Monday, October 17, 2011

Tatuaje Wolfman

7 1/2x52 Box Pressed Torpedo

Alright! That time of year is here again. No, not Halloween... Tatuaje Monster series time! The time of year when everyone gets their panties in a twist for a few weeks, worrying about scoring a box or three, and then in the end everyone chills the F out, and realizes there are plenty of sticks to go around... after all of the name calling and trash talking are said and done. This year the cigar is an ode to possibly my favorite of classic movie monsters, The Wolfman. The cigar is a rustic box pressed torpedo with a sort of ugly Sumatra wrapper, and a blend based on the Cojonu series, with an uncut foot (about a half inch of filler and binder protrude beyond the wrapper). It's a good looking stick, and as with previous years, it does a good job representing the monster it pays tribute to, with its shaggy hairy foot, and pointy fang head. While doing this review, I'm putting on the classic 1941 Universal pictures version of the tale, starring Lon Chaney, jr. and Claude Rains.

This particular stick is packaged in cellophane, and came from a 10 count boite-nature. It has a great looking brown and red band that suits the theme well. The pack feels a touch soft, at least in a few spots. The filler seems to be beautifully bunched, with the different tobaccos being clearly visible in the foot. The seams and cap are flawlessly applied, tightly, and evenly. The foot gives off a slightly spicy aroma of peanut, wood, and cinnamon, a combination that I have come to associate very closely with several cigars Pepin has made in the past. Took a decent but off the head with my scissors, and have a nice, free draw, offering similarly nutty dry flavors, with a bit of black pepper across the tongue. Very pleased with the draw, as box pressed torpedos tend to give me hell, but this is nice and open. Not getting much sweetness, which I was kind of looking for from the wrapper. It is nice and spicy on the lips however, which is pleasant.

Lit at 7:55pm.

The first two or so draws offer an interesting experience, burning only the binder and filler, something I always find interesting, since it gives you the chance to taste the addition of the wrapper. Without the wrapper, I certainly taste dry cedar, and some peanut, and pepper. Once the wrapper ignites though, there is a great oaky sweetness that brings a balance to things. Along with this is a little bit of milky chocolate, and a hint of bitterness. All of the flavors I have come to expect at various times from either a Cojonu or a Sumatra wrapped Brown Label... pretty impressive start here, and the transition from wrapperless to wrappered make for a cool touch of complexity in flavor right there at the beginning.

The ash holds for the first segment for a little past an inch, taking its place all over my shirt while drawing... Great. It was a good, banded light and dark gray in color, and somewhat flakey in texture (though no flakes fell off prematurely). Smoke production is ideal from this cigar, tons of thick, dense smoke on the draw, and almost none while idling in the ash tray between draws. The burn line is not particularly sharp, but these cigars only arrived today, and while they were packed with a Boveda, who knows what their trip was like(?), so the burn may be attributed to that. Hasn't needed a touch up or anything though, so not problematic, just a little erratic. Complexity continues to develop on the palate here, with the flavors remaining largely a dry cedar on the draw that moves into a sweet oak and smoked nut core, followed by a bit of bitterness, and a slow, smouldering heat on the finish. Digging it so far. I will say that even at this point, I am sort of surprised by how quickly it seems to be burning. Time wise, it is actually about right, but just watching the burn line as I draw, it seems to jump fairly quickly.

I think the strongest point that the Wolfman has going for it right now flavor wise is the sweet, earthy, oak, or maybe even maple that comes in after the draw. It really coats the palate, and makes for a wonderful balance between the dry woody character and the slight bitterness that follows. I'm only at the halfway mark right now, but I think it is fair to say that the Wolfman offers the most balance and complexity so early in its life (ie. just released) of the Monsters I have had the pleasure to smoke young. It also has enough body (albeit, only medium full at most) to suggest that it has the potential to really blossom with some down time, like... maybe by next Halloween it may evolve into a true gem, loved and praised (and sought after) like the Frank or Boris.

As the stick has progressed, it has only gotten sweeter. Not cloying, or artificial in its sweetness, but rather a thick, maple syrup, and earthiness that really coats the mouth, and contrasts beautifully as the peppery finish starts to burn its way down the back of the throat. The peppery finish is not a powerful, overwhelming one, but a smooth mellow spice that just simmers, with a fair amount of longevity after the draw. Really nice. Another cool element of the peppery finish is that it comes and goes. Not every draw is concluded with heat, just every once in a while.

Alright. I knew it was too good to be true. With about 2 and a half inches left, I just took a nice big draw... and BAM. What is that AWFUL taste? Yes ladies and gents, Tar. I got tar balled. A nice, brown, gooey, BP oil spill to the tongue. Now, I have found that wet cigars, with maybe too shallow a cut, and an already tapered head (torpedo) are more prone to this, so Hopefully it is just a symptom of my not cutting enough, and not letting these sticks rest adequately before lighting one. A small snip from the head (1/8 of an inch or so more) clears this up totally though, so it was fortunately a one time problem. It happens, let us move on. One good thing as a result of the extra cut... the draw has opened up even more. I hadn't really noticed, but it had tightened up as it had burned, but now it is wide open.

Through the last third things are starting to get a little less sweet, less syrupy, and more of a dark earth takes over. The bitterness also becomes more prominent, in a burnt coffee bean kind of way. Finally became too hot and soft at 9:54pm, so pretty much 2 hours exactly... Despite seeming to burn quickly, this isn't the case at all and it burns for a good long time. Really impressed with this cigar, especially right out of the box like this. I can only imagine how well these will progress with time and proper storage. This is going to be a hit, so get them while they are out there, and get them quickly! The shaggy foot also makes for a great little transition (or more appropriately... transformation!) right at the start. The flavors are bold, and there are lots of them, while the body, despite being based on the Cojonu blend, remains medium full even at the end. I know there is a lot of "hype" built up around these cigars, but they really do deliver.

"The way you walked was thorny, through no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Your suffering is over, My son. Now you will find peace."

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