Pete Johnson’s Tatuaje La Verite project brings a unique approach to blending a cigar that takes a page from the wine industry. The idea behind La Verite was to showcase the rich soil of the Garcia family’s La Estrella farm in Esteli, Nicaragua by using all tobaccos harvested from the farm during one single year to produce a small batch cigar. Also a bit different is the aging process used in these cigars, as they are aged for one year in cigar form, rather than in bales, prior to release. The La Verite Vintage 2009 blend is the second in the series, using single-farm tobaccos from the 2009 harvest, and was released in 2010 to great industry acclaim. Today I pulled out a sample of the 2009 Churchill vitola, curious to see how this rare stogie had developed with a couple extra years of age on it.
The wrapper on the cigar was brown in color with darker brown splotches scattered throughout, and was fairly oily with some pronounced veins. The construction was super-solid, as I’ve come to expect from cigars produced at the My Father factory. The pre-light draw was nice and open, but didn’t offer much taste other than a vague baking spice. It was time to get toastin’.
The cigar opened up with notes of black pepper, espresso, graham, and a heavy baking spice flavor. The smoke was smooth and spicy, and every now and then I caught just a slight taste of anise in the background during the first inch or so of the smoke. Right out of the gate this stogie was showing its complexity, and burning picture-perfect.
In the second 3rd, the profile transitioned into a much creamier and relaxed taste, with the pepper coming across far more subtle, and way less spicy. The flavors were nicely layered here, and I began to pick up notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, dried dark fruit, and a bit of malty, honey sweetness. Even with all the distinct tasting notes popping up, there was an ever-present earthy tobacco taste, which was really nice. I had amassed a tight two-inch-plus ash by this point, and the burn and draw were still flawless.
During the last third, this stick really shined the most, in my opinion. Here the smoke was super-smooth, sweet, thick, and chewy. The creaminess was offset perfectly by a natural, savory tobacco spice, and just the right amount of black pepper. As I neared the final inch of the cigar it continued to burn evenly, cool, and without issue. After a lasting finish I finally put the nub down for the count.
I have to say that the Tatuaje La Verite Vintage 2009 Churchill is a very well-thought-out cigar in terms of taste, performance, and body. While billed as medium-to-full, at no point did I feel overwhelmed by the strength of this stogie, and instead found it to be well-balanced and relaxing throughout. Needless to say, this stick was pretty complex, and had a lot going on flavor-wise, which is always a plus in my book. The La Verite Vintage 2009 Churchill is an anomaly in the cigar world, as a high-end smoke that actually brings ample flavor and quality to the table to justify its top-shelf price-tag. I’m thinking of tucking a couple of these away for awhile, as the blend, like a fine wine, seems designed to improve with age. I recommend this one for those with an experienced palate, or anyone trying to hone their palate, as there is a lot to digest here. Also, this would make for a kick-ass “special-occasion” cigar. My final verdict is an A grade, and I’m thinking with a couple more years of age it’ll be more like an A++. Kudos to Mr. Johnson and Jaime Garcia for giving us another exceptional smoke.
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