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Cigar Sasquatch- Tatuaje Cojonu 2003

26 Jun

Cigar lovers, by their very nature, also often delight in the other gustatory pleasures, including fine foods, beers, wines, and liquors. The Cigar Sasquatch is no exception, and I’ve been privileged recently to experience a number of pinnacle moments in my life as a foodie and connoisseur of fine spirits. In the span of less than a month, I enjoyed the finest steak I’ve ever eaten, the best Bloody Mary I ever drank, and the finest and most expertly prepared piece of bacon (yes, bacon) I’ve ever had (not coincidentally, in the same meal, I also ate the best flapjacks I’ve ever had, too).

I also recently ate the spiciest food I’ve ever eaten.

There are certain spicy foods that I love and can’t get enough of, but for me, spice is adjunct to flavor. Spice for the sake of spice, in my mind, is pointless. But if the flavors are good, and the spice is proportional, then I’m in. So I’ve never been interested in eating the hottest of chili peppers, but I was recently introduced to a particular brand of habenero hot sauce, which, to put it plainly, was so good as to make it worth the heat. In fairness, this particular sauce is blended with ample carrots, vinegar and lime to bring it down to tolerable, though toasty levels. But the flavor…

So, does the flavor live in the sauce, or does it flow from the flesh of the fearsome orange chilis? Curiosity got the better of me, and in the company of (and at the urging of) two of my most trusted associates, I ate my first straight habenero chilis.

The first was grilled over flame and steeped in a soy and lime concoction called ponzu, and the other was left raw. I put on a brave face, poured myself a glass of milk, and I reached for the one in the ponzu. Shockingly, it was spicy. It was spicy the instant I bit down, and is got spicier and spicier by the second. In the interest of savoring the experience, I endeavored to delay drinking the milk, and was rewarded with the same surprisingly subtle flavors I experienced from the hot sauce, though amplified a hundred fold. But I paid a hefty price for that flavor with a deep abiding burn, and the comic side-effect that I instantly got the hiccups.

I’ll admit that I didn’t last very long, less than 20 seconds, before I reached for the milk, but my companions held out much longer. And let me add, the milk helped, but only so much. That’s a burn that stays with you. But soon my hiccups were gone, and before my resolve wavered, I bit into the raw habenero. I wish I could remember more of what happened next. What I do remember is fire, heat, flame and more fire. I remember gargling the milk, then abandoning it in favor of a spoon full of sour cream from the fridge. It dented the heat, but like a freight train, once it gets going, it takes a lot to slow it down.

I’ll withhold from you any discussion of the following morning, and simply say that the habeneros were delicious, and the hottest food I’ve ever eaten, or likely ever will, since I don’t see chomping down on a bhut jolokia any time soon. Instead, I’ll introduce the Tatuaje Cojonu 2003, a large, handsome Toro (6.5×52) blended by Don Jose Pepin Garcia and Pete Johnson, and hand-made in Miami. This Nicaraguan puro gets its spice from the gorgeous Corojo 99 ligero wrapper, and it delivers. The flavors up front are big and bold, with rich oak, white pepper, and loads of spice. By mid-way, it developed a leathery roundness wrapped around the oaky core, with continuing spice and a tangy hint of sweet earth.

The roll is firm and smooth, and the draw from a full cut was tight but rewarding, producing moderate smoke with some heady strength, and burning to a large white double-cone ash. I experienced some burn trouble resulting from a cracked wrapper in the first 3rd, but with some adjustment, it was salvaged, and burned slowly to the nub in just over 90 minutes. By the end, the spice had settled down, and the flavors remained consistent, though deepening and rounding out in complexity.

Overall, this is an excellent cigar that I rate 9.1. It loses some points for burn and wrapper issues, though those may have been unique to me. With box prices in the neighborhood of $275 for 25, this is certainly a luxury cigar, but in this blend, it’s clear to see that Don Pepin and Pete Johnson understand that spice alone is not enough, and they deliver flavor to spare.

Until next time, this is the Cigar Sasquatch saying, “Love what you smoke, and smoke what you love.”

Photo of Tatuaje Cojonu 2003 (6.5x52) cigar on white background

Tatuaje Cojonu 2003 (6.6x52)

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  1. tpaul

    June 26, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    Ha! You were in a wheelchair the next day. Fine review, btw.