The Tatuaje Hyde is the eighth installment in the Tatuaje Monster Series. If you include the two new blends of Chuck and Tiff introduced in the Pudgy Monsters series, it is the tenth Monsters / Little Monsters / Pudgy Monsters blend overall. While each year Tatuaje fans await what the theme will be for the Monster Series, the Hyde has been known for sometime. Back in November 2013, Tatuaje Cigars owner Pete Johnson announced on Stogie Geeks that Jekyll and Hyde, the characters from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” would be forthcoming installments in the Tatuaje Monsters Series. October, 2014 saw the release of the Tatuaje Jekyll and October, 2015 saw the release of the Tatuaje Hyde. Today we take a closer look at the Tatuaje Hyde.
This annual release series was created by Tatuaje founder Pete Johnson as a tribute to monster and horror movies. Every year since 2008, Tatuaje enthusiasts have anxiously look forward to the release of this cigar and seek to procure a box. Each release of the Monster Series is a different blend in a different (yet large) size. A single batch is produced and once the cigars are gone – they are gone. There have been two additional offshoots of the Monster Series released as samplers, the smaller Little Monsters set, and the (smaller and wider) Pudgy Monsters set.
The announcement of each release of the Monster Series sets off a frenzy by Tatuaje fans. Much of the frenzy for this release focuses on what has been termed the custom designed “dress boxes”. At the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show, Tatuaje showed off the dress boxes for both Tatuaje Jekyll and Tatuaje Hyde. When placed together, the two images form a single image. There were 666 Hyde dress boxes made available to thirteen retailers known as the “Unlucky 13”. The remainder of the Hyde cigars are packaged in simple cedar boxes.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Tatuaje Hyde and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Tatuaje Hyde uses an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. The is the second Tatuaje Monster (joining the Tatuaje Wolfman) to use this wrapper
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (My Father SA)
The Tatuaje Hyde has been released in one size – a 7 x 49 Churchill with a flat “bullet” tip (i.e “109” size) cap. The Tatuaje Jekyll uses the same size. There are 13 cigars in the dress box and 10 cigars in the non-dress box.
The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper of the Tatuaje Jekyll has almost a chocolate brown color to it. The wrapper has a light coat of oil it. There are some visible veins and some thin visible wrapper seams. The bullet cap looks like a short belicoso, but with the sharp tip clipped off.
The band is based on the standard “Tatuaje” scripted logo. The script font is white on a lime green background. To the left of the “Tatuaje” scripting is the text “HALLOWEEN” in the black font. To the right of the scripting” it says “MONSTER” in the black font. There is one white pinstripe above the text and one below the text. There is a black Tatuaje “tattoo” logo on the far of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
To cut the cap off the Tatuaje Hyde, I took an approach I used with a belicoso. This was accomplished with my Credo Special T cutter with the 36 ring gauge hole. This allowed me to the tapering effect that the bullet cap offered. Once the tip was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw yielded notes of wood, cedar, and pepper. Overall I considered the pre-light draw to be satisfactory. At this point, I was ready to light up the Tatuaje Hyde and prepared for what the smoking experience had to offer.
The Tatuaje Hyde started out with notes of earth, natural tobacco sweetness, black pepper, cedar, and almost a mint-like flavor. The earth, cedar, and natural tobacco moved into the forefront early on. Both the mint and pepper notes moved into the background. Throughout the first third, the natural tobacco notes provided a nice (but not overpowering) amount of sweetness. Meanwhile, the black pepper was also present on the retro-hale.
During the second third, I found the natural tobacco and cedar notes to remain primary. The earth notes transformed into more of a mushroom-like flavor. Initially the mushroom flavor was in the background with the mint and pepper notes. As the cigar progressed through the second third, the mushroom and pepper notes increased.
Later in the second third, the mushroom flavors reached primary note status and started to displace the natural tobacco sweetness. The cedar notes remained primary. The pepper also closed in on the forefront. The mint notes remained in the background but started to diminish.
By the last third of the Tatuaje Hyde, the mushroom, cedar, and pepper notes were primary. I found this mix of notes to have some harshness. The natural tobacco and mint notes had pretty much dissipated. This is the way the smoking experience of the Tatuaje Hyde came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall the burn scored quite well with the Tatuaje Hyde. I found the burn line to remain relatively straight from start to finish. In terms of the burn line, I found it to also be relatively straight. The Hyde did not require an excessive amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash had a charcoal gray color. I found the ash to be quite firm and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. As for the combustion, it also was excellent as I found the Hyde to have an ideal burn rate and maintain an ideal burn temperature.
The draw performed quite well. It was not an overly tight draw, nor was it a loose draw. This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavors from.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength, the Tatuaje Hyde started out medium. The strength does progress as the cigar burns and by the second half, the Hyde was in medium to full strength territory. I found the strength to continue to increase in strength throughout the second half, but it didn’t cross into full territory.
Meanwhile, the body pretty much stayed medium to full throughout the smoking experience. When it came to strength versus body, I found the body to have an edge early on, but by the last third both attributes were close to equal footing.
On one hand, I liked the fact that the Tatuaje Hyde delivered some unique flavors – most notably the mint-like note in the background and the mushroom-like earthy notes. However, I didn’t find these flavors meshed well with the overall flavor profile. The Hyde started out with some nice sweetness, but once that diminished in the second third, the cigar got ordinary, and by the last third, the harshness made this less enjoyable. While this is still a good cigar; my expectations are usually very high because of the hype around the Monster Series releases, so this somewhat missed the mark. The profile of this cigar is probably more I’d gear toward a seasoned cigar enthusiast. While it’s still available, it’s a cigar I’d recommend trying first – and see if this hits your flavor profile.
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 2.5-Try One
News: Tatuaje Jekyll and Hyde Planned Monster 2014 and 2015 Releases, Tatuaje Hyde Unlucky 13 Retailers Announced
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 171
Stogie Feed: Tatuaje Hyde ( Tatuaje Monster 2015 #8)