26 Minutes with Pete Johnson

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26 Minutes with Pete Johnson

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know this story already as you got the play-by-play as I got to hangout a bit with Pete Johnson last weekend. It was right after the Uniformed Secret Service asked me to leave Lafayette Park. I went around the corner to Shelly’s Backroom to grab a bite to eat, enjoy a smoke and watch the Redskins game.

I didn’t know what Pete Johnson looked like so when he approached me and said “Don’t I know you? You’re the guy who smokes on YouTube?” Pete introduced himself as just “Pete” and it wasn’t until he came back and handed me a Tatuaje Black that I put two and two together and I said “Oh shit, you’re the Pete Johnson!” We were going to do the interview then and there but after a few rounds, Pete was starting to slur so we pushed it back a few days to the launch event at W.Curtis Drapers of the Tatuaje Monster: Frank.

Let me just say, if you haven’t met Pete Johnson he’s amazing! Very open, generous with his time and has some great stories. When you’re done watching this interview, be sure to head over to The Cigar Spy and watch his interview with Pete that I filmed during the same event. The two interviews really compliment each other.


28 thoughts on “26 Minutes with Pete Johnson

  1. Thanks for another great interview, Jerry. I hadn’t heard about the value line of cigars. I’m definitely keeping an eye out for those nexrt year!

  2. Wow! Awesome!

    I just so happened to be smoking a Tatuaje when I checked in, only to find that you asked my question first, how serendipitous. This is a great interview, Pete seems super down to earth no wonder he is making such fine cigars. Thanks for asking him on my behalf.

  3. Just checked out the Cigar Spy interview with Pete and he really seems like a down to earth dude. This will make it a little easier for me to justify buying his pricey smokes. 🙂

  4. Nicely done, Jerry, and some great questions from the SR crew! I’d love a box of “The Frank” but I think I’m going to have to settle for the new “C Grade” Pepin. I’ll be looking for them in January… Thanks again — great information!

  5. Wish I knew ahead of time you were interviewing Pete Johnson. When you talked about that “twenty” cigar looking like a Tatuaje, it struck me that Pete’s used Cuban style marketing and cuban-style labels on his cigars in the past. When you look at his “regional” release cigars they have the exact same 2nd band the Cuban regionals do right down to the colour and font. Also the “Cojonu” releases with the year have a label that looks exactly like the Cuban LE releases every year. I wanted you to ask Pete why he copies the Cuban style labels for his cigars.

    Great interview overall Jerry!

  6. I’m glad everyone enjoyed the interview and left so much comment love.

    Zee – Gotta keep up on Twitter LOL. Not to put words in Pete’s mouth but I think his answer to your question would be similar to his response on always going with that cuban flavor profile in his cigars. He loves Cuban cigars and he does his best to design his brand around the Cuban Old World concept.

    I’ve heard others say that its all a marketing ploy and I can see that argument. But after spending time with Pete he truly has an a appreciation and love for the Old World style.

  7. Enjoyed both interviews and nice quality video and audio on both but thats pretty normal for you.

    Any insight on why his cigars are in such limited quantities?

  8. Vic – that was one of the submitted questions that I didn’t ask as I didn’t want to eat up too much of his time. In talking with Pete off camera (and I think he mentioned this in video over at The Stogie Spy) about how bad he felt that so many places, even places that were some of his first loyal customers, didn’t get to participate in the Frank release. To combat this next year he plans to do a subset of the previous year’s monster so that its more widely available. I also think it has to do with his high standards and the high standards of Don Pepin. They could easily produce the amount of cigars to meet demand but its about quality, not quantity is my take on it.

  9. jerry you are a natural! I’d like to see more of these interviews from you. You just have that touch that makes it more than just an interview.

    What is Petes opinion on his competition on the industry?

  10. Man SR keeps raising the bar with contests and interviews like this. Keep it coming!

    Next time you setup an interview any chance you can stream it live and give us notice so we can ask questions and follow up questions live?

  11. Great interview and I have to second Tony’s comments–seeing that, despite his “Hollywood Douche-Bag” appearance, Pete seems so down to earth makes me more happy to shell out the bucks on his smokes. La Riqueza has to be my favorite new smoke–like an Anejo where the dark cherry undertone is replace by a cinnamon-like spice. Not to mention much more available!

  12. Hey Joel Thanks for the Hollywood Douche-Bag appearance comment. I have been working on it for a long time now(since I was born)…LOL!

    Jerry, Thanks again for the interview and thanks to everyone who wasted 26 minutes watching my ugly mug……

  13. Great interview Jerry!

    Clearly we need to task you with all the interviews going forward, you make it look so easy!

    Pete, I think Joel exaggerated, I’d say you only look “semi-douchey” LOL I kid. Thanks for taking the time to give us the scoop!

  14. Yeah, I know he was probably kidding but my Mom would probably take offense to the comment since I look like her and I grew up in Maine not Hollywood. LOL!

    I had fun working with Jerry on the interview. I am not normally the guy who likes getting in front of a camera…..Jerry’s good questions made it easy…..

  15. Awesome interview Jerry. I really enjoyed Pete’s answers and passion for cigars. Plus, being somewhat partial to Tatuaje cigars and Don Pepin in general, what a scoop!!! I love the sense of humor on the cigars as well. How cool is it to do a Holloween themed cigar. If you want a monster Pete, do a Cthulhu blend.

  16. Pete–most certainly kidding. I was fortunate enough to start my smoking hobby with your blends and just last week, despite promising to only buy a couple bargain smokes, I ended up picking up a couple of El Triunfadors at Holts. I was shocked to light one up tonight, browse the SR, and see you responded to my post. Nothing but respect and keep those beautiful, tasty smokes coming!

  17. Pete – Thanks for stopping by and checking out the video. I really appreciate your time. We will have to do it again maybe at IPCPR in New Orleans next year…that is if I can pull you away from the mob.

    Josh – I would check out the interview over at The Cigar Spy. I think he answers that question in that interview.

    Kirk – I had the idea to stream it live but wasn’t sure if Drapers had wireless and I don’t think my cell broadband card is fast enough but next interview if there is wireless I will do my best.

  18. Very nicely done interview Jerry! Great questions and lots of good info. Looking forward to the bargain priced smokes in 2009 from Pete and looking forward to more interviews like this. You’ve set the bar.

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