Tatuaje's Monster Series a 'Distribution Nightmare' for Creator

Pete Johnson, the creator of Tatuaje cigars, is continuing his Halloween tradition by releasing the Tatuaje Monster Series, a set of cigars that resemble monsters from cinema packed in dynamic, individually numbered boxes.

The demand created for the cigars by collectors has made the series a commercial success but a “distribution nightmare” for Johnson, who limits the sale of the numbered boxes to 13 retailers chosen by lottery.

This year’s creation is called the Tatuaje Monster Series Wolfman, a torpedo measuring 7 1/2 inches long by 52 ring gauge. It has a rough, uncut foot that exposes the filler tobacco, a first for the Tatuaje brand.

The blend for the cigar is based on Johnson’s Tatuaje Cojonu 2009. Rolled at the Garcia family’s My Father Cigars S.A. factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, The Wolfman is made with all-Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos with a Sumatra Ecuador wrapper. The suggested retail price is $13 per cigar.

Johnson started the project due to his love of monster movies, and decided to limit each Monster Series release to 666 numbered boxes of cigars, each containing 13 smokes, available via 13 brick-and-mortar retailers chosen via a lottery system.

The limits on the cigars and the demand for more have given Johnson headaches.

The Monster Series began four years ago with The Frank, a 7 5/8 by 49 parejo.
Box shot of Tatuaje's The Frank Monster Series cigar.

“The Monster release is out of control,” Johnson Tweeted on October 5. “Problem is people want the box when really the cigar is the only thing that should be of concern.”

Johnson said that collectors are having a hard time getting the cigars, resulting in complaints. Due to the demand, he now also ships additional Monster Series cigars packed in plain boxes of 10.

Last year he shipped 1,300 plain boxes (13,000 cigars); this year he is increasing the amount of plain boxes to more than 1,500, or 15,000 cigars.

The "Unlucky 13" list of retailers who have received boxes of The Wolfman are:

Havana Connections
Richmond, VA

Released in 2009, The Drac featured torpedos symbolizing the lengthy fangs of the most famous of vampires.
Box shot of Tatuaje's The Drac Monster Series cigar.

Casa de Montecristo
Countryside, IL

Rain City Cigars
Seattle, WA

Last year’s The Face was a 6 3/8 inch by 56 cigar.
Box shot of Tatuaje's The Face Monster Series cigar.

Castro's Back Room
Nashua, NH

Belle Meade Premium Cigars
Nashville, TN

Holt's Cigar Company
Philadelphia, PA

Tinder Box #208
Charlotte, NC

Monte's Pueblo Pipe Shop

Pheasant Cigars
Las Vegas, NV

Ruben's Smoke Stack
Hackensack, NJ

Just For Him
Springfield, MO

Good Karma Cigar
Amarillo, TX

Gloucester Street Cigars
Boston, MA

"Johnson Tweeted on October 5. “Problem is people want the box when really the cigar is the only thing that should be of concern.” No, bro. The packaging is of concern as well. YOU are the one that made it with two boxes in the first friggin place so collectors could chase the dressed boxes. I love ya Pete but YOU are the one that created this monster." —October 26, 2011 12:54 PM
"If I bought into this hype I'd use the box as kindling for my fire like all the rest of my empty boxes. " —October 19, 2011 15:40 PM
"Are people smoking the box? If Pete puts it out they just might. " —October 18, 2011 12:35 PM
"I think the boxes are really amazing. But I would take the cigars as they are and be satisfied. " —October 18, 2011 09:06 AM