Henry Clay Tattoo | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Hand-selected Dark Connecticut Broadleaf Vintage 2010
Binder: Dominican Piloto Vintage 2010
Filler: Dominican Olor Vintage 2012, Dominican Piloto Vintage 2012, Nicaraguan Criollo Ometepe Vintage 2013
Size: 6 x 54 “Toro – Box Pressed”
Body: Full
Price: $9.00 MSRP

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Today we take a look at the new Henry Clay Tattoo.
I want to thank Eric Anderson for this kind gift .

BACKGROUND:
The cigar blend debuted at the 2015 IPCPR trade show.
Factory: Tabacalera de García.
This is a major joint venture between Altadis USA and Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars fame.
A limited production run of only 50,000 cigars.

Note: A lot of reviews say the size is 6 x 52. But the Henry Clay web site says it is a 6 x 54 size. I will go with Henry Clay.

From the Henry Clay web site:
“From his years in the industry, to creating his own cigars, industry legend Pete Johnson has always enjoyed a special appreciation for Henry Clay. He long desired to work with Altadis U.S.A., the makers of Henry Clay and their famed team of master blenders – The Grupo de Maestros. Now that time has arrived.

“Henry Clay Tattoo expresses the soul of Henry Clay in a fuller-bodied and robust cigar that pairs an oily, dark brown Connecticut Broadleaf Vintage 2010 wrapper to flavorful Dominican and spicy Nicaraguan fillers. The excellent smoke blends new and old, with handcrafted cigars capped with a rustic pigtail twist and stylish black packaging that is sure to stand out in even the most discerning humidor.”

DESCRIPTION:
In the shadows, the cigar is dark and foreboding. Almost charcoal black. In some light, it sparkles with oiliness and sheen. The color morphs to a tri-colored coffee bean/caramel/Colorado color.

A very rustic looking cigar. Lots of tooth. Seams are tight. Lots of veins running this way and that. The cigar has a soft box press. I have two sticks. One is solid as a rock. The other has some soft spots.

The nicely applied triple cap has a limp weenie of a pig tail atop the cap. Makes me thing of every morning of my later years.

3

The double cigar band presentation is nice. The Henry Clay band is typical until you turn it to see some filigree. The secondary band says “TATTOO but in the shadows is Pete Johnson’s signature barely visible along with Henry Clay written on the other side of TATTOO. Had to remove the band to see this.

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AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell a very nice clean aroma along with sweetness, cedar, cocoa, and that’s it.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell strong barnyard, dark baking cocoa, spice, sweetness, dried fruit, and then a delayed double sneeze from the pepper, espresso, creaminess, citrus, and cedar.
The cold draw presents flavors of grapefruit, cocoa, spice, sweetness, dried fruit, cedar, coffee, and very earthy tobacco notes.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is good.
I’ve been using the method of lighting the perimeter of the foot instead of the foot itself. Merely lighting a 16th of an inch of wrapper around the cigar’s foot and thus giving me a perfect char line.

But I’ve been amazed at how many cigars are rolled poorly. Noticeable when this method doesn’t work even though I’m diligent to a fault. Runs occur not because of you but rather, due to the lousy rolling. I finally feel vindicated because runs in the char line have made me feel guilty that I did something wrong when all along it was the fault of the roller.
I spend nearly 5 minutes giving the foot a razor sharp burn line with laser accuracy and now I have a perfect char line with the burn going inward instead of outwards.

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Flavors bomb my palate immediately: Chocolate, Red Hot pepper, grapefruit, nuts, toasty, black raisins, sweet cedar, and meaty.
Very nice start.

The grapefruit is a wonderful counterpunch to all of the sweetness coming forth.
This is going to be a good run. My bones tell me so.
The strength is medium body.
The Henry Clay Tattoo is on a slow roll. Taking its time.

I get a major run in the burn line. I must stop it in its tracks by charring the poor wrapper and allowing the cigar to sit for a while until the canoe cools down. Now after a perfect char line to start, I blame this on the rollers; not me. This will decimate my rating if I have to fight this dilemma from here onward.

The new fix to the char line seems to have worked. I allowed it to rest for a few minutes giving the rest of the char line to catch up and the canoe to cool down. Fingers crossed.

7

I’m having a hard time adjusting to the slow roll. I’ve got 1/2’” to go before I hit the second third and I’ve got 35 minutes of smoke time. I believe this reinforces that Henry Clay is right about the ring gauge being 54 and not the 52 ring gauge so many reviewers are reporting. Although, it could have been a mistake in the press release. I wouldn’t know because I did not get one. Poor Katman.

