It was a busy IPCPR trade show for Pete Johnson and Tatuaje – his new releases always seem to pique the interest of many attendees, and with a big presence on Facebook and Twitter, consumers have a steady stream of pictures and tweets to keep them anticipating the next release.
The Avion ’11, a cigar in Tatuaje’s Fausto line, has already been reviewed, so it’s time to fire up another new release from Mr. Johnson – the La Casita Criolla.
For this review, two of the HCB vitolas were smoked, which are 5 1/8” x 42 ring gauge coronas that come with a retail price in the mid $5 range, before taxes.
The cigar’s name, which means ‘the little native house,’ comes from an old Cuban brand that Johnson researched and revived for Tatuaje.
There’s lots to be intrigued by in this cigar – it’s 100% Connecticut broadleaf and is a 100% American puro, although the cigar is made in Nicaragua. While many cigar smokers have smoked a cigar with a Connecticut broadleaf as the wrapper, the thought of a whole cigar with the leaf creates a bit of an unknown. The filler uses seco and viso leaves that are lighter than the wrapper and figure to present a unique taste.
The pre-light-aroma is really meaty, while the cold draw was easy and didn’t put out any notable flavors. Once lit, there’s a mouthful of flavor on the first draw – some pepper on the palate and in the nose, with a body somewhere between medium-full and full-minus right out of the gate. There seems to be just the faintest bit of sweetness, but it resides well in the background.
Through the first third, there’s a back of the throat spice that is fairly consistent – it’s not overly strong but is certainly present. The sweetness has faded almost completely away and is now dominated by notes of wood and almond.
The ash isn’t terribly strong, breaking off fairly easily throughout the cigar. As usual, this is a disappointment and an inconvenience, but not a deal breaker.
The cigar stays on the same track for most of the smoke, until the final third when it starts to get a bit bitter and trades the spice and pepper for a bit of harshness, something that seems to be found in a number of Connecticut cigars. It’s a disappointing finish – had the cigar stayed with the notes in the first half, it would have been much more acceptable. However, this derails fairly quickly once it passes the band.
The sweetness that had been promised never seemed to come out, though the first one finished with a much thicker, syrupy note than the second one did. Neither left a terribly positive finishing impression, unfortunately.
There are a couple more La Casita Criollas sitting in the humidor in bigger vitolas, and it will be interesting to see how the balance of flavors change as the ring gauge increases. For now, it’s a three-star cigar – nothing to chase after, nothing to turn down if offered.
Read reviews of more cigars by clicking here, including cigars from the 2011 IPCPR Trade Show.
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