Tag Archives: tatuaje

A Monster for Halloween, a Case Study and Ventura News

Last night was Halloween, the night I enjoy sitting on the front porch with a cigar handing out candy. I used to enjoy walking around the neighborhood taking my kids trick-or-treating, but those days are long gone. Last night I chose the Tatuaje Monster Series cigar from last year, the Krueger, a 7¼” x 48 box pressed torpedo with a KruegerMexican San Andrés wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and fillers. This was a lovely cigar, and it was hard leaving it sit in the humidor for a year. I’ve only smoked a few of the Monsters, so far I think this was the one I enjoyed the most. I started it out in my usual way, taking Macha for a quick walk before all the kids started roaming the streets. I like to keep cigars like this in my New Air humidor, all my humidors work well, and I smoke out of all of them regularly I just like the peace of mind of the temperature control feature for cigars I’m not going to see very often. I also go in that one less than the others. Anyway, the cigar was great, rich, medium bodied and a little dirty, which I like. It’s not without some sweetness, starting with a little pepper, and building in strength, although never getting too much past medium. Good smoke, I don’t normally seek these out, but I’ll pick one up if I have the chance. I’ll have to see if I can get a hold of the latest version (the Michael?  I could look it up, but the Flyers are on and I want to finish this up!). The Krueger met my expectations, it was a great two-plus hour smoke great for handing out candy on Halloween.


Today I awoke to the news that Michael Giannini is now the Creative Director and brand ambassador for Ventura Cigars. I’ve known Michael for a long time, he’s one of my favorite people in the cigar business. I was sad when it was announced last year that he was no longer with General Cigars. I loved a lot of the Foundry cigars he worked on, and my affinity for La Gloria Cubana cigars is fairly well-known. As a matter of fact, I asked Ernesto Carillo about Michael when I saw him a couple of weeks ago, as they worked closely together after General purchased La Gloria.  Ironically, I’ve been a fan of the Ventura offerings since smoking a Psyko Seven when I was a guest on The Cigar Authority show back in 2013. I have a good deal of Ventura and Psyko Seven swag, including a humidor. I consider myself a fan, even more so now that Michael is involved.  I’m very excited to see what he does with the company. Ventura is owned by Kretek International, a very large company, which Michael is used to. Good luck, my friend!


CaseStudy_CS05_54In honor of today’s news, I selected a cigar from Ventura for my evening walk.  At the IPCPR show they were showing their Case Study series. This is a series of 26 small batch and limited editions, made by what they term as famous cigar makers. This reminds me of what folks like Robert Caldwell and Tony Bellato did with their Lost and Found line, finding batches of cigars sitting in major manufacturers aging rooms and selling them as one time releases. Whether this is actually the case or not, I don’t know, it’s just the way I see it. Anyway, the one I chose was a 5¾”x54 labeled CS/05 with the black band signifying it’s a limited edition. The only blend info listed is that it has an Oscuro Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. I recommend trying this cigar if you like cigars that I like! This was a winner for me, dark, rich flavor, a perfect burn and draw and a cigar I smoked down to the tiniest of nubs. I would pick up this cigar again, and would love to get some in the 6¾”x52 size in hopes of getting more of a good thing. Really a yummy cigar. I’ve felt like I wanted to smoke from a relatively small selection of cigars lately, probably the time of year, but this one might have gotten me out of my funk a little.


That’s enough for now, time to watch some hockey. Until the next time,





Filed under News, Review

A Couple Cigars, Cigar Podcasts and the Contest Winner!

