Tatuaje Cojonu 2003

Tatuaje Cojonu 2003

The Tatajuae Cojonu 2003 is part of a subset of the Tatuaje Miami line from Pete Johnson and made by Don Pepin Garcia. The word “cojonu” is Cuban slang for “ball buster” and it gives a clue to the flavor of the cigar. The blend is spicier than other Brown Labels, and since August of 2005 has sported an aged ligero wrapper instead of the viso wrapper used before. The 2003 designation isn’t the year it was made, but rather the year it was blended. Tatuaje plans to release a new version every 3 years with a new blend.

Company: Havana Cellars
Made In: Miami, FL
Made By: El Rey de los Habanos
Size: 6 ½” x 52
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
MSRP: $13 single / $325 box of 25


Two bands, the standard brown label of the Tatuaje Miami line as well as a second black and gold band bearing “Cojonu 2003”, are clad to the milk chocolate brown wrapper with a super flat head and a perfect triple cap. A small number of thin but predominant veins adorn the wrapper. A feel down the length of the cigar showed a very dense bunch without almost zero give. An aroma of deep coffee flavor hit me when I smelled the foot. The Palio took off the cap perfectly, revealing a firm pre-light draw.

First Third

I toasted the foot with my triple-flame table lighter, and quickly get a nice ember going on the end. A bit of red pepper instantly hit the palate along with some leather. The draw was firm, a bit more than I like, but not overly bad. A medium amount of white smoke lazily wafts from the foot. A very tight, white ash appears as I hit the 1″ mark. The burn is almost t-square straight. The ash dropped on it’s own after 1 1/2″ when I set it down on the stirrup of the Stinky. The draw is starting to ease up a bit, just firm enough for my liking. There still wasn’t a ton of smoke on the draw, definitely did not coat the mouth, but I got a lot of good flavor nonetheless. The pepper flavor recedes leaving almost exclusively leather notes.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2003 Photo 1

Second Third

The leather flavors remained and are joined by some nice bittersweet chocolate. The ash keeps falling in nice 1″ increments. Now the smoke is picking up, and spice starts to come back at the halfway point. Leather and chocolate faded away and was replaced by a nutty espresso flavor. The bottom started to burn slower than the rest, so I rotated the cigar, and it corrected itself.

Last Third

The draw really opened up, and the nut and espresso flavors were still at the forefront. The Cojonu started to burn a little hot with the last 2″ remaining, but it didn’t become unpleasant A little bit of the chocolate sweetness came back in the last inch and a half. The ash stayed nice and tight until the end. I finally had to set it down with about 3/4 of an inch remaining.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2003 Photo 2

Final Thoughts

A wonderfully varied flavor with 3 distinct flavors that all blended well together. The construction was very good, and the minor draw and burn issues corrected themselves as I smoked. A full-flavored smoke with a medium-to-full body, it would go very well after a steak dinner with some bourbon. While the price prevents it from being an everyday smoke, it’s certainly worth trying.

Recommendation: Buy a fiver.

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I long to try more of Pete’s cigars, but just can’t see spending that much when I can get 4 (or more) ‘good’ boxes of smokes from the devil (site). Maybe once my wife goes back to work…


Thanks for the review!

They can definitely can get expensive. It’s more of a special occasion cigar, but I think if someone likes the Ashton VSG or the Oliva Serie V, they’d be well served to try the Cojonu 2003.

These are some of my favorites.
They do cost a bit more than the average smoke, but they are much better than the average cigar. I have also found the same excellent burn characteristics and flavor transitions. The sister smoke the Gran Cojonu is also a spectacular cigar.

Best wishes to the Nice “Tight Ash” blog site.


Nice review! Great way to kick off the new site. Looking for some great reviews from you guys this year…

“Cojonu” = “Ball buster”? Ha! I knew there was a reason I love these cigars. :D Great review and pics! You GO MC and TA!

Great first review for this site! I’ve liked Don Pepin’s cigars in the past so now I’m sure I would like this one to. Is there a sampler anywhere for this cigar?

Good luck with the site.

Excellent job on the review. Its sounds like a cigar that I would enjoy.


Welcome to the world of cigar reviews… Ill add a link to you guys on my site in a couple of days… See ya on twitter!

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