Out of the Humidor: Tatuaje Tubos

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We often hear the term “Cult Wine” but rarely do we hear “Cult Cigar”.  “Boutique Brand” has been thrown around for years… but too often “Don Jose de Nobody” decides to shell out a couple-a hundred thousand bucks, find a random cigar factory, print out some labels on his computer and make a “Boutique Cigar”.

Well, the cigar boom ended in the late 1990’s, and those of us who lived through that era and learned from our mistakes, can smell a grassy, musty, ammonia-filled, young under-fermented cigar when we smell one.  Fortunately for us, Tatuaje is one of the exceptions to the rule.

Created by tattoo-covered Pete Johnson of Los Angeles, California- this tobacco phenom was the buyer for a major US outfit for a number of years.  Inspired by his two passions, premium cigars and tattoos, he created the brand Tatuaje (tattoo in Spanish) which was finally released in 2003.  The cigars were made by an industry respected, but relatively unknown cigar roller named Jose “Don Pepin” Garcia.  Today, “Don Pepin” is one of the leading (forgive me) “Boutique Cigar Manufacturers” with other brands like “Don Pepin”, “My Father”, but giving credit where credit is due, it was Pete’s Tatuaje brand that catapulted Garcia to “Rock Star Status” in the cigar industry.

Pete Johnson, with his passion, palate and perseverance grew from being his little “brainchild” to being one of the most sought after cigars in the United States.  Just before Christmas of 2009, Johnson, who’s company operates as Havana Cellars (including the brands Tatuaje, Cabaiguan, and the much anticipated Verite) released a “tubos” series.  The Tatuaje Black (black tube) and Tatuaje Verocu (red tube) are both torpedo formats.  The Tatuaje Black  is 100% Nicaraguan with a Sun-grown Nicaraguan wrapper offering a full-bodied experience with wonderful strength and presence without being overwhelming.  The Tatuane Verocu is more medium-bodied and slightly more elegant finished with an Ecuadorian-grown wrapper.

Both formats are sold in boxes of ten tubed cigars.  The Verocu is available in limited supply for $110 per box, and the Black Label is available in limited supply for $140.  For more information on the Havana Cellars portfolio and Pete Johnson visit www.tutuajecigars.com.

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