State of the Brand: Tatuaje
It’s unlikely that there will be a day three installment of this one… but for now here is day two. Pete Johnson, owner of Tatuaje, has spent the past week in Nicaragua at Pepín’s factory finalizing blends for the summer. For those that shy away from the various forms of social media, but still love all things Pete Johnson, there’s been a lot of talking while he’s been down there.
Updated (March 14, 2011): Added Bands to Avion & Fausto.
If there is a theme to all of what Pete has said over the past few days, it’s that Tatuaje’s focus in 2011 will be on the “core” releases. He gives his reasons for doing the limited releases, but as you can read from below, there’s definitely a clear priority.
This is the next limited release and honors the 90th anniversary of Federal Cigars in New Hampshire. Pete said that the owner wanted something similar to a Montecristo Edmundo Dante, so Pete created a cigar in the popular 109 size. It will be 7 x 50 with the similar cap in Habano Rosado wrapper creating what Pete describes as medium/full. I’ve been told three-hundred boxes based on the Verocu blend with a scheduled release in late February/March. Pete also has made one-hundred boxes of the Edmundo Dante in Reserva and he’s let Rick (owner) do what he wishes with those boxes. There’s a rumor that they will be available only as an in-store purchase, meaning that these will likely be rather rare.
The original plan was to have this out for the Oscar’s (February), but Pete told me this isn’t happening in 2011. He didn’t say it was canceled, so I guess we can wait for 2012.
I pointed to this when I was bored doing trademark searches. Avion will be a spin-off of Fausto (see below), a box-pressed Perfecto. While the exact dimension of the cigar will change annually, Pete told me it will always be based off the Fausto blend and always a box-pressed Perfecto. Pete hasn’t given a date or production numbers, but it is a limited release that will be less than 30,000 cigars annually.
This is a cigar that has been long in the works, it’s based off of the ever-popular T110 blend (a limited release for a shop in Hawaii), the plan is to have it start in three sizes, although none of them are the original Petit Robusto that T110 was, instead Fausto should be out in:
- F133- 5 1/4 x 52
- F152- 6 x 50
- F171- 6 3/4 x 48
Pete also indicated that there were four or so other sizes being tested, we shall see. This is scheduled to hit shelves in July.
La Casita Criolla
This is without a doubt what people are excited about: 100% Connecticut Broadleaf – filler, binder, wrapper.
Pete has credited Jaime Garcia for this blend, as he handles the purchasing of Broadleaf. Edit: Pete pointed out that I phrased this horribly, explaining, “I didn’t really credit Jaime with the blend, I just thanked him for having a ton of broadleaf. Jaime owns the My Father factory and I wanted to thank him for having enough Broadleaf to do the blend I wanted.” The cigar will be offered in three sizes, all under $7 and wetpacked.
- HCB- 5 1/8 x 42
- HCBC- 5 5/8 x 46
- HCBF- 6 1/2 x 48
Like Fausto, Pete hopes to have this out in July.
Pete basically said that he isn’t working on it right now. It’s unclear if December 2011 is still the plan, regardless… there won’t be any Pork Tenderloins. For those that are unaware, this will be a release for Gloucester Street Cigars in Boston (the same shop that has gotten the Porkchop and Pork Tenderloin.) It will be the Porkchop and three other vitolas, all using the same tobacco – unfortunately, the Pork Tenderloin, which Pete referred to as, “an accident,” won’t be part of it.
The Wolf is still on. I haven’t heard any other details than what it is out on the web: two cigars in coffins, etc… There was some discussion about how Pete will handle distribution of these cigars, I personally thought his choice last year was the right way to go, but we shall see.
Pete first explained that bringing back the P Series was going to be hard, as SCHIP hurt the cigar and his goal was to bring it back at prices lower than it was originally. In addition, retailer support wasn’t great, which didn’t help. He then decided to bring it back in Sumatra as a national release in boxes of twenty. It’ll be interesting to see if he can keep it in the low $3 (which is where Pete wants it), but look for it in the following sizes:
- 4 1/2 x 52
- 5 x 50
- 6 x 50
No word on release, but as Pete said… the cigar hasn’t been made in three years, so it might be some time.
There was also this random picture of a Culebra… no word on what that would be, probably Pete just screwing with us. He also tweeted that he wouldn’t use Brian Hewitt’s suggestion of “Medusa”, I’m not sure if that means this would actually happen, but who knows… Drew Estate owns that name, just in case you didn’t click the link.
In lawsuit news, Pete found himself on the other side of things as he filed a Notice of Reliance in regards to his case against Nicaraguan Imports (Cuban Crafters.) Nicaraguan Imports tried to register the name “Tattoo” for cigar related items, Tatuaje (the Spanish translation for the word) obviously opposed. Frank Herrera (Cigar Law/La Caridad del Cobre) posted the Notice of Reliance, which basically stated the evidence that Tatuaje plans on using… as one might expect, there were a lot of mentions of Spanish-English dictionaries. (Just for irony’s sake, Altadis and Habanos S.A., have both filed regarding the cancellation of the Conde 109 trademark, yes the former owns the latter, no I don’t know what’s going on either…)
As for that whole movie thing, word is from those who have seen Country Strong, Tatuaje gets a lot of camera time. Pete tweeted the following, “I want to thank the prop person of Country Strong for pimping my Tatuaje cigar box throughout the whole movie. Nothing like free advertising!” I haven’t seen it, so I can’t confirm anything, haha.
That’s all Pete was willing to share with me currently, he is sort of busy right now, haha. I’ve mentioned Tatuaje in regards to the constant (and seemingly pointless) discussion of “boutique” cigar companies and I’ve said that I don’t consider them to be a “boutique” because of the amount of cigars produced. That all being said, I’ve been on the record about how Pete runs the company like a boutique and something like the P Series only proves that in some regards, Pete sets the standard. Pete not only spoke with his end-users, but explained the difficulties he had in bringing what they want to market – and then he made a decision to give them what they wanted. For that, all one can say is, “gracias.” – el niño diablo