Last year at the IPCPR trade show, Tatuaje Cigars announced that they were releasing a “Broadleaf Collection” box that would have 10 each of 10 different cigars, all originally Brown Label vitolas, all of them wrapped in his “Reserva” Connecticut Broadleaf instead of the normal Ecuador Habano (or “Reserva” Ecuador Habano, in some cases). It included the original Brown Label line, as well as some other releases like the Cojonu 2003 and K222. Also of note is that a few of the sizes from the original line had previously been released with Broadleaf, like the Regios, Noellas, and 7th. The Regios and Noellas are no longer available in the 25-count boxes they shipped in for a couple years, but the 7th Reserva Broadleaf is still a regular item…and is not part of this collection.
All of the cigars packed inside the massive box use Nicaraguan fillers and binders…along with the Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper.
We got a single master box in at Burns right before the big Tatuaje tour event in March. The plan was that if we couldn’t find a buyer, we would price each stick accordingly and sell singles…but we found a buyer. He was very generous and gave me a few sticks out of the box. I decided to record some of my thoughts on them. I’m breaking this up into two posts of two cigars each…
- 7.5” x 38 ring gauge
If you’ve had a Maduro Tatuaje before, I won’t need to describe how it looks, but here goes: dark, rich, oily wrapper the color of dark chocolate and redolent with the aroma of wet earth and espresso beans. Everything else in the collection pretty much looks the same. I chose the Especiales to start off this look at the box because I’ve loved Lanceros for a long time and this particular stick was one that I was really looking forward to. I actually got two of these and already smoked one, so I know how good it is without even putting fire to it.
I decided to do something really unusual and pair a true craft beer with this cigar. My co-worker, KJ, gave me a Guru Gish Milk Stout by Mantra Artisan Ales. The bottle describes it as “a smooth, rich milk stout brewed with caramel, vanilla, peanut flavoring, and a whole lot of love. This beer tastes like a rich decadent candy bar. Perfect for a cold night by a warm fire with family and friends.” Also perfect to go with this Broadleaf Beauty I’m about to burn.
With the description, I had to take a sip of the beer first…and the description was 100% true. Heavy on the caramel and peanuts, with the whole experience mimicking chocolate very well.
The cigar started out a little tight on the draw, although the flavor was what I expected: sweet, earthy, a little spicy…and really full-bodied.
That assessment didn’t really change throughout. It continued with the rich, sweet earthiness and the draw was tight throughout. Sadly, that’s the danger with Lanceros. I ended up smoking almost all of it standing up as a torrential downpour started up and the wind blew the rain in sideways onto the porch. I wasn’t going to miss out on this amazing cigar and beer pairing, though. It is possible that this was the best beer and cigar pairing in the history of such pairings…practically like eating a Snickers bar the whole time. Great for those of us that enjoy a proper Maduro.
- 5.875” x 52 ring gauge
The K222 size is the latest addition to the Brown Label line, named after Pete Johnson’s late dog, Kona, and the time he died…2:22. Pete told me at the event that he had several instances of 222 popping up in his life recently, including the time he went to Hawaii to do a launch party for this new vitola. His reservation got messed up somehow and they changed him to a different room: 222.
I have had a couple of the K222s and found them good, though not really my thing overall. I like the regular Brown Label and I love the Reserva Broadleaf variants, but I’m not partial to the Reserva versions that are simply a different priming of Ecuador Habano. I had high hopes that this version would be “my thing.”
The fired up the cigar and immediately got a strongly earthy flavor profile. With the Especiales, the blend is fairly dominated by the sweetness of the wrapper, but in this ring gauge, the sweetness is more of an accenting note surrounded by tons of earth and a moderate amount of pepper spice. I paired this cigar with some Charred Oak Rye Whiskey that I picked up in the bargain bin at a Knoxville liquor store…and I will have a full review of it at a later date.
This pairing worked pretty well. The rye had a lower amount of sweetness than a typical Bourbon, which worked well with the lower sweetness in this K222 Broadleaf. All in all, though, I have say that this cigar was not as good to me as the smaller ring gauge versions of the Broadleaf collection (Noellas and Especiales, in particular) and the whiskey was not as good to me as most Bourbons.