In October 2008, Pete Johnson of Tatuaje released the first of the popular "Monster" series. The first release was dubbed the "Frank" and it was followed up with the "Drac" in 2009, the "Face" in 2010, and "Wolfman" in 2011. The 2012 release, the "Mummy", will be the fifth cigar created for this series. The popularity of the series combined with the limited number of boxes available have made them difficult to find. So when Pete announced the creation of all the previous Monster releases in smaller vitola's as part of a ten count sampler box, it was amid much fanfare. Like many others, I did not have a chance to try all the previous releases, so I was looking forward to doing so finally. The ten count box contains two cigars from each year, including the unreleased “Mummy”. Here are some specifics on each vitola and the wrapper used;
Tatuaje Mini Mum: 5 3/4 x 42 - Nicaragua Sun Grown Criollo Wrapper
Tatuaje Wolfie: 5 1/2 x 48 - Ecuadorian Sumatra Wrapper
Tatuaje Baby Face: 4 3/8 x 50 - San Andreas Mexican Wrapper
Tatuaje Lil’ Drac: 5 x 48 - Habano Ecuador Maduro Wrapper
Tatuaje Frank Jr: 5 5/8 x 44 - Connecticut Broadleaf USA Wrapper
I received my order just in time for Father's Day here in the US and I have been slowly working my way through the box. I thought it might be fun to share some quick thoughts on each stick, but first, how about some eye candy?
Most Disappointing: Wolfie
First let me begin by pointing out that this is just my opinion and yours may differ which is ok. I thought the Tatuaje Wolfie wasn't great but I thought it wasn't bad either. Flavors of oak and mild pepper dominated the profile. The cigar performed perfectly but overall I found this stick a bit boring. My advice is to try one. You may love it! I am happy I got a chance to try it, but in my opinion, it was not among the best of the bunch.
Most Versatile: Baby Face
The Face, released in 2010, is the only one of the Monster Series I have smoked previously. The younger brother to that release had a similar leathery profile with a peppery kick. I don't remember the original release having quite as much pepper as this little guy, however. Maybe it's the size or maybe it is the youth. I suspect a bit of both. Either way, an enjoyable smoke that should age as well as the 2010 release has.
Most Potential: Mini Mum
I think this stick might have the most aging potential of the bunch. The flavor profile was a nice balance of cedar, spice, and cream. I did have some issues keeping it lit but it is July and the humidity has been outrageous here in New England. Honestly, I am really looking forward to the release of larger vitola this Halloween and if they are as good as I think they may be, then I may just have to buy a box. Assuming I can find them.
Most Perplexing: Lil' Drac
The Lil' Drac’s flavor profile had me a bit perplexed but I loved every second of it. It had a bready base with an interesting hint of sweetness. I couldn’t quite place it but the sweetness is what catches and holds your attention. A great, easy going smoke that I had no issues nubbing. After I smoked the first one, I immediately reached for the second stick.
Most Delicious: Frank Jr.
The Frank Jr. was absolutely delicious! It poured those typical Connecticut Broadleaf flavors including cocoa, coffee, and pepper. The burn and draw were an A+ and copious amounts of smoke poured from every pull. It took me well over an hour to finish each one and I would certainly buy an entire box if it was ever re-released. Probably my favorite of the bunch.
In conclusion, I think the Little Monsters were an interesting and enjoyable way to spend $75.00. I do not regret my purchase and if you have the opportunity to grab a box, I would certainly recommend pulling the trigger. The remainder of Stogie Geek crew recently smoked the Little Monsters during the recording of Episode 23 and I recommend checking out the episode to get their thoughts on each stick. Stay smoky my friends!