In 2003, Tatuaje released it’s first cigar under the Cojonu (pronounced Co-ho-nu) banner, which is short for Cojonudo, Cuban slang for ballsy, obviously referring to the strength of the blend. The Cojonu releases are usually double banded (more on that below) with a regular brown label Tatuaje band on top and a secondary band that is black on gold with Cojonu and the year of release, i.e. 2003, 2006, etc.

At the start, it was announced that there would be a new Cojonu release every three years, and that was the case until 2006, when the official 2006 version was released, as well as the Gran Cojonu, which did not fit in any of the same parameters as the other releases in the series. For example, it was quite a bit larger at 60 ring gauge, it came bandless, and it came in boxes of 12 instead of boxes of 25. There was also a Gran Cojonu Reserva, which is the exact same as the Gran Cojonu, with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper released in 2011, but it was made in very limited quantities—about 120 boxes of 12 so far—and is only sold by a store in Germany.

It has also been announced that the 2012 release of the Cojonu line will feature not one, not two, but three different wrappers, all 6 1/2 x 52 box-pressed: a Connecticut broadleaf version, a sumatra (Capa Especial) version, and a habano version that is essentially the same as the round 2003 cigar, but box-pressed instead of round. These three cigars have been passed around at various times (in a three-pack sampler), most notably at a Holt’s event in October of 2011, which is where the ones I smoked for this review came from. They will also be released first in March/April in a book like box of 24—12 each of the Connecticut broadleaf and sumatra wrappers—with 25-count boxes of all three wrappers to be released at the IPCPR show in August.

Here is a line-up of every Cojonu officially released along with the aforementioned prereleases.

Tatuaje Cojonu Reserva, Tatuaje Gran Cojonu, Tatuaje Cojonu 2003, Tatuaje Cojonu 2006, Tatuaje Cojonu 2009, Tatuaje Cojonu 2012, Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial, Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva

  • Gran Cojonu Reserva —  6 1/2 x 60 — Connecticut Broadleaf (German Exclusive)
  • Gran Cojonu — 6 1/2 x 60 — Habano Ecuador
  • Cojonu 2003 — 6 1/2 x 52 — Habano Ecuador
  • Cojonu 2006 — 5 1/2 x 52 — Habano Ecuador
  • Cojonu 2009 — 6 3/4 x 48 Inches — Habano Ecuador
  • Cojonu 2012 — 6 1/2 x 52 — Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial— 6 1/2 x 52 — Ecuador Sumatra
  • Cojonu 2012 Reserva— 6 1/2 x 52 — Habano Ecuador

 (Note: The Cojonu 2003, 2006, 2009 and Gran Cojonu all used Nicaraguan corojo ’99 wrapper before 2007, when they were switched to habano Ecuador.)

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial 1.jpg

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • Est. Price: $13
  • Release Date: March/April 2012
  • Number of Cigars To Be Released: Regular Release
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

The sumatra version of the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 seems wonderfully rolled with a medium red-brown wrapper that is seamless, but fairly toothy to the touch. It is a little spongy when squeezed, perhaps a bit underfilled, and the wrapper smells faintly of coca power, sweet cedar and a bit of pepper.

The first third starts with a very loose draw, almost too loose to smoke at first, along with a strong black pepper and some spice on the lips. I could not taste anything other than pepper for the first ten puffs or so, but it settled down after that and I tasted notes of very spicy wood, leather and espresso. The pepper is still in the background and on the retrohale and I have a feeling it is not leaving anytime soon. Strength is negligible at this point in the smoke.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial 2.jpg

The second third is still quite spicy on the lips and there is still that undercurrent of black pepper, but more flavors are coming through. There is a dark, gritty earthiness that is present, along with leather and bitter chocolate. The strength of the Cojonu 2012 is really picking up and by the end of the second third, it is a strong medium and only getting stronger by the second.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial 3.jpg

The final third continues the spicy and peppery parade, with more of each, as flavors of the Cojonu 2012 are still pretty much the same. The major change is the strength, which continues to increase until the very end of the smoke, ending at a sold full.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial 4.jpg

Final Notes

  • As mentioned above, the date on the secondary bands—when there is one—indicates the year of original release, not the only year of release, as each one of the different cigars in the Cojonu line are continually produced every year.
  • While Pete Johnson has been quoted as saying that The Wolfman is “a Cojonu blend with a Sumatra wrapper,” he later qualified that by saying it was closest to the 2009 Cojonu, which makes sense, as the Cojonu 2012 Sumatra and The Wolfman literally tasted nothing alike.
  • The amount of smoke coming from this cigar was almost Ligaesque. It never let up and was almost too much smoke, to be honest.
  • Unlike other Tatuaje releases with sumatra wrappers, the Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial prerelease does not have a white “Capa Especial” band, instead the “Tatuaje” band is white on the sumatra, and black and gold on the broadleaf version. Basically, it performs the same function since in Tatuaje-land white bands mean sumatra, without actually saying Capa Especial on it. However, this will be fixed when the cigars are actually released and each will have a normal brown label band on top with corresponding bands underneath, i.e. gold on white for sumatra, gold on black for broadleaf.
  • I smoked two of the sumatra wrapped and both had extremely loose draws. It was not bad enough to stop smoking them, but noticeable. Interestingly the Reserva version did not have the same problems, despite the fact that they are exactly the same cigar other than the wrapper difference.
  • The burn was fine on all samples, and never needed to be touched up.
  • Interestingly, the smoke coming off of the cigar smelled quite a bit sweeter—almost like graham crackers—than the flavors in the profile.
  • The Final Smoking Time for both samples was right at one hour and 40 minutes.
87 Overall Score

Honestly, I was shocked at how different the Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial was compared to the NHC Capa Especial, although I should not have been, considering how different the NHC Capa Especial is compared to the 7th Capa. While I was not expecting the same exact flavors, I was expecting some similarities and that was just not the case: no floral sweetness at all, no creaminess at all. Despite using the same wrapper, the Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial is definitely its own cigar. I smoked all three of the prereleases, and I have to say, the sumatra is at the bottom of the list for me. And while I enjoyed the smoke, the spiciness and pepper that is present, albeit in different amounts throughout the smoke is overwhelming at times. Having said that, I will be very interested in how these age.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.