- Vitola: No. 1
- 5” x 54 ring gauge
- Purchased at Burns Tobacconist
One thing the FDA regulations have done for us is create the feeling in the cigar industry that “what’s old is new.” Old brands have been brought back to life left and right…sometimes in the same factory with the intention of actually recreating the blend, sometimes in a different factory just trying to capitalize on the old name while having nothing in common with the original blend. One of Tatuaje’s new releases this year is a combination of those two approaches.
The Nuevitas Jibaro is one of the only cigars Pete Johnson has worked on that was never made in a Garcia family factory. Originally made in the Tropical factory (Casa Fernandez) in the days when Don Pepin was working with them, the cigar was never picked up for renewal when all the other blends were moved…until Pete started looking at the issue of “predicate blends” under the FDA regime. These fit the predicate model and he knew the old blends and that they could be effectively recreated with the tobaccos the Garcias had at their disposal now.
Nuevitas Jibaro is all Nicaraguan leaf with a Corojo 99 wrapper. It is distinguished from the “Nuevitas Esteli” release (smaller cigar with an inverse band and black instead of orange on the outside of the box) by having a bit of Ligero in the blend and a different priming on the wrapper leaf.
I have smoked about 3 Nuevitas Jibaro No. 1 before this review, along with a couple Nuevitas Esteli and at least one No. 2 (slightly longer, slightly thinner). After trying them all, No. 1 is still my favorite, so I bought an extra one of those for this review.
I’ve had a couple people remark to me that the bands on the Nuevitas and Nuevitas Jibaro releases were “boring” or “bad.” Honestly, though, if you look through the rest of the Tatuaje catalog, I think you’ll find that almost everything with the Tatuaje name on it has always have very minimalist boxes and bands. I assumed it was because they were following the example of the bands on the original release, but apparently the originals had no bands at all. So what they are doing is following the Tatuaje tradition of minimalism in banding…and in that respect, they definitely succeeded. The band has an orange background with white trim, gold foil and emboss in more trim lines and black ink for the type inside the orange. It’s not going to win any packaging awards and in days past it could have easily been lost in a crowded humidor…but Tatuaje buyers know what to look for…this band’s just fine.
The wrapper leaf of the cigar was a medium-roast coffee bean shade of brown with a decent amount of oily shine to it. It felt even more oily and had an aroma that was a mix of earth, leather and pepper. The wrapper leaf stopped short of the foot by about 1/8 of an inch, allowing a little shag of the filler bunch to show. The foot of the cigar had notes of earth and cocoa powder and coffee.
After clipping, I got an excellent test draw and cold flavors of cedar and hay.
Immediate flavors on lighting the Nuevitas Jibaro No. 1 were of cedar and pepper spice, along with undercurrent of hay and mild earthiness. Once the wrapper leaf started burning in concert with the rest, I got a woody note that was more than straight-up cedar, a little sweetness, and a sharper pepper spice on both palate and nose. As I puffed my way through the first third, I got plenty of earth and wood, but also semi-sweet chocolate and dark-roast coffee and leather. The pepper spice provided a steady burn at the back of my palate and on the nose.
As I got into the second third, I noted that the cigar was medium-plus in body and leathery notes had overtaken everything else in the flavor profile. Earth and coffee notes were slightly below and woody notes had dropped precipitously. There was still a low-level pepper burn and the retrohale was nutty with some sweetness and spice.
The last third had a mash up of everything…sweet fruit, semi-sweet chocolate, pepper spice, leather, earth…then lesser notes of wood and nuts. It seemed like every puff had some new combination of some or all of the above.
I had a great draw, even-enough burn line and solid ash up to half an inch.
The price tag of $9 to $9.50 is very reasonable for such a good cigar.
The first time I smoked this I wondered at it being so good…so I smoked another and found it to be every bit as enjoyable. The No. 2 size is almost as good, but it just seems like there is something about the No. 1 that hits my palate just right. It’s complex and just full enough in body to provide a kick without it being too much. I found it to be almost perfect, at least in this moment…and for several other moments when I smoked it. Hopefully this long-lost cigar becomes a permanent part of the Tatuaje portfolio because I can see myself smoking it time and time again.