There are brands that are relatively self-explanatory, and then there are the derivative types—such as the Tatuaje Havana VI Verocú Blue—that need a little unwinding to find the narrative. For this cigar, one can trace the origins linearly through the name itself, beginning with “Havana VI.”
Tatuaje’s Havana VI line launched in 2006, only three years after Tatuaje’s own debut. Following the success of the Seleccion de Cazador (or “Brown Label”), company owner, Pete Johnson, sought to add a more affordable accompaniment with the red-banded Havana VI. This was accomplished by moving production to Nicaragua, with the cigar taking on a more mellow intensity (compared to the Brown Label).
The Havana VI line then saw its own spinoff in 2007, releasing the Havana VI Verocú in two sizes, shipping one to East Coast retailers and the other to the West. This cigar was fuller in body than the standard Havana VI, eventually earning a more permanent spot in the Tatuaje lineup (including a larger selection of sizes) in 2015.
The series now expands once more, with Tatuaje unveiling the Tatuaje Havana VI Verocú Blue in two sizes at the 2022 PCA trade show last summer. Said to be under development for four years, the Verocú Blue originally used an Ecuadorian Habano claro wrapper before settling on the shade-grown Corojo ’99 rosado seen on the final product. This tobacco is among the newer varieties from the Garcías’ farms of Nicaragua, only recently having wide enough inventory to be used on larger-scale releases such as this.
Tatuaje Havana VI Verocú Blue No. 1 Breakdown
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 Rosado
Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
Production: Regular Production
Vitola: 6¼” x 52 (Toro)
Price: $12.00 (MSRP)
As with the original Verocú, the Tatuaje Havana VI Verocú Blue debuted in only two formats: No. 1 and No. 2. The cigars make use of the Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 wrapper as the signature ingredient, used alongside all-Nicaraguan binder and filler. As Tatuaje has been known to do from time to time, both cigars in the line are priced the same:
Havana VI Verocú Blue No. 1: 6¼” x 52 | $12 (box of 20, $240 | box of 50, $600)
Havana VI Verocú Blue No. 2: 5½” x 54 | $12 (box of 20, $240 | box of 50, $600)
It’s rare that Tatuaje strays from their well-established, understated look, and the Verocú Blue is no different. The cigar begins with the standard Tatuaje red band, swapping the red of the Verocú sub-band for a new navy blue. With silver and white accents, the overall look is an American red, white, and blue.
The cigar’s feel from the outset is that of a large toro—being longer than usual and (thankfully) not too fat. As expected from the Garcías, the cigar begins with a triple-capped head; this leads into nicely place seams and thin veins throughout the length of the toro. The wrapper has the look of an old leather coat, with dark mottling bleeding in and out of a medium brown base hue. Interestingly, the cigar seems under-filled when squeezed, being much softer than I’m accustomed to from the My Father factory.
The Verocú Blue has a tangy/musky aroma on the wrapper, though the foot is more on the clean side, with subtle notes of cedar and generic terrarium. A pre-light draw gives notes of chestnut, nutmeg, and allspice.
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The Havana VI Verocú Blue No. 1 fires up quickly, bringing out black peppercorn flavors across the palate, while not being particularly fiery through the retrohale. With a bit more time, nutmeg develops, providing a bit more vigor through the nostrils. The smoke is thin in body and somewhat dry in texture, biting the palate with a lingering black pepper and anise. It’s medium in terms of flavor, strength, and body, with a dry woodsy vibe being the driving characteristic.
The cigar creates a flaky ash as it burns, being white with a brown tinge and lasting for about three quarters of an inch. A touchup is needed as the cigar passes the first third, and I can’t help but feel that an under-filled bunch is to blame. Hickory-like smoked woods seem to kick off each puff, with a natural sweetness riding beneath; this is followed by dry roots/stems/licorice through the finish. There’s a vegetal quality to the profile as well, with something along the lines of potato skin bridging the gap of the woody and root-like flavor components.
Passing the midpoint, the cigar shows the first signs of a change in profile, with a funky malted malted note that reminds me of kefir milk. The smoke is largely bitter on the tongue, with the smoke being picked up on the middle and sides of the tongue most noticeably. The natural sweetness from before seems to leave the cigar after the halfway mark, allowing root-like bitterness to run rampant. The profile shifts to something more along the lines of medium in flavor, medium-full in strength, and medium-plus in body, being largely similar in flavor (darkening as it burns) until its eventual conclusion.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I want to say no, considering this was one of the least enjoyable Tatuaje experiences I can recall… but it’s for this very same reason I should probably smoke it again (it’s got to be a dud, right?!). Well, that could very well be; however, I did smoke three different samples for this review, so I don’t exactly feel as though I’m being unfair to the Verocú Blue. I’ll give it a year and see if anything’s changed.
Smoke Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Pairing Recommendation: Root beer | Pour-over coffee | Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale
Purchase Recommendation: Try one
Long burn timeGood draw resistence
Dry smoke textureRoots/stems/anise bitterness is monotonousLack of sweetness passing halfway
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Originally posted on March 3, 2023 @ 6:17 am