As most of you probably know, Tatuaje has been releasing a limited availability cigar each Halloween for the last seven years known as the “Monster” series. The series has been met with not only critical acclaim but popular acclaim as well. This year’s release has been nicknamed “Jekyll” by Tatuaje’s head man, Pete Johnson. The name alludes to the classic 1886 published Robert Lewis Stevenson novella, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Following this same theme path, Johnson plans to make 2015’s Monster No. 8 Jekyll’s BOTL alter ego, Hyde.
The Jekyll is a 7″ x 49 stick with an eye-catching, bulbous, rounded head that recalls the classic Cuban 109 vitola, though slightly smaller in size than that, and is loosely classified as a churchill, though slightly bigger than that. Johnson uses the Ecuadorian Sancti Spiritus leaf as wrapper for the Jekyll, the same that he has previously used and continues to use as wrapper on a number of the cigars from his L’Atelier Cigar lines. The binder and filler are both described as Nicaraguan.
SEE ALSO: Tatuaje Monster Series No. 6—JV13
As with last year’s Monster release, Jason, this cigar breathes fire. The terms, “spicy” or “sharp” doesn’t even come close to describing the opening volley from this cigar. I think the Jekyll is the first cigar I’ve smoked that actually makes my head throb from the sharpness in my sinuses off the retrohale. It’s very much like the feeling of eating something with a big glob of spicy horseradish, where everything behind your eyes gets lit up with an intense fiery ache. The sharpness isn’t limited to the nose either; it travels through my mouth and even into my throat. Flavors? They are present as salty, earthy, chili pepper notes, but deep in the background. The initial draw is well received as even and resistive. The strength is immediately medium-full.
As the cigar continues, the burn gets a bit crooked and the ash starts to bend. This bending of the ash is indicative of the ligero being rolled off center. Jekyll continues to fill my mouth and nose with the same previously-noted oily spice. The finish lengthens to the point where I can still feel the spicy tingle in my nose and back of my throat until each subsequent puff. And being that this cigar is all of medium-full in strength, I have to take plenty of time between puffs (or get the sugar ready). Behind all the strength and sharpness, a bit of a caramel note begins to creep in. Which is nice, as it modulates the Jekyll’s firepower. The ash fell off in a sturdy one inch chunk and, sure enough, the cone was off to one edge of the roll. I also found a few, very small tunnels. None of this mattered though, the cigar smoked just fine with no touch-up needed.
Past the middle of the cigar, the draw opened way up, past the point where I was comfortable. I attributed this to the tunnels at first, but soon it became clear, as the wrapper developed a decent size crack in the wrapper. At this point the sharpness began to fade; still prominent, but less intense. The caramel opened up and finished as a note of honey. Once I burned through the crack, the draw firmed up and the burnline evened out. The strength, however didn’t change, still all of medium-full.
Finally, at the band, the sharpness faded into the background, the caramel and honey took over and it finished with a black pepper flavor. The strength ramped up a bit more and crossed into full strength territory.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
I would, but I wouldn’t seek them out. For me, it would be a nice change of pace cigar from the stuff I smoke on a daily basis. But the balance of strength and sweetness is something not readily found, if you haven’t tried on a Jekyll for yourself, I’d encourage you do just that.
– Until next time, Dojo Mojo, Ya’ll!!
- Good balance of sweetness & strength
- Construction issues