Tatuaje Limited Edition Follows in the Footsteps of Wine
I met with Pete Johnson, the man behind the Tatuaje cigar line, after he and I met at Jose "Pepin" Garcia's cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. His right arm, sleeved with ink, made Pete easy to pick out of a crowd. Since Tatuajes are among my favorites when I'm away from home, I was excited to learn what's on tap for 2010. Unsurprisingly, Pete has something in mind that's a bit different form the norm in the cigar industry.
Tobacco manufacturers strive for consistency above all else. They want the cigar you smoke next year to taste like the one you're smoking today. This is a sentiment I've heard from Pepin's operation and across the cigar industry. And, this makes sense. If you manufactured a high-quality product of any kind and sought repeat business, wouldn't you strive for consistency?
Pete is taking this exact concept to the cigar business. His new line is being made only with tobacco grown on Pepin's farm in Esteli. The entire process, from seed to shrinkwrapped box, occurs over only a few miles, making the new Tatuaje product a special, local affair – wherever you ultimately take it to ash. This process will be repeated annually, highlighting the consistency of provenance over that of taste. A change in the rains or soil could make next year's product different from this year's, but the parts will still come from the same place.
This is an exciting development in an industry that needs a few fresh ideas. Even though there is no shortage of brands coming to market, a lot of old ground continues to be covered (again and again and again). Pete is shaking things up with his unusual approach, in which vintage is the driver. Look for this new cigar in May, which is when Pete tells me it's expected to hit the shelves.