In 2011, Pete Johnson of Tatuaje released a limited edition series called “The Old Man and the C”. The release came packaged in coffin boxes consisting of a single Tatuaje Black Lancero and three El Triunfador’s rolled in the Culebra vitola. “Culebra” is Spanish for “snake” and Tobacconist University has the following excerpt on the history of the vitola:
The practice of braiding cigars together came out of Cuba when factory owners needed a way to control the rollers’ cigar smoking. Culebras were distributed as the day’s ration of cigars. As the rollers smoked the Culebras, the squirmy look of the cigar signaled the factory managers that the rollers were not smoking the premium inventory.
During IPCPR 2012, Pete Johnson re-released this series but with all four cigars being from his private and much sought-after Black label blend. Being a fan of the Black blend, I immediately snatched up a coffin when they became available. After a couple of weeks of rest, I decided that Labor Day Weekend was the perfect time to crack these open with my morning coffee. Time to burn these!
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo
Size: 7.5 x 38
MSRP: $30.00 per Coffin of four cigars
Number Smoked: 3
The first impression that came to me while removing the Culebra from the packaging was the quality of the workmanship involved in rolling such a vitola. The three Lancero’s were perfectly intertwined with each other. The wrapper was a beautiful Colorado brown and felt dry to the touch. The pre-light aroma consisted of tobacco and some mild spice. I used a straight cut on all three and the pre-light draw seemed perfect on each one. I chose to pair all three cigars with my morning coffee. This decision was solely based on my previous experiences with the blend.
Once lit, the initial draw was perfect and I was welcomed with an ample amount of smoke. All three cigars opened with that familiar toasty cedar and cinnamon spice I have come to love from the Tatuaje Black Label blend. The cinnamon is especially noticeable on the retro-hale and I always find it very enjoyable. The finish was medium in length and coated the top of my palate with spice. It paired perfectly with my morning dark roast. The burn line was decent and the draw remained perfect throughout the first third. Amazingly, the light gray striated ash held for well over an inch before falling.
The spice kicked up a bit on second third and the finish became creamier. The burn and draw remained perfect and by this time, I was really digging this smoke. The blend is very comforting and I found myself completely relaxed.
The last third brought more of the same in terms of flavor and performance. I nubbed each one of the three sticks to less than one inch, and the nub was firm and cool each time. Smoking time was about an hour and fifteen minutes for each cigar.
I absolutely loved all three of these cigars. While I haven't tried all the vitola’s in the Black blend, I have tried quite a few, and I can honestly say this was the most enjoyable of all the vitola’s I have smoked. On a side note, I did also smoke the Lancero which I found the flavors to be very muted and flat. This was surprising after the enjoying the Culebra so much, nonetheless I am looking forward to purchasing more coffin’s. In conclusion, I am giving the Tatuaje The Old Man and The C Black Label Culebra a Stogie Geeks Rating of “Box Worthy”.