June 29, 2011

REVIEW: Tatuaje La Vérité 2009

Year two of the La Vérité project from Pete Johnson (Owner of Tatuaje Cigars) has finally arrived in the shops. The La Vérité is a special project from Tatuaje because it is using the concept of a single farm growing all of the tobacco used in the cigar. 

A Quote from the New Havana Cigars website explaining this concept more:
"The La Vérité project is a very unique undertaking by Pete Johnson that began in 2008.  Using only tobacco from Pepin's La Estrella farm, from a single crop year, both La Vérité and L'Esprit de Vérité were created, making these small batch vitolas something very special.  Much like a single vineyard wine, these cigars showcase the seed varietal and soil where they were grown.

The 2009 crop at La Estrella consisted of Habano Criollo, Criollo 98 and Pelo de Oro.  For the 2009  La Vérité and L'Esprit de Vérité vitolas, all three seed varietals were used, but in different ratios for each of the vitolas.

I'm not sure how many shops are receiving these cigars this week, but I have seen a few of the bigger places advertise them, so they shouldn't be to hard to track down if you're looking. I got mine from  New Havana Cigars. That shop is 99% sold out due to pre-sales, so please don't flood his phone with calls.

I thought last year's version of the La Vérité was a solid cigar that lacked in complexity. (It was all the same tobacco, so I guess that is to be expected.) My hopes for this year were that it is just as nice a smoke, but with more wow factor in the flavors.

The waiting has gone on long enough. On to the review.

Vitola: Churchill
Length: 7
Ring Gauge: 47
Wrapper: Nicaragua Habano Criollo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: 50% Habano Criollo, 35% Criollo 98 and 15% Pelo de Oro.
Price: $20
Smoking Location: New Havana Cigars
Beverage: water


OK last year I started out my review of this line with how I really didn't like the band design. Being a graphic designer by trade, I look at this detail of a cigar more than some other people may. A year later, I still am not a huge fan of the main band on this cigar. With that said, this year's version, with the addition of a secondary band in the familiar Tatuaje script, adds more visual excitement and the addition was a good move in my opinion. On to what's more important, the cigar itself. The wrapper on my La Vérité 2009 was a milk chocolate brown color with some pretty large veins. Even with the veins, the cigar felt smooth to the touch and well constructed. The pre-lit aroma was a mixture of aged tobacco, sweetness and a hint of nuttiness. The cold draw was just as interesting, with the flavors of sweet tobacco and what I described to my smoking partner as a berry-like taste. This is not something I pick up often, so it was pretty surprising to me.

First Third

My La Vérité 2009 lit easily and the flavors came exploding out. The first puff greeted me with a warm, spicy, black pepper flavor that coated my palate for a few seconds and then gave way to a woody, oak-like taste. The black pepper was spicy, but not overpowering and definitely not tongue-burning spicy. The finish on the cigar was very clean and kept my taste buds from feeling overloaded. About an inch into my cigar some of the changes in the flavor profile started to show up; I started to pick up some raw honey sweetness. This flavor was especially noticeable on the front profile of each puff and was delicious. The burn was nice and sharp, the draw excellent. I would put the strength level at this point in the medium range.

Second Third

If the first third of this cigar was good, then second third kept right on par with that and raised the level even higher. The flavors kept pouring out with woody, oak tastes, mixed with the delicious raw honey from the first third that had now really ramped up to be a dominate player in the flavor profile. I say dominate, but it really was balanced nicely with the spicy black pepper that was now milder, but still made for a flavorful finish to each draw. Something else interesting to note was during this portion of the cigar, the resting smoke took on some citrus smells. I compared it to the rind of a lemon. Sounds kind of crazy, but I swear it was there. Just like the first third (and most Pepin made cigars), the construction was top notch never required a re-light or touch up.

Final Third and Final Thoughts

The final third of my La Vérité 2009 threw in another flavor at the start that was like a welcomed old friend coming to the party. Mixing with the three main flavors from before, I began to taste some of the traditional graham cracker flavor that I associate with Tatuaje brown label cigars. This is one of my favorite flavors in cigars, and when it mixes with black pepper on the finish (like this cigar was producing), it puts me in a very happy place. As the final third burned on, the graham picked up even more and really took over as the forefront flavor, knocking back the honey and oak to more of an after-thought. The flavor this cigar leaves on your lips is also something I wanted to put in this review because it's what I can only describe as well aged tobacco. This tobacco has been aging for a few years and I think it shows -- especially with the flavor of the wrapper. The strength in the final third, and especially as I was getting dow to the nub, increased more into the full range. Not dizzy heady full, but enough to feel it.

Final thoughts on the Tatuaje La Vérité 2009? This is an amazing cigar. This is what an expensive cigar should taste like. The amount of complexity in the flavor profile and the overall smoking experience with this stick is nothing but a absolute joy for any cigar smoker. The fact that this complexity all comes from tobacco grown on the same farm makes me rethink the whole grabbing tobacco from different areas to make a blend. In this case, it's certainly not about where the tobacco comes from, but what tobacco type is grown, and how it's blended together. I would put this in the top five releases from Tatuaje of all time, and I have smoked a lot of them. Yes I am a fan of this brand, and I might come off sounding like a homer in this review, but I would really like to hear from anyone who disagrees with me on this because I can't see how that is possible.

Would I buy it again? I will buy as many as I can afford.

Would I buy a box? Absolutely. 


1 comment:

  1. It strikes as a superbly constructed cigar. The cigar is all-embracing on the milder ancillary of average bodied, the smoke, rich and creamy throughout, and the progression, a subtle one.

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