The Tatuaje ME 2 or ME II or Mexican Experiment II debuted at IPCPR/PAC 2019 in Las Vegas, NV. There were actually two different ME cigars released at the show: the ME I and the ME II. The former is a limited-edition re-release of the Tatuaje Mexican Experiment, which was initially released back in 2012. The ME II, which is an altered version of the Mexican Experiment, containing a bit more spice, is a regular-production release. Pete Johnson goes into further detail about both releases in our interview from IPCPR 2019, which you can see here.
Full disclosure, I purchased two bundles of the original Mexican Experiment back in 2012, so I had rather high expectations for this release. Were my expectations met? Did this blend reach the levels of its predecessor? Were they able to keep the bus going over 50 mph and defuse the bomb? You’ll have to read on to find out.
ME II Toro Breakdown
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5¾″ × 50 (Toro)
- Price: $10.00 (MSRP)
- Belicoso: 5″ x 52 | $10.00 (MSRP) | 15-ct box
- Robusto: 5″ x 54 | $10.00 (MSRP) | 15-ct box
- Toro: 5¾” x 50 | $10.00 (MSRP) | 15-ct box
- Churchill: 6½” x 48 | $10.00 (MSRP) | 15-ct box
I like the original band better. It doesn’t really matter, but the original band (the same band seen on the 2019 re-release) is just more appealing to me. With that being said, Pete could have used torn up post-it notes as the band and I still would have been excited about this cigar.
The Mexican San Andrés wrapper—for which the cigar is named—is deep reddish brown with few visible veins or seams. It has the appearance of an expertly produced cigar. The toro has a soft box-press, which adds a nice feel to the cigar. I am a big fan of the soft box-press.
Click images below for full resolution
The Mexican San Andres wrapper gives off notes of deep earth and barnyard with a little leather. The cold draw tastes of milk chocolate, peppercorn, earth, and leather.
After firing things up I’m hit with an abundance of flavor. The flavor profile was big and chewy right off the bat. Notes of chocolate brownie, leather, and whole peppercorn were the initial stars of the show, and they put on quite a performance. The flavors were exceptionally deep and dense, which made for a fantastic start. After about an inch I started to notice an espresso bitterness that added a whole new layer to the experience. The first third was quite remarkable.
The middle third saw an uptick in both flavor and strength. The flavor reached a status of full, while the strength checked in a tick or two above medium. The chocolate note took on some bitterness as it shifted to more of a dark chocolate. The overall profile lost a bit of its sweetness, while the black pepper spice picked up on the tongue and on the retrohale. At the midpoint, a wonderfully earthy brown sugar note appeared and took things from remarkable to sublime. I actually had to remind myself to not smoke too fast.
The final third brought on more of an earthy profile as the sweetness took a slight step back. The peppercorn spice picked up as well, as the cigar came to a close. If I had another cigar with me at the time, I would have used the burning embers of the cigar’s nub to fire up the next victim.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Yes! I split a box with a buddy and I’m about ready to buy another. Thankfully, Tatuaje went regular-production this time around.
- Mexican Experiment (2019) is limited to 1,000 bundles of each vitola (four of the original five sizes have been made available).
- The Tatuaje TAA 51th is the same blend as the ME I (marking the fifth size recreated from the original ME release).
- All four vitolas of the ME II have the same MSRP of $10 per stick.
- I know it’s early, but this cigar has a shot at being my top smoke of 2019.
- Flavor: Full
- Strength: Medium-plus
- Body: Medium-plus
- Chocolate brownie
- Black peppercorn
- Deep earth
- Brown sugar
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Flor de Caña 12-year rum | Espresso | Founders Breakfast Stout | Jefferson’s Reserve Old Rum Cask Finish
- Purchase Recommendation: Buy them by the box—I already have and will continue to do so
I ask a lot from the cigars I smoke. I think we all do. We ask for good construction and combustion. We look for a smooth draw with well-packed tobacco. We ask for complexity and balance of flavor.
That’s a lot to ask. We’re a bit demanding.
Why does this matter? It matters because these are the things we have in our heads before we put flame to tobacco. It matters because we are not easy to please.
Okay, I’ll speak for myself. I am not easy to please. On top of that I had very high expectations of this cigar based on my previous experiences. The deck was stacked against the ME II. It was far more likely to disappoint and not meet these lofty expectations, but sometimes we are reminded that, when a blender really knows tobacco, wondrous things can happen!
The Tatuaje ME II will probably have a spot in my personal Top 15 Cigars of 2019 list. It may have a spot in the top half of that list—it was THAT good. It was so good that I’ve smoked four more since I took my notes for this review. It has just about everything I ask for from a cigar—at least in its price range, which, at $10, is more than fair, in my opinion.
- Flavor for days
- Supremely complex and well-balanced
- Consistent performance
- Nothing substantial enough to list