The Tatuaje SWAM 5th Anniversary cigar was made for Shiroma’s Wine and More located in Hawaii, hence the abbreviation of “SWAM”. To celebrate the store’s 5th year in business, Mark and Jill asked Pete Johnson if they could get a small limited production release made. As far as I know, this is probably the smallest limited edition batch made by Pete to date. The total quantity was only 200 cigars and sold in 5 packs. According to the description on the packaging, it says these are “6.25 x 54″ with a “touch more ligero in the blend”.
Knowing that the blend was supposedly based on the Exclusivo Lado Occidental (Verocu West Side), I pulled one of those out along with an ELO1 which was made for New Havana Cigars. The sizes are essentially the same including the measurement of the ring gauge. According to Mark from Shiroma, it was a typo on the packaging and the blend is in fact, identical to a Verocu West Side. The 200 production count are “extras” from the Verocu West Side run but rebanded with a SWAM 5th Anniversary logo.
Tatuaje SWAM 5th Anniversary
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Cafe Rosado Oscuro
Size: 6 1/4 x 52
Time in Humidor: 400 days
Smoke Time: 1hr 45min
The wrapper has a rich oily chocolaty appearance and just looks delicious. I only noticed one or two veins running the length of the cigar and the wrapper wasn’t that toothy. I found the triple cap to be well constructed and seamless (although visible) and the Tatuaje SWAM 5th Anniversary has a firm feel with a slight give when squeezed. The cigar has some good solid weight and feels balanced in my hand. The band is on the foot of the cigar and came off very easily. Personally, I think the packaging was simple but it had a good presentation. I don’t put too much weight on packaging as more of the emphasis is on the cigar itself. Works for me.
One of the cigars for the review, it took a bit more effort to make a cut. Some tobacco came loose from the head but nothing that affected the review. The cold draw was semi tight but I do expect it to open up once I light the cigar which went well. The burn was almost razor sharp and the draw did eventually open up nicely. I noticed that the smoke was constant similar to a velvety rope dancing in the gentle breeze. The ash was most impressive, solid and white, lasting for an inch or so before dropping.
The wrapper has a delicious aroma of cedar and spice but it’s all rounded with some sweet undertones. The aroma on the foot goes up another notch reminding me of dark chocolate and cedar. On the initial draw, it was one of the best that I’ve had in a while. There were notes of cedar, chocolate with a smooth peppery finish. Better yet, every flavor has a hint of an underlying sweetness. In the first third, there is a mix of cocoa, wood and even some leather at times with a chewy texture. The finish is peppery but not strong at all. This is a solid medium with an above average amount of complexity.
The second part continues nicely, I’m picking up some molasses, leather and nuts on almost every draw. The retrohale still has a peppery bite and the finish is semi-sweet with cedar. The strength isn’t overpowering staying at a solid medium moving up a few notches not yet a full bodied cigar.
In the last third the flavors feel a bit toasty and a chalkiness to it. I’m really liking the cigar as it’s very enjoyable. While the cocoa was there, I did notice some slight cherry notes which did catch me off guard. I didn’t notice any bitterness at all which was pleasant. By the time I reached the end, this cigar could be categorized as a strong medium or full.
- The construction on the Tatuaje SWAM 5th Anniversary was impeccable and the flavor was very enjoyable to say the least. I didn’t favor any section of the cigar because it varied enough and kept my attention throughout the review. However, the most unique part would have been the last third but not necessarily levels better than the other two parts.
- As far as the story goes, these may have been from the original release back in 2007 which would put almost 5 years of age on them but I’ll need to confirm this again with Mark.
- For me, I find the Verocu line really enjoyable and this cigar is no exception At $10 dollars a cigar, this was a fair price even though it’s exactly the same as the No. 1 (West Side). It lasts just over 1hr 40 min and there isn’t much to complain about in regards to the construction or flavors. And that’s all I typically ask of the cigar.
- If it were possible, I would buy more of the Verocu No. 1 or even the ELO1 that New Havana Cigar was selling a year ago. At this point, I don’t have nearly enough to smoke them on a regular occurrence.
- This cigar isn’t available for purchase from Shiroma’s Wine and More, however you might be able to find some Tatuaje Exclusive Lado Occidentals (Verocu No. 1/West Side) on the secondary market. Expect to pay a premium for them if you decide to locate them. I personally wouldn’t purchase anymore with a 30-50% mark up. ($13-$17). Tatuaje also makes the Havana VI blend which is essentially the same, EXCEPT the wrapper isn’t oscuro and there isn’t as much ligero (provides more “kick”) in it.