Note: This cigar came from the CRA Sampler Pack #1.
It looks old, worn. Older than Clint Eastwood, an Afghan goatherd and the Sahara combined. Leathery valleys are punctuated by veiny mountain ranges that jut upwards harum-scarum. The excess tobacco is not cut off at the foot but is folded over completely hiding the filler tobaccos.
Even though the picture looks bleak I am holding out a lot of hope for this cigar. It’s a Tatauje, which is usually a good thing. It’s oily, which is, again, usually a good thing. And it smells like it is going to be a robust cigar.
The rough outward appearance and texture suggests, to me at least, that Pete Johnson’s crew used an older wrapper that grew at the top of the plant. More sun exposure may mean a meaner look but it also usually leads to a lot of character as well. Hopefully that comes through loud and clear.
A syrupy sweetness is the high note for the pre-light draw. It’s also a surprisingly open draw as well – with tobacco hanging over and covering the foot I expected a lot more resistance than I got. There is some spice that reveals itself in the aftertaste but it is not a lasting flavor. The sweetness is low in acidity and reminds me of a darker, fruity flavor.
I decided against circumcising my cigar before I lit it and that did not cause any problems. The initial flavors run the gamut from plum, which bears little resemblance to the “syrupy sweetness” of the pre-light draw, to dried out leather. In a way it does taste like it looks – complex.
In between plum and leather there is spice, salt and a saccharine sweet aftertaste that lingers on the tip of my tongue for way too long. Other than that last flavor this cigar is very enjoyable. It will probably reach the full bodied spectrum, or at least barely so, as the cigar continues to burn. And the draw and the burn are relatively good (the burn being the better of the two) an inch in.
While I was smoking this cigar (and writing this post) I decided to go online and see what others were saying about the Tatuaje Black Label and I found this thoughtful review from Matt’s Cigar Journal. Great review.
At the halfway point and I don’t think my prediction of a full bodied cigar is going to come true. No bother, it is medium-full bodied and tastes great. The big change from the first half is a strengthening of spice – black pepper. A nutty flavor also presents itself. Sweetness disappears.
It ends with an intermittent raggedness maybe even some harshness. Taken in its totality, this cigar is still a very good one. Well worth the price of the CRA sampler. (No score given to CRA Sampler cigars.)