There are several wrappers that are associated with Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars. But I think the wrapper Johnson is best known for is Connecticut Broadleaf. Some of Pete Johnson’s most iconic releases have featured this wrapper. In 2008, Pete Johnson released a medium-bodied Connecticut Broadleaf line known as La Riqueza. The name La Riqueza is Spanish for “the riches” or “the wealth.” Tatuaje’s mantra is “Old World for a New Generation” and La Riqueza fits that perfectly – everything from the packaging to the blend itself. In 2022, Tatuaje would release a bolder, limited edition version of La Riqueza – appropriately titled the La Riqueza SE 2022. It’s the cigar we are taking a closer look at today.
In 2017, the La Riqueza brand was put on “pause” by Tatuaje Cigars. The line wasn’t discontinued, it was removed from the Tatauje order sheets. The line was paused due to the Connecticut Broadleaf shortages that had plagued the industry. The 2022 release of the Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022 marked the first time a cigar under that brand was sold by Tatuaje. At the time the SE 2022 was released, the original core line of La Riqueza did not return.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022 keeps to the mantra of the original La Riqueza line as it utilizes a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. As mentioned, the La Riqueza SE utilizes a bolder blend than the original La Riqueza. Production comes from the My Father Cigars factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
The Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022 comes in one size – a 5 5/8 x 54 soft box-pressed cigar. The cigars are packaged in a ten-count cellophane-wrapped mazo that is placed inside a cabinet box. A total of 4,500 boxes were produced of this cigar.
The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper had a classic roasted coffee bean color to it. There were some oils on the surface of the wrapper and some mottling was also visible on the surface. The wrapper itself also exhibited some toothiness. This was a wrapper that had somewhat of a rugged look to it – there were some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The box press is a softer Cuban-style box press with a slightly rounded effect. The cigar is also finished with a covered footer.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The draw delivered notes of black coffee, black pepper, cedar, and earth. Overall this was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to toast up the Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022 and see what the smoking experience would deliver.
There was a short, quick, black pepper blast to open the smoking experience of the Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022. Once the pepper subsided, it gave notes to coffee, cedar, earth, and orange peel. The orange peel provided an underlying sweetness. The coffee notes moved to the forefront with the cedar, earth, orange peel, and pepper settling in the background. A slight increase in the pepper did occur later in the first third. Meanwhile, the retro-hale produced an additional layer of black pepper.
The second third of the Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022 saw the cedar notes increase in intensity. By the midway point, the coffee and the cedar notes now shared the spotlight in the forefront. Meanwhile, there were still notes of earth, orange peel, and pepper in the background.
The final third saw the coffee and cedar notes remain in the forefront. There was an increase in the black pepper notes. There still were notes of earth and orange peel present. The flavors became somewhat mudded, and there was some level of harshness during this phase. As the Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022 came to a close, the resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
There was some unevenness on the burn line of the Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022 and a slight amount of meandering on the burn path. While this was remedied with the touch-ups, I still felt there were more touch-ups needed than I preferred. The ash was slightly flaky but it wasn’t an overly loose ash. This was an ash that was near white in color. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
When it comes to a draw, I prefer one that has a touch of resistance. This is sometimes harder to achieve on a larger ring gauge box-pressed vitola. The good news is that when it came to the Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022, the draw delivered that touch of resistance.
Strength and Body
As mentioned, the Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022 was meant to be a bolder expression of the original La Riqueza blend. The original La Riqueza blend was a classic medium-strength, medium-bodied vitola. The SE 2022 version isn’t going to be a powerbomb in terms of boldness, but it still is that bolder expression. This cigar started out with medium strength and medium to full-bodied flavors. The strength and body both gradually increased in intensity. By the final third, the strength level reached medium to full. Meanwhile, while the flavors were bolder at the end of the cigar, they still were in the medium to full range of the spectrum.
In terms of strength versus body, the body maintains a slight edge throughout the smoking experience.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022 features the same band that is found on the original La Riqueza cigars. I’m a huge fan of the classic style this red and gold band has.
The SE 2022 is packaged in ten-count cellophane bundles. Each of the ten-count bundles was placed in a slide-top. Overall I liked this packaging effect.
When I heard about the details of the La Riqueza SE 2022, I will admit I had mixed feelings. I was thrilled to see an iconic blend such as La Riqueza make a comeback. On the other hand, when I heard details of the tweaked blend, I wasn’t as excited. I loved the La Riqueza blend as it was for many years. The La Riqueza SE 2022 certainly delivers on its promise of being a bolder expression of La Riqueza, but it wasn’t a cigar that I would reach for ahead of the original La Riqueza.
A couple of other notes. First, the flavors of the La Riqueza SE 2022 got muddled and slightly harsh in the last third. Second, I included the assessment we did on The Smoking Syndicate Roundtable on this cigar in 2022. One thing I will say is that this cigar did not have the complexity levels some of the other panelists described. It has some complexity – but I’d put it at a medium complexity level at best.
Overall, the cigar scores a respectable 88 points, but it’s one I’d recommend trying a sample (if you can find one) before purchasing.
The Smoking Syndicate Review
The Smoking Syndicate featured the Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022 on Roundtable #7 in 2022.
Note: Due to age restrictions, you may need to click Watch on YouTube below to view.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Cedar, Earth, Orange Peel, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Final Third)
Body: Medium to Full
Value: Try a Sample
News: Tatuaje Showcases La Riqueza SE at 2021 PCA Trade Show
Brand Reference: Tatuaje
Photo/Video Credits: Cigar Coop