Gurkha125I’ve been feeling a little in a rut lately, so I decided to smoke some cigars I hadn’t smoked in a long time, so I started with a Gurkha 125th Anniversary XO,  I thought I liked this cigar more, it wasn’t bad, it was just a little more leathery than I remembered. So the next night I went with a sure thing, A Tatuaje TAA 2015. This box pressed, 5 5/8″ x 54 cigar with a covered foot hit the spot. Sadly, this was the last one in my humidor, but boy was it tasty. Not exactly breaking out of my rut, as I’ve been craving broadleaf and this one hit the spot just right. Smooth, rich and delicious. I think I bought a couple of these a little over two Tatuaje TAA 15years ago, great cigar.  Tonight grabbed a CAO Amazon Anaconda, a cigar I developed a deep appreciation for after bringing some home from the IPCPR show. A couple of weeks ago when I saw Jack Toraño he stuck this cigar in my pocket, so it was conveniently located on top of the humidor. This is the third in the Amazon series, following the Amazon Basin and Fuma em Corda. I wasn’t wow’d by the Amazon Basin like most people seemed to CAO Anacondahave been, but I only tried the second release. I really like the Fuma em Corda, and I really really like the Anaconda (except for the name, I’m not a snake fan), This cigar is made in Honduras with a Brazilian Bahiano Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Colombian, Dominican, Brazilian Braganca, and Fume em Corda fillers. The only thing I really don’t care for was the piece of tobacco that serves as the band terminates under the cap and feels funny in the mouth. Otherwise it’s a great cigar! Burns a long time and tastes great!  Seems I’m still in that rut.


I’m a bit of a podcast junkie, and just want to list several shows I listen to regularly and enjoy. I’ll be honest, this is driven by just listening to Cigar Coop‘s Prime Time show with co-host Aaron Loomis from Developing palates, where they said some nice things about me. I also listen to the Developing Palates recaps  via podcast, KMA Talk Radio, The Cigar Authority, The Ashholes, DE4Live, Cigar Jukebox, Cigar Chat and Sharing Your Pairings, Smooth Draws Radio, Stogie Geeks, as well as Half Ashed and The Cold Draw Podcasts when they show up.  It all started with Blowin’ Smoke, which was one of the first, and was hosted by an old friend Rob Heming. There are a few others that only show up every now and then. Sometimes it’s a challenge staying up to date.



prizeLast week we had a contest sponsored by Cigar Prop and the Tobacco Locker Cigar Bar featuring four great cigars and a pair of Cigar Prop XCs.  It’s time to pick a winner, and I was hoping to have Kevin of Cigar Prop pick one, but he deferred. My reasoning was that myself and Kevin interjected some comments and that makes it harder to count the comments…and I would have liked to see more “likes” on the sponsor’s Facebook pages.  So I worked it out, and the winner is mike mccainSend your address so we can get your prize to you, and I’m going to send a few cigars from my humidor too, just because I feel like it.  Thanks to Kevin for putting this together and Tobacco Locker for participating. 

That’s all for today, until the next time,





Filed under Contest, Editorial, Review

Umbagog and Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters Cigars and Fratello News

UmbagogLast week I bought some of the Fratello Fire Crackers from 2 Guys Cigars when they went on sale, and while I was at it, I added a few of Steve Saka’s Umbagog Corona Gordas to my order as I was itching to try them out. The Umbagog is almost the same blend as the Mi Querida, utilizing Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers that  weren’t as pretty (in Steve’e estimation, who else could tell?) as the wrappers on the Mi Querida. I love the Mi Querida, so chances were good that this was a safe buy. The advantage is that the Umbagog is a little less expensive, although I would be hard pressed to tell the difference in a blind tasting. Like the Mi Querida, the Umbagog is made in the NACSA factory in Nicaragua. I mistakenly thought I got the Toro Toro, but upon reflection, I had the Corona Gorda, I thought it looked thinner than the Ancho Larga in its sister line. The Corona Gorda is 6″ x 48, which ten years ago would have been a toro for the most part. It had one of the better burns I’ve had in a non-Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust cigar, they all seem to burn perfectly, which goes along with Steve’s Puros sin Compomiso mantra. It was loaded with sweet espresso and cocoa flavors that I enjoy, and, with the exception of its plain band and odd name, was as great a cigar as I’ve smoked. I’m waiting for the right time (and company) to smoke the Muestra de Saka I have, and continue to gravitate toward a cigar from this company when I want a sure thing.  The Umbagog is a winner, pick them up when you can as they are limited to the “reject” wrappers!


