March 30, 2012

Cigar Review: Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva & Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012
Well here I am, all caught up and reviewing the latest and possibly the greatest. All the past reviews this week have been one step closer to this moment and I am looking forward to the 2012 Cojonu. While in past years Pete Johnson has focused one cigar, this year Pete decided to release two versions and change things up a bit. First is the packaging. Released in a book style box, the packaging features 24 cigars with two equal and different versions. One version features a CT Broadleaf wrapper, and the other features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. So far each dated release has gotten better to me, 2009 better than 2006, and 2006 better than 2003; but now we will see how this years release compares.

I have talked about the Tatuaje Cojonu  line before, and as mentioned before, Cojonu is short for cojonudo whish is Cuban slang for "ballsy." The cigars definitely tend to pack a punch, but I find they have become more refined and less in your face strong as years go by. It has been three years since the last release, and as every release the cigar features a different blend, and a different vitola. This year the initial release consisted of only 200 boxes, and from what I have seen and read, there were some 2012 Cojonus with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. This year the cigars came box pressed, and were toros in vitola measuring 6 1/2" with a 52 ring gauge. The filler and binder tobacco is still all Nicaraguan, but the wrappers, well I have talked about that already.

Look at the Cojonu 2012 Reserva smoke, you can clearly see how dark the wrapper is. It is definitely a Maduro in coloring, and I would say it has a solid coloring of a dark chocolate bar. The cigar is firm in hand, and slightly less box pressed than the Capa Especial version. The wrapper has a nice soft silky characteristic to touch, and there are some veins present throughout. The aroma of the cigar is that of rich earth, cocoa, coffee and stone fruit. The Capa Especial version features a nice marbled brown wrapper, that varies in coloring from Natural to Colorado Maduro. There are some definite veins present on the gritty textured wrapper, and the texture is incredibly firm. The cigar has definite and beautiful triple cap, and the aroma of the cigar is that of wood, stone fruit, spices and hay. Both the Reserva and Capa Especial versions have a nice draw, slightly tight, but that is perfect for me.
Cojonu 2012 Reserva
Upon lighting, I am greeted with tons of rich and powerful flavors; this cigar is starting out wonderfully. I am getting a lot of rich earth, heavy spices, tobacco notes, oak, coffee, cocoa and stone fruit flavors that are playing off one another and producing a very powerful and complex cigar. In terms of flavors this cigar is compared to a Padron on steroids. I am getting a great burn line with the cigar, and it is leaving a nice solid gray ash on the cigar. The strength is definitely full in body, and a perfect evening cigar. Right now this is a cigar that I would buy a box of, and just them. It is producing a great amount of smoke, and the flavors stay on my palate for some time after smoking. 

I am in the second third of the cigar now, and it has increased more in terms of flavors. I am getting a nice amount of cocoa, coffee, toast, nuts and rich earth on the forefront, and it is leaving a nice finish of tobacco, oak stone fruit and spices. The cigar really is flavorful and powerful, and a great evening cigar. The strength of the cigar is still at the full level, and to me this is the second strongest Cojonu I have had to date. The cigar is performing wonderfully in terms of construction, and the burn line is razor sharp with that solid gray ash. I am still holding on to the ash from the first third, and I am beyond the half way point. This cigar truly is a Padron on steroids.

As this cigar comes to a conclusion it is still delivering the greatness that it has been showing in the first and second third. I really cold not ask for any better cigar to conclude the day with, and I am eager to light up another. Those rich powerful flavors of oak, coffee, cocoa, toast, nuts and rich earth remain on the palate long after the exhale, and there is a nice bit of spice and stone fruit as well. The strength of the cigar on the finish is still as full as it has been throughout the whole cigar, and it performs just as well on the finish. The burn line is razor sharp, and even though I had to ash the cigar after the halfway point, the cigar is still producing a nice solid gray ash. I smoke the cigar down to the nub, and even on the last draw it is rich and powerful, and not hot.

Looking back on this cigar, it reminds me of a Padron Family Reserva Maduro cigar. It has all those similar flavors, very rich, and with the box pressed format the cigar could pass as a stronger Padron. With all that being said, I am a big fan of the cigar, and I prefer this version over the Capa Especial version. The cigar is very rich and full body, and performs wonderfully. It is tough to say where I would place this cigar among other Cojonu versions, but I would most likely smoke this version second after the Tatuaje Cojonu 2009. I really believe this cigar to be a great Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper cigar, and I think it is one of the best  CT. Broadleaf wrappers I have had since the E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro. I give this cigar a solid 93, and I believe that with age this cigar will be even better. I am going to say that if you age this cigar for a year or two, it will be even more complex, balanced, smooth and amazing.
Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial
This massive box pressed toro starts out with a nice bit of pepper that you get with cigars by Pete and Pepin, and it is definitely showing those flavor profiles that you get with Sumatra wrappers. There is a nice forefront flavor profile of herbs, wood, coffee and cocoa, and there is a nice strong finish of cayenne and other spices. There is a bit of sweet dark cherry notes present as well on the finish, but it is very subtle. The burn line has been perfect thus far through the first third, and it is leaving a nice light gray ash that is holding on strong. The strength of the cigar is that of medium, medium full, and it produces a nice amount of thin smoke. What else is there to say, so far so good.

I am in the second third of the cigar now, and flavor wise this cigar is going great. It still has that wonderful spicy and stone fruit finish to the cigar, and those cherry, plum and cayenne notes are very present. Those initial core flavors of minerals, herbs and wood are very enjoyable, and the coffee and cocoa notes are still present though soft. I am still getting a nice burn line in this third of the cigar, and that light gray ash is holding on firm from before. The strength level is slightly softer in this third, at least I think so, and it is more medium in body in my opinion. I will say that this is really a great Sumatra wrapper cigar, and I prefer it over his Tatuaje 7th Capa Especial version, which I like very much. 

I am in the final third, and the cigar is coming to a close. The flavors have really shifted in this third, and it is closing very smoothly. There are still some spice notes present, but I am most getting bits of wood and earth, bits of minerals and herbs, and a very soft bit of cocoa for a little while. It is not as flavorful as it was in the first two thirds, but it is ending nicely. You really get that sweet spot in the middle of the cigar like you should, and it then mellows out some on the finish preparing you to light up another. The strength of the cigar on the finish is still a solid medium to me, and I am getting a perfect burn line. The ash has been that light gray color throughout, and on the end the smoke is still thin and light. It is very pleasant all the way to the nub, and I put the box-pressed down while it is still cool and enjoyable. 

Looking back on this cigar, it is very different from any other Cojonu in my opinion. I have often looked at the Cojonu line as featuring an Ecuadorian Habano or Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper, and with a Sumatra wrapper the cigar really takes on a different flavor profile. I feel that the cigar has a great flavor profile in the first two thirds, but lacks some complexity in the final third. In terms of construction, the cigar can't be beat. It possessed top notch qualities, and had an even burn line throughout with a solid ash. Compared with the other Cojonu 2012 version, I would have to choose the other, but I know there are still some of those who would prefer this version. I give this cigar a solid 90, and if I had to choose this cigar over any Cojonu, I would choose it over the 2003 version.