When the original Tatuaje Private Reserve were released, they made quite a splash in the cigar world.

In the beginning, there was only one size of the Private Reserve, i.e. Tatuaje Black Label. The Black Label Corona Gorda that was released first in 24-pack bundles in November of 2007 to select Tatuaje dealers, this was followed by the Jar release in the second quarter of 2008, in which 1,000 jars of 19 cigars.

In between this time, Pete Johnson was known to hand out a second vitola of the Black Label, a robusto that had the same unfinished foot and pigtail cap. A three-pack of these were also given out to customers who purchased a box of Tatuaje cigars when Johnson was present.

Then in September of 2009, the Cigar Rights of America released a sampler pack of cigars, which includes a Black Label, this time in a toro size. There were only 5,000 total production of this size, specifically for the CRA Sampler Pack. With the brand new Torpedo Tubos to be released at the end of November, there are now four different sizes of the Tatuaje Black Label cigar.

This new Torpedo Tubo release will have a total run of just under 50,000, with some released this year at the end of November and some released throughout the next year. They will come in 10-count boxes, and the MSRP of each stick will be $14 each. The boxes and the tubes the cigars will come in will look like this:

NewImage(images courtesy of Tatuaje Facebook page)

The black tubos are for the Black Label, the red tubos are for the Verocu blend, which will also receive a torpedo.

For those of you who do not know the background of the Black Label, Pete Johnson’s personal blend, the story goes like this:

The Story of the Tatuaje Black

On a recent trip to a famous island known for historic cigar making, I spent my time in a small town enjoying the simple life. Every day was peaceful and every night was festive, with both having cigars involved throughout. My favorite cigar was not a cigar bought at the local store or factory, but a cigar that was handed to me every morning.

Mornings, after taking a shower with a bucket of water warmed with what looked like a curling iron, I would walk to the front of the house and sit on the fence to get some sun and take in the fresh air. I also took in the fact that I was miles from home and no one knew where I was. My phone didn’t work and I had no cares in the world other than trying to decide what to smoke.

My first morning on the island an older gentleman came along on his bike. This was not a motorcycle but something like an old Schwinn that he had likely been riding for decades. This gentleman was well dressed, almost dapper, and I probably appeared to him to be a strange character. My usual outfit of jeans, t-shirt, loads of silver jewelry, and an arm full of tattoos didn’t seem to faze him. He saw I was enjoying myself so that morning, and every morning after that, he would stop and give me a cigar from his shirt pocket. This cigar was far from being a ‘pretty’ cigar but that did not bother me a bit. It was a treasured and unexpected gift that I was thrilled to be given. After smoking this cigar I realized that this was one of the best cigars I smoked on the island. Later that day in speaking with my host on this trip I came to understand that these cigars were something special to every person who carried them. They were cigars that they made for themselves. Even the guys who worked hard in the cigar factories all day would return home at night and make their private cigars. Simple cigars with flavors they personally enjoyed. Over the course of the next few days my host and I visited his friends and asked for cigars that they made. Before I left I had cigars from a few locals who all used different tobaccos from the different growing regions. They were all great but there was one that really stood out for me as special.

I decided when traveling to Nicaragua to work with the Garcia family that I would try to recreate this special cigar for myself. Together we spent quite some time working on the blend and looking at different leaves for wrapper. The marbled toothy wrapper was perfect for this cigar, rustic looking but with tons of aroma. After smoking the first sample, I was immediately brought back to that island relaxing on a fence, enjoying life, smoking a great cigar. A great cigar that will always in my mind represent the place, the time, and the experience of the purity of the simple life. This cigar may be considered ugly by some but inside that surface roughness it contains such rich flavor and aroma.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. This is a tribute to that cigar.

Enjoy, (Pete)


  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Black Label Tubo Torpedo (Prelease)
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Sun Grown Criollo Estelí)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 1/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Shape: Torpedo
  • MSRP: $14.00 (Boxes of 10, $140.00)
  • Date Released: November 2009

The first thing I l noticed when I pulled the Black Torpedo Tubo, which came sans tubo, unfortunately is that it was a bit smaller than The Drac it came packaged with.The second thing I noticed was the look of the wrapper, as with the other vitolas of the Black Label, the wrapper extremely rough and very marbled looking. The unfinished foot, which all the Black Label vitolas to-date have, is a great look.

After cutting the tip, I take a prelight draw, and get tastes of pepper and something sweet, almost a maple taste that has me very intrigued.

Immediately after lighting, I am almost overwhelmed with a combination of black pepper and spice together. The combination quickly retreats however, although definitely still present, and I was able to start identifying other flavors like cedar and just a hint of that sweet maple I tasted on the cold draw.

Tatuaje Black Label Tubo Torpedo (Prelease) 2.png

Tatuaje Black Label Tubo Torpedo (Prelease) 4.png

In the second third, the pepper and spice died down to almost nothing, still there, but very much in the background, sort of like the sound of the ocean you hear out your window when you sleep near the beach. But, at the same time, a few more flavors became dominant, like a great combination of espresso, cedar and just a hint of an earthy component.

Tatuaje Black Label Tubo Torpedo (Prelease) 5.png

In the final third, the spice picked back up a bit, but very little pepper still, and while I still tasted espresso and cedar, the dominant flavor was a musty earthiness with just a touch of nuts..kind of a tarty nuttiness. I was able to nub this cigar easily, and the finish was pretty nice and clean as well.

Tatuaje Black Label Tubo Torpedo (Prelease) 6.png

Final Notes:

  • Much like The Drac I reviewed, the construction, burn and draw out of this stick were all amazing. This stick sat at 65/65 for about one and a half months before I smoked it, so that most likely has a lot to do with it.
  • This cigar produced a lot of smoke, which smelled quite a bit more peppery then the cigar tasted like, interestingly enough.
  • Can I say again how much I love the unfinished foot look? It just reinforces to me that each one of these cigars are a work of art unto themselves.
  • The final smoking time on this cigar was one hour and 45 minutes.
84 Overall Score

When the original Black Label Corona Gorda was released, people were surprised at how mild the cigars ended up being. I have smoked quite a few of the Corona Gordas and the Black Label Robustos, and what I have decided is that these cigars are a perfect example of the fact that the larger the ring gauge of the cigar, the less strength the cigar has. Now, that does not mean that all of the flavor is diluted, but there was very little pepper or spice in the last two-thirds of this stick, and I think that may shock some people. The Black Label flavor is there, no doubt, but I still enjoy the Corona Gordas more.
Is the Tubo Torpedo better than the Corona Gorda? No. Is it better then The Drac? No. Is it better than The Boris? No. But it is a good cigar in its own way and it has a taste unique enough for me to buy a box for when I want that specific Black Label flavor in a larger ring gauge.

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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.