|Tatuaje Black Label Lancero|
In 2012, Tatuaje Cigars released the latest vitola in its Tatuaje Private Reserve Series – a.k.a the Tatuaje Black Label series. This series would be a lancero and this known as the Tatuaje Black Label Lancero (or Tatuaje Black Lancero). The vitolas of thje Black Label series has been released in one of two ways – event only cigars or limited production runs. In the case of the Tatuaje Black Label Lancero, it was originally released as a part of the 2012 Tatuaje Old Man and the “C” package (consisting of a Tatuaje Black Label lancero and a Tatuaje Black Label Culebra). Later in 2012, a regional only release of ten count boxes of the Black Label Lancero was made to the New York metropolitan area to help benefit those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke one some of the lanceros from those ten count boxes. It found this to be another great offering from the Black Label series.
|Tatuaje Black Lanceros Box|
|Tatuaje Old Man and “C” 2012 (Black Label blend)|
The background to the story of the Tatuaje Black Label goes back to where Tatuaje founder Pete Johnson visited an “island famous for its cigar making”. Apparently Johnson had been given a cigar made by one of the locals and would smoke it each morning. He felt that this was one of the best cigars he ever smoked. After returning home, Johnson set out to recreate this cigar with his blending partners, the Garcia family, but using Nicaraguan tobaccos. The end result was the Tatuaje Black Label was born. It originally became Johnson’s private blend before eventually being released on a limited basis (more on a vitola by vitola basis).
Without further adieu, let’s break down the Tatuaje Black Label Lancero and see how this cigar smoked:
The Tatuaje Black Label series blend is a Nicaraguan puro utilizing a Nicaraguan Sun-Grown Criollo wrapper. As with most Tatuaje cigars, this cigar is made by the Garcias at the My Father Cigars’ factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun-Grown Criollo
The following are the frontmarks for the Tatuaje Black Label series:
Lancero: 7 1/2 x 38
Culebra: 7 1/2 x 38
Petit Robusto: 4 3/8 x 52
Petit Lancero: 6 x 38
Robusto: 5 x 50
Corona Gorda: 5 5/8 x 46
Toro: 6 x 50 (released for the Cigar Rights of America sampler pack)
Torpedo (Tubo): 6 1/8 x 52 (*)
* In the case of the Tubo, I’ve been told there is a variation in the blend. In all cases, I have definitely found nuances and differences in the flavor profiles of the vitolas of the Tatuaje Black Label series.
The Tatuaje Black Label Lancero has a a rustic brown-bag colored wrapper. The wrapper doesn’t have too much oil to it. There are some visible veins and a few visible wrapper seams. There is a pig-tail style cap to the Black Label Lancero. There is a sweet cedar aroma from the lancero – especially from the footer.
The band is based on the standard “Tatuaje” scripted logo. The script font is white on a black background. It also has white Fleur-de-lis adornments going around the back of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my cigar experience with the Black Label Lancero, I opted to use a straight cut as opposed to pulling the pig-tail off the cigar. I then moved on to the pre-light experience. I found the dry draw notes to be on the mild-bodied side – consisting of flavors of wood, nut, and cedar. Overall, I found the pre-light experience to be a little disappointing. Since we don’t factor the pre-light experience into the overall assessment and score, there is no loss of points here. At this time, it was time to light my Black Label Lancero and see what the overall smoking experience would bring to the table.
The Black Label Lancero started out with a pepper blast that also consisted of wood notes. Once the pepper blast receded, the primary flavors became a combination of nut and wood. Around the five percent point, some sweetness emerged. The sweetness has always been a nice trademark of the Black Label Lancero for me. In this case, I found it to be a combination of citrus and caramel notes. This caramel/citrus sweetness joined the nut flavors in the background.
As the cigar experience progressed through the first there was some nice complexity and transitions going on in the flavor profile. First, I found that the sweetness and pepper switched off as primary notes. Secondly, the sweetness itself switched between the caramel and citrus. At times, the pepper had a salty note also mixed in.
In the second third, the wood notes returned the background. After passing the midway point, the wood notes joined the pepper citrus, and caramel notes in the forefront. As the Black Label Lancero moved into the last third, the flavor profile was mostly woody and spicy. These notes remained right until the end. The spice never got harsh or overwhelming. The resulting nub was a bit lukewarm, but was on the firmer side.
Burn and Draw
From a construction standpoint, the Black Label Lancero is vintage Tatuaje and Garcia family – namely outstanding. This was reflected in the burn and draw of this cigar. The burn line to the Black Label Lancero remained sharp from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was a tight and white – with no flaking. The burn rate was ideal. The burn temperature was ideal, although toward the final puffs, the Black Label Lancero did get slightly lukewarm. Even at the end, this really didn’t have a negative impact on the smoking experience.
|Burn of the Tatuaje Black Label Lancero|
The draw was effortless. This made the Black Label Lancero enjoyable from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I did not find that the Tatuaje Black Label Lancero was an overpowering smoke. For most of the smoking experience, I assessed the cigar as being medium strength. In the last third, the strength did kick up to medium to full. As for the depth of the flavors, I also assessed this cigar as being medium-bodied for the first two thirds. In the last third, I found the depth did increase significantly – all the way up to full-bodied. Overall the strength and body of the Black Label Lancero was well-balanced for most of the cigar experience. Toward the very end, the body did have a slight edge over the strength.
When I first smoked one of the other vitolas, the Tatuaje Black Label Petite Lancero, I didn’t experience the “wow” factor. After some age on that cigar, I found this cigar really smoked a lot better. In the case of the Tatuaje Black Label Lancero, I was much more impressed right out of the gate, so I’m also wondering what some more age could take this to another level. As I mentioned, there are some nice nuances in the different vitolas of this blend – and that impresses me. This is a great cigar for a novice enthusiast who might want to cut their teeth on a lancero vitola. As for experienced cigar enthusiasts, even if they are not lancero fans, they will appreciate the complexity of this cigar. Overall, I found this a very enjoyable cigar – and one that I would smoke again.
Strength: Medium (progresses to Medium to Full in last third)
Body: Medium (progresses to Full in last third)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Cigar Vault Emporium in Staten Island, NY.