Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tatuaje La Casita Criollo - Corona Gorda

I know, it has been sometime since a review, but when you are performing Habitat for Humanity for a week and then get a sinus infection, you really don’t have the time or ability to review a cigar. Well, I am back and better than ever and starting out with a new cigar to the market and my humidor.
La Casita Criollo
When I first heard that Pete Johnson of Tatuaje was making a cigar that was 100% Connecticut Broadleaf, I was very curious as to what the cigar would be like. I am not a huge fan of Connecticut Broadleaf to begin with, but the concept of an American puro was pretty exciting. I love cigars that are puros, because it really gives you a sense of that countries tobacco, and what better type of tobacco for America than Connecticut Broadleaf. I think a Connecticut Shade cigar would be like a cigarette, but with Connecticut Broadleaf you could potentially get some good flavors.  The cigar, La Casita Criollo, is Spanish for The Little Native House, and is one of Pete’s newest releases. I was recently up in Washington D.C., and when up there I went to town on his new releases along with some other new cigars by other manufacturers, but I will save that for another time. As mentioned earlier, the cigar is 100% Connecticut Broadleaf, and is available in three sizes. I chose the Corona Gorda format which measures 5 5/8” with a 46 ring gauge, and is my favorite size. Now, when you think of Connecticut Broadleaf, you think that all the tobaccos are going to be dark like typical Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, but this is not the case. Pete discussed this issue earlier on in the year and this is what he had to say…

“Not all broadleaf is dark. The wrapper will be but the binders and fillers are made up of broadleaf tobacco also. When Jaime (Jaime Garcia of My Father Cigars) buys broadleaf, he buys in hopes to get good dark juicy wrapper, some medium color wrapper like La Riqueza and good binder but the other leaf that doesn’t make those grades is sorted by size and texture for filler. Again not every leaf will look like the wrapper. It’s all 100% USA Conn. Broadleaf. Jaime also buys all priming’s of broadleaf. Seco, Viso and Ligero. This is also how we are able to sort the filler to do the blend on the cigar.”

The cigar has a nice chocolate brown color to the wrapper with wonderful aromas of cedar, spice, sweetness and toasted nuts. The cigar is rolled very well with a great triple cap. The wrapper is slightly oily and is very firm to touch. Upon lighting I am greeted with those traditional Connecticut Broadleaf flavors of cedar, nuts, sweetness and espresso, and those flavors continue through the first third. The body of the cigar is probably medium in body and is a very easy smoke. The flavors are somewhat complex, but overall the cigar is a very easy and a pleasant smoke. When I get into the second third of the cigar, it becomes more complex and I begin to pick up some jammy qualities to the cigar which remind me of a Zinfandel. I picked up some blackberries and dark cherries with some nice spices and a finish of wood, nuts and espresso. The cigar was definitely medium in body still, but had many more flavors than the first third.
La Casita Criollo
At this point, the cigar has been burning perfectly even and the ash has been holding on strong as well. So far I am enjoying this cigar and it is really a lot more than I thought it would be. In the final third of the cigar, the spices became very exotic and much more complex and present than before. The cigar does not grown in strength but there is a nice spice kick. I was picking up notes of cinnamon, cloves and anise. The nutty flavors were still present and I began to pick up some chocolaty notes on the finish with the espresso beans. The finish stayed cool all the way to the nub and I put it down with about a quarter inch left. La Casita Criollo was a wonderful smoke that burned incredibly well and was never harsh all the way to the end.
La Casita
This cigar really surprised me, and I am telling you that I think Pete has a winner here, and that this cigar will be very big in the coming months. There are a lot of people who are big Connecticut Broadleaf fans, and they will jump all over this cigar. This isn't a cigar that I will hold on to, but it is definitely a great smoke that I would enjoy again if I found a retailer selling it. I really loved the smoke in this vitola, and I imagine that the sizes in the lines will do very well for the flavors of the tobacco. None of the sizes are that large and that should give the smoker a really good since of the wrapper, and what Connecticut Broadleaf is like on its own. I would give this cigar a 93 rating, and recommend it to many out there. I know a lot of people who usually would not go for a Connecticut Broadleaf cigar who would love this. A really great smoke that definitely caught me off guard.

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