Last week, Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars teased a few new 2016 projects, including a couple from the Miami-based El Rey de los Habanos factory. Now, literally two hands worth of retailers will be getting Johnson’s latest Miami-based project, Le Vignoble.
If you are thinking to yourself that sounds French and wine-inspired, it is; Le Vignoble is French for the vineyard.
“After watching harvest in 2014 I decided that 2015 was the best year to release a secret small batch project made in Miami,” Johnson told halfwheel. “Me being a huge fan of French wine and having so many friends in Bordeaux that live their lives in the vineyards, it was fitting to pay homage to them with a cigar named Le Vignoble.”
Le Vignoble is a 6 x 38 corona especiale using an Ecuadorian habano wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers. It will retail for $12 per cigar or $120 per bundle. There’s a bit of a numbers theme, mainly centered around 10, which was the first vintage of Johnson’s Tatouage wine.
“I wanted to release something small to celebrate working on my fifth vintage which is 2014. Gearing up to the harvest of 2015 was the perfect release season. For 10 weeks I’ll be shipping 20 wet packed bundles of 10 to a different retailer each week.”
In addition to the 2,000 cigars that will head to retail, Johnson said he’ll made an extra bundle for himself—meaning a total of 2,010 cigars were produced. The cigars were rolled last October.
“I have told a few retailers about it but it was usually over a bottle of something.”
The first batch of Le Vignoble heads out today to the first retailer, Lone Star State Cigar Co. of Plano, Texas.
“During my event in February with Steve Parker (owner of Lone Star State Cigar Co.) was the first time I mentioned it outside the factory. Funny thing is Steve hasn’t mentioned it to me since the event on February 20th.”
Johnson is about a week delayed, but he intends to announce a new retailer every Monday and finish the shipping by the first week of October each year.
There will be 20 bundles held back for Johnson’s planned “Tatuaje East” store in Maine, which is expected to open next year. This means there will only be eight other retailers announced.
This is the first new project Johnson has made out of El Rey de los Habanos since 2009. It opened in 2003, the first factory of José “Pepín” García since he left Cuba. It began producing cigars for Johnson in 2003 and still produces the core six size of Tatuaje Brown Label, Reserva J21, SW, A Uno, Cojonu 03, 06 and 09 as well as the RC Series.
While the factory concept is the same, it’s not the same place as where Johnson’s first cigars were made. El Rey moved from its original location in Miami’s Little Havana to part of the My Father Cigars, Inc. headquarters in Doral.
Le Vignoble is expected to be an annual release, it remains to be seen whether the blend will change each year.