Chuck and Tiff made their first appearances as full-fledged Monster cigars at this summer’s IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas. The two cigars are one of three sub-series within the full, 13-part collection: The Frank and The Bride, Jekyll and Hyde, and Chuck and Tiff (although there could also be an argument made for the JV13 and The Krueger). The cigars then made their way to retailers throughout the month of October.
In Cigar Dojo’s review of Chuck No. 11, I wrote regarding the Monster Series’ close:
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||Ecuadoran Sumatra||7½” × 52||2011|
|The Mummy||Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo||7¾” × 47||2012|
|JV13||Connecticut Broadleaf||7½” × 52||2013|
|Jekyll||Ecuadoran Sancti Spiritus||7″ × 49||2014|
|Hyde||Ecuadoran 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|
Tiff No. 12 Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- 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 Tiff cigar is a unique offering in the Monster Series in that it is the only Connecticut-style blend offered. The toro-sized cigar features an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over a binder/filler recipe of all-Nicaraguan leaves (a statistic shared by all Monster cigars).
Tiff 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)
Tiff’s packaging is made to be paired with Chuck, 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 Chuck) in the series, with many of the others hovering around Churchill formats. Like other Connecticut-wrapped offerings from Tatuaje (a considerably small collection), Tiff’s cover is darker than conventional shade-grown Connecticuts. The leaf is pale and free of oils, with a slight mottling of darker tones giving an overall bronze-hued appearance. Complete with thin veins, tightly placed seams, and a triple cap, Tiff is a very attractive cigar. My only word of warning is that the leaf seems to be extremely thin and can damage easily if care isn’t taken.
The cigar’s pale wrapper shows rewarding aromas of citrus, musk, lemon grass, and barnyard hay. The open foot brings notes of cedar and ginger cookies, and the pre-light draw (which is slightly too loose) offers an enjoyable concoction of suede leather, browned butter, and added hay flavors.
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Tiff lights up with an expected grassy beginning, showing little to no spice through the nostrils. The smoke across the palate is soft in texture, bringing a sweet sensation of vanilla-caramel candy (à la Storck Werther’s Original Vanilla Crème Soft Caramels). The grass flavor is soon joined by barnyard hay and an ever-so-slight pinching of spice through the retrohale. These conventional Connecticut-style flavors seem to lead the charge through the cigar’s first third, being backed by the aforementioned sweetness, shown almost exclusively through the finish.
Thankfully, the loose pre-light draw firms up as the smoke starts flowing, being nearly perfect (perhaps even slightly too firm) during the smoking draw. There is a medium-light to medium amount of smoke on each puff, with a slightly wavy burn line revealing a white and lightly flakey ash. And though the flavor profile is delicate, it could be pegged as near-full (at least compared to other Connecticuts). This is accompanied by a medium-light strength and medium body overall.
Still in the cigar’s first third, the profile accumulates flavors of sage (through the retrohale), citrus, caramel taffy, and browned butter (primarily on the finish). The silky smoke weaves its way across the palate, primarily striking the tongue upfront in the salt and sweet regions; it then climbs and lingers on the bitter and acidic tastebud regions, being extremely balanced overall. The balanced and mouthwatering smoke serves as the cigar’s best selling point thus far, offering a long and complex retrohale of cashews, salted butter, and a slight pinch of nostril-zinging horseradish.
At the halfway point and beyond, there is a unique buttermilk sourness that pairs nicely with the cigar’s saltiness, eventually rising to overtake it. Anise, earth, and root-like notes then come into play, signaling a darker performance that leads into the finale. This is not the sort of dark profile that can seem harsh, as many cigars tend to do, instead remaining enjoyable until the very end. Time must be taken throughout the final stretch though, ensuring the cigar doesn’t become hot and acrid. The sourness is joined by roasted nuts, anise, and wild botanicals as the cigar comes to a close.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Assuming I can get my hands on some, I’d gladly smoke more Tiff. This was a very flavorful cigar with an impressive level of balance throughout. Tiff stands out as one of the most unique cigars in the Monster Series, as well as being one of the most memorable Connecticuts in Tatuaje’s small collection of Connecticut offerings.
- 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.
- Tiff is one of only two cigars themed around a female monster in the Monster Series, with Tiff and The Bride being the last cigars of the 13.
- Flavor: Medium-full
- Strength: Medium-light
- Body: Medium
- Salted butter
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Wheatwine ale | White Russian | Oolong tea | Trick-or-treating | Bride of Chucky (1998)
- Purchase Recommendation: 5–10 cigars
- Impressive balance of salt and sweetness
- Silky, mouthwatering smoke texture
- Caters to high levels of flavor over strength or body
- Buttermilk sourness could be too much for some
- Short smoking time considering size and price