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Staff Reviews

Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu Blue Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

I’m smoking a recent Tatuaje cigar, called the Havana VI Verocu Blue, in a 5.5-by-54 size called the No. 2. Twenty years ago, Tatuaje brand founder Pete Johnson helped usher in Nicaragua’s popularity as a key cigar-making country when he partnered with legendary cigar-maker Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia and launched his brand. The strong and earthy small-batch smokes Pepin blended for Pete impressed cigar lovers and critics and led to much success. Tatuaje cigars are handcrafted at the prestigious My Father factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, alongside other prominent brands, including My Father, Flor de las Antillas, and La Aroma de Cuba.  

In addition to the original brown label Tatuaje, one of the more sought-after lines Pete created was Havana VI, especially Havana VI Verocu, a slightly more intense version of the original Havana VI. Both cigars are drawn from an Ecuador Habano wrapper over hearty Nicaraguan long-fillers, and both are identified by their red cigar bands. In 2022, we were treated to a new edition, Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu Blue. Pete spent roughly four years perfecting the cigar, eventually settling on a Corojo ’99 Rosado wrapper, grown in Nicaragua, and a robust recipe of premium Nicaraguan long-fillers.

Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu Blue cigars are also easy to distinguish as each cigar wears two bands, the traditional red Tatuaje band above a bright blue Verocu band. The blend is packaged in a basic slide-top wooden box of 20 cigars. Two sizes are available to start, but Pete says plans are in the works to add more formats later. The No. 2 I’m smoking today is like a fat Robusto, just over 5 inches with a 54 ring gauge. When I slide the lid from a fresh box, attractive and intense aromas of leather, fresh ground coffee, and baking spices emerge.

Tatuaje cigars are meticulously made. Havana Vi Verocu Blue is finished in a lighter wrapper than one might expect, but the cigars are no less intriguing. I choose one to smoke from the middle of the box with a shimmering wrapper that displays faint veins throughout a reddish-brown complexion. Tatuaje cigars are characteristically strong, so I made sure to finish a meal before smoking

When I clip the cap and toast the foot, woody and tangy notes of earth and black pepper mingle with an abrupt kick, especially through the nose. Verocu Blue sticks to a familiar Tatuaje playbook – the cigar is dense and intense. It’s not so peppery I can’t handle it, but I smoke Tatuaje cigars at a slower pace to be safe. A healthy white ash grows over the course of the first ten minutes, while the cigar’s fatter shape balances out the initial oomph with a cooler draw.

A stiff bourbon would make a solid pairing with Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu Blue. Or consider a well-aged cognac to contrast the cigar’s spicier tendencies. I recommend smoking it in front of a roaring fireplace this time of year. The burn meanders for a moment or two throughout the middle but it self-corrects. A beefy profile of coffee bean and nutty notes melds with a charry sweetness. Persistent hints of black pepper contribute to the cigar’s foundation without overwhelming my taste buds.  

As I peel the bands off, about fifty minutes have disappeared, and fortunately I haven’t encountered any bitter aftershocks, although a good amount of pepper continues to resonate through my nasal cavity. Tatauje Havana VI Verocu Blue lives up to what you’d expect from a premium Nicaraguan cigar today. A smoky, leathery, and peppery finish imparts a touch of almond before the cigar expires. I’m rating the latest release from Pete Johnson 91 points, and I recommend you smoke one too when you’re in search of new cigars to try in 2023.


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