Every year around Halloween, Tatuaje releases a new cigar in their Monster series. Typically selected stores get dressed boxes – boxes decorated like the monsters they represent – while a few others get plain boxes. While this release is highly coveted and sought-after year after year, I was saddened to learn this will be the last year for this release. It’s not that Tatuaje doesn’t always have special releases up their sleeves, it’s just that in today’s regulatory climate it’s a lot harder to make new releases like this happen. And apparently there was a built-in timetable for this project anyway. Either way, I’m happy to be recommending the last of the Monster series to you for your next whiskey and cigar pairing.
The Tatuaje Monster 2018 Bride of Frankenstein is a 7 ⅛ x 49 with a Connecticut Broadleaf Rosado wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler. The MSRP for this stick is $13, and there may be a few left out there for the snagging. Upon first light there were strong notes of cedar, which made way for a faint pepper that intensified over the first third of the cigar. There was also a delightful creamy mellowness to this cigar that is not typical of bold Nicaraguan cigars.
These were samples provided to me by their individual producers. I chose this lineup because I believed these would be the options most likely to pair well with this cigar.
Nose: apricot and candy corn
Palate: brown sugar and stone fruit
Together: cigar brings out baking spice and vanilla notes in bourbon, bourbon brings out vanilla creaminess in the smoke
Nose: vanilla and baking spice
Palate: very sweet candy notes with a hint of baking spice
Together: bourbon brings out hay and cedar flavors in smoke with a hint of pepper, cigar brings out caramel apple and spice notes in bourbon and a barrel tannin note
Nose: Very peaty
Palate: Very peaty with hints of ripe apple
Together: whiskey brings out a faint sweetness in the cigar, cigar brings out lots of apple in the whiskey and cuts down the peatiness
Each of these were great pairings, which doesn’t happen often. I’ve gotten more selective about which whiskeys I pair with cigars before I get started so that I will end up with at least one good contender, and lately I’ve had more than one pairing that ended up going well with all three selections. This comes from applying what I have learned over time to the process, and sometimes a little bit of dumb luck.
My favorite out of all three was the Old Forester 1910. The creaminess of the cigar coupled with the sweet fruitiness of the bourbon made for an excellent combination. The Chicken Cock Double Barreled was a close second, but there was a bit too much barrel tannin highlighted with the smoke. The McCarthy’s was a fine pairing, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who typically likes a strongly peated Scotch with a cigar.
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl