Tatuaje – La Casita Criolla
Feeling better and better each day I have been dying to get out and start smoking regularly. That in mind I have actually been able to enjoy quite a few cigars this weekend. One of those being one I have been dying to try. Once of the newest cigars in Tatuaje’s portfolio, “La Casita Criolla”.
The Good Stuff: La Casita Criolla or “The Creole Cottage” is the first, or one of the very few cigars that are actually constructed from 100% Connecticut Broadleaf. Pete Johnson goes into a bit more detail on the tobacco used for this cigar:
“Okay guys. To clear this up. Not all broadleaf is dark. The wrapper will be but the binders and fillers are made up of broadleaf tobacco also. When Jaime (Garcia) buys broadleaf, he buys in hopes to get good dark juicy wrapper, some medium color wrapper like La Riqueza and good binder but the other leaf that doesn’t make those grades is sorted by size and texture for filler. Again not every leaf will look like the wrapper. It’s all 100% USA Conn. Broadleaf. Jaime also buys all primings of broadleaf. Seco, Viso and Ligero. This is also how we are able to sort the filler to do the blend on the cigar.”
So yes, that’s right. 100% Broadleaf. I know that Broadleaf is expensive, and isn’t the easiest to come by so if anyone was able to create a cigar comprised of nothing but this leaf, it had to come from the My Father factory. The Garcias use more broadleaf than any other cigar manufacturer. And anyone that reads this blog knows that I am sucker for Broadleaf. Let’s hope this cigar doesn’t disappoint. The La Casita Criolla line will come in three different sizes, HCB – 5 1/8 x 42, HCBC – 5 5/8 x 46, and the HCBF – 6 1/2 x 48 and will be sold in the $7 range. That’s right, I was expecting a much higher price tag.
Size: HCBC 5 5/8” x 46 – Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf – Binder/Filler: Broadleaf – Body: Medium
Prelight: What a vintage looking cigar, from the band down to the wrapper’s appearance. Although quite consistent in color the Casita Criolla sports a very rustic, almost beaten looking appearance. The construction is spot-on and the wrapper is a nice dark brown with lots of smaller darker spots around the ripples in the leaf. There are lots of very small veins throughout the slender body leading up to a nice round triple cap. The cigar is actually very first and puts up a ton of resistance when compressed with no soft spots at all. The band is interesting and a departure form what we normally expect Pete to come up with. It’s very vintage looking with an almost old days, sewn on looking placement of the “La Casita Criolla” logo. As you rotate the cigar around you can see Pete’s embroidered logo as well as “Tatuaje Cigars Estelí” just before coming to a small sketch of a nice little cottage. Right away I get this crazy pungent smell from the Broadleaf wrapper. It’s very barnyardesque with some nice chocolate and spice notes. The foot is almost just as stinky as the wrapper of the cigar bearing almost identical aromas. The cap was easily clipped using my double bladed Palio cutter. The cold draw was a lot smoother than I had originally expected pumping out some inviting spice and coffee notes with just a hint of pepper.
First Smoke: Wow, the Tatuaje La Casita Criolla starts off as what I would call the epitome of smooth. Right away I am greeting with some very nice woodsy, cocoa, espresso notes that tend to transition into a bit of spice after a while. No pepper at all, but a whole ton of sweetness. The draw on this Casita Criolla is super effortless pumping out huge clouds of thick smoke with every little draw. The cigar doesn’t give off much stationary smoke, but the smell is pungent! Be prepared, this probably isn’t something you’d want to smoke around people who aren’t really into cigar smoke (or could work in your favor by keeping them away). The burnline is pretty thick but produces a very nicely compacted, light grey ash. The ash held on for about an inch before giving way.
Halfway There: The dark chocolate and sharp espresso flavors are really taking over this cigar, along with a nice creamy fruit hint here and there mixed in with some subtle spice. The Casita Criolla started out really smooth and has managed to become even more-so into the second third. Even the retrohale on this cigar is creamy and smooth coating with a nice creamed coffee style flavor. I’m really not feeling any nicotine, but this cigar is burning a little quicker than I expected. The burnline is still dead even.
Finish: Into the final third of the Casita Criolla and the spice that has been nothing but an aftertaste has really start to shine through. The cocoa and espresso are still the there in force, with a more creamier, milky flavor starting to creep in with still a dash of sweetness. This cigar took only a little over an hour to finish, requiring no touch-ups or relights. I started to feel a little nicotine at the tail end of the experience, but not really enough to call this cigar anything stronger than medium.
Overview: It may be a little early to call it, but I think Tatuaje’s La Casita Criolla has a VERY good chance in making it’s way towards the top of our “Top 10 Cigars of 2011” list. The flavors are smooth and powerful with only slight changeups where needed to keep me on my toes, the construction on these cigars are perfect, and the price point is actually cheaper then I expected knowing that these are composed 100% of Connecticut Broadleaf.
Pairing: Despite what most people think, Fat Tire was actually New Belgium’s second beer. The first being their award winning Abbey. Since then New Belgium has actually created a stronger, more premium Abbey with limited releases through their “Lips of Faith” collection. They call this their “Grand Cru Abbey Ale” and it’s exactly what I decided to pair this Tatuaje La Casita Criolla with. Abbey is a traditional strong, dark ale perfected by Belgium Trappist Monks, and in my opinion, one of the best brew styles available. With a malty flavor with nice Banana, Caramel, and Lemon hints its hard to believe that he beer boasts a 9.5% ABV. The sweet, creamy style of the beer blended perfectly with the smoothness of this cigar. It really made for a perfect pairing, even if it does leave you a bit loopy afterwards. I think this cigar would go well with any stout, porter, or brown ale as well as Dr. Pepper or sweet tea.