Tatuaje Reserva SW
Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/karinroland/kevin/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 82
This Tatuaje Reserva SW is from my very first box of Pepin Garcia-made smokes. I’m unable to date them precisely because I didn’t save the box, but I’d guess they are four years old.
Tatuaje was mostly a rumor to me at the time. I’d smoked only one before, a Cojonu 2003 snagged by chance at Holt’s Center City. I was floored. So much so that I vowed to find a box as soon as I could spare the humidor space. When the time came, my online search turned up only one vendor with box quantities. And no Cojonus. Unaware of the difference between the Reserva line and the Cojonu, I took this box of 7″ x 47 SWs and considered myself lucky to have found any at all.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was once mildly disappointed in these. My point of reference being the uber-strong Cojonu, I was surprised to find less muscle in the Reserva. A nice smoke, I thought, but not the eye-opening powerhouse that was the Cojonu.
Today, I see that my hasty Reserva SW purchase was among my most fortuitous. I have since smoked more than a box of the Cojonu 2003s, while it’s the SW I reserve for special occasions.
Like other Tatuaje Brown Labels, the Reserva SW is a Nicaraguan puro crafted at El Rey de los Habanos in Miami. (The SW stands for “Sir Winston,” as this smoke was created as a tribute to the Cuban H. Upmann of the same name.) The wrapper color is a shade lighter than those found on the rest of the line. Otherwise, it bears all the Tatuaje hallmarks — the triple cap, even color and thin veins.
It opens with a predictable shot of pepper, but not with the sinus-jolting force of, say, a DPG Blue Label. It is woody for the first inch before picking up nuts and hints of cocoa and cola. The draw is perfect. Through the first half, these flavors intensify gradually and in fine balance, with just a pinch of pepper. It is medium bodied. Easygoing, but with plenty of depth if you choose to give it your undivided attention.
Age has made a difference. When these were fresh, they were predominantly woody and not as complex. Now, the balance is such that it’s difficult to pinpoint a base flavor.
The notable absence is leather, which is present (if not dominant) in most DPG blends.
On the second half, the cocoa becomes more pronounced and the finish picks up some earth. I can’t make a direct comparison to the Upmann Sir Winston, but the final third definitely reminds me of the Cuban Romeo y Julieta Churchill Tubos — rich cocoa and earth, with cola and nuts still evident on the finish. The last 30 minutes are extraordinary.
CONCLUSION: This one rates near the top of Don Pepin’s deep portfolio. With age at low RH, the Reserva SW becomes a supremely refined, medium bodied smoke. Its intensity builds steadily to a rich conclusion. Construction is flawless. The only downside is the price — $10-$12 per stick at box quantities. But if you can put these back for a couple of years, the Reserva SW will be among the gems of your collection.