Tatuaje Cigars, Kyle Johnson
Considered one of the original boutique cigars, the Tatuaje is old world, full bodied and Cuban.
Tatuaje is Spanish for “tattoo,” an homage to brand owner Pete Johnson’s affection for the art form. A former L.A. Sunset Strip rocker, Pete got his start in the cigar business working in a local cigar store, then Los Angeles’ Grand Havana Room.
He launched Tatuaje Cigars in 2003 while working at the Grand Havana Room, and began having his cigars made at Jose “Don Pepin” Garcia’s El Rey de los Habanos factory in Little Havana Miami, when Don Pepin was a relative unknown in the cigar world.
In the following years, Tatuaje would enjoy many high ratings and release quite a few highly sought-after limited blends. The company also has a popular annual Halloween-themed release, the Monster Series, which highlights a different horror movie monster every year. The Monster Series packaging has become collectable to the point that the boxes sell for ridiculous sums in the secondary market. Many of the Tatuaje cigars are now made in Estelí, Nicaragua, but several are still made in Miami.
The Tatuaje Reserva J21 is a Robusto-sized cigar made in Miami featuring a ligero priming Ecuador Habano wrapper, blended in the style of Havana cigars. It started out with some woody spice and moved to espresso, with a hint of citrus. There were also some hints of cocoa and sweet wood and leather, and I’m a sucker for any cigar with cocoa and espresso flavors. This is a powerful cigar but very well balanced and refined.
Despite the rustic wrapper, the Tatuaje Reserva J21 is a beautiful cigar; it’s perfectly constructed with a flawless burn. It burned for well over an hour and a half, at which time I had to put it down or I’d burn my fingertips. This cigar is readily available and is a worthy addition to any humidor—that is, if you enjoy full-bodied cigars.
Tatuaje Reserva J21
Country of Origin: Miami, USA
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
Box Count: 25