Eleven years after debuting onto the premium cigar scene, Tatuaje’s Monster Series—one of the most ambitious limited-edition cigar sagas ever attempted—has come to a close. The series has seen its fair share of plot twists over the years, originally planned to be mirrored by an Actor Series (with cigars named after the actors that most famously represented the monsters in the Monster Series) and the intent for the collection to span 12 years from start to finish, among others.
The latter change involves the 2019 launch of both the Chuck and Tiff cigars, being listed as the 11th and 12th cigars in the 13-piece series, respectively. Both cigars were first released in 2014 as part of Tatuaje’s spinoff Pudgy Monsters collection, where the first six cigars in the Monster Series were offered in short/stout expressions of their full-sized counterparts. But the Pudgy Monsters release also contained two new blends: Chuck and Tiff. These blends would go on to be included in additional spinoffs over the years (Skinny Monsters, Skinny Monsters Cazadores Edition, and Skinny Monsters Lancero Edition), but it wasn’t clear until 2017 as to whether the blends would be included in the primary Monster Series. Most likely due to concerns with impending FDA regulation, Tatuaje owner, Pete Johnson, announced the series’ close at the 2017 IPCPR trade show, showcasing The Michael as the 10th release and announcing Chuck as the 11th, Tiff as the 12th, and The Bride as the 13th release. Skipping the Chuck and Tiff cigars, Johnson released the 13th Monster in 2018, as Chuck and Tiff were planned to be released sans dress box. But Johnson was later persuaded by fans of the series and debuted both cigars in dress (and non-dress) boxes in October 2019.
Tatuaje Monster Series
|The Frank||Connecticut Broadleaf||7⅝” × 49||2008|
|The Drac||Habano Ecuador Maduro||6¾” x 52||2009|
|The Face||Mexican San Andrés||6⅜” × 56||2010|
|The Wolfman||Ecuadorian Sumatra||7½” × 52||2011|
|The Mummy||Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo||7¾” × 47||2012|
|JV13||Connecticut Broadleaf||7½” × 52||2013|
|Jekyll||Ecuadorian Sancti Spiritus||7″ × 49||2014|
|Hyde||Ecuadorian Sumatra||7″ × 49||2015|
|The Krueger||Mexican San Andrés||7¼” × 48||2016|
|The Michael||Ecuadorian Habano||6⅛″ × 52||2017|
|Chuck||Ecuadorian Habano||5⅞” x 52||2019|
|Tiff||Ecuadorian Connecticut||5⅞” x 52||2019|
|The Bride||Connecticut Broadleaf||7⅛” x 48||2018|
Chuck No. 11 Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Limited Edition (2,190 boxes of 10 | 666 boxes of 13)
- Vitola: 5⅞” x 52 (Toro)
- Price: $13.00 (MSRP)
The Chuck cigar features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over all-Nicaraguan binder/fillers. Despite The Michael offering the same stats (at least on paper), Chuck is technically the first Monster cigar to feature such a recipe. Chuck has now been featured in the following formats over the years:
- 4″ x 50 | Pudgy Monsters (2014)
- 6″ x 38 | Skinny Monsters (2016)
- 6⅜” x 43 | Skinny Monsters Cazadores Edition (2017)
- 7½” x 38 | Skinny Monsters Lancero Edition (2017)
- 5⅞” x 52 | Monster Series (2019)
The Chuck packaging is made to be paired with Tiff, with each featuring jigsaw artwork themed around the Child’s Play film series. Additionally, the coffin-style boxes have a tongue-and-groove side that allows the Chuck and Tiff to interconnect, with each box’s artwork being completed when connected. The cigar itself is the shortest full-sized Monster (along with Tiff) in the series, with many of the others hovering around Churchill formats. The cigar appears well-made from the outset, boasting triple-cap construction, minimal veins, and a medium-plus bunch. The wrapper is fairly oily when held to sunlight, having a hue that is nearly maduro in shade.
Chuck’s wrapper shows only light aromas, with notes of tangy musk. On the foot there are notes of cedar, peppercorn, and earth. With a straight cut the toro shows a medium-firm resistance and light flavors of mineral and fresh gardening soil.
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The cigar wastes no time in developing an enjoyable mixture of flavors following ignition. Peppercorn zips through the nostrils, being zesty without crossing the line. There are also loads of sourdough, a very distinct Oreo chocolate, and campfire-like charcoal sensations. This combination makes for a brilliant pairing with bourbon, bringing out more of the toasted wood components and ramped up sweetnesses of vanilla and caramel. The cigar’s first half is rounded out with a darker chocolate note, an exceptional toasted marshmallow sweetness, and cherry lingering in the background.
Chuck shows a much better smoking draw than the pre-light experience, being virtually perfect (perhaps a hair too firm, if anything) and backed by medium bursts of smoke on each puff. The burn is straight, revealing a semi-flakey, dull gray ash—which holds for nearly two inches. Throughout the first half, the cigar is roughly medium-full in flavor, medium in strength, and medium-plus in overall body.
Halfway and beyond, there is a noticeable downturn in flavor output. A punchy spice is followed by an overdose of hardwoods (a combination of charred oak and hickory), being almost barbecue-like when combined. The dark chocolate morphs into a thick Hershey’s syrup, with cinnamon and molasses trailing along into the toro’s final moments.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
It may not be an emphatic yes, but it’s a yes nonetheless. In my opinion, Chuck easily outperformed the only other Ecuadorian Habano-wrapped cigar in the Monster Series (The Michael). In fact, the first half of my smoking experiences with Chuck had me thinking it could be one of the best Monsters to date. But the lackluster second half smoked like a shell of the cigar’s former self. I think it’s worth having a few of these lying around though—age may help to balance this smoke out.
- Chuck and Tiff were released slightly differently than former Monster cigars. While Tatuaje typically offers the bulk of the 666 dress boxes to a new selection of 13 retailers each year (with 31 boxes being shipped to each of the “Unlucky 13” retailers), this year’s release was instead offered to an Unlucky 26, shipping 13 boxes of both the Chuck and Tiff to these stores and reserving the rest for other retailers across the country. This is in addition to the much larger shipment of 10-count non-dress boxes made available to Tatuaje retailers across the country.
- Both Chuck and Tiff show jigsaw puzzle artwork on the dress box’s front, with the various puzzle pieces forming imagery of Chucky and Tiffany (aka the Bride of Chucky). When the two boxes are connected, the two puzzles connect to form one larger image. Pete Johnson indicated to Cigar Dojo that the jigsaw artwork doesn’t have meaning associated with the film franchise—being incorporated simply to allow the two boxes to connect visually.
- While this year’s releases are likely the last new blends in the series, Johnson has stated that the series will go on, most likely running through the 13 cigars in a looped fashion (i.e. the 2020 release is slated to see the return of the original The Frank cigar, etc.).
- Pete Johnson elaborated on the continuation of the Monster Series in an interview with Cigar Dojo at the 2019 IPCPR trade show (seen at roughly the 7:20 mark in the video).
- Technically, there were 700 dress boxes made (differing from the 666 released), as Johnson reserves an additional 34 boxes each year for his personal collection, where they may be used for charity, etc.
- Flavor: Medium-plus
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium-plus
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Rye-based bourbon | Oreos | Trick-or-treating | Child’s Play (1988)
- Purchase Recommendation: 3-pack
- Explosive, highly flavorful first half
- Great draw
- Works very well with bourbon pairing
- Drop off of flavor in second half
- Somewhat short-burning for size and price point