Tomorrow, Pete Johnson will launch the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 at Casa de Montecristo in Chicago. It will be the sixth iteration of one of the original Tatuaje series and the first time Johnson will use a book style packaging for any release.

There are a total of three versions of the 2012 release (Capa Especial, Reserva and Natural), although the latter will not be available until August. Brooks already reviewed the Capa Especial and provided a pretty extensive history of the Cojonu line, which goes as follows:

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 RG, 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 lineup of every Cojonu officially released along with the aforementioned prereleases.


  • 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 Reserva — 6 1/2 x 52 — Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial— 6 1/2 x 52 — Ecuador Sumatra
  • Cojonu 2012— 6 1/2 x 52 — Habano Ecuador

(Note: The Cojonu used an AGANORSA Corojo 99 wrapper from 2003-2005, it then switched to Plasencia Corojo 99 from 2005-2006 and is now an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper from the Olivia Tobacco Company.)

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • Est. Price: $12.50
  • Release Date: March 21, 2012
  • Number of Cigars To Be Released: Regular Release
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

From the get go the broadleaf is rather pungent. It smells of a heavier broadleaf with a bit of cocoa and quite a bit of sharp ammonia that radiates from the outside of the Cojonu. Appearance-wise, it’s a sharp box-press on a beautifully smooth dark earth broadleaf. Running your finger up and down the wrapper is unlike the normal broadleaf appearance. From the foot there’s cocoa and pepper; sweet and spicy. Cold draw is a bit mild with a ton of sweet cocoa up front and a strong graham cracker on the finish.

Getting into the first third of the Cojonu 2012 reveals a toasty aroma that proceeds a touch of sourness as the smoke hits my mouth followed by a sweet powerful cocoa up front and a deep black pepper. It’s only medium-full at the very start, but the flavors are already highly developed. Quickly, the cocoa thickens and takes over the flavor profile over leather and earth with the black pepper fully relegated to the back of the mouth. Smoke production is well above average, although inconsistent. At times, it’s Liga-like, other times you get concerned the Cojonu is dying.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva 2

The second third sees a bit of a cedar note intertwining with the cocoa, although it’s an unsuccessful challenge. However, the graham cracker that was so noticeable on the cold draw begins to come into the flavor profile along with a decent nuttiness. The pepper remains unchanged, still dominating the throat. While I wouldn’t describe the first third as mild, it definitely is a passive medium in the strength department. Midway through, the Cojonu’s strength is becoming apparent and the slightly open draw, which seems to force quicker puffing, is slightly more annoying to me.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva 3

Closing out the Cojonu, the core remains the same: sweet up front, pepper on the back. There’s a bit more leather and some fruit that comes into the retrohale, although they are both dry and dominated by the aforementioned core. Strength finishes in the full category, although it’s definitely the strongest Tatuaje to date. What’s quite remarkable is that even when the cigar gets to a piercing temperature with the nub below, the flavor is still there.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva 4

Final Notes

  • Burn is about as perfect as you can ask for, a total of two touch-ups across the samples I smoked.
  • The bands on the Cojonus that are being released for sale will change to be regular brown Tatuaje bands, while the secondary bands will be white for Capa Especial and black for Reserva.
  • You can see an actual picture of the book at the New Havana Cigars’ Blog.
  • While I’m not a fan of toros, I do love what the rectangular box-press does for this cigar.
  • The Cojonu is supposed to be strong and I think this version achieves that, although in a more passive manner. Body is full.
  • The prerelease versions of the Cojonu 2012 have been handed out numerous times prior to the Casa de Montecristo event. I’ve yet to see any claims of anyone receiving the non-prerelease banded versions and there likely weren’t that many handed out, but off the top of my head:
    • Holt’s — October 2011
    • Saints & Sinners — January 2012
    • Tobacco Plaza — March 2012
    • Federal Cigar — March 2012
  • Between the appearance and the flavor, at times I thought I was smoking a candy bar, perhaps a bit too sweet?
  • Like past Cojonu releases, the bands read Cojonu, the boxes say Cojonú with the accent.
  • The smoke is thick and heavy in weight, but still very smooth.
  • One of my samples had an average draw, the other was loose. I’d much prefer it to be a slight bit tighter.
  • There are 2,012 books of 24 cigars being made, the first 200 will be released at Casa de Montecristo tomorrow. Casa de Montecristo is still taking orders, more info is here.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 55 minutes.
89 Overall Score

This cigar reminded me a lot of Padrón. For some reason, even if the samples I was smoking are a few months old, the Cojonu 2012 Reserva seems like a cigar that one is going to want to smoke fresh. The flavors are there and developed, and while I think that a bit more complexity might come through, something I'd love to see, I just wonder at what expense. This is by no means my favorite Tatuaje, but I think a lot of people might get caught up in this not being a limited edition and overlook it, which is a shame, as this seems like a near perfect cigar for a lot of Tatuaje fans.

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.