I’m keeping a running list of cigars I plan to review in the next few weeks, which, at present, is about 15 cigars long and growing every day (hard life, right?). So I’ve been trying to mix them up as much as possible so I don’t end up doing back to back reviews of “not-my-type” cigars, cigars from the same brand, cigars of comparable strength, etcetera.
My last review was of the Illusione Cruzado, a mellower-than-usual Nicaraguan puro, so I decided to go a different route this week—a super-strong, knock-you-on-your-ass Nicaraguan puro. I promised in my last post that I’d review the Fausto by Tatuaje sometime in the near future, and as it turns out, I had some free time today. So with that, I broke open a box of Fausto FT127 and put one of these purported powerhouse sticks to the test.
The Fausto line is made with extra-dark Nicaraguan Habano wrappers and an all-Nicaraguan filler blend, which I can only assume is mostly ligero, judging from both the strong taste and the colossal buzz I’m recovering from. The stout, robusto-sized FT127 was very well-made, as I’d expect from anything from Tatuaje; the roll was firm from head to foot with no soft spots, the cap was well-applied, and the draw was easy with just the right amount of resistance. The pre-light draw was hair-raisingly peppery with some hints of cocoa, cedar, and tobacco. After a taking few preparatory deep breaths and giving the cigar an intense, showdown-like stare, it was time to light up.
As my torch was recently sent off for warranty repairs (thanks, Xikar!), I slowly toasted the foot of the FT127 with a simple, soft flame Bic lighter. After lighting up, the cigar delivered what was probably the most intense Don Pepin spice blast I’ve ever encountered. This pepper blast raged on for about five minutes or so until it gradually calmed down and gave way to notes of coffee, dark tobacco, and leather. Expecting to have my nostrils scorched, I reluctantly retrohaled and picked up a little bit of brown sugar, along with some of the searing pepper I anticipated, but not too much.
The second third was a bit mellower than the first. The pepper died down to about half its original strength, so I started retrohaling a little more frequently, picking up some fruit sweetness that reminded me of dates or some other dark dried fruit. On the finish, I picked up a black tea note that bounced off of the sweetness nicely. About halfway through the cigar, the 2” ash fell off, remaining somewhat solid despite falling about 5 feet.
For me, the final third was where this cigar really came into its own. The pepper died down almost entirely, bringing the strength down to a surprisingly comfortable mellow-to-medium-bodied. From here on out I got tobacco, coffee, and butterscotch with a finish that started totally clean, almost blank, and turned slightly sweet after about 10 seconds. With about an inch left and no pepper left, it was time to put this stogie down.
Considering how insanely strong the first few minutes of this smoke were, I would have never expected it to mellow out so much by the end. But then again, both Don Pepin and Pete Johnson have been known to have a few tricks up their respective sleeves. If the Fausto FT127 had stayed as strong as it was in the beginning, it probably would’ve knocked me, or any other smoker, for that matter, completely horizontal. But if you can weather a brief storm of pepper, you’re in for a sweet, flavorful, one-of-a-kind smoke that you just might find yourself going back to, once you’ve eaten something and regained your ability to walk and form a complete sentence. I’m sure I’ve said this more than a few times, but here’s to another truly excellent cigar from the Johnson/Garcia team.