Tatuaje The Face Monster Series #3
With Halloween just around the corner I am more than excited to be reviewing one of Tatuaje’s most exclusive series. The Monster Series, in particular #3, The Face.
The Face in my opinion has to be one of the most sought after cigars of 2010. With only 666 dress boxes (the purty box in these pictures) containing 13 cigars, released on October 13th, distributed to only 13 “unlucky” retailers across the US The Face is extremely rare, and hard to come by. Luckily, Daniel decided to go in on a box split with me and the great guys at Centro cigars had a box with our name on it. How unlucky are we? Let’s find out.
The Good Stuff: The Face is the third installment in Pete Johnson’s “Monster Series”. The Face is a cigar to replicate the scary as hell creature “Leather Face” from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies. The Monster series started in 2008 with the inaugural release of the Frank (Frankenstein) which happens to be the only one I was never able to get my hands on (hint, hint). This was followed in 2009 with a dual release. The first being the second installment the Drac (Dracula). The second was a revamped version of the Frank, the Boris (the actor in Frankenstein) wich had a different wrapper than the original Frank.
According to our friend Brooks over at Smoking Stogie (click here to see his excellent review of The Face) The Face is the second blend that Pete has decided to use a Mexican wrapper for. I’ve actually been quite amazed with the amount of flavor the Mexican wrappers have been able to kick out, we’ll have to see if The Face can replicate this. Brooks also goes on to say that it is rumored that the fourth installment in the Monster Series will be based on the Wolfman and of course, that is due out next year in mid October.
Size: 6 3/8 x 56 – Wrapper: San Andreas Mexican – Binder/Filler: Nicaraguan – Body: Medium/Full
Prelight: The Face is a very large, very hefty stick. The wrapper is composed of a very dry looking, yet silky, dark, leather styled (to match leather face of course), thick and firm to the touch. This is a tough looking little cigar. It almost looks like it’s been beat up a couple of times. I think Pete did an excellent job showing off a bit of creativity here. The dark wrapper leads up to a very thin, lighter brown, leather looking “band” composed simply of a lighter leaf. The face is the topped off with a round cap that leads up to a tiny point. I’m not sure if that cap really does anything for the experience, or the overall appearance, but it’s definitely something new. The foot of the cigar looks like a shaggy foot that got the living crap beat out of it. The body of the cigar is embellished by quite a few larger veins that I hope won’t give me too many problems. The Face is really firm and tightly packed. I wasn’t able to really find any soft spots what so ever. The wrapper gives off almost nothing but a soft cedar smell with the same story on the foot. The cap clipped right off using my double bladed cutter. I was actually very surprised by the amount of strong tobacco, spice, and nut the cold draw was able to produce. If the cold draw has anything to say for the remainder of the smoke then I am in for one flavorful experience.
First Smoke: The Face’s foot was a little tricky to get going at first, but once the shaggy foot toasted up the cigar took right off. I was greeted with the familiar “Pepin Salute” as the cigar started out with a very sharp, peppery kick. After a few relaxing draws the pepper begins to fade and a flavorful bundle of spice, tobacco, cashew, and bittersweet chocolate take the stage. The draw is just right and produces a massive cloud of thick, brown spice and citrus scented smoke. The Face gives off very little stationary smoke however. The burnline is just remarkable, razor thin and perfectly straight leaving behind a trail of solid white, and light grey ash which only held on for about an inch before it dropped into my ashtray.
Halfway There: Into the second third and there is one real way to explain this cigar. Smooth. This is a much smoother, and milder experience than I was expecting from the face. I guess you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. The pepper is surprisingly still there but only slightly as a nice complement to the powerful, tasty spice this cigar is kicking out. It tastes much like cinnamon and nutmeg with a hint of citrus, followed up my creamy chocolate and wood. This is such a flavorful cigar. The retrohale is a bit too spicy for me to produce too often but it does coat my nasal passage with a very nice woodsy flavor once the spice has settled. I’m not feeling any nicotine at all and I think it’s safe to say the second third is much smoother than the first. The burnline is still absolutely perfect.
Finish: The second third of The Face was definitely the quiet before the storm as the final third really ramped up in both flavor and body. The pepper is just about gone from this cigar and a really strong cedar flavor has taken it’s place. The cedar is backed by the citrus and spice that were the more dominant flavors throughout the cigar. There are soft hints of creamy coffee, and chocolate still in the mix. Although the body has ramped up, the cigar is still going down very smooth with no signs of harshness even into the final inch. This cigar burned perfect the entire way with no touch ups, no waves, no relights. It didn’t burn too slow but because of the massive size of this stick it did take close to two hours to take back. I felt only slight hints of nicotine once I stood up into the final third, but nothing too significant. The cigar burnt a little warm into the final inch, probably due to the larger ring gauge. But nothing too hot. And for those of you who are wondering, there really wasn’t a change up in flavor at all when you burn through the lighter shade leaf band.
Overview: I am really glad that I got a chance to get my hands on these remarkable cigars. Thanks again to Centro Cigars for the excellent service and thank you Daniel for going in on a split with me on these. The monster series are pricey, and take quite a bit of effort to find, and with Tatuaje Frenzy at an all time high these more than likely won’t be on any shelves. So if you do happen to find them, toss in the coin, its worth it. The smoothness is perfect for any cigar lover and will only increase with age. The monster series have always been held high on my list and Pete knocked another one out of the park with this scary treat. Flavorful, complex, and perfectly balanced.
Pairing: I actually didn’t drink anything with this review. Sorry about that. The wife and I had just gotten back from a rather large dinner and anything else would have probably made me vomit. Although many of you would have enjoyed that, I’m not one for spew in my reviews. Until next time!