Tatuaje Mexican Experiment

Earlier this year, Tatuaje Cigars’ founder Pete Johnson unveiled some plans for his 2012 releases on Kiss My Ash Radio.  Since then, those plans were reiterated on various media outlets.  When word got out of a limited release called the Tatuaje Mexican Experiment, it caught many people off guard.  As it turns out, this was not only a limited production cigar, but was limited in terms of geographies these cigars were released.  Once it was released, many retailers quickly sold the limited allocations they were given.  I was recently fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time and managed to get a few of these cigars.  Overall, this turned out to be a very good release by Tatuaje.

First up as the name Mexican Experiment indicates, this cigar will utilize Mexican tobacco – namely a San Andres wrapper.  Many cigar enthusiasts now know that San Andres can make a very good and flavorful wrapper on a cigar.  However as far as this cigar being an “experiment” goes one can argue.   Johnson utilized a San Andres wrapper on his 2010 Monster Series release – “The Face”.   My Father Cigars, who manufactures Tatuaje Cigars has been utilizing San Andres wrappers for many blends over the last few years, so this is not virgin territory from the factory’s standpoint.

As mentioned this was a limited production release and a limited geography release.  The robusto-sized  vitola was pretty much allocated for the State of Florida, while the toro-sized vitola was allocated to the Northeast.   It is worth noting that there have been some exceptions as some geographies outside of Florida and the Northeast have received these cigars.   The cigars were produced in small batches – for example, word is that only 400 bundles of 15 were produced in the robusto.

Let’s break down the Tatuaje Mexican Experiment in some more detail:

Blend Profile

We mentioned the use of the San Andres Mexican wrapper.   The remainder of the Mexican Experiment uses Nicaraguan binder and filler.

Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

As mentioned there are two vitolas that have initially been made – a robusto and a toro.  Both vitolas are in a box-press shape.

Robusto: 5 x 52 (Targeted for the State of Florida)
Toro: 5 3/4 x 50 (Targeted for the Northeastern United States)


For this cigar experience, I smoked the Mexican Experiment Robusto.  The wrapper of the Mexican Experiment has a classic roasted coffee bean color.  The wrapper was not oily, but almost had a dark silk look to it.   There are virtually no veins visible, and very few wrapper seams are visible.  As mentioned above, the Mexican Experiment is a box-press and it has a nice firm pack to it.

The band  features a white background with red and green striping – representing the colors of the Mexican flag.  The Tatuaje/Havana Cellars “tattoo” logo is in the center of the band in a black font.  To the left of the logo is the text “TATUAJE” in black font.  To the right of the logo is the text “LIMITED” – also in black font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoking experience with the Mexican Experiment Robusto, I opted to go with my usual straight cut into the cap.  I commenced with a pre-light draw and was treated to a combination of cocoa and grass flavors.   In terms of spice, I really didn’t pick up much from this cigar on the cold draw.  At this point, I decided it was time to fire up my Tatuaje Mexican Experiment and see what this cigar would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

As many cigar enthusiasts know when it comes to cigars made by the Garcia family, there often is what is termed a “blast of pepper” at the start.  In the case of the Mexican Experiment, there is some pepper to start, but I felt this wasn’t quite as deep as some of the pepper blasts I have gotten from other cigars made by the Garcias.  Once the pepper settled, notes of cocoa, leather, and grass emerged.   As the cigar progressed through the first third, none of these notes seem to have an edge over another note in terms of which is the dominant flavor.

By the end of the first third, the pepper spice kicked up a notch and joined the cocoa, leather, and grass notes in the forefront.  For most of the second and last third of the cigar, the pepper did not get overwhelming and balanced nicely against the other flavors.  This is the way the cigar experience would close.   The close to the Mexican Experiment did have a bit of harshness at the end, but not enough to make me put the cigar down.  The nub can be best described as a finger burner.  It was firm to the touch and while cool in temperature, I burned the Mexican Experiment pretty close to my finger tips.

Burn and Draw

The Mexican Experiment scores very well in terms of the construction attributes of burn and draw.  When it comes to collaborations by Johnson and the Garcia family, they tend to always score well here – and the Mexican Experiment is no exception.  The burn line was straight from start to finish requiring very few touch-ups.   The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal from start to finish.  The ash was a little flaky, but nothing major.   As for the draw, it was flawless – making for a very enjoyable smoke of the Mexican Experiment.

Strength and Body

The Mexican Experiment can best be described as a cigar that provides the right amount of strength and the right amount of body.  Both the strength and body of this cigar balance each other very nicely with neither attribute overshadowing or overpowering the other.   I assessed the Mexican Experiment to be medium to full strength from a nicotine perspective.  It had some nice depth to the flavors – making it a medium to full-bodied smoke.

Final Thoughts

While I have always said there still is a bad rap toward Mexican tobacco, I have felt 2012 has not been the best year when it has come to Mexican wrapper releases.   The Tatuaje Mexican Experiment is definitely one of the better Mexican wrapper releases of 2012.  The cigar provides a very good experience, and hopefully some of the production and geographic limitations will be lifted if more cigars are released.   While it might have more strength and body than a novice smoker can handle, I’d still encourage them to try this.  Experienced cigar enthusiasts and Tatuaje fans will also enjoy this.   I look forward to smoking this again.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 91

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Corona Cigar Company in Orlando, Florida.