Pete Johnson sat down with halfwheel and talked a lot, and about all sorts of things—including the upcoming 10 year anniversary of Tatuaje. He also talked about his new company, L’Atelier Imports, which made its national debut at IPCPR 2012 after a bit of a preview in the form of Surrogates at New Havana Cigars last year. The companies, which function independently of one another, will be an interesting relationship to watch, as it’s unclear what separates the types of cigars that make it into each portfolio, i.e. there’s no reason why the Surrogates and LAT blends couldn’t have been the next Tatuaje brands.

Tatuaje Booth IPCPR 2012

The Booth
It’s the last year for this version of the Tatuaje booth. Johnson said next year’s tenth anniversary celebration will include something a bit grander.

Tatuaje Avion 12

Avion ’12
On display, regular band, in stores. We reviewed it here.

Brown Label 10th Anniversary
The plan is for wet-packed, closed foot and naked Brown Labels for 2013 in honor of Tatuaje’s 10th Anniversary. Only the original Miami-made HUNTER sizes will receive the treatment in special gold foil. Pete says this is how he used to get them from the factory for personal consumption.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012

Cojonu 2012
Now available in three separate boxes after the book release earlier this year. Interestingly enough, Johnson disclosed site sponsor Casa de Montecristo received 50 books of Cojonu 2012 that were in black as opposed to the natural dark wood finish. We reviewed the Capa Especial and Reserva versions.

Fausto FT114
After being part of both the Tatuaje Limited Series and being released to the midwest in standard packaging, the Fausto FT114 is now available nationwide.  We reviewed this in Tatuaje Limited livery earlier this year.

La Casita Criolla HCR
Also released nationally. Reviewed here.

Limited Series
The plan is one per quarter.

Tatuaje The Mummy

Tatuaje The Mummy S T Dupont Lighter

Monster Series The Mummy
The coffins are much different and there will be a lot more plain boxes: 666 boxes of 13 coffins, 3,100 boxes of 10 non-dress boxes, up from 1,300 last year. The 13 “unlucky” retailers will be announced in October with the cigars shipping immediately after. The blend is a modified Black Label blend featuring a Nicaraguan sun grown wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers. There will be just under 40,000 The Mummys released, the largest single Monster Series release to date. S&S will get the heads up. The S.T. Dupont lighters are back.

Tatuaje Old Man and the C
It’s the Black Label, but Pete Johnson dropped the “Black Label” moniker for the name. He did not give a specific number of coffins intended on producing, although he seemed to indicate it will be more than last year’s debut. The Old Man and the C features a Lancero and a Culebra of the same blend, this year, the popular Black Label and both of which we already reviewed.

TAA 2012
Not debuted, but discussed. Details here.

L Atelier Imports

L’Atelier Imports
Details here.

El Suelo

El Suelo
Made at the newly reopened Tabacalera Cubana S.A. factory, El Suelo ranges from $3.75-$4.75.


The flagship brands from L’Atelier Imports. It ships along with the rest of the products from the new company in the coming weeks. The sizess and looks are based largely off the Cohiba BHK with MSRPs set at $8.00, $9.00 and $10.00 respectively. It uses an Ecuadorian Sancti Spiritus wrapper—the first known cigar to do so.

Surrogates Tramp Stamp Crystal Baller

Surrogates Tramp Stamp & Crystal Baller
The former New Havana Exclusives are now available nationally. Tramp Stamp is 5 1/4 x 48 and Crystal Baller 5 3/4 x 56, both are advertised as medium to medium-full. In addition, Tramp Stamp receives an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper and Crystal Baller an Ecuadorian Habano.


Also made at the newly reopened TACUBA factory, Trocadero ranges from $3.50-$4.50.

Overall Score

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Brian Burt

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially, I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010, I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion.

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