Exiting out of my comfort zone, I went to a place I never thought I would find myself — with a Lancero. A Lancero is, traditionally, a 38 x 7.5″ cigar — long and thin and all together not looking anything like a cigar at all. It’s a skinny Churchill. It’s far too European. Interestingly enough, the Lancero size is one of the most popular sizes in Europe. In America, we think it’s effeminate…in Europe, it’s dignified.
For the Tatuaje Lancero — it’s amazing.
Pete Johnson is the force behind Tatuaje cigars. Since they came into existence, the Tatuaje (TAH-tu-WAH-hey) brand has become synonymous with incredible smokes. Flavor, construction, burn — all remarkable. I’ve had many Tatuaje cigars, and never had a bad experience. But this is my first experience with the Lancero size.
Turns out Johnson is also a huge fan of the Lancero. From a Cigar Aficionado article in 2008, Johnson said of the Lancero:
“Love lanceros…They were part of my original six brown-label sizes five years ago. I was making this in early 2003 when everyone was running from them, except maybe Carlito.”
Carlito is Carlos “Carlito” Fuente, of the Fuente family. That’s good company to be in.
The cigar itself is fairly attractive, a warm, deeper brown. Some prominent veins running through it, but I can’t complain about the construction. The binder and filler are Nicaraguan, while the wrapper is an Ecuadorian Habano. The flavor combination is remarkably smooth, and rather rich. Many comment that the flavors include some leather, mocha and coffee tastes and a bit of pepper. I’m taken at just how much flavor there is, and that is a function of the Lancero size. So much flavor comes from the wrapper, and the Lancero size offers the most wrapper possible. The ash burns a very nice white, but I wasn’t able to get a long ash (which I’m sure has something to do with putting it down ever 10 seconds to write this.)
Much of the enjoyment of a cigar, for me, is how it feels in your hand. The Lancero doesn’t work for me in that regard. It’s just too small in my fingers to rest comfortably. It’s something that I’ll have to get over to smoke this again, because the flavor is just too good. If you are new to cigars, feel free to start here. The more you get into the cigar, the more the flavor you’ll get, but nothing here is too hard to take for the first time smoker. If an experienced smoker, you know how good Tatuaje cigars are. Now, get out of your comfort zone and give the Tatuaje Lancero a try.
No one will look at you funny, and you’ll be too busy enjoying to notice.
It’s good to be writing about something so enjoyable for PJM. As many of you know, I am a proud cigar smoker. More to the point, I don’t believe that grown men and women should be ashamed of the legal things they enjoy. I like a good cigar.
I write about cigars often. For Cigars In Review Magazine, I write about culture and politics. On culture, I write about the experience of a good cigar, the enjoyment of new lounges and locales and the people who partake in cigars. On politics, I write on the growing sickness of the nanny state to regulate cigars, the lies told about the industry and the massive differences between premium cigars and cigarettes. I also do a weekly cigar review on my radio show.
On the Tatler, I write about politics, the Tea Party and the disaster of Statism. On the Lifestyle Blog, I will be writing about cigars, scotch and steaks (depending on how many expense reports I can hand in!) I hope you’ll join me.
Today’s Cigar is the Illusione 888 Maduro. Not a normal cigar for me at all. I usually find comfort in the larger ring gauges – 56, 58, 60. But this is a 48. (The ring gauge refers to the diameter of the cigar. A 48 is 48/64 of an inch.) It’s also a good length at 6 3/4″.
This is a Nicaraguan cigar. Cigars come from all over — Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and, of course, Cuba. I find myself drawn to Nicaraguan cigars. It’s an overall flavor palette that works for me. The Illusione 888 Maduro also really well built. The draw is easy…on its way to effortless. The burn is nice and even, and doesn’t require relighting if somewhat tended to.
But what is working for me on this is the maduro wrapper — a dark, oily wrapper unafraid to show some vein. With the longer, thinner cigars — like a lancero — the flavor of the maduro wrapper has a chance to build in with the rest of the smoke. There is nothing harsh here. However, the maduro is where my comfort zone is, even if the size is not. The ash doesn’t burn a beautiful white, but it produces great smoke, which is something I look for.
If you are just getting into cigar smoking, I don’t recommend this cigar for you. The more you get in to this cigar, the more you feel it — in a wonderful way — but might be too much for someone just starting out. However, if you have a track record of cigars, then this is well worth the smoke. It is more expensive cigar, at $11 a stick (at one of my local shops in LA.) But overall, a great, worthwhile experience.