Cigar Reviews

Tatuaje ELO #3 2011

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Here we go with today’s review. We actually had some interestingly warm weather roll in this week after the incredible deep freeze we had last week. Trouble is, I got sick earlier this week and now I can’t even go enjoy a cigar in the warmer weather. Bitter sweet, isn’t it? lol. Well, thankfully I decided to do this review on the weekend before I came down with this nasty cold. And the cigar I picked out of the humidor was a Tatuaje ELO #3 2011 that I was lucky enough to acquire via a trade I recently did.

Now there isn’t a whole lot of info out there about the ELO #3 so I’ll do my best here. If anyone has any more accurate or additional info, feel free to add it in the comments and I’ll be glad to append it to the review! From what I found while researching, this cigar comes exclusively from New Havana Cigars and is an “encore” release of a popular cigar they had previously sold in 2008.

It seems the cigars were sold at record speeds as do many of the limited releases from Tatuaje and especially from New Havana Cigars. As with many cigars from Pete Johnson of Tatuaje, this is a Nicaraguan puro and is rolled at the My Father Cigars factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. At the moment only New Havana Cigars is selling the ELO series from what I understand but it is possible that the retailers could expand, depending on demand and supply of course.

Now this next part is pure speculation but there may be some truth here. Apparently, the ELO series, which runs with numbers 1 thru 5, are overruns of some other popular Tatuaje cigars. And just to clarify, an overrun is not a 2nd, it’s basically just extra stock without any imperfections. From some reading, it seems this ELO #3 is the counterpart to the Tatuaje Verocu #2. Reading that and looking at some pictures of the Verocu 2 seems to be pretty accurate, but who knows.

So remember, a lot of this info is just stuff I found randomly and not from any official sources, so I’m not sure how accurate it is. Feel free to share any more info on his cigar if you have it, I’d love to learn more about it! Now I won’t do any more speculation or yapping, let’s just get straight to the review!

Cigar: Tatuaje ELO #3 2011
Drink: Muskoka Brewery Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout
Vitola: Robusto (5.5 x 54)
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $6.50
Burn Time: 1.5 hours

• The Tatuaje ELO #3 2011 has a pretty rough and beefy wrapper on it
• Despite having quite a few decent sized veins the oily sheen of this cigar definitely makes it attractive to look at
• The triple cap topping off this cigar is very smooth and well applied, so I can’t complain there
• Now the foot of the cigar looks like it has it’s fair share of filler leaves in there, very packed
• Surprisingly though, there is a nice give and spring to this cigar when squeezed
• The more I look at these veins the more they worry me, I’m hoping they don’t cause any burn issues here…
• The cut with my double bladed guillotine cutter made a huge mess and little pieces of tobacco leaves went everywhere
• The pre-light draw seems a bit tight but we’ll see how it goes
• The draw actually turned out to be ok, it is a bit tight but it’s not affecting the experience so far

• The toasting was slow and steady and although there were some problematic spots it all lit up fairly evenly in the end
• The burn through the first inch of so has been razor sharp and super slow, so far so good!
• The burn continues to be stellar and slow through the whole first half, I’m actually very surprised because I saw a few good sized veins
• I had one little peninsula form in the last third of the cigar but it actually corrected itself, all in all this was a superbly burning cigar!

Smoke & Ash:
• The smoke coming from this cigar is plentiful but it seems a little thin, not a bad thing just something to note
• The resting smoke is fairly minimal but it does give off a nice woodsy aroma
• The ash on this ELO #3 2011 is a very nice whitish color with accents of black striping here and there
• The ash lasted easily past an inch with a strong and clean looking structure before I tapped it off into the ashtray
• Loving the strong and clean ash on this cigar, another easy passing of the 1 inch mark on the second ash

Tasting Notes:
• The wrapper of this cigar has surprisingly little aroma, maybe just a touch of woodsiness to it
• The foot is similarly lacking in aroma but I did detect a touch of floral notes in there, kind of surprised cause I’m used to getting a lot of spice from Tatuaje cigars
• The woodsy and floral flavors are still there on the pre-light draw but now I’m definitely picking up the trademark Tatuaje peppery spice that I’m used to, tingling my lips and tongue
• The first few draws had a very charred taste, might have been due to the extended toasting but I’m glad they went away fairly quickly
• The next array of flavors seems to be a musty woodsy type of flavor with a side order of mild spices and just a dash of leather
• The retrohale on the Tatuaje ELO #3 2011 has just a small bite and a smooth creamy cedar finish
• The body is resting at a comfortable mild-medium right now
• Now I’m not sure if it’s partly the beer here but I’m getting a nice thick rich flavor on this cigar, like a dark chocolate or roasted espresso, really enjoying it
• The flavors continue to get richer as the cigar burns, the spice has mostly disappeared and I’m left with a nice woodsiness backed by those delicious espresso and dark chocolate
• The body started to kick up into the full category in the last third but it still maintained a smooth creamy finish and lots of rich flavors
• The strength of this cigar seemed to sneak up a bit on me at the end, I got a little bit of a nicotine kick but not much. Might be due to smoking this earlier in the day and having only a small lunch
• The flavors diminished a bit as I hit the nub but they didn’t get harsh, just sort of washed out, still enjoyed it up until my fingers were burning

Final Thoughts:
Now this was a darn tasty smoke. I’ve had a bit of an up and down experience with Tatuaje lately but I always come back because when Pete Johnson does it right, he does it really right! The perfect burn, the awesome ash and the great array of rich flavors made for a superb smoking experience. The slow burn also gave me plenty of time to enjoy the cigar without the need to babysit it. I have to say that this blend definitely carried some similarities to the Verocu line, especially the Verocu Tubo since I smoked it not too long ago. So maybe there is some truth to that info… If you can track down a few of these I would definitely recommend you give them a try.

Today’s pairing is definitely an interesting one. It comes from a brewery about an hour North of me in what we call “Cottage Country”. It’s from Muskoka brewery and it is called their Winter Beard which is a Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout. Now I took a bit of a risk here since I actually haven’t even tried this brew before today and I’m glad to say it worked out rather well. I was a bit scared that the cranberry flavor would be overpowering but it’s actually barely discernible at all. You can get a touch of sweetness but it’s not a super fruity flavor at all. Even the double chocolate is fairly balanced. Once thing to note is that this is probably one of the thickest beers I’ve ever drank. It poured out like well aged port but it surprisingly had very little head (foam) to it. I found the richness of the beer to be a perfect match for the richness of the cigar, they both played to each others strengths and made for a great overall experience.

Daniel T. (a.k.a. Dalamscius) is an IT Professional from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He enjoys cigars, scuba diving, hockey, fishing, nature and anything that challenges his mind. If he's not sitting on his big comfy couch or at work you can usually find him in a boat on top of the water or 100ft under the water enjoying a dive. He is engaged to a wonderful Fiance and looking forward to his wedding. Feel free to contact Daniel anytime via email (dalamscius[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter


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