Tatuaje_PudgyWolfTonight I grabbed one of the Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters that was in the Oh F*ck I’m Lost pack I got at an event a while back. I had the Drac and the Wolf to choose from and went with the Wolf. I’ve smoked the Wolfman, the 7½” x 54 big old torpedo with the shaggy foot that I want to say was the fourth release in the Monster series back in 2011?  The Pudgy Monsters version is a 5½” x 52 belicoso with the same shaggy foot, that is the wrapper is cut back a half-inch from the end. It’s fun the be able to taste when the wrapper flavor kicks in and understand how much that thin leaf adds to the flavor. This one has an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, and the rest is Nicaraguan. I remember really enjoying the larger format (TY to Will Cooper, I think it was in a sampler he sent for my 50th birthday, which was a handful of years ago now!). This one had a smooth, nutty, grain flavor with some mellow coffee in the second half and was a really flavorful and pleasing cigar. Burn was flawless. Dammit, now I’m going to have to keep an eye out for more of these, I suspect the samplers are still around, but I’d certainly buy a few of these if they were available singly, which I don’t guess they are. I’m doing pretty good this week, two spectacular cigars!


I mentioned the Fratello Firecracker earlier, this is a 3″x 50 format with a long pigtail “fuse” that is a 2 Guys exclusive, and every year it’s made by someone else, Don Pepin Garcia, La Flor Dominicana, RoMaCraft…this year’s is made by Fratello. These usually are a strong blend, I’ve smoked the LFD and Cromagnon versions and look forward to trying Omar’s version, I’m sure it’ll be great. But Omar de Frias has a new Fratello cigar debuting at the IPCPR show that sounds interesting. This one is called the Fratello Naveta, which is Italian for “shuttle” and is a nod to his years at NASA (where he makes a space shuttle look small).

“Blending Fratello Naveta was special as I wanted to translate the ultimate celebration our men and women of the space program felt after a successful mission”. “After being part of over 21 missions nothing beats the feeling of getting our astronauts home safe to their families” said de Frias.

“Colleagues of mine would get together and smoke a very special cigar to commemorate the occasion. This very special blend carries the ultimate feeling of innovation, duty, honor and success” said de Frias.

Fratello_NavettaBlended with an Ecuador oscuro wrapper the blend will be featured in 4 vitolas.

– Robusto Discovery (5 x 50) 10.50

– Toro Endeavor (6 ¼ x 54) 11.25

– Gordo Enterprise (6 x 60) 12.00

– The Boxer Atlantis (6 ¼ x 52) 12.50

Fratello Navetta will be manufactured at Joya de Nicaragua and will be available for shipment in September. Omar de Frias worked at NASA for 12 years prior to leaving to focus full-time on Fratello.


I’m looking forward to trying this one!  The presentation looks great!  I’ll get to the Firecrackers in the coming weeks.


That’s all for me for tonight, until the next time,




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More Tatuaje Cigars: K222, Havana VI and Cheesesteak

tatuaje K222I went on a bit of a Tatuaje bender this week, starting off with the great Seleccion de Cazador Miami K222 Reserva.  This is a cigar that I have smoked a couple of and really like. It’s a 5 7/8″ x 52 Toro with an Ecuador Habano wrapper. The cigar is named for Pete Johnson’s Rottweiler, Kona, who passed away  after a battle with cancer which previously resulted in the loss of a leg. Having a three-legged dog myself, I have a great deal of empathy, even though Macha’s leg was lost due to an accident. Also, as a dog lover, I sympathize with anyone who loses a beloved pet. The K222 is a wonderful cigar, loaded with dark, rich flavor that’s perfect for my palate. The size is great, the rustic appearance is great, there’s not muck for me not to like about this cigar.


Tatuaje Havana VIWithout even thinking I selected a Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles that had been gifted to me quite a while ago by Dan, a great reader and someone I consider a friend I haven’t met yet. the 5″x 50 size was perfect for a late walk after catching an early movie (Wonder Woman: pretty good flick!). This cigar  fascinated me. I’m certain I’ve smoked from the Havana VI line before, but I didn’t recall the sweet, almost floral flavors I got from this robusto. There was a very unique and refreshing character to the first half, and it built in strength in the second half to more of the cocoa flavors I would expect. I may have more of these around, but if I don’t I’ll be picking some up. Thank you to Dan for sharing this great smoke with me!