Speaking of which, I sent a link to my review of the El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company to Nicholas Melillo and…no response. It’s OK. He’s a kid. And hasn’t learned his manners yet. LOL.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is over 40 minutes. I think I will need a lunch break to finish this review.
Remember when I was a funny guy? Me too.

Here they are in all their glory: Cocoa, spiciness, creaminess, nuts, toasty, Chocolate Malt, Coffee Malt, Flaked Wheat Malt, Rye Malt, Vienna Malt and Mild Ale Malt (See Malt Chart), citrus (grapefruit is gone and lemon has taken its place), meaty, raisins, sweet cedar, and rich tobacco notes.

8third

New flavor: Caramel. Sweet and gooey. Like me.
Something else….I take a sip of water, I smack my lips, I squint my eyes. Damn it. WTF? (I find it amazing that I’ve used a TV remote to try and light my cigars but disseminating flavors has still been retained). It’s meaty. Smoky. It is some sort of wood.

I got it!! Apple wood. “Slightly sweet but denser, fruity smoke flavor.” I found a Wood Flavor Smoking web site with different woods used for smoking meat and it has a very comprehensive list. I can taste wood influenced by ripe, tart apple. More so the skin than the flesh.
Wow. I really pulled that one out of my ass.

Another major touch up is required for the burn line. Nicht gut. Time to cool out.
OK. Back to the Henry Clay Tattoo.
Strength remains at medium body.

9

The apple flavor becomes strong. It wipes out the citrus element completely. It is close to tasting like apple juice. Very intense. The palate is a strange animal.

The Henry Clay Tattoo is a very nice blend. But so far, it falls short of what I expect from Pete Johnson. There are some unusual flavors. But no complexity. The balance is OK. The finish is nice and long.

HALFWAY POINT:
Smoke time is 55 minutes.
Some complexity begins to form. The balance is so so. The finish is long.
Flavors are somewhat muted now. Their boldness is gone…for the moment I hope.

The apple element has moved to the back of the line leaving: Chocolate, creaminess, spiciness, malt, nuts, toastiness, meaty, coffee, and lemon citrus left.

10half

For a cigar that is a limited run, every online store carries them. None of the usual suspects where you can use a promo code carry them though. But the list is: JR, CI, Neptune, and Anthony’s Cigar Emporium. The best price is from A.C.E has the best price at $8 a stick. CI follows with $8.50. And the rest are going for MSRP. And of course, JR is selling them for 50¢ above MSRP.

But if CI has them, you can bet they will be on Cbid and idiots will over bid them until the supply is depleted.
Spiciness gets a kick in the pants. It emboldens the rest of the flavor list. My tongue and lips burn and my nose is running.

Finally. Some really decent complexity! Great balance, at last. The finish is long and chewy.
The entire original list from the first half is back; including the apple wood.
The Henry Clay Tattoo seems a bit Schizo. Not sure if it is coming or going.

If the Henry Clay Tattoo had started this way and continued on an upward trajectory it would have gotten a much higher score than I am prepared to give it. Especially with the burn issues. But for the moment, those char line problems seem to be in check.

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I friggin jinxed it. Major touch up required. I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. Or the keys on my laptop silent.
Strength moves to medium/full. How strange. The Henry Clay web site claims that this cigar is full bodied. But at this gait, it won’t get there til the last third.

I’ve smoked my share of Henry Clay cigars and I consider them Old School blends requiring lots of humidor time. But with Pete Johnson running interference (Go Packers) for the company, the Henry Clay Tattoo has a New Breed feel. Little humidor time is needed.

What a shame. The Henry Clay Tattoo is now a boomer. Great concoction. If only had started this way…and maintained its integrity throughout.
As far as I’m concerned, the cigar is poorly rolled; hence the char line issues.

I remember now…alert the media. I did smoke one a couple days ago. And I had the same problem with the burn. So it’s not just this stick.

Because I only take a puff every couple of minutes, this review will turn into a graphic novel. Which reinforces my conjecture that it is the rolling, and not me that is the problem with the burn. Cooling it off allows the char line to even out.
Like a light switch, the strength hits full bodied. And drags with it some nicotine.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 20 minutes. Whew. I’m worn out. There is something to be said about smoking the cigar, taking notes, and then writing about it.

