Tatuaje Tattoo Caballeros
This week’s review of Tatuaje’s Tattoo Caballeros has been a long time coming. I purchased a bunch of these a while back, but am barely now getting to the review. There has just been so many new releases over the last few months that it’s getting hard to keep track.
The Good Stuff: Tattoo is the first release in Pete Johnson’s (owner of Tatuaje) new series. I use the term “first release” a bit loosely here as there was a limited edition run of a Lancero Pete created in the past which donned the same name, but this is a different project and different blend. The Caballeros is a 5 x 50 Robusto format and will be joined by 3 additional sizes (Toro, Torpedo, and Toro Grande) over the course of the next few months. Tatuaje’s Tattoo, like all other Tatuaje releases is being produced by My Father Cigars. This particular release is being made at the Tabacalera Cubana Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. This is the same factory in which Pete produced the El Suelo and Trocadero. The Tattoo starts with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, bound with a Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan fillers along with a little something special Pete added to the filler but it is unknown exactly what that ingredient is. The Tattoo come packaged in boxes of 50 and run a very affordable price of $5 a stick. I purchased a bunch of these over from our friends at Smoke Inn. They are out of stock now, but you can set up auto-notifications on their site and be alerted as soon as they are replenished.
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Pairing: Prairie Artisan Ales Wine Barrel Noir (Imperial Stout 11% ABV)
Prelight: Tatuaje’s Tattoo starts out with a very, very dark wrapper. The wrapper is incredibly consistent in it’s dark chocolate brown wrapper. There are a few darker spots that only really show up around the cigar’s smaller veins or around the foot of the cigar. The wrapper showcases some slight oils and a whole mess of toothy texture. The wrapper is very dense and firm as it leads up through the body to a very round double cap. The Tattoo feels very stiff with a big of sponginess around the foot. Outside of that I found no other soft spots, in fact this cigar is even a bit firmer than I am used to. The Tattoo is polished off with a beautifully elegant maroon, gold, and black band carrying Tatuaje’s signature symbol as well as the word “Tattoo” printed in white across the front.
The wrapper on Tatuaje’s Tattoo gives off a really pungent sweetness with some tart spice while the foot of the cigar is much more mild only releasing a slight tobacco aroma. The cap cut clean and easy using my palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw is focused mostly around a charred meat flavor with some spice and sweetness buried in there.
First Smoke: I was greeted with only a small amount of black pepper as I lit up Tatuaje’s Tattoo. The pepper did last deep into the first third though accompanying some strong chocolate, cherry, malt, and spice flavors. The chocolate being the more dominant flavor. Despite being so tightly packed the cigar is smoking great while it lets loose a huge cloud of thick smoke with every small puff. The burnline has a very very minor waves and is burning razor thin. The ash very tightly compacted medium gray with a few darker zebra stripes which held on for about an inch before if fell into my ashtray.
Halfway There: Into the second third of Tatuaje’s Tattoo the flavors have become a bit more tame, mixing into a creamier profile of dark chocolate, cherry, cedar, and spice. The retrohale really brings out some of the woodsy flavors that are otherwise hidden in the experience. The burnline is still a bit wavy, but nothing worrisome while I am feeling zero in the nicotine department.
Finish: The flavors began to ramp up a bit into the final third of this Tatuaje Tattoo only to be masked out a bit by the charred meat flavor that I picked up in the cold draw. It’s not a bad flavor by any means, just a bit unexpected and it actually helped adding another layer to the black cherry, cedar, dark chocolate and spice flavors the Tattoo was giving off. It took my a little over an hour to take this cigar down and I didn’t experience any heat, but there was some very slight harshness coming into the final inch or so. The Tattoo’s burn was flawless with only the slight waves I mentioned earlier. I never once had to reach for my torch. The Tattoo was also pretty mild in strength leaving me with absolutely no nicotine kick whatsoever.
Overview: While I feel the Tattoo is a good, solid cigar, it’s not my favorite invention Pete has come up with. That being said, value plays a huge roll in this cigar’s character and it scores a perfect in that department. $5 a stick isn’t a price point we see to often and being that the cost is so low this is a cigar that could sneak it’s way into my regular rotation. The burn and construction was flawless I just wish it had a bit more body and flavor. Being that flavor is so subjective I could honestly say I’d still recommend this cigar to any enthusiast looking for a solid stick without breaking the bank, and the novice who doesn’t want to shell out premium coin to smoke a premium cigar.
Pairing: I’ve been paring a lot of my cigars lately with Prairie Artisan’s beers. Reason being? One, they are good as hell. And Two, I can finally find them here. I used to have to run trades to get some of their more elusive brews, but they have been readily available in El Paso as of late. Anyhow, Wine Barrel Noir is basically a big imperial stout (11%) that’s aged in wine barrels. I haven’t really had beer prior to the few Wine Barrel Noir’s that are created using this process. Basically it results in a sharper, crisp stout with a ton of flavor. The Wine Barrel Noir leads off with a ton of fruity tartness just like a dry wine would. It then finishes with some sharp berry and a bit of booziness. This makes Tatuaje’s Tattoo a nosh-like pairing with the chocolate, cherry, and charred meat. The Tattoo would pair well with most deeper stouts, Belgian style tripels or quads, or even a spicy porter.