Cigar Review : Tatuaje Black Label Petite Lancero
Size: 7 1/2 x 38 ( Lancero )
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun grown Criollo
Binder and Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $8.50 USD each
Behind The Stick:
There are certain cigar brands out there that are just a bit more popular than others. Sometimes it is due to an excellently performing cigar but more often then not, it is a combination of that great cigar along with the ‘image’, the exclusivity and brand ‘essence’ that pulls people in. Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars has a track record of producing ‘good to great’ cigars and while his cigars sometimes speak for themselves, there are stories that are linked to certain cigars that not only make them more desirable, but really put them on the ‘radar’ of many smokers.
The Black Label in specific is one of these cigars – a cigar that not only carries a well received delivery but also carried a ‘story’ as to the origins. Legend has it that Pete was on a ‘tropical island’ and while he was smoking a few cigars that the locals rolled for themselves, a specific blend really fell into his personal preferred flavor profile – thus sparking his desire to grab a few samples and attempted to re-create the flavors in Nicaragua with the help of the Garcia Family. The child of this union is what we now call the Tatuaje Black Label – his ‘personal reserve blend’.
While this cigar is not ‘ugly’ it is not going to win any beauty contests. With an unfinished foot, long but slender veins running the length of the cigar and a small pig tail cap – to the Tatuaje fans salivation is almost expected. While the cigar feels more firm near the head and middle, the foot doesn’t fit that ‘underfilled’ category but there is a significant difference in firmness from the head to the foot. The cigar clipped well and the shaggy foot lit without issue – all in all I guess a cigar doesn’t have to be ‘pretty’ to be good.
You cannot help yourself but to stop and take in the smell of this cigar – the chocolate, coffee and ‘spice’ notes carry over from smell to taste, the initial few puffs coating the tastebuds with this balanced profile. There is this sweet flavor to the cigar – some have called it black cherry or liquorish or even ‘honey’ but while I cannot pin it down – it tastes very good being offset by the black pepper on the retrohale. Wood, leather and more pepper carry this cigar into the 2nd third where the draw opened up some more, the smoke became thicker and the flavors a bit more ‘in your face’.
The second half of this cigars life pushed a little more into the dark reaches – and quite honestly – just in time. Wood, coffee at a borderline espresso combined with the less-sweet but same sweet flavors from before mix with this spicy ‘heat’ that left the sides of my tongue tingling just a little. The later part of the Tatuaje Black Label Petite Lancero rounds out with dark coffee, wood, leather and has exchanged the sweet flavors for a nutty almost understated flavor.
Whenever a manufacturer claims a cigar is their personal favorite or specifically made for them – I take a step back and realize this may be their 80% or 90% ‘favorite’ they can produce in large enough quantities to make a production item. Even at that – Pete Johnson has created an excellent cigar that I can imagine him actually ‘preferring’, even out of his own extensive lineup. The price is right, the delivery was complex, rich and balanced while not getting into that ‘too much’ category – every one I have smoked left me with a desire to smoke another. I am not a die hard Tatuaje fan – I enjoy most of his cigars but I have to admit that I ‘love’ this cigar. If you have not had one – Drop the ~ 40 bucks and pick up a 5 pack, if you have had them before please let me know what you thought about them!
Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory