Tatuaje – The Face

Tatuaje – The Face was third release in Tatuaje’s limited edition Monster Series.  This series was created by Tatuaje founder Pete Johnson as a tribute to monster and horror movies. The Face was released in 2010 and gets its name from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Leatherface.  The Face took its place in the series along with 2008’s Frank and 2009’s Drac.  It would be later followed by 2011’s Wolfman.  I recently had an opportunity to smoke the Tatuaje Face.  Not only did I think this was a true piece of cigar art, but I found this to be a wonderful and complex cigar experience.

The Tatuaje Monster series is one of the most sought after cigar releases year after year.  It almost has become the cigar industry’s closest equivalent
to when Apple Computers announces a new iPhone.  It sets off a frenzy
of cigar enthusiasts to pre-order or track down where to get a box.  Much of the frenzy surrounds the packaging.  The cigars
are shipped in “dress” boxes and plain boxes. The dress box for the Face resembles a bloodied wooden crate.  There were 666 of these dress boxes shipped to 13 “unlucky” retailers.  In order to accommodate demand, 1300 plain boxes were made available to the top 130 Tatuaje authorized retailers.   Plain boxes are used because of the difficulties in construction and materials to make the dress boxes.  In each case, 10 cigars are packaged to a box.

Ultimately, while packaging is always a cool thing to look at, it usually comes down to the smoke itself.  Let’s take a further look at the Tatuaje Face.

Blend Profile

For the first time in the Monster Series, Johnson opted to use a Mexican wrapper.

Wrapper: Mexican
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

As with each Monster Series release, a single vitola was released.  In this case, it was 6 3/8 x 56 Gran Toro.  Johnson has recently announced a series of “Little Monsters” (smaller vitolas) that will be arriving later in 2012.  One of the releases is a smaller version of the Face called Baby Face.


The Tatuaje Face is a true piece of cigar art.  The wrapper very much looks leathery keeping true to the them.   There are a few veins showing, but overall I would not say this is a toothy cigar.   The foot is covered and the cap appears to have something that resembles a covered pigtail (although it really isn’t one).

Covered Foot of Tatuaje Face


Unique cap of the Tatuaje Face

The Tatuaje Face does not feature a paper band.   Instead, a piece of jagged natural tobacco wrapper is used to create a band affect (see picture at the start of this article).   As for the aroma of the cigar, it has a combination of cocoa, cedar, and straw.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoke of the Tatuaje Face, I clipped the unique cap and commenced with a prelight draw.  The pre-light draw didn’t have me doing handstands, but I wouldn’t say it was bad either (On this web-site, the pre-light draw does not factor into the overall score of a cigar ).   The dry draw notes provided me flavors of leather with some hints of mint.  It was now time to fire up the Face and see what the smoking experience would deliver.

Flavor Profile

From a flavor profile standpoint, the Tatuaje Face qualifies as a complex one.  It took a little time for the flavor to evolve. The start to the Face was provided some more of the pre-light draw notes of leather and mint.  These flavors slowly gave way to notes of cocoa and red pepper. While the leather notes would still hang around, the mint flavors dissipated early on.

A pattern developed in the first third as the cocoa, leather, and red pepper alternated as to which note was up-front. The pattern was interesting because there were times the Face was more peppery than other times.  Toward the end of the first third, the leather became more of a classic nut flavor.  The nut flavors would join the cocoa and red pepper in the rotation as to which note was up-front.

In the second third, while the flavor rotation continues, it seems as though the nut becomes a little more prevalent than the red pepper and cocoa. As the cigar entered the last third, the cocoa notes were replaced by some of the leather notes that were present earlier on. Toward the end of the cigar, there was one last blast of red pepper before settling back on the nut flavors. The finish to the Tatuaje Face was outstanding – there was no harshness on the finish. The resulting nub was cool and firm.

Burn and Draw

The Tatuaje Face scores high marks in the construction attributes of burn and draw.  The Tatuaje Face burned sharp and required minimal touch-ups throughout the smoking experience.  The burn temperature and burn rate were ideal.  The ash was pretty much white and tight from start to finish.  As for the draw, it was effortless – and made the Tatuaje Face a joy to smoke.

Early burn and ash of the Tatuaje Face


Burn and Ash remains solid as smoke of Tatuaje Face continued

Strength and Body

While the flavor profile evolved in the early stages, I found the strength and body of this cigar develop later in the experience.   From a nicotine standpoint, I assessed the Tatuaje Face as a classic medium-strength cigar.  As the cigar experience reached the end, this strength crosses over into the area of medium to full.   As for the depth of the flavor notes, I assessed them to be medium-bodied for the first two thirds.  As the cigar reached it’s final third, the flavors grow deeper and the Face transitions to a medium to full-bodied smoke.  Throughout the smoke of the Tatuaje Face, the strength and body balance each other very well – and neither overpowers the other component.

Final Thoughts

While I only had one sample of the Tatuaje Face, this made an extremely favorable impression on me.  I particularly was impressed with the way the flavor profile evolved – and how many flavor transitions this cigar made.   I’d definitely recommend this to an experienced cigar enthusiast.   Novice enthusiasts who want to sample something medium strength/medium body – and see how it graduates to medium to full might want to try this.  As for myself,  I’m not sure I would go the frenzy route to get some more, but I’d definitely smoke if they were easier to come by.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium (Medium to Full at end)
Body: Medium (Medium to Full at end)
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: Memorable
Score: 93

Source: The cigar for this assessment was purchased from a friend.