Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva

Starting in 2003, Tatuaje fans have been able to count on a triennial release known as the Tatuaje Cojonu.   In each of these three year cycles, a different blend with a different vitola has been released (note: Although it technically is part of the series, I am not counting the Tatuaje Gran Cojonu releases with this cycle).   Each cigar was named with the year it was released (i.e. Cojonu 2003, Cojonu 2006, Cojonu 2009).  As 2012 is now upon us, it comes time for another release of the Tatuaje Cojonu.  For this particular series, Tatuaje founder Pete Johnson mixes things up for us.  The 2012 release will actually feature three different blends, and introduce some new wrappers not seen in the Cojonu series before.   Today, we explore one of the three releases. the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva.  Overall, I found this to be a solid cigar and one that would most likely satisfy Tatuaje enthusiasts.

In the previous triennial releases of the Cojonu series, each of the three vitolas used Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.  For the Cojonu 2012 releases, there will be three different wrappers used:  Connecticut Broadleaf, Ecuadorian Sumatra, and Ecuadorian Habano.   At the time of this writing, the Connecticut Broadleaf and Ecuadorian Sumatra blends of the Cojonu 2012 have been released.  The Ecuadorian Habano Cojonu 2012 will be released later this year.    The Connecticut Broadleaf release is called the “Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva” while the Ecuadorian Sumatra release is called the “Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial”.  Like all Tatuaje Cigars, the Cojonu 2012 series is blended by the Garcia family.

The initial release of the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 packages both the Cojonu 2012 Reserva and Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial in a limited edition book-like box called the “Tatuaje Cojonu Two 12s”.  Each of these boxes will contain 12 cigars of the Reserva and Capa Especial blends.  The plans are for traditional boxes for each of the blends later in 2012.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Two 12s box (sawdust on it as photo taken at My Father Cigars factory)

As mentioned, this assessment will focus on the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva.   While “Reserva” has been given to the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper blend, it is a little confusing when you look at Tatuaje’s web-site as not all things considered “Reserva” are Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper blends.  You will even notice the Tatuaje Cojonu 2003, 2006, 2009 releases are on the Reserva page. From my standpoint, I consider the “Reserva” line as special variations of existing

Let’s break down the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva and see what this blend brings to the table.

Blend Profile

As mentioned the Cojonu 2012 series will feature, three different wrappers.  These wrappers will be over a common binder and filler.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

For the first time, a box-press vitola will be used in the Cojonu series.   Each Cojonu 2012 blend is box-pressed 6 1/2 x 52 toro vitola.  This size will be consistent for the whole Cojonu 2012 series.


The Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva has a classic roasted coffee bean-colored wrapper.  There are a few visible veins and a few visible wrapper seams  This is not an oily wrapper, but one that does have more of a dry, sandy-like feel to it.  The wrapper is also slightly bumpy as you touch it.

The cigar features two bands.  The first features the Tatuaje band commonly found on the Seleccion de Cazador series.  That band contains a brown background with Tatuaje in white scripted font.  There is a secondary band under the brown band.  The secondary band has a black background with gold striping.  On that band it says “Cojonu” in gold font.  Under that text it says “2012” in smaller gold font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva, I went with my usual straight cut into the cap.   There was some complexity on the flavor profile for the pre-light draw.  It contained notes of coffee, chocolate, wood as well as some spice.  Overall, I was pleased with the dry draw notes.  At this time, I was ready to light my Cojonu 2012 Reserva and see what the cigar experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

After the experience of the pre-light draw, I was expecting a more complex cigar from a flavor standpoint once this cigar was lit.  The Cojonu 2012 Reserva did not have quite the level of complexity from a flavor standpoint I was expecting, however the flavors it did provide were solid.

The Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva started out with a flavor profile of coffee, leather, and pepper. As for the pepper at the beginning, I dd not categorize this as the bold “Garcia pepper blast” that is common to cigars made by the Garcias.  In fact the pepper seemed to be more present on the after-draw.

The coffee flavor took a slight edge as the primary note.  Eventually the coffee transitioned more to a cocoa powder flavor – still maintaining a slight edge in the forefront. At this time the pepper notes were now present on the full-draw along with some leather notes. 

Later in the first third, I detected some nut flavors.  These nut flavors, along with the pepper notes increased throughout the second third. At this point, the cocoa notes had moved into the background.   The pepper notes were not overwhelming and even with some spice, the Cojonu 2012 Reserva was pretty smooth.

The nut and pepper combination would hold until the end.   Both notes were in the forefront at the end of the smoke.  The spice had kicked up toward the end, and the cigar did lose a little of its smoothness.  The resulting nub was firm to the touch, and cool in temperature – the way a cigar should always nub.

Burn and Draw

The Johnson-Garcia connection with Tatuaje has produced many consistently well-made cigars.  The Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva continues with this tradition as it gets high scores with the construction attributes of burn and draw.   The burn was sharp from start to finish.  The burn rate and burn temperature were also ideal.  As for the draw – it was flawless – making the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva an ideal cigar to puff on.

Strength and Body

The start to the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva was not overpowering from a nicotine standpoint.  In fact, I had it on the lower end of medium on the strength spectrum.  As you smoke the Cojonu 2012 Reserva, the strength does slowly build and it does sneak up on you.  By the second half of this smoke, the strength had moved right into medium to full territory.

The depth of the flavors follow a similar pattern.  I assessed the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva to be medium-bodied at the start.  As the cigar smoking experience progresses, the body does increase.  It crosses into medium to full-bodied territory toward the end of this smoke.

The strength and body balance each other very nicely.  This balance holds as both the strength and body increase throughout the smoke.   Even though the strength has a slight edge for a good chunk of the second half, it does not overpower the body.

Final Thoughts

I’m going to hold off on a comparision with the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial until after that assessment is complete.  Overall this was a good cigar.   I wouldn’t say this is going to be the 2012 Cigar of the Year, but it should contend for the Cigar Coop year-end countdown. 

On a side note, I’m glad that Tatuaje got away from the torpedo/belicoso vitolas of 2006 and 2009 and has gone to a box-press toro.

Cigar enthusiasts who want a balanced, well-constructed cigar with good flavor may want to give this a try.  Experienced cigar enthusiasts – and especially Tatuaje fans will appreciate these attributes.  The way the cigar progresses with its strength and body could appeal to novice cigar enthusiasts to see if they can handle more strength and body.   As for myself, this would be a smoke I would have again.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium (progresses to Medium to Full by 2nd Half)
Body: Medium (progresses to Medium to Full in the last third)
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 91

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.