|Tatuaje Avion 13 FF|
The Tatuaje Avion 13 FF originally started out to be the 2013 offering of the Avion series. The Avion series consists of a single annual limited edition vitola that has been based on Tatuaje’s Fausto blend. During the production process the Avion 13, Tatuaje’s Pete Johnson made a decision to switch the normal Habano Ecuador Maduro wrapper to a Broadleaf wrapper. Much of the reasoning to do this was to avoid similarities with the Avion 11 (the 2011 offering). However this decision was made after 7,500 cigars with the Habano Ecuador Maduro wrapper remained. Johnson made the decision to offer these cigars in 10 pack bundles and dubbed this version the Tatuaje Avion 13 FF. Meanwhile the larger production Broadleaf wrapper offering is being called the Tatuaje Avion 13 Reserva. Today, we focus on the more limited Avion 13 FF cigar. While I have yet to smoke the Avion 13 Reserva, I’ve recently had a chance to smoke the Avion 13 FF. Overall, I have found this to be the best Tatuaje Avion to date – and one that has fulfilled the promise of this line.
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 since it shared the blend with the Fausto line. The Avion 12 (the 2012 edition) proved to be better – scoring a 90. As mentioned above, the Avion 13 FF continues the improvement trend with each subsequent release.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look the Tatuaje Avion 13 FF and see what this particular release brings to table.
The Avion 13 FF has the same wrapper, binder, and filler as the Avion 11 and Avion 12. It also shares the same blend as the Tatuaje Fausto.
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan including Jalapa/Esteli Ligero
The Avion 13 marks the longest version of the Avion to date. Like the Avion 11 and Avion 12 it is a box-pressed perfecto. It does not have the tapering along the whole body and is more of a classic perfecto.
|Tatuaje Avion 12|
|Tatuaje Avion 11|
For reference purposes, we list all of the Fausto Blends:
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
10/50 – Lonsdale: 6 3/8 x 43 (Limited Production Retail Exclusive to Up Down Cigar in Chicago, IL)
The Avion 13 marks the longest version of the Avion to date. It does not have the tapering along the whole body and even though it is box-pressed, it exhibited qualities of a classic perfecto. The wrapper has a milk chocolate color. It seems to be the darkest of all of the Avions with the Habano Ecuador wrapper. It also has a slight amount of oil on the surface. There are a few veins and the wrapper seams are well-hidden. This box-press seemed flatter than the Avion 11 and Avion 12. There were no soft spots on the box-press.
The band is one that is similar to what has been seen on many other one time limited Tatuaje editions (i.e. the Tatuaje Mexican Experiment). It is a white band with red stripes along the top and bottom and a slight green stripes inside the red stripes. There is a black Tatuaje “tattoo” logo in the center. To the left of the tattoo is the text “TATUAJE” in black font. To the right of the tattoo is the text “LIMITED” in black font.
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, and the Avion 13 FF, I wanted to assess it the same way I did the Avion 11. As a result I just went with a usual straight cut in tip of the Avion 13 and no footer cut.
The pre-light draw flavors of the Avion 13 FF has its parallels to the Avion 11 and Avion 12. I detected flavors of cocoa, leather, and pepper. Overall I considered the pre-light draw to be excellent on the Avion 13 FF. At this point I was ready to light the tip of the Avion 13 FF and prepare for the actual smoking experience.
When I smoked the Avion 12 last year, one comment I made was that the flavors seemed more developed than the Avion 11. The trend continues to hold for the Avion 13 FF as I felt of the three Habano Ecuador Avions, the Avion 13 FF was the most developed. The flavors detected on the Avion 13 FF were similar to what I found on the previous releases. While I did not find the Avion 13 FF to be the most complex cigar, the flavors were very good.
There is a shot of pepper to start things out on the Avion 13 FF. Once the pepper settles down, it is joined by some notes of cocoa, and earth notes. The cocoa, pepper, and earth notes were all prominent notes and no flavor really emerged as the dominant flavor early on. The pepper did have a slight lingering effect on the tongue. As for the retro-hale, it took a little while to get going, but it eventually became more of a black pepper aroma through the nasal passages.
As the Avion 13 FF moved into the second half, the earth and pepper notes took center stage. These flavors pretty much held. The cocoa diminished into the background. By the end, the cocoa notes had pretty much dissipated. At the close of the Avion 13 FF, there was a good amount of spice, but there was no harshness. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
One issue I had with the original Avion 11 release was that it had both issues with burn and draw. When the Avion 12 was released, these issues seemed to be resolved. The good news is that with the Avion 13 FF, those previous issues did not surface either.
Overall, the burn was pretty low maintenance – especially for a perfecto. The burn line remained relatively straight requiring few touch-ups. The ash was a little bit on the loose side with a salt and pepper color. I didn’t find the looseness to be a major problem, but it is something to be aware of. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
I found the draw to be ideal – not too loose and not too tight. Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable smoking experience.
Strength and Body
The original Avion 11 was a cigar that was pretty much full strength and close to full-bodied. With the Avion 12, I did find the strength and body dialed back a bit – both in the medium to full range. With the Avion 13 FF, this one was definitely more amp’d up. I assessed both the strength and the body of this cigar to be full. Both the strength and body counter each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
There is some talk that the Avion 13 FF and the Avion 13 Reserva will be the last releases in the Avion line. If that is the case, things are closing out nicely when looking at the Avion 13 FF. As I mentioned I felt this was the best overall release of the Tatuaje Avion series with the Habano Ecuador wrapper. While I did enjoy this release, I’m still not ready to say this is better than the parejo shapes that make up the Tatuaje Fausto line using the same blend. Given only 7,500 cigars were made, this might be one to try to get if you see it. Overall I’d recommend this to a more experienced cigar enthusiast given that it is full strength and full-bodied. As for myself, I would smoke this again. While it is sold in bundles, I’d still consider this for a box-split if it were sold in boxes of 20.
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased at W. Curtis Draper in Bethesda, Maryland.