Early 2011 saw the (relatively quiet) release of the Gran Cojonu Reserva at CigarWorld in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The cigar shares the exact same filler and binder as the Gran Cojonu, but with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper instead of the Ecuadorian habano. Very few people know about this release and it is not even on Tatuaje’s website at the moment, most likely due to the fact that when first released, there were less then 20 boxes available for purchase, all in Germany. However, since then, the store has ordered more, and Johnson told me that there are a total of 120 boxes of 12 released by the end of 2011.

For those unfamiliar with the Cojonu line, here’s what I wrote last week in my review of the Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial:

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.

Here is a lineup of every Cojonu officially released along with the aforementioned prereleases.

Tatuaje Cojonu.jpg

  • Gran Cojonu Reserva
  • Gran Cojonu
  • Cojonu 2003
  • Cojonu 2006
  • Cojonu 2009
  • Cojonu 2012 (Prerelease)
  • Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial (Prerelease)
  • Cojonu 2012 Reserva (Prerelease)

Tatuaje Gran Cojonu Reserva Box.jpg

And here is a photograph of the box of Tatuaje Gran Cojonu Reserva, courtesy of Nino from FlyingCigar.de.

Tatuaje Gran Cojonu Reserva 1.jpg

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Gran Cojonu 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: 60
  • Vitola: Gordo
  • Est. Price: $19.50 (Boxes of 12, $235.00)
  • Date Released: 2011
  • Number of Cigars Released: 120 Boxes of 12 Cigars (1,440 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

Make no mistake about it, the Gran Cojonu Reserva is a huge cigar. It feels too large in your hand, but it seems light weigh-wise for its size. The wrapper is a muddled dark mocha brown that is extremely toothy to the touch. The cigar has an unfinished foot, which I love, and it has the perfect give when squeezed. The wrapper smells strongly of barnyard, dark chocolate, earth and pepper.

The first third of the Gran Cojonu Reserva starts with the perfect amount of white pepper, leather and a gritty earthiness that all really go well together. There is just a tad bit of spice on the tongue, just enough to make things interesting for the Tatuaje. There was no sweetness at all for the first 10 puffs or so, but it starts to make an appearance towards the end of the First Third.

Tatuaje Gran Cojonu Reserva 2.jpg

The second third starts getting stronger ending around medium-full and sweeter as well. It’s still the same basic flavors, but they are good flavors, earthy, dark chocolate and leather. The burn and draw are perfect, and continues that way for the entire Second Third.

Tatuaje Gran Cojonu Reserva 3.jpg

The final third of the Gran Cojonu Reserva is much the same profile-wise, but the sweetness increases quite a bit, especially towards the nub. Flavors are basically the same, but the strength increased to a full minus by the end as well.

Tatuaje Gran Cojonu Reserva 4.jpg

Final Notes

  • Although the Gran Cojonu and the Gran Cojonu Reserva are the same vitola, RG and blend in the filler and binder, they are differentiated by the fact that the Gran Cojonu Reserva has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper as opposed to a Habano. In addition the Gran Cojonu Reserva has a Pete Johnson Havana Cellars Band whereas the Gran Cojonu comes bandless.
  • It has 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.
  • The Tatuaje Gran Cojonu Reserva is Tatuaje’s first European-only release. There have been other non-Cuban manufacturers that have release European only cigars, including the Oliva Serie V Edición Europa 2010 and Den Bosch, the Quesada Esapna—which is now being released in the U.S. in limited quantities—and the Joya de Nicaragua Rosalones.
  • I absolutely love the covered foot, not just for the look of the stick, but mainly for that strong straight flavor of the Broadleaf wrapper before the fire hits the actual cigar, just wonderful.
  • There was an enormous amount of smoke that came from this cigar, billowy and white.
  • I smoked both the regular (habano) wrapper and Reserva (Connecticut broadleaf) wrapper version — I honestly liked the Reserva a bit better, mostly due to the sweetness that was present throughout the smoke.
  • The band that is used on the Gran Cojonu Reserva is the same “Exclusive Series” band that has been used on most of Tatuaje’s single store releases in the last year or so. The logo inside the band is the new Tatuaje logo, replacing the fleur-de-lis logo that was entangled in a legal battle with Altadis, and is comprised of four letters: “P” “J” “H” and “C.” This stands for “Pete Johnson Havana Cellars.” This is also the first time that logo has been used on a band for a released cigar.
  • The draw and burn were wonderful for the entire smoke, easy to smoke and enjoy.
  • If you are wanting to buy any of these, there are some hoops to jump through to get them. The store that sells them is in Germany, (direct link is here) and while they do seem to to sell singles, the shipping charges really makes that not a feasible option. However, if you can have a box or more shipped (group buy perhaps?), it would make them worth it.
89 Overall Score

I really enjoyed this smoke, despite the obvious issue (to me) of being way too large. It was a bit monotonous flavor-wise (as large ring gauge cigars tend to be), but the flavors it had were wonderful and definitely has the Tatuaje profile. I actually did like the Tatuaje Gran Cojonu Reserva over the habano mainly due to the sweetness that was present throughout the smoke. If you can get a hold of one (or more), they are definitely worth the try, especially as hard as it is to get.

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.