Cigar Review: Tatuaje Frank

Size: 7 5/8×49, Double Corona (slight box press)

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Strength: Medium

Price: $13 (original MSRP)

Grade: 9.2

To finish up Tatuaje week here at Toasted Foot we are reviewing the first installation in the Pete Johnson Monster Series, known as “The Frank”. Released in October of 2008, this cigar was produced in limited numbers and sold at a limited number of retailers. Thirteen retailers were chosen by lottery to sell the 666 boxes produced.  Each box, actually a “blood spattered” cedar coffin, contained 13 cigars for bringing the total cigars produced to 8,658.

Pete has continued this series with two additional releases. In October of 2009 Pete released “The Drac” as the second installment of the Monster Series and just a few months ago, in October of 2010, Tatuaje released “The Face” as the third installment of the series – we have one of these resting in the humidor so look for a review on it in the near future.

Now, on to the concluding toast to Tatuaje Week!

Pre-light, 1.7:
The first thing I notice on this cigar is the wrapper; it is rugged and rough and to be honest, it really looks a bit scary. There is slight box press on the dark Broadleaf wrapper and the cigar is well packed with a beautiful triple cap at the head. I do not pick up a lot of notes on the pre-light along the wrapper, but at the foot there are some notes of wood and maybe a bit of spice. The cold draw is very tame with the warmth of Nicaraguan tobacco coating the palate with just a subtle bit of spice.

Burn, 1.8:
The draw on the “The Frank” was a bit tight at the beginning but opened up about one inch in to the smoke.  The ash did not hold past one inch but was consistent in color with the wrapper and binder/filler producing two distinct layers.  The cigar did not require any touch ups or re-lights and burned true for the entire two hours I worked on it. Overall this is a well constructed cigar that produces plenty of smoke with a nice smoke temperature.

Flavor, 2.9:
The first puff on this smoke is very tame; I was expecting it to be spicy and heavy, but it was not. Into the first third, the cigar is a mixture of earthy tobacco with notes of cedar and just a touch of spice that is almost sweet on the finish. The second third opens up a bit with a very solid tobacco flavor that is earthy with continued notes of cedar on the palate. The spice continues to be very subtle but is layered in where the balance is very pleasing on the palate. I also continue to get a bitter sweetness on the finish that is present, but in a way it sneaks up on you. The last third of the smoke is by far my favorite. The cigar really seems to hit its stride on this stage, with more pronounced and defined notes of the above profile. The flavors are well balanced with notes of tobacco, earth, cedar, spice, and bitter sweetness.

Overall, 2.8:
I did not have the chance to smoke one of these cigars when they were first released but I feel like the flavor profile in October of 2008 would have been different for sure – not better, just different. I feel like this cigar has mellowed in the two plus years it has been resting, mostly due to the lack of spice, but it was still a powerhouse of flavor that was balanced and a joy to smoke. The marketing and quality of The Monster Series has made these smokes hard to find, but if you can get one or two of them you will find them to be solid smokes at the price offered.

(Total: 9.2)