Twenty-five years ago, Pete Johnson began working in a retail cigar shop, with a dream to one day own his own premium cigar brand. In 2003, that dream came true with his creation of Tatuaje, and today, he’s one of the most popular independent cigarmakers in the business, boasting an impressive roster of acclaimed cigar brands. To celebrate his 15th anniversary, he’s adding another: Tatuaje 15.
Johnson reached way back to 2004 to find inspiration for Tatuaje 15, which will be two figurados: Belicoso Fino, measuring 5 1/2 inches by 52 ring gauge, and Tatuaje 15 Torpedo Grande, 6 1/2 by 52. The pair will debut at this summer’s International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers’ trade show and then be released some time after.
“These cigars, sizes and blends were something I made for the Grand Havana Room originally in 2004,” said Johnson. “I decided to resurrect something from the history of Tatuaje and El Rey de los Habanos [the factory in Miami's Little Havana where Tatuajes were first produced]. I was racking my brain trying to come up with something for the 15th anniversary, and when I smoked a few from the original production, I realized that these were the clear choice.”
The filler and binders in Tatuaje 15 are a blend of Nicaraguan Criollo and Corojo tobaccos grown by the Garcia family, while the wrapper is Ecuador Habano. In a slight twist, Johnson has opted to offer both vitolas in two wrapper shades: rosado claro and rosado oscuro.
“Personally, I love how the slight variation of wrapper shades can change the smoking experience,” said Johnson. The wrappers are being color sorted and rolled at the Garcia family’s factory, El Rey de los Habanos, now relocated to the My Father headquarters in Doral, Florida.
Additionally, like in the original 2004 cigars, the wrappers will slightly cover the foot on the Tatuaje 15 vitolas. “This is a style I’ve done since I started [Tatuaje], and it is a throwback to custom-rolled cigars,” he said.
Tatuaje 15 will come in classic, 10-count flat boxes, which are being made in Miami, too. Johnson said that the bands are similar in appearance to the ones on his Tatuaje 10th Anniversary, only in white with gold dusting and foil accents.
While prices have not yet been finalized, Johnson did hint that he would be releasing a Nicaraguan, shade-grown wrapper version of the cigars in the future.
“I owe a lot to the Garcia family and to every person who took the time to try one of my products. … I’m excited about the future of the brand and hope to see many years to come,” he said.