|Tatuaje 10th Anniversary Belle Encre Reserva|
The Tatuaje 10th Anniversary Belle Encre Reserva is limited edition Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper version of the Tatuaje 10th Anniversary in the Belle Encre (perfecto) shape. Late last year, Tatuaje founder Pete Johnson was a guest on our Stogie Geeks show and did a great job at laying out what was to come in 2014. Johnson still had a few surprises up his sleeve – and the Belle Encre Reserva was one of them. This cigar has recently made its way to retailers, and I have recently had an opportunity to smoke this cigar. This was a cigar that continues to showcase Johnson’s skills as a master of Connecticut Broadleaf – and a cigar that has the potential to even get better.
Last year, as a part of Tatuaje’s 10th Anniversary, Johnson released three new cigars based on the Tatuaje Brown Label blend. The cigars were all banded with a special commemorative Tatuaje 10th Anniversary band. One of those cigars was the Belle Encre – a perfecto measuring 5 3/8 x 48. As mentioned the Belle Encre Reserva uses a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper – replacing the Habano Ecuador wrapper found on the original Belle Encre. The cigars itself are packaged in a 22 count travel case. The name “Belle Encre” translates to “Beautiful Ink” – a play on the Tatuaje (Tattoo) name.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Tatuaje 10th Anniversry Belle Encre Reserva and see what this cigar brings to the table:
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
The Belle Encre Reserva is the only one of the three new 10th Anniversary vitolas released last year that has been transformed to a Reserva. The perfecto measures 5 3/8 x 48.
In my book, the Belle Encre is a unique perfecto. It only has a slight tapering by both the cap and the open footer. The wrapper itself is a classic chocolate brown Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. There is some oil on the surface, but the wrapper itself also has a bit of a rough feel to it. The dark color of the wrapper hides the wrapper seams nicely. There still are some visible veins.
The band of the Belle Encre Reserva the same as the special 10th anniversary banding. The text “Tatuaje” is on the front of the band in gold cursive font on a brown background. Above the gold script is the text “tattoo” (for what Tatuaje is Spanish for) in white font. Below the gold script is the text “10″ in white font – and below that text is “ miami in a smaller classic gold font. On the near left and near right of the front of the band is the text “Seleccion de Cazador” in white font. Toward the rear of the band is a small gold medallion. The band is also trimmed in gold.
There is a second band directly under the brown band. It is the typical Tatuaje “Reserva” band It has a black background with gold striping. Prominently featured on the black background is the text “Reserva” is on the black background in gold cursive font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I typically do, I commenced the cigar experience with a straight cut. Once I removed the cap I moved on to the pre-light draw. The pre-light draw delivered a definite mocha flavor, but I was also able to detect some notes of grass and light pepper. Overall I was pleased with the pre-light draw of the Belle Encre Reserva. At the point I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start of the Belle Encre Reserva provided a moderate blast of pepper. I also detected some notes of roasted coffee and earth. The pepper seemed to be more of a black pepper note and was also very strong on the retro-hale. As the pepper subsided, it moved on par with the roasted coffee and earth notes.
By the ten percent mark, the coffee notes became more of a chocolate flavor and moved into the forefront. The earth notes were also prominent. The pepper receded to a secondary flavor. This pretty much defined the flavor profile throughout the first half of the Belle Encre Reserva.
In the second half, the pepper notes increased. They pulled back on-par with the chocolate and earth notes. By the end of the second third, they became the dominant flavor. I found the final stages of the Belle Encre Reserva to have quite a bit of spice. The resulting nub was outstanding – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall I really liked the fact that the Belle Encre shape had less in the way of sharp tapering – and I think this made for an excellent experience from a burn and draw standpoint. This almost made this a perfecto that smoked like a parejo.
The burn remained relatively straight from start to finish on Belle Encre Reserva – requiring minimal touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm or tight, but not too prone to any significant flaking or flowering. The ash had more of a white color to it. Meanwhile the burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Tatuaje 10th Anniversary Belle Encre Reserva|
I also was very impressed with the draw of this cigar. It was not too tight and not too loose. There was a decent amount of smoke production from the Belle Encre Reserva. This was a very enjoyable, low maintenance cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
Overall I found the Belle Encre Reserva to deliver a nice amount of strength, but it is not an overpowering strength. I assessed this cigar falling into the “medium to full” range in terms of strength. Meanwhile, I found the flavors to be robust and weigh nicely on the pallet. I assessed the Belle Encre Reserva as having just enough depth to fall into the full-bodied range. As for strength versus body, I still gave the edge to the body here.
In terms of the Reserva versions of many Brown Label blends, I have liked some more than others. The one that really comes to mind is the Tatuaje Noellas Reserva. There seemed to be a lot of parallels from a flavor standpoint between the Belle Encre Reserva and the Noellas Reserva. I still would say the Noellas Reserva offered a little more in the way of complexity. At the same time, the Belle Encre Reserva delivered great flavors. My gut tells me the Belle Encre Reserva will get even better over time. This is probably a cigar I’d steer toward a more experienced cigar enthusiast given it has more strength and body than a novice might like. I certainly wouldn’t discourage a novice from trying this. As for myself, this was an excellent cigar. It’s worthy of a box split – and definitely worth squirreling some away.
Strength: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
News: Tatuaje Releases 10th Anniversary Belle Encre Reserva (Cigar Preview)
Source: Purchased (2), Gifted (1)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Stogie Geeks Episode 90
Stogie Feed: Tatuaje Belle Encre Reserva