Back in October, I met up with Pete Johnson at a Tatuaje Cigars event hosted by Holt’s in Philadelphia. As one of the promotions at the event, customers received a three-pack pre-release sampler of the Cojonu 2012 with each box purchase. I jumped at the opportunity to try some cigars that won’t be released until later this year, so I stocked up on a couple boxes of Tatuaje and scored the samplers.
The Cojonu 2012 will be offered in a single 5.5×52 box-pressed vitola. However, unlike previous releases, the 2012 edition comes in three different wrappers: Connecticut Broadleaf, Ecuador Sumatra, and Habano Ecuador. The binder and filler are both Nicaraguan, the same blend as the Cojonu 2003, making the Habano version just like the 2003 expression except for its box-pressed shape. Pete says the Broadleaf and Sumatra versions will ship sometime between March and April in a special book box featuring 12 of each wrapper. Then in August at IPCPR, all three versions, including the Habano, will be released in traditional cabinet boxes of 25 each.
Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 by the numbers:
Size: 5.5×52 box-pressed
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf || Ecuador Sumatra || Habano Ecuador (3 versions)
Factory: My Father Cigars in Esteli, Nicaragua
No. smoked for review: 4 (1 each of the Sumatra & Habano, plus 2 of the Broadleaf)
Duration: 90 mins
Source: received with box purchase during Tatuaje event at Holt’s, plus two samples from Pete Johnson
In addition to the sampler packs I picked up at Holt’s, Pete was kind enough to share a couple individual sticks back in October and again at W. Curtis Draper in Bethesda last weekend. Having smoked at least one of each version, I’m ready to share my initial thoughts… what essentially amounts to a “horizontal” first impressions of the not-yet-released Cojonu 2012.
Cojonu 2012 – Broadleaf
The first thing I noticed with the Broadleaf version was the gorgeous, sparkly, toothy, dark-dark brown wrapper with almost no veins and nearly invisible seams. It smelled faintly of coffee and earth, while the foot introduced some nice dark chocolate. In the first third, I tasted vanilla wafer, some lovely twang, and a spicy undertone, though the draw was a tad loose. The cigar transitioned nicely in the second third with lots of coffee and cream flavors, along with a sweetness as the spice receded and the strength began to build. At this point in one of the samples, I noticed a minor void in the filler and had to touch-up the burn.
By the final third, the draw had improved greatly. The spice came back, and I also picked up more coffee with some wood in the background. I had to break out the lighter again to relight one of these, although it quickly got going again. Also, I might be crazy, but towards the end I swore I got a hint of tingly mint on my palate. It was certainly unexpected, but enjoyable. This was the strongest of the three versions, but still within the medium-full range. The wrapper did burn a bit funky at times, but that can happen with broadleaf.
Cojonu 2012 – Sumatra
The wrapper on the Sumatra version was a seamless milk chocolate color with only a single noticeable vein. It gave off a faint aroma of wood and chocolate, while the foot smelled of cocoa powder and raisins. The cold draw was a bit too open and added some faint pepper to the mix. Upon lighting up, I got coffee and cream in the first third with lots of sweetness. In the second third, there was more coffee and a touch of savory spice (nutmeg?). Towards the end, there was a ramp-up in spice, which still wasn’t the traditional pepper that you typically expect from Tatuaje.
I’m not the biggest fan of Sumatra wrappers, and although this was a very good cigar, it was probably my least favorite of the three. It certainly had the least amount of strength of them all, and at times seemed a bit “young.” The burn was quite well-behaved, requiring only the most minor of touch-ups.
Cojonu 2012 – Habano
The Habano wrapper was a dark chocolate color, sporting some lighter toothiness, a few veins, small seams, and a nice oily sheen. Again, I only picked up some faint aromas, this time chocolate and earth. The foot gave off a bit of tingly chocolate, while the cold draw featured chocolate and dark fruit with the perfect amount of resistance. The first third was sweet and savory, with a palate-coating tingly spice that was also meaty and complex. I noticed butter, a touch of twang, and some woody notes on the retrohale. It produced tons of thick smoke, and a medium gray ash that fell off in solid, one-inch chunks.
Moving on to the second third, the burn was a tad wavy at times, but self-corrected. There was sweet cream, more twang, pepper, bread, and caramel. In the final third as the strength began to build ever so slightly, I enjoyed more of the sweet, savory, woody, bread, peppery, and caramel creme notes. The construction was terrific, and, as you can tell, there were loads of complex flavors. All three versions of the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 were very good, but the Habano was truly outstanding.
Don’t Forget the Giveaway!
Again, I must be crazy, but I’m actually going to give away my other three-pack pre-release sampler of the Cojonu 2012. In fact, to sweeten the deal, I’ll even toss a Cabaiguan WCD 120 Redux and a Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ “Little Robusto” into the mix for the lucky winner.
If you want to be eligible to win these five great cigars, all you need to do is leave a comment below. Feel free to discuss whatever you like: tell me what your favorite Tatuaje cigar is, what you think Pete should try for the Cojonu 2015, or which Stogie Review contributor you think is handsomest. I’ll randomly select one winner from the comments received.
Contest ends February 24, 2012; residents of the US & Canada only; must be 19 or older. Good luck!
Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he is currently pursuing a PhD in computer science, focusing on artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Delaware, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker.