Thirteen years ago Pete Johnson’s Tatuaje Cigars released a Halloween themed cigar. There were 666 “Dress Boxes” containing 13 cigars that were made available for sale through 13 “Unlucky” Tatuaje retailers, fittingly dubbed “The Unlucky 13”. This birthed arguably the most iconic series of Limited Editions in the cigar industry. Future releases (after Drac) kept to the 666 Dress Boxes for the “The Unlucky 13” with an additional 1300 regular, 10 count boxes, being released to other Tatuaje retailers. This series of yearly, limited cigars is known as the “Monster Series”, as each cigar was named after an iconic monster in film. The 13th, and final Monster, was released in 2018*. This year, Tatuaje released the Monster Mash. It contains each of the 13 previously released Monster blends in a 1 ½ inch shorter size, and also contains a new Monster called The Creature.
*The Chuck and Tiff were originally released in 2014 in the Pudgy and Skinny Monsters sets, but the full sizes were released in 2019.
This will begin a review series of the Monster Mash. I will review each cigar in the box in my normal format, with the addition of a score. The score will just add a quantitative aspect for ranking the cigars in the set.
Originally released in October 2008 at 7 ⅝ x 49 to kickoff this iconic series, the Frank is first up for this review series. The Frank is an iconic cigar for good reason. I never had the opportunity to smoke the original, but I am super excited to smoke this modified size. Pete Johnson’s Connecticut Broadleaf cigars are some of the best in the market, in my opinion of course. He also hits the mark for me on most of his limited or special blends.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Vitola: 6 ⅛ x 49 Box Pressed - We’ll say Toro or Short Churchill
Release Date: September 2021
Company Website: https://www.tatuajecigars.com/
I anticipate a medium-full flavor experience of earth, pepper, and chocolate. For some reason I get the feeling there is going to be a bit more nuance to this than some of Pete’s other broadleaf offerings. I also do not expect the strength to be over the top, maybe medium to medium-full.
The wrapper is dark brown and has a velvety feel to it. It has a rustic appearance, especially with the dark green band. It is very simple, and I enjoy that. The cigar has a cocoa and hay aroma. The cold draw is snug and presents very potent flavors of nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. It honestly reminds of a Greek style chili a local restaurant makes
First light brings about wispy, light in body smoke with medium level flavors of a meaty earth, a little dark fruit sweetness, and some pepper creeping in on the finish. There is a grit to the smoke. The draw is touch snug, but not harming the smoking experience. About 10 minutes in and the earth and dark fruit are still present on the draw, and the finish still carries some pepper. The retrohale amps up the dark fruit and adds a bit of burnt caramel. The body is still quite light and the profile is definitely medium. About an inch in the ash dropped, the draw loosened a touch and the cigar pivoted. The body and flavor are matching at about medium-full, I haven’t noticed any strength. The flavors on the draw are still earthy, but there is a meaty quality in there. The dark fruit has morphed into a dark chocolate and the finish is showing some of that grit with a bit of pepper. The cigar has burned flawlessly, only receiving a slight knock in the performance category because of the snug draw to start.
Flavor - 3/4
Performance - 2.5/3
Experience - 2/3
Overall - 7.5/10
The second third sees a transition in flavor. The draw is now showing more pepper to compliment the earth, the dark chocolate is becoming creamier and the finish has dropped the pepper in place of some woodiness. The flavor and body are still at medium-full, and I still have not detected any strength. Approaching halfway the profile remains relatively unchanged, with the exception that the dark fruit and dark chocolate are going back and forth. The cigar is performing very well.
Flavor - 3/4
Performance - 3/3
Experience - 2/3
Overall - 8/10
The ash dropped moving into the final third. The flavor and body are up to a full as the smoke is really coating the mouth now. The strength is becoming just noticeable at around medium. The flavor profile has remained fairly consistent. There is a little pepper amping up on the finish. The burn line is getting a little wonky going into this third and requires a small touch up. The flavor, body, and strength are amping up. The smoke is still thoroughly coating the mouth with earthy, oily flavors. There is still some dark chocolate present and that grit and pepper linger on the finish until the next puff. Nearing the band and the strength level is coming up even more, I can feel it in my chest. The predominant flavors are the oily earth and pepper. The burn is still trying to run a bit, but corrected itself. I am passed the band and the flavor, body, and strength are all full. I am beginning to feel the effects of the strength, which does not happen very often for me. The cigar ended with everything at full, showing flavors of earth, chocolate, and pepper.
Flavor - 3/4
Performance - 2/3
Experience - 2/3
Overall - 7/10
This cigar was classic Tatuaje broadleaf. Earthy, chocolatey, peppery, and some varying types of sweetness. The first third, and some of the second, showed a softer side with more nuanced flavors. The final half of the cigar was a fuller experience, with the final third really amping up the strength. Overall, the cigar performed pretty well. The draw opened up nicely part way through the first third and remained perfect the rest of the way. The burn in the final half had a tendency to run, but it corrected itself with the exception of one touch up. This is a cigar I would definitely revisit, but I would prepare myself a bit better now that I know the punch the final third has. The smoking time was about an hour and 40 minutes.
Final Score - 7.5/10
This Monster Mash box was purchased by me through UpDown Cigar in Chicago. Feel free to reach out to me with questions, concerns, criticisms, or just to talk at @guitarsandcigarsfarm on Instagram, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.