|Tatuaje Fausto – FT153 Vitola|
The concept of limited run and retailer-exclusive cigars have become norms in the cigar industry over the past few years. Tatuaje is a cigar company that has excelled with that concept – building a lot of quality smokes that have been in high demand by the public craving these limited smokes. When I reviewed one of those cigars, the retailer-exclusive Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary Rosado, I joked “Release a limited cigar and they will come”. This was a play on an expression I have used on many cigar companies which is “build a core line” and they will come. In fairness to Tatuaje, Pete Johnson and company have focused on strengthening their regular production core line for 2011. This has included two very anticipated new lines – the La Casita Criolla and the Fausto. In particular, the Fausto has garnered a lot of attention. I’ve now had a chance to sample of the Fausto blend, and I can conclude – with a core line like Fausto, “they will come”.
The background I know on the Fausto is that it is based off a previous Tatuaje blend called the T110. I don’t know much about the T110 as I have never tried it. I do know it about 200 boxes were made for a retailer in Hawaii. I’ve been told the “T” stands for “thermonuclear” and the cigar itself was a very strong robusto-sized vitola. Sometimes a limited cigar can be the best prototype for moving a cigar into the core line, so this could have easily been the case of the Fausto.
Like I’ve heard about its T110 ancestor, the Fausto is a strong cigar. Let’s break down the Fausto and see what it brings to the table:
The Fausto derives its strength from using higher primings of the tobacco:
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan including Jalapa/Esteli Ligero
There are four core vitolas available, however there is one catch – right now there also is a fifth vitola dubbed “Fausto Avion”. The Avion will contain a different band than the core line Fausto.. The plan is for the Avion to produce a different vitola year to year. The 2011 Fausto Avion is a box-press perfecto.
FT127 – Robusto: 5 x 54
FT140 – Robusto Extra: 5 1/2 x 52
FT153 – Toro: 6 x 50
FT166 – Short Churchill: 6 1/2 x 48
Avion (2011) – Box-press Perfecto Grande: 6 3/4 x 48/52
|Tatuaje Avion 2011|
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my cigar experience, I opted for the FT153 Toro. I placed a straight cut into the cap and commenced the pre-light draw. The dry draws were not bad, but I wasn’t doing handstands either. The prelight notes contained a lot of earth with some cocoa. I usually don’t let it sway me positive or negative toward a review, but sometimes the pre-light draw can help me frame the scope of what I’m in for once I light up. Therefore, I took out my butane lighter and fired up the Fausto.
One thing that impressed me from an intangible standpoint is how the Fausto had a true “old school feel” to it in terms of flavor. The start of the Fausto treated me to notes of earth and hay. This is not normally the way I like a cigar to start, but balanced against some of the strength – the Fausto pulls these flavors off right. Shortly afterwards the cocoa notes crept back in. On the after-draw, I picked up a some pepper spice.
As the Fausto moved toward the 10 percent mark, some sweet notes entered the equation. In this case, the sweet notes had the feel of sugar cane. As the cigar progressed through the first half, the cocoa notes transitioned into more of a classic chocolate taste. Combine this with the sugar cane, spice, and earth/hay notes, this was making for a very enjoyable smoking experience.
As the Fausto crossed the halfway point, the chocolate flavor notes were still very much in the forefront. By this point, the pepper spice had gotten much more pronounced on the entire draw. Around 60 percent into the smoking experience, I detected some tea notes in the background. Around this point, the sugar cane, earth and hay had significantly diminished. The tea notes blended very nicely with the chocolate and the pepper spice. I was expecting the Fausto to finish as a spice bomb, but I was surprised it didn’t. The finish was very positive with the chocolate, spice, and tea. There were no harsh notes as I got a nice firm and cool nub on the finish.
Burn and Draw
On the Tatuaje Fausto, the marks are extremely high for both the burn and draw attributes. The Fausto burned like a champ. The burn required no significant touch-ups and it burned at a perfect rate and perfect temperature. The draw was outstanding as well. No doubt, Pete Johnson is building a core line of very good construction.
Strength and Body
As mentioned above this is a strong cigar. While I would say the cigar starts out as a “medium to full” from a nicotine profile, but the time it reaches the midway point, it is full strength. I really felt the nicotine by the end of the Fausto. The body also started out medium to full in terms of the depth of the flavor notes – and by the end about 1/3 of the way into the smoke, it was easily full-bodied. Overall, despite being a stronger smoke in terms of strength, the Fausto does a great job at balancing this strength with the depth of the flavor notes.
Tatuaje is always going to create some buzz in the industry, therefore the Fausto has created a lot of buzz because of the company it is associated with.. The nice thing is the Tatuaje Fausto lives up to a lot of those expectations. In a year where a lot of companies have been turning away from the full strength/full body smokes, it’s great to see Tatuaje step up in this direction. This cigar also brings some nice complexity to the table too. I’d probably only gear this cigar for a more seasoned enthusiast. This also is a candidate for box purchase in my book as I can see enjoying this blend for a long time.
Strength: Full (Medium to Full to Start)
Body: Full (Medium to Full to Start)
Source: The cigar for this assessment were purchased from W.Curtis Draper in Bethesda, Maryland. I had also purchased a five pack of this blend in a “forum trader split”.