The J21 Reserva is a cigar that I have always remembered enjoying especially when they were within 6 months of the box date. Lately, I’ve been going through the humidor and revisiting cigar that have some “rest” or “age” on them and decided to smoke some J21s from 2007 and 2010 to see how they have been coming along. I plan to follow up this “Redux” with a review of the Tatuaje J21 Reserva from a recent box date in order to give a comparison showing what a few years can do for a cigar.
Tatuaje J21 Reserva Redux
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
Size: 5 x 50
Days in Humidor: 750
Smoke Time: 1 hr 35min
Location: Tobacco Haven
I did notice that the wrapper of the 2010 was a shade or two darker than the 2007 and 2011. The wrapper is very toothy and has a few prominent veins which can easily be felt when running your hand over them. The J21 Reserva has multiple dark spots throughout which I find pleasing to the eye. The cigar feels well rolled as there are no soft spots though the triple cap is typical from Tatuaje. The J21 Reserva has double bands comprised of the brown label and “Reserva” label which is similar to the Cojonu 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012. It definitely feels heavy for the size. Lastly, the wrapper wasn’t damaged when I removed the bands during the review which is a plus in my opinion.
The cut across the head was average and did I notice part of the cap coming off as well. Lighting the cigar was very good and even across the foot. I’m happy so far with my experience with the J21 Reserva. The burn was wavy and I did apply multiple touch ups while reviewing the cigar and in doing so, prevented the wrapper from getting a below average burn. I definitely loved the draw on this cigar. I’m not a fan of airy cigars as those burn faster nor cigars that have a tight roll because it takes away from the experience. The draw on the Tatuaje J21 Reserva was exactly where I wanted it to be. The smoke was sporadic, inconsistent in the sense that sometimes there was a steady stream and other times it was not giving off any smoke. The ash was slightly flaky with a light gray appearance lasting about an inch or so.
The aroma on the J21 is very faint, maybe just a touch of spice and tobacco, but nothing more. The initial draw was earthy and spicy. The first third started off with some leather and pepper on the finish. However, there were some sweet flavors similar to sweetened tea. The notes vary but has a nice balance. The cigar feels like a solid medium right now entering the second third.
In the second third, I can tell the cigar feels a bit more mellow than when it first was released. While the flavors are smoother, I think certain notes aren’t as prominent. The pepper feels a tingling sensation on the tongue. I’m still getting some of the sweetened tea and caramel notes along with wood and espresso. I can’t help but think some of the flavors are very subtle and sporadic making it harder to pick them up. In the last third, some of the sweeter notes are fading fast though I’m tasting charred wood, some coffee and pepper on the finish.
- For the review, I smoked a couple of the J21 Reservas from 2010 and a few more from 2007. This review is based strictly on the 2010 release. However, my experiences with both years were very similar as I noticed the flavor profile wasn’t nearly as strong. With a few years on them, of course the flavors will mellow out, but in my opinion, this isn’t a good thing as those flavors (honey/sweet tea) were already subtle to begin with.
- The J21 Reserva is still one of my favorite cigars from Tatuaje, but from my recent experiences, I think these don’t age as well as I thought they would.
- The strength on these has diminished a bit though I would still consider them a medium plus to just shy of a solid full. The flavor complexity is still there but the notes aren’t as prominent.
- I still think this is a cigar that needs to be tried. These smoke and taste very well within a year of “rest” and anything after that is really up to your preference. The J21 Reservas is easily worthy of a five pack and a box if you enjoy smoking them on a consistent basis
- My scoring is based on a cigar that has a little over 2 years of rest of them. The experience is not the same as one that is smoked within 6 months of the box date. While I will be following up with a review for that, I can tell you that a more recent box date would have scored higher.