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…
- 6.5” x 52 ring gauge
The Cojonu releases from Tatuaje are meant to be a stronger, more intense version of the original Selección de Cazador…commonly known as the “Brown Label.” There have been 5 releases of Cojonu cigars, basically every 3 years from 2003 to 2012…2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012. There was also a Gran Cojonu release without a year and it’s worth noting that the 2012 came in 3 wrapper selections, so before now there were actually 8 different Cojonu cigars…and this makes 9. Going back to the original release, this version replaces the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with a Connecticut Broadleaf, which could make an already “ballsy” cigar even stronger, but should also add more sweetness into the mix.
I am pairing this today with a beer I found at McScrooge’s in Knoxville, Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo Marron, a wood-aged brown ale. This is a 12% ABV beer and the company’s website has this info:
An unfiltered, unfettered, unprecedented brown ale aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels. The caramel and vanilla complexity unique to this beer comes from the exotic Paraguayan Palo Santo wood from which these tanks were crafted. Palo Santo means “holy tree,” and its wood has been used in South American wine-making communities.
The beer had a thick, creamy, long-lasting head like a stout, though when I took a sip, it was decidedly different flavor, with a pronounced bitter coffee note, followed by malty sweetness that had notes of vanilla and wood mixed in.
The cigar opened up with lots of cedar and wet earth notes, punctuated by a heavy cocoa note on the back end and a sharp peppery nasal blast. The sweeter notes of the Broadleaf wrapper were subdued here with the slightly larger ring gauge and stronger filler tobacco, making for an excellent pairing with the beer and it’s fantastic bitter and sweet balancing act.
- 5.5” x 50 ring gauge
The Regios is one of two vitolas included in the Broadleaf Collection that previously shipped separately (the other being the Noellas, one of my all-time favorite cigars). I decided to pair this long Robusto with a beer that I had never had before…in a style that I’ve never had before…Coffee Kolsch by Adventurous Stranger. According to Wikipedia, kolsch is:
It is a clear, top-fermented beer with a bright, straw-yellow hue similar to other beers brewed from mainly Pilsener malt.
The beer is made by Campanology Brewing in Waunakee, Wisconsin. I took a sip of the beer before lighting up the cigar to see how it tasted on its own. It had a crisp front-end like a Pilsner, with extra sweetness in the middle and a finish that definitely showed off the coffee that was introduced into the brewing process. At 5.3% alcohol it seemed a very good beer to enjoy on a warm spring day with the sun shining bright…but how would it go with the cigar?
The Regios lit up sweet and chocolatey, with an underlying earthiness and a touch of pepper, exactly how I remembered it…and how I love it. While the beer was a little light to go with a medium-to-full-bodied cigar, the flavor interplay was very nice, with the sweet, almost citrus, notes of the beer complimenting the chocolate notes in the cigar very well.
While this was the inspired kind of pairing I had with the Especiales Reserva Broadleaf and Guru Gish Milk Stout, it was very nice and appropriate to the weather…and it showed me how just a little subtle sweetness in a beer can work to make it pair well with a good Maduro cigar.
One piece of good news…within the next month of two, Tatuaje is going to allow the 10 Broadleaf Collection vitolas to be ordered individually. That means your shop can order a few sizes they think will do well, while another shop can order different sizes, etc. I’m looking forward to getting more of the Especiales Broadleaf and trying a couple other different sizes.