try to go out. That said, it tastes great, so it isn't like I don't want to draw more often!

As the flavor profile gradually gets heavier, and darker, so does the strength, which has now moved into more of the medium-full area. More pepper, and even a little coffee start to dominate, as the earthy tobacco just gets richer, and darker. Still a fantastic combination, and profile as a whole. Sweetness has gradually subsided throughout the cigar.


Ended at 4:20 for a total smoke time of 2 hours 5 minutes, which for a cigar this size is great, and admittedly was pleasant, and enjoyable the entire time. I cannot stress how enjoyable this cigar was. It has some of the characteristics that one thinks of as being typical of Tatuaje cigars (especially further into the stick), with the addition of a lot of subtlety and smoothness not normally present from the typically bold and strong brand. It is a damned shame that this was a limited release, because it is by far my favorite cigar I have had from this brand. Highly, highly recommended. If you see them, buy them... for me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fonseca KDT Cadetes

4.5x36 Short Panetela


The KDT Cadetes (which is a name that I don't really understand... if anyone knows what the KDT means, please tell me!) is a tiny little cigar, packaged wrapped in white tissue paper, with the band holding it in place. It is a handmade, longfiller cigar (the other cigar in the Fonseca line of a similar size, the Delicias, is a shortfiller cigar), billed as being mild, as is the rest of the line. Fonseca is not a cigar I have any experience with, so this will be a report of my first experience with the brand.

This particular cigar, after removing the tissue paper, which frankly feels more like the material dryer sheets are made of, reveals a caramel brown wrapper that has a slightly ugly, somewhat veiny wrapper. The seams look good though, and the triple cap is actually great looking. The foot reveals a great looking construction, and the pack feels even, if a bit firm. In fact, the entire cigar feels just a touch hard. The cold draw is firm and reveals just a light, toasty tobacco, with a touch of barnyard hay. The aroma from the foot is just a very faint, sweet tobacco.

Lit at 7:30pm.


Flavors present at the beginning are a straight forward oily old leather core, with a dry toasty tobacco. It is definitely smooth, and subtle, and I say this in a good way. The burn line, only a short bit in is acting up a little, running in one spot in particular.

Settling into the first third a little ways, the flavor profile is starting to remind me of a few specific, high priced Dominican made mild cigars, with a musty, toasted tobacco and hay flavor dominating, with oily leather continuing to present itself through the finish, which produces just a touch of spice. The burn line continues to act wild, but keeps up with itself every few draws, not requiring a touch up or anything. Just a delicate, mild to medium little smoke so far. Nothing to go wild over, but certainly pleasant and enjoyable. The draw has improved since lighting, dramatically. It was not problematic initially, but definitely tighter than I prefer. It now features just the right amount of thickness to it. The smoke production is great, putting out great billows of white smoke with little effort.


Given the size of this cigar breaking it down into thirds (which is afterall the only way to review cigars, obviously) isn't really worth bothering with. Passing the halfway mark, not much of anything has changed. On one draw I got a touch of tar on my lips, kind of gross, but it has only happened once, so I call fluke. The ash holds for about 3/4 of an inch before needing to be rolled, or falling on its own.

Finally put this one down for the last time at 8:40pm, meaning that it lasted a hair over an hour, and about 30 minutes longer than I ever expected it to last. Not complex. Not bold. Not exciting. No. However, the Fonseca KDT Cadetes IS a cigar I very much look forward to enjoying again in the future, because it tastes good, performs great, and has that smooth, oily, delicious, subtle combination where everything works together to make an enjoyable smoking experience without having to be earth shatteringly complex, bold, powerful, whatever. Recommended smoking, indeed.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trinidad Reyes


The Trinidad marca is one that has a particularly interesting history, tied directly as it is, to the communist government in Cuba, produced first as a cigar produced at El Laguito (the famous Cohiba factory), exclusively as diplomatic gifts from Castro (according to some sources, more exclusive than the Diplomatic Cohiba, and according to other sources, a less exclusive cigar... regardless). First released publically in 1998, they were available only in a single size, the Fundadores, a Laguito Especial (the original Trinidads, the diplomatic cigars, were an Laguito No. 1, a lancero, the public release was the slightly thicker 40 ring gauge, Laguito Especial). Since then, several other sizes have been added to the line, as well as a few Limited Editions, special humidors, etc.

The Reyes is the smallest cigar in the Trinidad portfolio, a tres petite corona, with a pigtail cap. This particular example has a very oily wrapper, somewhat darker in color than other Trinidad cigars I have had. The wrapper also has almost no visible veins, and a rather impressive amount of tooth to it, more than any other Cuban wrapper I can remember seeing. The seams are tight, the packing feels even, and just a little firm, and the cap is flawlessly applied. The wrapper has a subtle aroma, just a slight, sweet tobacco, while the foot offers the same sweet tobacco with a mix of tea and cinnamon. The cold draw is just a touch snug, and tastes of the same tea, plus creamy coffee, and a touch of spice. There is, in this example, an uncharacteristic barnyard element present as well. Not a bad thing though.

Lit at 2:10pm


At the beginning, flavor profile consists of toasty tobacco, bitter coffee, some floral tea, and a touch of spice on the finish. Draw is great, and it lit easily enough.

The burn line about an inch in is a little wavy, with some runs here and there. The ash is tight, and dark gray in color. Flavor profile has settled into a creamy sweet tobacco, a bitter coffee, and the same herbal, floral tea character. It is a delicious combination, just perfectly balanced. There is also a musty note through the nose, reminds me of Hendrik Kelner's blends actually.


At the halfway point, a sweet, milk chocolate flavor develops, and complements the tea and coffee flavors present already quite well. The mouthfeel is downright creamy, and smooth. In fact, the whole cigar has been creamy and smooth. The touch of spice on the finish, which has been pretty consistent the whole way through, is a good mix of tingle across the palate, and a cinnamon flavor through the nose, which is interesting with the musty tobacco also present through the nose.


Ended at 3:00pm for a total time of 50 minutes. Not many transitions, but the complexity, and subtle notes that are present through out the cigar make this one of the most interesting blends I have had, especially out of Cuba. It burns well, draws well, and tastes great. It also isn't overly expensive (I paid around 85$ for a box of 12) when compared to other cigars in the marca.