A lot of times people ask me ‘what’s your favorite cigar’ and that is always a hard question to answer as it depends on the moment of the day, the mood I’m in, what I smoked recently and other variables, as cigar smokers you will recognize this, but my answer is always the Tatuaje RC233, not just because its a great cigar but also for a sentimental reason and I’m going to tell why. Back in 2009 I visited the United States for the first time, a road trip all along the east coast and a few days in Las Vegas. And as a cigar aficionado what do you do when you’re in Miami? You go to 8th SW street, aka Calle Ocho, the Cuban quarters of Miami and stroll around the cigar factories, the shops and watch the Cuban seniors play dominos as the Maximo Gomez park. Now back in 2009 La Gloria Cuban was still a working factory, so right there you had a hotspot with El Titan de Bronze, La Gloria Cubana and El Rey de Los Habanos, the factory of Don Pepin Garcia. Now I must say, El Titan was the highlight for me as Sandy Cobas, the owner, took a few hours of her time to show us everything, not just the work floor but also the tobacco storage and the aging room for the fresh rolled cigars but at El Rey de Los Habanos I bought some cigars too including a cigar I had only heard about: Tatuaje RC233.
Now the story goes that only Jaime Garcia and José ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia roll this cigar due to its complicated size. The RC stands for Retro Cuban and the 233 stands for the millimeters length of the cigar, 233 mm is 9.17 inch, and the cigar is perfecto shaped. Its not a cheap cigar either so I was waiting for the perfect moment to smoke the cigar, it had to be something special. That special day came later that year, november 15th, when my first (and only) nephew Simon was born. I smoked the Tatuaje RC233 that night. My next trip to the States I bought a 10 count box and I’ve been smoking one a year, always on november 15th and once he turns 21 I hope he joins me. I smoked one yesterday and decided to write a review even though its not a Wednesday or Sunday, just like I did on a few other special dates.
As I said, the cigar is a figurado, a double perfecto to be precise with a length of 9.17 inch and the thickest part of the cigar has a ring gauge of 55. It is a Nicaraguan puro, but rolled in Miami, even to this date, in very limited numbers. So limited that 3 years back they didn’t even had them in the humidor of the beautiful My Father headquarters. Now the looks of the cigar, apart from the size, makes it stand out in any humidor. The upper part is covered in shiny silver foil, with a simple yet stylish ring, white with a light blue lining on the bottom, black letters TATUAJE RC SERIES and the Pete Hassel Johnson logo and a red and orange lining on top. The construction is flawless and that feeds my believe in the story that these are only rolled by Don Pepin of Jaime themselves, they are level 9 rollers and I don’t see a lot of people roll a cigar this shape and size so beautifully. The color of the wrapper reminds me of the old dark oak cupboard my grandmother had in her living room, but then with a little tooth and the aroma is a medium strong barnyard aroma.
Because of the shape I had to cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine and i taste some raisin but with some pepper on my lips. I lit the cigar with my soft flame vintage Ronson. The cigar has a coffee flavor with a little pepper, but it’s mild. After the small tip I taste leather with some herbs and pepper. After an inch I taste some chocolate too but leather is the main flavor. After a third it’s a nice, not too strong, pepper with a little freshness. Slowly the leather changes to cedar, but the mild chocolate, the pepper and the fresh aftertaste still remain. Halfway the chocolate is getting a little stronger but so does the pepper. I taste some leather again too. The chocolate then drops, it’s leather and pepper with some herbs. The cigar makes my mouth dry. Some cedar joins the leather, the herbs and the mild pepper.
The smoke is medium thick at the start but it gets thicker. The draw is perfect. The burn is straight as an arrow. The ash is firm, dense and it’s salt and pepper colored. This cigar is medium bodied, not the full body you expect from Tatuaje but it’s well balanced. The smoke time is little over two hours.
Would I buy this cigar again? In 3 years I need to get a new box, anybody has an idea on where to get them?