Tatuaje CheesesteakLast night I figured, what the heck, and grabbed what Pete told me is a Tatuaje Cheesesteak, an unbanded toro that was  in the Oh F*ck I’m Lost pack that I had bought at the tour stop at Cigar Mojo in King of Prussia, PA a few months ago. Since we are close to Philadelphia, and the Cheesesteak is one of the more famous local cuisines, this was an appropriate inclusion in the five-pack, which included some Pudgy Monsters and a Black Label CRA toro. I believe this was an event exclusive for one of Pete’s “Mega Herf” events. Holy crap was this a great cigar! It was smooth as butter, or should I say Cheeze Wiz, I wasn’t expecting such a medium bodied, silky smoke. Tatuaje OFILOnce again, it had an interesting spice component that was so appealing. I’ll likely never have the opportunity to smoke one of these again, but if they were available I’d stock a humidor with these, it was that good. This may have been one of the best cigars I’ve smoked in a very long time. Exceptional cigar, I’d smoke this over eating a cheesesteak in a heartbeat, and I love a cheesesteak.


That’s all for now. I have to make some travel arrangements as I’ve decided to attend the IPCPR show this year after all. I was on the fence for several reasons, but an opportunity arose and I took it. Now I need to find some flights and book a room. Don’t forget to go back to my last post and enter the contest if you haven’t already!  Until the next time,






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Oscar Habano and Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters Mummy Cigars

OscarHabano_SixtyHappy Wednesday everyone!  Over the weekend I picked up a couple of the Oscar Habano cigars with the candela outer wrapping.  I selected the Sixty for my Monday evening walk. It looks pretty ugly at first glance, the dry, green outer wrapping, a candela leaf taking the place of cellophane, but under that is a beautiful Ecuador Habano wrapper over a Honduran binder and fillers from Honduras and Nicaragua. This Sixty is 6″ x 60 as you would suspect. I got a toro as well, but had the time for the Sixty, so why not?  I’m one of the oddballs in the blogging game that doesn’t mind a 60 ring cigar. This was a terrific cigar, almost worth the $13 price tag, although I expect a lot from cigars in that price range. It was smooth, rich and chocolaty with some woody notes. This is from the same factory that makes the Leaf by Oscar, which is fairly obvious given the presentation, but it’s a totally different smoke.  I’m a fan of the Leaf line, most of the wrapper varieties, at least most of them, and this compliments that range quite well. It may be a little more suave than that line. I wasn’t disappointed.


Tatuaje_PudgyMummyLast night I went with another cigar from the Tatuaje tour pack that I mentioned last time. Included were three of the Pudgy Monsters selections, of which I selected the Pudgy Mummy. This cigar is presented in a 5¾”x 47 size, an eighth of an inch longer and one ring gauge larger than a traditional corona gorda. I rather expected the Pudgy series to all be robustos, so this one was a nice surprise. My experience with the Tatuaje Monster series is limited, I can only really remember smoking a Mummy a couple years ago, a Wolfman, and I have a Hyde floating around somewhere, I think. The Pudgy Mummy is a Nicaraguan Puro, with a Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper, and I love a closed foot.  I decided to try a V-cut on this one, once in a while I remember I have the Xikar XV and whip it out. I figure if the draw isn’t right I can always cut it again. In this case, it gave the perfect draw, and the cigar burned well, needing very few corrections. I thought it was a bit mellower than I’m accustomed to with the Tatuaje line, very smooth and dignified. This would be e nice cigar for someone who finds many of the Tatuaje offerings to be stronger than they like. It had some nice, cedary notes with a bit of spice.  Nice cigar, I suppose it was reminiscent of the full size version. I can hardly wait to delve into the other two Pudgy Monsters examples, I believe they are the Drac and Wolf, although the Wolf band looks different from pictures I’ve seen.


That’s all for tonight, until the next time,





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