June 30, 2019

Cigar Review: Tatuaje Gran Cojonu

Seeing a 60 ring gauge cigar in a shop's humidor these days is expected. To be honest with you if you did not see one I would be quite shocked and worried. Every manufacturer is producing a cigar of that caliber in their portfolio and many have been doing so for years. There are some manufacturers who have delayed their release or limited the production, but every manufacturer that I can think of has a 60 ring gauge cigar. Actually, I believe Dion does not have a 60 ring gauge cigar. We are seeing 70 to 80 ring gauge cigars being released this year and it is scaring the crap out of me. I fear that with the release of these large ring gauge cigars the consumer will continue to demand them and manufacturers will cut back on the production of smaller ring gauge cigars. Habanos S.A. has even cut back on production and discontinued some of their smaller ring gauge cigars that were classics in their time. All is not lost though, because there are some manufacturers who are releasing large ring gauge cigars correctly.

The secret is in the blending. Is the manufacturer blending the cigar for the sole intention of being a large ring gauge cigar, or is the manufacturer just adding a 60 ring gauge into the line because consumers are asking for them? The two are completely different and can have completely different outcomes. There are manufacturers that have created 60 ring gauge cigars with the intention of them being 60 ring gauge cigars and I respect them for that. I will be talking more about one of these in a few seconds, but another that really comes to mind is E. P. Carrillo. Carrillo created a line called INCH. INCH was a cigar line that was created with ring gauges between 60 and 64. The smokes were huge and not something I would smoke often, but they were intended to be 60 plus ring gauge cigars. The second cigar/line that comes to mind is the Gran Cojonu by Tatuaje. This is a cigar that was blended in one size and one size only. From day one Pete Johnson worked on this cigar with the intention of it being a 60 ring gauge cigar.

The Gran Cojonu was originally launched with the Cojonu 2006, and both cigars were follow ups to the Cojonu 2003. The Cojonu Series is a collection of cigars that Pete Johnson releases every three years. The line consists of the Cojonu 2003, 2006, 2009 and the 2018 Sumatra, Reserva and Habano. The Gran Cojonu is a cigar that really sticks out from the group because it is unbanded and is in a 60 ring gauge format. The cigar is made in the United States at El Rey de los Habanos, and until 2006 was a Nicaraguan puro. The cigar features Nicaraguan fillers and binders and has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. I have already said the cigar is a 60 ring gauge cigar and it has a length of 6.5". The cigar comes with a nice closed foot and has nice balance between softness and firmness to touch. It is a massive cigar and the wrapper that covers it is silky with some veins present. There is a beautiful triple cap at the end and it has a coloring throughout that is Colorado Maduro and reminiscent of a chocolate bar. There is an aroma to the cigar of cedar, leather, tobacco and pepper, and I am getting some cocoa notes at the foot.       

Lighting up the cigar I get an incredible draw and it is producing a lovely bit of smoke. The draw is fairly easy and with the large ring gauge very cool. I am getting soft cocoa, coffee and leathers notes predominantly, but I am also picking up some cedar, sweet tobacco and peppery flavors. There is this lovely sugarcane sweetness to the cigar as well, but it is fairly subtle. I would say the body on the cigar is between medium and medium full and the strength level is right around there as well. It is early on the cigar, and with it being very large it is smoking cool which can give the impression of being softer overall. The construction is wonderful and it is producing a lovely ash that is firm on the foot and showing solid charcoal coloring. So far this is a great gordo.

I am in the second third of the cigar now and I am finding the pepper and spice notes to increase in this third. It is not too spicy or peppery, but you can definitely pick up their presence more in this third than before. There are some solid earthy notes in this third as well, and I would say this this third is bolder and richer than the first. The cocoa notes are really popping and there are some coffee notes with that which produces this cafe mocha that has some spice and cedar qualities with that. It is still performing well in terms of construction and I am getting a nice cool draw in this third that is producing tons of smoke. The burn line is a nice razor sharp line and it has a charcoal coloring identical to the first third. I would say that this third shows more medium full qualities than the first third in terms of body and strength, and it is growing in that sense as a cigar.

The final third continues to grow from the second third and I am getting a strength and body level that is a high medium full. The cigar is still smoking cool in terms of the draw, but you can get the strength and body as the cigar comes to a close. It has a nice damp wood and earth flavor profile in this final third and while it is showing those cocoa and earthy notes, it is not as sweet as it was in the second third. There are some soft spice notes present in the final third of the cigar, but I would say they are softer than they have been in the past. Overall the cigar finishes showing flavors that are very basic, but enjoyable. The construction is terrific in the final third, as it has been throughout, and it is smoking cool while producing a solid burn line and a nice charcoal colored ash. I smoke the cigar down to the very large nub and put it down when my fingertips get hot.

Without a doubt this is the best 60 ring gauge cigar on the market. It accomplishes all that you could ask for in a cigar with a smaller ring gauge, and it does it in a 60. The large ring gauge offers a cool smoking experience from beginning to end, but the blending is phenomenal and offers more depth and complexities alongside the cool and smooth draw. This was a cigar that was originally made before the 60 ring gauge was really in, and there are some that say this was the cigar that sparked more manufacturers to make 60 ring gauge cigars. There were large ring gauge cigars on the market before this, but they were not made to the degree that this cigar was and the were more made for "fun." I think Pete Johnson has been at the head of the pack in many ways for the cigar industry, and this cigar is one of the reasons he is there. Would I smoke this cigar a lot? No, I don't smoke many 60 ring gauge cigars. But this is an incredible 60 ring gauge cigar that should be recognized. I give this cigar an easy 91 and would definitely smoke it again in the future as I have smoked many of them throughout the years.

Seth's Humidor Rating: 91
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