Tatuaje Monster Series The Face

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a cigar review we’ve all been expecting to see here on Stogie Review that just hasn’t arrived. I was so certain that Jerry, the resident Tatuaje cigar correspondent and fanboi, would be all over the latest edition of the Monster Series, I didn’t make any attempt to beat him to the review. Heck, I didn’t even get my hands on The Face until at least a week after Halloween. (A special thanks to @MattNGa for the hookup. And for you uptight watchdog types, yes, I did pay him for them.) But it looks like The Great Torpedo is still asleep at the switch, so I’ve got this one.

Here’s the official scoop on The Face from the Tatuaje Cigars website:

It will be the 3rd installment of the “Monster Series” of cigars released every Halloween. This one is called “The Face” after Leatherface. The plan is to sell 666 limited edition boxes of 13 to 13 retailers on the 13th of Oct. and have 1300 plain boxes of 10 sold the week of Halloween to my top 130 retailers.

The story is much the same as last year’s tale, only with some customer friendly improvements. A larger distribution and wider availability, and no “Actor Series” tandem release means that if you haven’t tried one yet, you can probably still find some. For more details on The Face concept, check out our IPCPR 2010 interview with Pete Johnson. (Relevant info beginning around 3:20.) He put a lot of thought into this cigar, it’s well worth checking out.

Now let’s burn this beast before it attacks me.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 3/8 x 56
Wrapper: Mexican San Andreas
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 2 hours +
Beverage: Water
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $13.00

The Pre-Smoke
Ordinarily I scour the review cigars looking for flaws, and when I find them, I shake my head sadly while making note of them. However, when you’re inspecting a stick that’s a tobacco tribute to Leatherface, a character known both for unpleasant activities, and even worse complexion, each nick, gouge, hole and crack is a little like an Easter egg. Surprisingly, there really weren’t many to find. It’s clear that though token superficial touches were made to ugly up the cigar (the jagged, inconsistently located tobacco leaf band, the unfinished foot, the pimple-like cap), Pete, Pepin and company were still committed to creating a well constructed stick.

Once in your hand, you realize that “A Big One”, the vitola’s official name, is appropriate. It’s a large smoke, and it feels like it. It’s heavy, and it’s very firm to the touch. I didn’t get much more than a very faint scent of barnyard off the wrapper, but the foot had an enticingly sweet aroma. The cold draw was good, and tasted a little like earth and cocoa.

The Burn
I’ve heard Pete Johnson say that he doesn’t much care about how a cigar burns, provided it stays lit and it tastes good. So you’d think that a cigar made intentionally gruesome might burn in a horrific manner befitting a slasher film. And you’d be in for a surprise. This cigar burns nicely, evenly most of the time and produces a fairly solid, long white ash. No relights, maybe a few touch ups, and a perfect draw.

The Flavor
No suspense here, The face got right into the flavor violence with a rich combination of roasted nuts, a touch of graham, and earth, all in mere moments after lighting. Smokey earth and coffee were the dominant flavors of this third, with cocoa, cofee, a touch of caramel and a little more graham making an appearance toward the end.

The second third started off with more of an earthy chocolate bent, and grew a sweeter as it progressed. As before, coffee was also a major component, and flavors noted in the preceding third made the occasional cameo. By the end of this section, the sweetness hit its peak with a creamy earthy nougat that lingered in the finish.

After the brief spike in sweetness at the end of the preceding third, The Face returned to its predominantly earthy and smokey profile, this time with more of a mocha slant. As I neared the end of the cigar, a sharper wood flavor arrived just in time for the final swings of the flavor chainsaw.

The Price
I’m not a fan of cigars bearing a double digit price tag, but of all the Tatuaje Monster series sticks, these one seems to be the most reasonably priced. And due to increased availability, it’s also the one you’re least likely to be gouged on at the register.

The Verdict
The Face is easily my favorite of the Tatuaje Monster Series. I’m a fan of Mexican San Andreas tobacco, and it does not disappoint in this beastly smoke. Hours of dark, rich flavor for around the same price you’d pay to go see Leatherface in action in a theater. It seems like money well spent to me.

On the other hand, The Face didn’t quite live up to the promise of brutal adjustments to the head and skull. No face flattening or skull fractures here. This isn’t a cigar that’s going to put you in the morgue with its potency. Don’t get me wrong, this also isn’t a stick for mild cigar smokers, there is some power that you’ll feel at the end. But if you’re looking for the super-duper ligero experience, this isn’t that cigar. It’ll only terrorize your tastebuds. And for my purposes, that is all I ask.

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Probably, if there’s any left at close to MSRP.
Recommend It: Yes

The Question
What do you think the next cigar in the Tatuaje Monster Series will be? What would you like it to be?

To get you started, I expect the next in line will be warewolf related, but I’d really like to see “Slimer”. An obese candela wrapped perfecto. Bonus points if it’s painted, resulting in a lot of color transfer (i.e. it slimes you). For copyright reasons, it would probably have to be named some something like “Ecto” or “Plasm”.

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.