It was around October 2008 when Pete Johnson of Tatuaje started what would become an annual tradition of cigar enthusiasts hunting down a box of cigars from one of just 13 “unlucky” retailers picked to carry them.
Behold, the Monster Series.
It all started with a cigar known as “The Frank,” a reference to one of the greatest monster movies ever, Frankenstein. Of course, film buffs know that Frankenstein was the name of the doctor who created the monster, not the monster itself – he never got a name, and is simply known as “Frankenstein’s Monster.”
A Churchill-like vitola measuring 7 5/8” long by 49 ring gauge, the initial member of the Monster Series was limited to just 666 boxes of 13 cigars each – a total of 8,658 sticks – packed in a coffin-like box. The cigar is made in Nicaragua and uses a Conneticut (USA) Broadleaf wrapper, with binder and filler from Nicaragua.
Long before this column was started, long before writing about cigars, and before really knowing what would become of the Monster Series, a box of these cigars was purchased, with the majority put away for future enjoyment.
Now, it’s time to pull one from the humidor, as we review the cigars of Tatuaje’s Monster Series.
The cigar still shows a bit of a box press, with a bit of uniform give throughout. It’s length is most notable, followed closely by the green band that shows four of the fleur-de-lis logos that were so part of the company’s original branding.
The pre-light aroma is cool with faint notes of cocoa powder and the faintest hint of pepper that gives the nose a nice tingle. The cold draw is easy, with a bit of sweetness coming through, driven by a flavor reminiscent of a chocolate shake. It has similar notes of the cocoa powder in the pre-light aroma, but they’ve been manipulated a bit from their original form.
The Frank starts out flavorful but without that big hit of spice that seems to characterize so many cigars. On the Tatuaje website, the Frank is described as having a strength of 4 out of 5, yet in the first puffs, there is no strength to be found.
Through the first third, it seems to have mellowed notably, losing the majority of spice it had and delivering notes of grilled white meat and charred wood. Despite putting out a hearty volume of thick, creamy smoke, it leaves a dry taste on the tongue and a bit of a tingle in the back of the throat.
Towards the middle of the cigar, it picks up a bit of a root beer note, bringing in some bark and a slightly herbal note. Flavors are of a medium-intensity – not overpowering, but not overly subtle. Thinking about it a bit, this is fairly well in line with what an originally strong cigar could mellow into with time.
It finishes along the same track, warming towards the end a bit but never becoming bitter. As you’ll see in the slideshow, the cigar was burned down to the final inch and a half or so and remained enjoyable the entire way.
The Frank has certainly mellowed a bit in the years since its debut and the launch of the Monster Series. It’s not fair to say it’s past its prime, but this particular stick seemed to suggest that it would be better to enjoy the rest of these sooner than later to get the most out of them.
Next up: the Drac.
Read reviews of more cigars by clicking here.
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