Cigar Review: Tatuaje L’esprit de La Verite

Recently I got to hang out with Pete Johnson at a couple of locations in New York and Philadelphia. While at Holt’s I was able to obtain a robusto of the Tatuahe L’espirit de La Vertie 2008. The cigar was part of a bonus in the purchase of a box of the new El Triunfador. Despite Tatuaje prices being a bit on the high end when it comes to prices, this cigar will raise the bar. It is expected to retail between $15.00 and $25.00 depending on the size.

The L’esprit de La Verite which translates to “The Spirit of the Truth” will be released yearly with a different blend of tobaccos from one farm from one crop. The first year is limited to 1000 boxes. The idea is a first as far as I know from the cigar industry but is of course common for the wine industry. Having a box of cigars from a specific vintage is an interesting concept and one that I hope catches on.

Today’s review is based on one sample…

Cigar: Tatuaje L’esprit de La Verite
Size: 5 x 50 (Robusto)
Wrapper: Habano Criollo (Nicaragua)
Binder: Habano Criollo (Nicaragua)
Filler: Habano Criollo (Nicaragua)
Strength: Medium
Twitter: @tatuajecigars

Tatuaje L’esprit de La Verite

Tatuaje L’esprit de La Verite

Appearance and Construction: The 2008 Tatuaje L’esprit de La Verite has a gorgeous looking Habano wrapper which is the color of caramel. There are a fair amount of oils showing on the flawless cigar that is rolled to perfection. In the hand there is a nice weight to the stick which features no soft spots and a well packed foot. The red, silver and white band denotes the year in the center but I am not sure if this is the final version.

Flavor & Notes : My pre-smoking ritual to me is as important as the smoke itself. Before lighting up I try to clear myself of any distractions so I can enjoy my cigar and relax. After this is done, I clip the cigar and take in scent of the foot & wrapper which happens to be cedar and earth. My next step is to perform a cold draw. This is done for two reasons. First I like to test the draw of the stick so I can make an adjustment if needed and second, I like to open my palate up and get a taste of the cigar which happens to be wood and a touch of oats. Like most Pete Johnson sticks the cigar starts off with some spice, but there is some strong wood notes along side it. Once you begin to smoke the 1st third you realize this is a flavor bomb of epic proportions. I am not even an inch in when I am hit with a myriad of notes. The most dominant of which are wood, coffee and cinnamon. As we get to the second third the cinnamon notes become more of a tease as they come and go. The taste of wood begins to focal point and there is a subtle sweetness present as well. The final third of the cigar begins to mellow out some. There are some notes of wood and nuts present with a touch of licorice to close out the cigar.

Smoking Characteristics: This was an incredible cigar that burned very even for the most part. Occasionally there was a slight jagged edge but it always self corrected. The carbon line which is the dark black line just beneath the burn was virtually non existent. The light gray ash was gorilla glue strong and held for the first 3/4 of the stick with absolutely no flake. The draw was offered some extra resistance during the pre-light phase but once lit it opened right up to the point of perfection and never burned hot as I smoked it right to the nub. There was virtually no smoke in the resting position and a nice volume while smoking.

Conclusion: Most wine tends to get better with age as long as the storage conditions are ideal. This is a cigar that will age very well, or at least gives the appearance as such. While this was ready to smoke now I can’t wait to see how it will do with some aging. This year is proving to be a banner year for Tatuaje Cigars with two winners that should place in the Top 25. It is just a shame that the price point on these is so high because my wallet will take a serious hit when they come out.

Price: $15.00 to $25.00 (Not Yet Available)
Rating: 90

Cigar: Berger & Argenti Clasico
Size: 5.75 x 50 (Belicoso)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian ‘Desflorado’ Connecticut
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Strength: Medium
Twitter: N/A

Appearance and Construction: When you first look at the Clasico from Berger & Argenti you scratch you head and say, “This is to dark to be a Connecticut wrapper”. But this has to do with the how the wrapper is grown, cut, and aged. The cigar looks a little bit like a Cuban Montercristo #2 in terms of appearance. There is some tooth and thin veins present and the roll is acceptable. The cigar has a light feel to it with a spongy fooot and no soft spots.

Flavor & Notes : On the prelight draw there is a touch of sweetness and raisin along with some cedar notes. The foot has some cedar and a very faint spice. An interesting note, I got sidetracked and had my last sample dangling from my mouth and some spice developed on my lips similar to a sun-grown wrapper. Once the cigar was lit the first third offered some toast, pepper and cedar. As we enter the second third of the cigar offers some nuts & coffee with some cedar & spice in the background. The final third the cigar offers some interesting notes through the nose that remind me of shortbread with some toast and nuts on the finish.

Smoking Characteristics: The cigar smokes like a dream, although it wasn’t a perfect dream but pretty darn close. The burn is incredibly even from start to finish. The ash was very light color gray that held on for ages. I finally lost the first ash at the half way point, and the second ash came off as I was removing the label. I keep my label on because as I smoke the cigar I like to hold it from the label which prevents the oils from my fingers from getting on the cigar. The draw is where we run into a slight problem, as it is a little loose which in turns makes this cigar smoke a little fast. I wanted it to last forever, but sadly it did not. The cigar produces a nice volume of smoke when puffing, and a thin wisp when in the resting position.

Conclusion: Here is a cigar everyone should know, but sadly does not. Berger & Argenti Clasico is a winner of championship quality. Sadly until I got samples of them in the mail from the company I had never seen these. The cigar is rich and complex that both new and seasoned cigar smokers should like.