We have a dining room table that we’ve had for a couple of decades. The wood chairs have disintegrated over time leaving just one. So I used an office chair that I’ve had for eons. But then it took a dump recently.

12third

The wood chair is very uncomfortable for my ailing back. And I suffer throughout the day because of it. So I hit Fingerhut and got a simple Lumisource Network Office Chair. Lumbar support and up and down motion. Thank goodness for Fingerhut. Couldn’t afford a new chair without it.

Lumisource-Network-Office-Chair-In-Blue-And-Black-01

The Henry Clay Tattoo goes out. Drat. One of the byproducts of smoking and writing at the same time.
For a full bodied blend, the Henry Clay Tattoo is very smooth. The nicotine is tolerable. But I grab an Atkins shake anyway to get something in my gut.

The Henry Clay Tattoo is a very pleasant cigar but nothing special. I’ve become a snob. I get to smoke some great cigars, thanks to generous readers, and I’ve developed a very sophisticated palate.

I have a humidor full of $3 and $4 cigars. They are my emergency stash. I don’t smoke as many cigars per day as I used to. My dementia keeps me scattered. And I have trouble focusing on a cigar during the day. It’s only during these glorious 3 hours it takes to do a review that I can really zoom in and my dying brain comes to life.

The point? I think that Pete Johnson could have done better with this blend. The man is a master blender and I don’t feel the passion in this blend.
The cigar finishes as I would expect. Nice flavors. Nice balance. Nice finish. Some complexity. But the transitions were minimal.
If you can wait for sales, that’s what I would do.

RATING: 86

PRICE POINT:
$9.00 is too much. Using Pete Johnson allowed Henry Clay to ratchet up the price tag.
I would feel more comfortable seeing this blend in the $6-$7 range. When one compares this blend to other $9 sticks; like the Futuro Selección Suprema by Warped Cigars, Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua, Flor de D’Crossier Selection No. 512, and the Señorial Maduro Natural by José Blanco…the Henry Clay Tattoo pales.

SUMMATION:
This was a very strange pairing of blenders. The cigar is overpriced. There are many better cigars in “The Katman’s Best 195 Boutique Brands/Blends in the $6-$9.50+ Range.” I need to update that list.
If the price point was in the $6-$7 range, I might be persuaded to buy some.
The major construction issues is a big red flag. Their best rollers were not used on this cigar.
I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase the Henry Clay Tattoo. There are so many wonderful $8-$9 cigars out there that would be better spent on.

13

And now for news and updates:
I found the major FTD (Frontotemporal Dementia) web site that has a very active forum. Thousands of people sharing their stories and their experiences with doctors and medical professionals moderating.
I discovered it last night and I had a panic attack. After posting my history, moderators jumped in to respond. I got all sorts of recommendations.

But the scariest part was the personal stories. Every single one mimicking my own experience. It served to confirm my fears.

For once, I did not feel alone in my struggle. I could relate to every person actively on the site and the different threads. It scared the hell out of me.

The most common thread pointed out doctor apathy. If it’s complicated, like FTD is, they don’t want to spend a fortune on tests that are really required to expose this rare and deadly disease. They hate Medicare and Medicaid patients and refuse to go the extra mile to put your mind at rest. Instead, and this is conjecture on my part, the insurance companies must be giving the doctors kickbacks for not spending all that money on extensive, and expensive, testing.

I was told on the FTD site that I needed this test, and that test, and on and on. But my doctor won’t do it.

So this will be the very last time I discuss my dementia. The last time I talk about anything related to dementia.

There is no cure and life span is finite. I told Charlotte that I never want to speak of it again. There is absolutely nothing the health care field can do for me so why belabor it?
And when it’s my time…well, it’s my time.

Several people on the site told me that writing my reviews is one of the best ways to exercise my brain. I told that to Charlotte. All I got was the stink eye.

So, my new attitude is fuck the doctors. I’m not going back. No need. If I get bronchitis, OK; I’ll go.

Thanks for the kind words I’ve gotten from so many readers. It means a lot to this dithering old wreck of a man. Keep on keeping on!

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3 replies

  1. As long as you can, I count on you to keep me from making the costly mistakes that just take up valuable storage space. You’re a great teacher. Keep exercising that twisted mind and keep telling us the truth.

  2. I’m expecting to be able to read your great (and on-target) reviews for years to come, my friend. I 100% agree with your decision about the doctors.