Posted by Jack | in Tatuaje | on 26 May 2014 | at 3:51 PM | 2321 views
If you read my blog regularly, you will know that Tatuaje is my favorite cigar brand around.  I consistently reach for Pete Johnson's cigars and am never...and I mean never disappointed.  A richness you won't find anywhere else, construction that makes most brands look like amateurs, and a very broad selection of profiles has made the brand the stuff of cigar legend.  So as I sit here on Memorial Day, listening to WWII era big band tunes, remembering my family and friends who have served in the armed forces of this great land, I feel compelled to put to digital media my thoughts on a new Tatuaje cigar.  What better way to while away a lazy holiday?  Today''s selection is the reserva edition of the 10th Anniversary Belle Encre.  Meaning " beautiful ink" , I fell for the original line hook, line, and sinker...so this new reserva edition seemed right up my alley.  Let's get to it....
Construction: Let me first say that this Belle Encre shape is quite possibly the prettiest shape for a cigar I have ever seen.  It is just elegant.  Take the slender Noella and add a subtle perfecto shape and you have one nice looking package.  The wrapper leaf is deep brown with some dark streaks showing and a few expected broadleaf veins.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: Out of the cellophane the Belle Encre reserva gives off that rich heady aroma that you find on the other reserva cigars.  Earth, cedar, peppery spice, and a sweet cocoa and dried fruit from the foot.  A cold pull gives a nice cocoa and sweet tobacco flavor. Draw is open and comfortable.
Light and Burn: here
Tasting: Starting off the Belle Encre gives a sweet cocoa and mild pepper spice.  As the first third starts I get a nice syrupy sweetness with some citrus notes.  There are some notes of espresso, black pepper, and dark chocolate wrapped around a nice earthy core.  The smoke is hefty from this little beauty and the ash is nearly white with a bit of flake.  I would say medium so far.  As with all of the reserva line, the flavors are very deep and rich.
The second third starts with a nice caramel note along side some residual citrus and espresso.  If you have never smoked a Tatuaje, first of all, shame on you...get with it!  Secondly, they all have a flavor that you will not find anywhere else.  Easily one of the most recognizable, unique, and amazing series of cigars anywhere.  Pete is a true master at his craft and it shows.  This Belle Encre is no exception.  The sweetness increases in the middle with some mild vanilla, caramel, and cocoa.  Notes of coffee appear as well.  Again, very rich and dense.  Body is still in the medium area with the needle leaning a tad towards medium-full.  This is a cigar that anyone can enjoy - newbies should have a full stomach though.  The richness is like a steak dinner in a condensed package.  More intense citrus like lemon zest and some cream hit the palate as the middle transfers to the final third.
The final third arrives with more of a leathery core still laced with citrus, more chocolate and cinnamon.  Still rich and delicious with every puff.  The peppery notes seen in the early stages have dropped off quite a bit here too.  A heavy coffee note also shows up on the finish.  I have said before that Pete Johnson is the undisputed master of using Connecticut Broadleaf and this cigar will show you exactly what I mean.  More on that in my final thoughts. The final few puffs are just as tasty as the rest of the cigar.  It stays cool and manageable until the sad affair of snuffing it out.
Value: At a tad over $10, the Belle Encre reserva is well worth every cent.  I would smoke them every day if I had a box on hand.
Final Thoughts: Broadleaf, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways as provided by some of my favorite cigars: the La Casita Criolla is tremendous using all broadleaf, the Epicurean Gonzo 2007 is smooth and dreamy, the Jamie Garcia and La Duena from My Father are always delicious, the Ashton Aged Maduro is a damned fine smoke, and the Tatuaje Monster Series JV13 is one of the most unreal cigars I have ever enjoyed. All of these are absolutely stellar cigars so when I see a new broadleaf cigar on the horizon I get pretty excited.  I enjoyed the 10th Anniversary release of the Belle Encre and this new reserva edition is a fantastic edition to Pete's portfolio that is already laced with as many masterpieces as the Louvre.  Is this new reserva as good as the Noella?  The Regios?  The J21?  I think it certainly sits well in middle of that pack.  If you see these in your local shop or go hunting them online, you will not be disappointed.  Very highly recommended!
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Strength: Medium learning towards full
Size: 5 3/8ths x 48
There is the gorgeous shape I love so much.
Sporting the awesome 10th Anniversary band along with the Reserva sub-band makes for a nice looking package.
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