--> Cigar Coop: Cigar Review: Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapo Natural

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cigar Review: Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapo Natural

Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapo Natural
If you take a step back and look at the brand portfolio for Tatuaje Cigars, it is quite extensive.  With such a large portfolio, it is only natural for some of the lines to become more popular than others.  In the past few years, one set of Tatuaje lines that has gotten overlooked have been the Cabaiguan lines.  This all changed in January 2012 when Cigar Aficionado named the of the blends - the Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapo Natural as its #7 Cigar of the Year.  When Cigar Aficionado gives you a top ten ranking, there usually is a spike in interest in the line.  I recently sampled the Cabaiguan Guapo Natural  - and this has proven to be one of the hidden gems in the Tatuaje portfolio.

The original Cabaiguan line was introduced as as a milder offering in 2006 by Tatuaje.  That particular blend featured an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper.   The Cabaiguan Guapo is a variation of that blend featuring different wrappers, but the same binder and filler. One was done in a Connecticut Ecuadorian Sol (Ecuadorian Sun Grown) and another was done in Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro.  The idea behind these different wrappers were to "amp up the blend" a bit.  In this assessment, we will explore the Connecticut Ecuadorian Sol offering - the Tatuaje Guapo Natural.

Our assessment will focus on the 46 ring gauge offering of the Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapos - this differs from the one rated by Cigar Aficionado which was a 54 ring gauge.

Blend Profile

For completeness, here is the blend:

Wrapper: Connecticut Ecuadorian Sol (Ecuadorian Sun Grown)
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua”

Vitolas Available

As mentioned, the 54 ring gauge "the Guapos vitola" was the one that achieved the #7 rating.  It also was the original offering of the Guapos.  Since that initial offering, three additional vitolas were added.   The same vitolas are available for the Cabaiguan Guapos Maduro (Connecticut Broadleaf)

Guapos: 5 5/8 x 54
Guapos Rx: 5 1/4  x 50
Guapos 46: 5 5/8 x 46
Guapos Junior: 4 5/8 x 42

Appearance

As mentioned above, we will focus on the Guapos 46 (the 46 ring gauge offering) for this assessment.  The Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapo Natural can be a little difficult to distinguish from the original Cabaiguan.  There are two differences with the Guapo Natural:  1) It has a pig-tail on the cap;  2) There is silver on the band.

Pig-tail cap of the Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapo Natural
The Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper of the Cabaiguan is natural in color and silky.   While there are some visible veins, it is mostly a smooth wrapper.   The cap is highlighted by a pig-tail on it.  Parts of the cigar had packing that felt a little loose with the tobacco, but overall it didn't really affect any of the smoking attributes

The band is a simple one - one par for the course with the Tatuaje line.  It is yellow, white, and silver in color.  All of the fonts are black.  On a yellow background, there is a calligraphy-style C in the middle of the band with the text "Cabaiguan" under it. To the left and right of the "C" are the words "Hand" and "Made" to the left and right respectively.   The top and bottom of the band feature the silver striping unique to the Cabaiguan.  There is also a row of white circles between the silver stripes and the yellow background.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoke, I opted to place a straight cut into the cap of my Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapo.  A lot of times, people will pull the pig-tail cap, but I still prefer a straight cut.  I commenced with the pre-light draw and was treated to an interesting combination wood and pepper to start.  The dry draw notes followed up with some floral and mint notes.   I was intrigued by the Cabaiguan Guapo's pre-light draw flavors, so it was time to fire up my cigar and see what the smoking experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profiles

One thing I have discovered is that a complex flavor profile can take on one of two forms - it can undergo a large amount of flavor transitions and/or it can have a lot of flavor nuances.  The Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapo Natural is the type of complex cigar that is going to subscribe to the latter form.

The start to the Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapo Natural was similar to the pre-light draw.  It started out with some wood and pepper notes in the forefront with the mint and floral flavors as secondary.  About five percent into the smoking experience, some cream notes entered the equation.  It was around this point where the flavors started to mesh together nicely.  The pepper spice faded into the background, but the wood, mint, floral, and cream notes were left to battle for which was the primary note.

The flavor profile would hold for a good part of the smoking experience.   As the smoke crossed the midway point, the spice made a comeback and joined the other notes.  At this point the spice had more of a cedar feel to it.  The spice now entered the equation with all of the other notes mentioned above.   Toward the end, the flavors got a little harsh.  The finish though did have an ideal nub - cool in temperature and firm to the touch.

Burn and Draw

The Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapo Natural scored high in the construction attributes of burn and draw.  At the same time, this proved to be a low maintenance cigar to smoke - in other words, it's a true joy to smoke.  The burn to the Guapo Natural was straight throughout the smoking experience.  It required very little in the way of touch-ups to keep it burning straight.  The burn rate and temperature were ideal (I was a little worried about this based on the fact there was some loose packing on the pre-smoke inspection of the cigar)  The draw was flawless and could not scored better.

Strength and Body

The Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper was intended to amp this cigar a little more from the Connecticut Shade version.  Still this isn't going to be a cigar that is going to overwhelm you with nicotine.   I assessed the strength of the Tatuaje Cabaiguan Guapo Natural to be mild to medium.  As for the flavors, these are going to your classic medium-bodied flavor notes.  In the end, there still is enough depth on the flavors to shine - and this balances very nicely against mild to medium strength of this cigar.

Final Thoughts

This cigar proved not only to be a hidden gem in the Tatuaje line, but was a true home run of a cigar. This is one of the best cigars I have had from Tatuaje.  It proves that Tatuaje can build a cigar in the mild to medium spectrum.   The mild to medium strength of this cigar makes this a perfect cigar to introduce the novice enthusiast to the Tatuaje line. At the same time, the experienced cigar enthusiast will appreciate the nuances in the flavor profile.  Overall, this is the type of cigar that I would purchase again - or consider this for a box purchase.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Mild to Medium
Body: Medium
Finish: Good
Assessment: Memorable
Score: 93

Source: The cigar(s) for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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