Tatuaje Gran Cojonu:
Let me start this review by telling you that I am a happy cigar smoker. My favorite B&M cigar shop now carries Tatuaje. Admittedly, I am a Tatuaje fan-boy, but I'm not afraid to say when I get a don't like something from Pete Johnson's lines.
Up until a month ago, only one B&M in the Baltimore-metro area carried Tatuaje. This B&M will go nameless but, it wasn't my style. The clientele, too fancy for me; being 27, there was nary a person I could relate to when I sat down for a smoke. I would make the trip to this shop just to grab a few of Pete Johnson's offerings, but it was a necessary evil.
All of that has changed. My favorite cigar shop, Cross Street Tobacco, now carries Tatuaje cigars. They are official dealers, carrying a multitude of vitolas in both the red and brown series. Also, they've a couple other of Pete's lines. So.....I am a happy smoker. Cross Street has an amazing selection. The owner, Sheldon, only carries quality, and he carries what he knows people want. He runs a quality business, where almost everyone is a repeat customer.
Anyways....with a batch of Tatuaje cigars to choose from, I got ballsy, as the name suggests and grabbed a Gran Cojonu.
Rest of Review on next page
Ding ding ding. In this corner, Mr. Easter, standing 6'1", weighting 170 lbs, armed with a glass of Balvenie and a torch lighter.
In the opposite corner, a monster, a cigar whose name loosely translates to big balls, standing at 6.5" with a 60 ring gauge, this cigar could choke an elephant. Heavy in the hand with a firm, full feel through the artisan-rolled cigar.....tttthhhhheeeee.........GRAN COJONU!
The wrapper leaf is a Nicaraguan Corojo 99, the binder of Nicaraguan origin as well. It is rolled in Pepin's Miami, FL factory and uses a 100% Nicaraguan filler. I believe it is the same blend as the brown label series.
The Gran Cojonu opens up with Pepin's signature peppery smack. Pete Johnson (Tatuaje's Owner) and other folks in the know, will argue that Pete handles most of his blending these days; but whether its something he picked up from his master-blender Pepin, or Pepin had a larger roll in the blend of this smoke.
The pepper soon takes a back seat to a full but sweet tobacco taste. As you can imagine with a fat 60 gauge stogie, there is no shortage of smoke. Personally, I find that I like smaller ring gauges because the wrapper leaf is a higher ratio of the taste then a larger ring gauge, and since I smoke a lot of Broadleaf cigars, I enjoy tasting that Broadleaf. Also, I find larger ring gauges to be a little milder then their smaller-gauged counterparts. Whether it be a true preference or me being closed-minded, I lean to smaller ring gauges.
The Gran Cojonu has brought me to the light! This 60 gauge has changed my perception of large ring gauges. The flavor is smooth, mellow but full. There is complexity to it that I don't often find in smaller gauged cigars. With such a large circumference, you are smoking and tasting a high percentage of the filler; and cigars are supposed to be about the blend, so a higher gauged smoke will give you a better taste of what is going on in the filler tobacco.
But don't disregard the binder and wrapper. They play equally important roles in the total cigar experience and each of the 3 major components serves its purpose. But I guess with anything else in the cigar world, its all about the cigar in your hand, and each brand and series has their own identity. I've tasted 6"x60s that taste like complete crap. Like smoking a dirty cigarette. So, today I've learned to appreciate these fat-boy cigars. Kudos to you Tatuaje, Pete, Pepin, whomever would like the credit.
Overall - Cigar Experience
Straight up, A bitches. Perhaps a B- only because I paid $16.50 for this bad boy. I take overall value (price, experience) into account when I rate a cigar. I enjoyed this cigar through and through. The only part I didn't like was the end, because it was ending :-( But after 2 hours of sipping Balvenie and smoking such an enjoyable cigar on a beautiful day I've got no complaints.
A strong white ash held on with a death grip throughout the smoke and the burn, even. The cigar started with pepper, mellowed to chocolate then transitioned to a roasted cocoa before becoming roasted coffee and earthy notes. The retrohale and resting smoke was sugary sweet and almost dessert like. Although this shag foot cigar is band-less, I believe it is the brown-label blend in a large vitola.