|Tatuaje Avion 12|
The Tatuaje Avion 12 is the second release of the Tatuaje Avion line. The Avion line is actually a series of annual release vitolas that are based on the Tatuaje Fausto blend. When Fausto was launched at 2011, the core line consisted of a series of parejos. It was at that time when the first of the Avion vitolas, the Avion 11 was released. The Avion 11 was different than the Fausto parejos in that it was a box-pressed perfecto. The Avion 12 is a similar, but shorter version of the Avion 11. Many say that better cigars come in smaller packages – and that is the case with the Avion 12. I found this vitola to be a very good addition to the Fausto/Avion family.
In 2011, the Tatuaje Fausto finished as our #20 Cigar of the Year. When we rank our cigars, we base it on the line of cigars. For that ranking we did factor in the Avion 11. However, I personally felt the Avion 11 fell short when compared to the parejos of the core Fausto line. As I mentioned the Avion 12 is definitely a better vitola. I think the combination of the smaller size – combined with some more age on this blend has made a big difference for Avion 12.
The Tatuaje Avion 12 was actually pre-released to Holt’s Cigar Company
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania earlier this year. The Avion 12 was
included a special “Let Freedom Ring” sampler pack offered by Holt’s in Philadelphia.
Let’s take a closer look a the Avion 12 and see what this cigar brings to the table:
Like the Fausto, the Avion derives its strength from using higher primings of the tobacco:
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan including Jalapa/Esteli Ligero
Here are the two blends of the Avion series. We also list the Fausto parejo vitolas for reference purposes:
Avion 12 – Perfecto Grande: 5 5/8 X 48/52 (2012 release)
Avion 11 – Perfecto Grande: 6 3/4 x 48/52 (2011 release)
|Tatuaje Avion 11|
FT114 – Petit Robusto: 4 1/2 x 52
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
|Tatuaje Fausto FT153|
The Avion 12 (like the Avion 11) is a very unique-shaped box-pressed perfecto. The foot of the cigar has more of a “nose” than a point. The wrapper itself has a milk chocolate color with a slight bit of oil. There are a few visible veins and a few visible wrapper seams.
The band is the same Avion band that was on the Avion 11. It has a red, gold, and black color scheme. A large bird in gold is on the front of the band. It has large wings that spread over a red oval background. That red oval is also surrounded by a gold boarder. To the left of the ring it says “AVION” in gold font on a black stripe. To the right it says “TATUAJE” in gold font – also on a black stripe.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Back when I smoked the Avion 11, I felt the burn could have been better. After smoking the Avion 11, it was actually suggested to me that I cut the tip off the foot to get a better start to the burn. With the Avion 12, I opted not to do this. I wanted to assess it the same way I did the Avion 11. Instead I just went with a usual straight cut in the torpedo tip head of the Avion 12.
The pre-light draw notes seemed a lot more developed than was on the Avion 11 (a good indicator that perhaps my Avion 11 needed some more age). In fact, it even seemed better than on the core Faustos as I got notes of cocoa, hay, and pepper. With a good dry draw, I was anxious to light the nose of the Avion 12 and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
Like the pre-light draw, the flavor profile of the Avion 12 was much more developed – another indicator that perhaps when I smoked the Avion 11, it needed more age. In fact, there were definitely some parallels between the flavor profile of the Avion 12 and the core Fausto line.
The start to the Avion 12 yielded some notes of cocoa, earth, and pepper. Once the nose (foot tip) burned through, the classic Garcia pepper blast surfaced (although to some extent it was subdued). The pepper then settled back down and joined the cocoa and earth notes. I then detected some sugar cane notes (something I had found on the Fausto) in the background.
Around the 10 percent mark the cocoa, earth, sugar cane, and pepper notes were all jockeying for the position to become the primary note. Later in the first third the earth notes took control. The cocoa, sugar cane, and pepper notes became secondary flavors. At times, the cocoa note did surface as a primary note, but would retreat back to being a background flavor.
Around the halfway point, the pepper notes joined the earth notes in the forefront. The cocoa and sugar cane remained in the background. There was an increase in spice in the second half and in particular the last third was definitely spicy. The end of the cigar continued to have a lot of spice, but it was not harsh. The resulting nub was outstanding – especially for a perfecto. It was firm to the touch and cool to the finish.
Burn and Draw
There is no doubt the Avion 12 is a well-constructed cigar. The outstanding nub I got is just one testament to the construction of this cigar, but it was reflected throughout the smoking experience. The burn issues I had with the Avion 11 were not present with the Avion 12. The burn remained sharp from start to finish – this included lighting the Avion 12 from its perfecto tip. The burn required a few touch-ups, but nothing to make this a high maintenance smoke. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal. The draw was outstanding as well. I usually don’t like torpedo or perfecto tips because I do feel they yield an inferior draw. In the case of the Avion 12, I hardly noticed I was drawing from a tip.
Strength and Body
I’ve probably been in the minority, but I’ve not found the Fausto and Avion 11 to be powerbombs in terms of strength and body. In fact the original Fausto starts out medium to full for both of these attributes before progressing to full. With the case of the Avion 12, I found it follows a similar path. In fact, with the case of the strength, I found it to be medium to full for the first 2/3 of the smoking experience. It progressed to full strength in the last third. The Avion 12 seemed to have less strength than the Avion 11, so this is another indicator these cigars might be more mature than when the Avion 11 was released.
As for the body, there was some nice depth to the flavor notes. I assessed the Avion 12 to be on the upper end of medium to full-bodied. Throughout the smoke, I thought the strength had a slight edge over the body, but I wouldn’t categorize these attributes as being severely off balance.
I found the Avion 12 to be a nice addition to the Fausto/Avion line. As I mentioned above, I think the Avion 12 was better aged when compared to the Avion 11 – but I also think the shorter length factors into play too. It also has convinced me to go back and revisit the Avion 11 in the near future. Consistent with my thoughts on the Fausto and Avion lines, I still would position these toward more expeienced cigar enthusiasts who prefer a stronger cigar. Overall, I still would reach for a Fausto parejo if I had a choice between the two, but the Avion 12 does provide a nice change of pace for this particular blend.
Strength: Medium to Full (Full toward the end)
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.