Review: Tatuaje Brown Label Civil Cigar Lounge
In 2003, a relatively unknown cigar called Tatuaje was released for the first time. The first cigars on the market from the new brand were named Seleccion de Cazador, adorned with a nondescript brown band and packaged in Cuban style boxes. The Brown Label, as it is now most commonly referred to, became the lynchpin to what is now a veritable mountain of releases under the Tatuaje name, but the original blend is still going strong.
The six original Brown Label vitolas were:
- Noella (5 1/8 x 42)
- Regio (5 1/2 x 50)
- Unicos (6 1/8 x 52)
- Havana Cazadores (6 3/8 x 43)
- Especiale (7 1/2 x 38)
- Tainos (7 5/8 x 49)
Since the introduction of the original six sizes, there have been two other vitolas released in the formal Brown Label blend:
- 7th (5 5/8 x 46)
- Petit (4 1/2 X 32)
In January, a new cigar lounge in Washington D.C. got a special version of the Tainos. We had the information in a news story last month:
John Anderson and Matt Krim’s newest Washington D.C. location, Civil Cigar Lounge, has opened with a new exclusive Tatuaje, a 7 5/8 x 52 Brown Label. Pete Johnson made the cigar for the Anderson and Krim, who are also behind W. Curtis Draper, as an exclusive for their locker members. Civil Cigar Lounge has 125 lockers, which are being offered for $1,000.00 a year, each coming with a box of the exclusive Tatuaje along with other benefits.
News of the cigar appeared when Jerry Cruz visited the location as part of a media event. Johnson made 150 boxes, it’s expected that the remaining 25 boxes will go to those involved with the Little Puff, the annual event hosted by W. Curtis Draper benefiting a variety of charities. While the retail portion of the store is formally open, the lounge won’t be open until January 14, which is the same day the lockers will be available to members according to the Civil Cigar website.
The cigar is slightly larger than the 7 5/8 x 49 Tainos, which has been part of the Seleccion de Cazador line from its inception. Johnson told halfwheel the one difference between the Civil Cigar Lounge and the original Brown Label sizes is the retail exclusive is made in Nicaragua, which has been where Johnson’s Brown Label extensions in recent years have come from.
But enough of that, lets get down to business, shall we?
Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Seleccion de Cazador Civil Cigar Lounge
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
Size: 7 5/8 Inches
Ring Gauge: 52
Vitola: Double Corona
MSRP: $40.00 (Boxes of 20, $1,000.00)*
Date Released: January 14, 2013
Number of Cigars Released: 150 Boxes of 20 Cigars (3,000 Total Cigars)
Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
*As noted above, the only way to get a box was with a lounge membership.
The modified Tainos is a monster of a cigar and feels quite weighty when held. Its wrapper is a wonderful reddish mocha brown color and there is a bit of oil noticeable. The wrapper is almost totally smooth to the touch and the cigar has a great resistance when squeezed. Aroma coming off of the wrapper is a combination of sweet cedar, leather, earth and black pepper.
The first third of the Tatuaje Civil Cigar Lounge starts off the first third with strong flavors of cedar, raisins, earth, leather and just a tad bit of caramel. There is the perfect amount of pepper on the retrohale and just a touch of spice on the lips and starts to wane almost immediately. The profile is woody, creamy and slightly sweet overall. Smoke production is way above average, both the burn and draw are excellent so far and the overall strength ends the first third just below the medium mark.
Coming into the second third of the Tatuaje Civil Cigar Lounge and while the profile is still very woody, there is a little more caramel sweetness as well. Other notes of chocolate, leather, earth, slightly bitter nuts and cedar flit in and out. There is also a small but persistent sharp citrus note that is present throughout the second third, almost reminding me of lemon. Construction remains impressive and the strength has not moved much, and is a solid medium by the end of the second third.
The final third of the Tatuaje is still quite woody and sweet, basically finishing off the cigar the same way it started profile-wise. Still a great amount of pepper through the nose, and the Double Corona retains those wonderful notes of earth, raisins, leather and cedar. The citrus note is a little stronger near the end, but still not even close to a major player. Overall strength is still very close to a solid medium and construction remains excellent until the nub.
- Although there is only technically a 1 1/2 RG difference between the regular production Tainos and the Civil Cigar Lounge release, the difference is quite noticeable when both are held in your hand. It is easy to pick them out, even visually.
- Seleccion de Cazador translates into Selection of Hunter. One of Johnson’s dogs is named Hunter and the names of the original six vitolas spell out h-u-n-t-e-r.
- For Tatuaje’s 10th anniversary, which is this year, the original six HUNTER sizes of Brown Label will return in specially-packaged, gold-foiled versions and wet-packed version.
- There have been quite a few different cigars released in the Brown Label line, either “tweaked” or with different wrappers.
- In other Brown Label news, we recently reported that the 4 x 40 Cohete would be released again at Tower Cigars in the near future.
- One of my biggest questions when I heard about this release was whether it would be noticeably different from the regular release Tainos. So, I smoked one of them them side by side. In short, they are extremely similar, but I found the Civil Cigar release to have a bit creamier profile, slightly sweeter and with just a little less pepper than the Tainos. Honestly, I would love to smoke either one, but they are just not different enough for me to try and track one of the Civil Cigar releases down when you can get essentially the same thing quite a bit easier.
- I have always loved the Brown Label bands: simple, elegant and completely unpretentious.
- For what it is worth, my two favorite vitolas in the Brown Label line are the Noella and Havana Cazadore, with the Cohete coming in third.
- Interestingly, the much sought after Tatuaje Frank, which was the first Monster release way back in 2008, is basically just a box-pressed Tainos with a Broadleaf wrapper.
- Along with the above, Johnson released the Miami Tan FF back in April of 2012 which is the exact same size and ring gauge as the Civil. Yes, the “FF” stands for “Factory Fuckup.”
- The smoke production from this cigar was way above average: extremely dense and white, it billowed out in abundance.
- The final smoking time was two hours and five minutes.
The Bottom Line: The whole time I was smoking this cigar, all I could keep thinking was, “why do I not smoke more Tatuaje Brown Labels?” While the Tatuaje Civil Cigar Lounge release is a very good cigar, the most important thing for me after smoking one is that it has reaffirmed my belief that the Brown Labels are some of the most consistent, easily attainable and flavorful cigars on the market. Everyone gets caught up on the marketing and the chase of the limited editions—yours truly included, of course—but there are times when I have to be reminded just how good the regular release cigars are. While not even close to my preferred vitola, the Tatuaje Civil is smooth, extremely balanced, fairly complex and has excellent construction. In short, a very good cigar.
Final Score: 89