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Staff Reviews

Tatuaje Regios Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

I’m smoking an old-school Tatuaje cigar, a 5.5 by 50 Robusto called Regios. Tatuaje cigars are blended by the popular father-and-son cigar-making duo, Pepin and Jaime Garcia, for Tatuaje brand owner Pete Johnson. The Garcias and Johnson have been collaborating since 2003. I wasn’t even old enough to score a fake ID back then, but a few short years later, I began feeding my burgeoning appetite for premium cigars by working part-time in a local mom ‘n pop smokeshop. And it didn’t take long to gravitate towards full-bodied, spicy Nicaraguan smokes like Tatuaje.

Today, Pete Johnson produces over thirteen different lines, most of which fall under his Tatuaje label, including Havana VI Verocu, Black, and the annual limited-edition Monster Series. If you’re new to Nicaraguan cigars or the Garcia family, the original Tatuaje brand is a good place to start, but eat first. Tatuaje cigars are known for their strength and possessing a high nicotine content.

Tatuaje Regios cigars are dressed in plain brown cigar bands – they’re also called Tatuaje Brown Label cigars as a result – and they’re packaged in plain slide-top boxes. “Tatuaje” is Spanish for tattoo, and Johnson, who was an LA-based, tattooed rock ‘n roller when he first got into the cigar business, prefers simple packaging due to his early obsession with Cuban cigars. When I slide a fresh box open and tear the wax paper off the wheel of cigars inside, a sharp aroma of leather, damp earth, and spices takes command of my nasal cavity in seconds. The cigar’s oily, milk-chocolate-brown complexion looks delicious and intimidating at the same time.

A seamless Cuban-seed wrapper grown in Ecuador displays a few thick veins and hugs a bountiful blend of intense binder and filler tobaccos grown by the Garcia family on their Nicaraguan estates. The original Tatuaje blend is highly aromatic and dense. I can tell the Regios is a robust smoke well before it’s lit. After slicing the tip off the triple-seam cap, the cigar pulses with hearty, zesty notes of cocoa, cedar, black pepper, and hints of wheat when I take few cold draws. A slightly floral flavor surfaces too.

As soon as I fire up the Regios, potent notes of oak and bitter espresso overpower my taste buds like a freight train plowing over my tongue and towing boxcars loaded with pepper. Luckily, I’m accustomed to strong Nicaraguan cigars, so I’m not shocked. I enjoy the big, brisk flavor and aroma of Tatuaje, but I don’t recommend smoking these cigars on an empty stomach. Don’t be afraid to set your cigar down and hit pause if you start to feel lightheaded while you’re smoking. The key to smoking full-bodied cigars is to smoke them slowly.

As the cigar continues to heat up, its nuances reveal more balance with chocolaty and nutty flavors and a lingering, silky texture. As long as you’re prepared to digest Tatuaje’s vigorous profile, you’ll be rewarded with its rich and chocolaty taste. It stays spicy, though, especially when I push the smoke out through my nose. Brawny aromas of campfire smoke and birch bark fill the room and engulf my computer screen.

Slightly sweet notes of cedar and oak keep the peppery intensity of Tatuaje in check as I indulge in the second half. I wish the sweetness was amplified a bit more. The cigar burns slow, and a nice, tight ash develops – a hallmark of any cigars rolled in the Pepin’s bustling cigar factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, where several award-winning brands are produced, including My Father, La Aroma de Cuba, and San Cristobal.

By the time I’m tasting the nub of my Tatuaje Regios, my brow is glistening from the effects of the nicotine, but the flavor is chewy, meaty, and enticing. As I power through the final minutes, I’m content to forget about standing up for a while. Tatuaje isn’t all about brute force, though. There’s plenty of nuance and complexity in the cigars Pete Johnson produces. It’s always a pleasure to taste cigars blended by Pepin and Jaime Garcia that are as refined as they are powerful. The finish is firm, and I should probably drink some water. Check out the Tatuaje Colecciones Belicoso Sampler or some of our bestselling Pepin-blended assortments like the Pepin Garcia ‘Heavenly Blends VIII’ Monster Deal, and get to know this top-rated, small-batch brand better.

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