Cigar Review- Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Habano

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.5 x 52 “Box Press”
Body: Full
Price: $12.40


I reviewed this cigar shortly after it came out in August of 2012. I was writing the blog for an online cigar company. The cigar I have today has been aging in Dave Griffis’ humidor since the cigar was released, so I feel something special will occur.

There were two other Cojonus..pronounced…prior to the 2012. They came out in 2003 and 2006. The difference being that this stick has the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Pete Johnson is producing the cigar in 3 year intervals. The word, Cojonu, is slang for having cojones….some balls.

All of the Cojonus came in one size only, the 6.5 x 52. The difference here is that this one is the first to be box pressed. The cigar released under the Cojonu brand broke tradition and came in three wrappers: Sumatra, Habano, and Connecticut Broadleaf.

Let’s get to the fun part. It’s another dreary day in SE Wisconsin and I don’t have my morning light for my photos, just overcast sky.

The cigar is in amazingly good shape. It is solid but the seams are visible. Lots of veins and even a small poked hole in the back of the stick below the band. That’s always the problem with hanging on to cigars for a good length of time…they get moved, and knocked around a lot. The cigar is very oily and with tooth. The triple cap is flawless.

I clip the cap and do some sniffing and smell citrus, eye watering spice, a delightful sweetness, cocoa, coffee, and apple butter.
The prelight draw gives me cocoa, sweetness, and citrus. Time to light up.

At once, the cigar draws on the cocoa, coffee, and the sweetness. The citrus is light. The draw is a little tight. And the char line is spot on.
The spiciness is building and starting as black pepper. It is building quickly and my eyes begin to water. The body hits classic medium from the start. I didn’t eat my Cheerios this morning so I feel I will be in for a roller coaster ride.

The ash falls off at the half inch mark.

I close in on the first inch and no changes. I also have almost 6” to go, so slow down pardner.

The sweetness is appearing to derive itself from a caramel component. Very buttery and very smooth. You ever notice that when you get a sweet flavor, not infused, that the sensation of sticky lips happens? Maybe it’s just me. I am very near to being senile.

The stick is packed and burns slowly. Taken 13 minutes to get to one inch.

The cigar flavor profile begins to open like a flower in bloom. I read my earlier review and, clearly, the aging makes all the difference in the world. In that review, the flavors came down like a hammer, not with the finesse of this stick which is aged approximately 10 months.
The cocoa and the coffee mix nicely into a Starbuck’s concoction. The caramel makes it a…what? I don’t know what Starbucks calls their blends…but you know what I mean…don’t you? (I refuse to spend $5 on a coffee.)

I get closer to the end of the first third and the flavors are all big like a Wyoming sky. Except the only thing that is cloudy, is my brain.

The black pepper is not as strong now. It hovers above the other flavors…but never gets ahead of them.

The first third ends delightfully. The flavors were very distinct and promising. The balance was moving towards a perfect blend. The char line gets a bit wavy but I don’t care. Not every cigar can have a razor sharp burn line.

The cigar continues on its quest to explore the flavor profile. The sweet caramel moves ahead of the pack. It dominates even the cocoa.
I love the taste. It is unique while still falling into the parameters of what the multi country leaves bring to the table. So I can say with confidence that the cigar is now perfectly balanced with a very long finish.

This is a Diet Coke flavor profile and I grab one from the fridge for my NYC egg cream experience.

I approach the halfway point and the strength is moving towards full bodied. My eyesight is the first to go when this happens. And a bit of light headedness.

The cigar is officially a flavor bomb.

I have to admit that, in my book, Pete Johnson can do no wrong. There are occasions when I think the cigar could be better; but then I hold him up to such a high standard that criticizing him is nit picking. Of all the people who work with Pepin Garcia, I think the team of Johnson/Garcia is the most academic and impressive. Somehow, Johnson’s innate know how and Garcia’s experience work together like a fine Swiss time piece. I would love to be a fly on the wall during their think tank meetings.

I just cannot believe the flavor explosion this cigar is pumping out. It goes way beyond delicious.

