Cigar Talk with Pete Johnson

Cigar Talk interview with Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars and Smoke Inn Cigars host.

Pete Johnson is a world leader in the cigar industry and the owner of Tatuaje Cigars. His love for cigars is what compelled him to get into the industry. Since 2003, his famous brand has been known for its handmade premium cigars manufactured in Miami, Florida, and Estelí, Nicaragua.

Fans of Tatuaje Cigars are well-versed in the ascending levels of Tatuaje’s many “labels”. There is the affordably-priced “White Label” (Series P), the Cuban-esque “Red Label” (Havana VI), the classic “Brown Label” (Seleccion de Cazador), and the crème de la crème, the “Black Label” (Private Reserve).

Popular brands include:

  • Tatuaje Anarchy Kaos – This Smoke Inn Exclusive is a blend that includes all-Nicaraguan binder/fillers and a dark shade of Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. This creates a punchy profile of black pepper, toasted oak, cinnamon, black coffee, and a lip-smacking raisin sweetness.
  • Tatuaje Black Label – This cigar gives sophisticated nuances of earth and cedar upon lighting. Its rich, complex flavor then turns to dried fruit and finishes with a peppery spice.
  • Tatuaje Brown Label – Medium to bold in flavor, they are rolled with a beautiful Cuban triple-cap. The smoke fills your palate with a nutty taste with a subtle cedar finish.
  • Tatuaje Cabaiguan – This popular choice offers medium-bodied profile that is different from the peppery and spicy blends. The Natural offers flavors of buttered crackers, cedar, sweet florals and butterscotch. The Maduro is a complex profile of damp soil, roasted nuts, gingerbread, and a touch of black pepper.
  • Tatuaje Karloff 2020 Monster Series – This medium to full body blend gives a dense flavor or aged leather, cocoa, black pepper, caramel, and sweet raisins.
  • Tatuaje La Vérité 2013 – This stick made with leaves from the Garcia family’s La Estrella farm inEstelí, Nicaragua. Warm and mildly peppery, the flavor is mellow and offers tastes of butter, dry wood, and bit of toast.
  • Tatuaje Nuevitas – This is a cigar that is deeply complex and boasts a fine-tuned balance as its strong point. Smokers can expect a medium to medium-plus body, revealing inherently Nicaraguan tones of freshly cut cedar, cabinet spices, graham cracker, caramel, and citrus.
  • Tatuaje VI Verocu – Get an aroma of hay, cedar, and milk chocolate from this medium-bodied cigar. The initial draw offers a milk chocolate flavor that turns to cedar and black pepper with herbal notes.

No matter which sticks you choose, you will share the Tatuaje Cigars experience with enthusiasts around the world.

Pete joined The Great Smoke 2021, hosted by Smoke Inn Cigars, via a video call. We talk about the effects of the Coronavirus, his current activities during the pandemic, what the future may hold, and of course, Tatuaje cigars.

Abe Dababneh: where are you calling us from? Are you at the factory right now?

Pete Johnson: I’m not. I’m actually at the house today because the factory closed at noon, and I would be in the dark if I stayed at the factory.

Q: So, is this your first trip to Nicaragua since the whole uh world pandemic?

A: This is my first trip since March 14th. I landed back in Miami, and unexpectedly we could come down and enjoy ourselves for a week and see the farms and see the factory. Luckily we got tested yesterday to come back on Sunday, so we’re good to go, and we’re coming home.

Q: How is Nicaragua right now. How are things down there?

A: It’s amazing, man. Everybody’s been really careful and really cautious. All the factories are very safe. Everybody’s wearing masks. We actually have to wash our feet and sanitize before we get in the factory.

We have a spray machine that the cars go through before it gets into the factory property. So, yeah, it’s pretty amazing. It’s a safe country, man, it’s a beautiful country, and I love being back down here to be with you guys.

I’m really sorry that I couldn’t be there. Obviously, I wanted to be, but this trip came up so suddenly that I had to jump. So I apologize to the crew, you, mike, and everybody in the audience that was expecting me to be there in person.

Q: That’s totally understandable, my friend. We hear the birds in the background. You’re with nature over there.

A: Well, right behind this wall is something like an exotic bird farm almost. There are birds from

everywhere, and every once in a while, there’s one big bird that talks. So you might hear something from here.

Q: I hope he’s not yellow and sings.

A: No, this one is green, actually.

Q: So, more importantly, have you been watching our broadcast up until the segment?

A: I have, actually. I jumped on early when you guys tested stuff, and I was anxious that the broadcast wasn’t working correctly. But it’s been smooth since the beginning. A couple glitches when Melanie was talking, but other than that, it’s incredible, man.

A spectacular job, Gabe. The backdrop’s fantastic, and the bar looks great. I wish I was there to drink some of those drinks with you guys.

Q: So, what are you working on, Pete? Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell our fans about?

A: Yeah, I’m actually working on fresh packs – fresh toro packs – containing five other toro’s, regular production.

Q: Give us a little insight as to what makes this cigar (the CQ2) so special

as they are selling out right now as we speak.

A: The CQ2 was packaged for a retailer in northern California that closed in the last year. Her name was Donna martin, and she had a place called mission pipe.  She locked up her shop mid this year, which is really sad because I think she retired really.

We also allowed other retailers to get those cigars, but the factory doesn’t make the correct amount of cigars. When you say, “I want 10,000 cigars”, they usually make many overruns because of quality control and make sure that there’s enough product to go in the boxes.

Well, I was down in the factory back in March, and I knew we had them here when Gabe

talked to me and said, “Hey, do you have anything special that you could bring to

the great smoke?” I said, ” well, I have some cigars from 2019 that are super special, and I think it would be cool if we brought them back as a limited product.

But they are CQ2s, they’re just now in bundles with the new limited band, and Dave and I wanted to make sure consumers know that they are CQ2s from the original production from 2019.

Q: When are you heading back, Pete?

A: Sunday, and I’ll be happy to be back.

Q: Before I let you go, I just really gotta ask. So, you know you had a big transition a few years ago, right? You officially got married and made a move from L.A. to Miami, FLORIDA. That’s a big transition. Huge! How’s that been?

A: Actually, I went eight years telling my now wife that I would never move to Miami. But now I’m in Miami, and I love it here. I can’t think of a better place to live.

Q: Especially this last year, it’s kind of been a little bit more relieving for you guys to be down here than have been stuck in L.A., right?

A: Yeah. Actually, you know Miami’s a little bit more open, obviously. We’re very safe about what we do, even around family members. I try to be really careful. In the Latin culture, they want to hug and kiss everybody, but I’m the Gringo of the family that walks in the room and just waves hi.

More about Tatuaje Cigars:

“Old world for a new generation” is how this boutique brand describes itself, catering to the refined palate of the modern cigar lover. Crafted in Nicaragua, they have earned a reputation of having superior quality, delicious tastes, and 4 & 5-star ratings.

Tatuaje Cigars is known for producing lots of various small-batch cigars. Enthusiasts love to enjoy their earthy profiles and rich spicy flavor. Order your Tatuaje Cigars now.

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