The final third approaches and the body is officially fully loaded. I’m about 10 minutes away from getting the spins and dancing with the dog.
Luckily, the cigar continues to burn very slowly. It’s taken a good hour, or so, to get this far.

Oh, good grief…the sun has come out and I have only a few photos left to take. Son of a bitch.

The ash has been very delicate and never lasts longer than half an inch.

The nicotine level is high. The laptop screen is moving like a lava lamp. I slow down on my puffing.
Man, this stick is almost as strong as the infamous La Bomba. A new version is coming out that is supposed to be TWICE as strong. Oy vay. I will have to eat a can of lard before smoking it.

I remove the lower band. It comes off clean. The upper band has too much glue and I am forced to use a sharp knife to remove it.

The spiciness has become red pepper and is extremely strong again.

The last bit of the cigar is wonderful; although the strength is kicking my ass. Clearly, the 10 months of aging has provided the flavors that Johnson and Garcia intended the smoker to enjoy.

I look forward to the next version.

And now for something completely different:

I had my own TV show back in 1983. OK. It was on Public Access. But it was a well produced show. My partner was a big radio DJ named Marshall Thomas. He was a mainstay on some of the biggest rock stations in L.A. We came up with the idea of getting some rock veterans on so we could interview them within a 30 minute framework.

Our first show was a disaster. We had 3 guests. Two of the original members of the band, “The Larks.” They had a hit in 1964 called “The Jerk.” It went on to be a big dance step in the 60’s. A dance step that damn near popped some of the discs from your back. And they had a new song they wanted to promote that was on some obscure label.

The second guest was Richard Berry who wrote “Louie, Louie,” made famous by The Kingsmen in 1963. What we didn’t know was that Berry suffered from narcolepsy and constantly fell asleep during the interview.

We had a simple, but cool, set. We bought sheets of plywood and lots of 45 singles attached to them. We had a small riser with chairs.
This still cracks me up today. Both The Larks, and Berry, lip synced songs. The Larks were first. Marshall said, “So fellas, would you like to set the song up for us?”

Clearly confused, the two men got up out of their seats and started to move the furniture.


I came out from the booth and explained that Marshall wanted them to explain the song and how it came about, not move furniture.

Then it was Richard Berry’s turn and he lip synced to his original version of “Louis, Louis.” He was barely awake during the song…and at one point, his chin touched his chest.

Our second show was classier. We had Darlene Love (The Blossoms and wife of Danny Glover in the “Lethal Weapon” series) and Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine.

Darlene was in the girl group, “The Blossoms” during the 1960s. The Blossoms had several hits including, “He’s a Rebel.” And they sang back up for everyone.

Hal has a resume, that is to this day, is unbelievable; and he later became my mentor in my early 30’s.
In 1967, Ed Sullivan had a show completely dedicated to Nancy Sinatra. It was taped at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Big, big band behind her. Hal was on drums. The Blossoms sang back up.

In order to watch the show, Hal went out and bought a Sony $2500 video player/recorder. It was a reel to reel video machine. It also came with a heavy black and white monitor.

The show was on a reel. We had to transfer it to ¾” video. Hal was separated from his wife at the time and living on his yacht in Marina Del Rey, CA. He got the video equipment out of storage and brought it to his boat. I then went to the boat to pick it up. Of course, the damn boat seemed like a mile from the parking lot. And this shit weighed a ton. I felt like my arms stretched a foot carrying it to my car.

The transfer was made. I took the equipment back to his boat and Hal said, “Phil. Would you please do me a favor and hold on to it? There is no room on my boat.”

I shivered. “OK Hal.” And I dragged it back to my car. To this day, I still have a pristine Sony reel to reel video player and recorder.

The show went well and Darlene and Hal were lively guests. We showed clips from the show a couple times.

Hal and I bonded and, like I said, became my mentor for a couple of years; doing me favors I would have never expected. He even played on some Beatles tracks. And Ringo based his drum kit on Hal’s setup.

We did a few more shows and then we just got busy doing other things. But I still have the shows on VHS but watched them in years. Someday, I will transfer them to DVD and not ruin my back by doing so.



1 reply

  1. If you liked the Habano, you’ll go ga-ga over the Sumatra.