Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo Ligero
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Torpedo 6.75″ x 48 ring

The Tatuaje Cojonu 2009 is part of the Cojonu extension of the Tatuje Brown Label line.  Also known as Tatuaje Miami, Tatuaje Classics, Tatuaje Cabinet series, and even more formally (and very rarely) as Tatuaje La Seleccion de Cazador.  The Cojonu extension is a series of very strong cigars that are released in a new shape every three years.  It started with the Cojonu 2003 which was a long toro, and that was followed by the Cojonu 2006; a belicoso.  So 2009 predictably brought us the next installment which happens to be a very long torpedo with a very short and rounded taper at the head.  As I have always understood it, each of these cigars is the same blend with the same binder and wrapper,  the difference with each edition being the vitola.  So it is good to note that the year on these cigars does not refer to what most cigar smokers normally associate a year with.  It doesn’t have to do with the crop, or the year it was made.  It is simply the name of the vitola.  Much like the Lonsdale in the classic Brown label line is called a Havana Cazadore, this torpedo is called 2009.  All three vitolas are regular production cigars and all three are still made and available today.

As I mentioned the Cojonu blend is much stronger in body and power than the already quite robust standard Brown Label blends.  The story goes that the name of the line, Cojonu, is a play on a slang Spanish term meaning “ballsy”.  An obvious reference to the strength of the blend.  The Cojonu wrapper is an aged ligero leaf so it had plenty of time in the sun while it was growing and the result is a very dark and very rustic looking wrapper.  The flash in my photo doesn’t do it justice as it sort of bleeds out the color making it appear a much lighter shade of brown than it appears in living color.  It is well filled, and a pre-light  test draw revealed a good but slightly lighter than expected draw.

It is commonly held that if you take what is essentially the same cigar and change the size, it changes the flavors and experience.  I subscribe to this with the following assumption.  When you change the size you are not merely changing the length but also the thickness, or ring gauge.  I think that goes to explain why, in my opinion,  there is virtually no difference at all between the Cojonu 2003 and the 2006.  Both cigars are a 52 ring but the 2003 has about an inch on the ’06 in length.  In that case there were no discernible differences in the two vitolas in my opinion.  To me, they tasted and smoked identically.  The 2009 stepped down a bit on the ring gauge to a 48 ring.  This time I noticed a difference.  A large one actually.

When a cigar gets smaller the blend has to change in some ways.  While the percentages of the different filler types used in the blend may remain consistent, the simple fact is you cannot cram the same amount of tobacco, in the same configuration into a thinner cigar.  So while you are smoking, the percentage of ligero to seco that is burning may be the same, in the thinner cigar there is simply less total ligero and less total seco burning at the same time than there is in the thicker cigar.  So it just goes to figure that there would be a difference in how the cigar tastes and behaves in general.

So how does all this come into play with the Cojonu 2009.  Well the first thing I noticed was that the 2009 is noticeably milder that it’s brothers.  That is not in any way to suggest it is a mild cigar.  It is still a full bodied smoke, but it doesn’t have the same “kick you in the head” effect that the other two seem to have.  One thing I have always been impressed with when smoking the Cojonu cigars is how smooth they are despite their ample power.  This is still true with the 2009, and the toned down power has another favorable side effect.  I believe it allows some more of the subtitles of the blend to come through.  The flavors are very similar to the previous two versions, they just come to play at different volumes now.  The peppery start is there, just less overwhelming.  The core of earth, hardwoods, and cocoa are there as well and seem to have a creamy texture to them.  The most notable change however is the cherry notes.  In the ’03 and ’06 I’d get fleeting hard to pin down flashes of cherry every once and a while as if it could only muster the strength to push past the other more robust flavors occasionally and only for a brief moment.  With the 2009, the cherry notes are less subtle and easier to detect, balancing out the less sweet core flavors very nicely.  I have smoked a couple of these cigars now and I can safely say the 2009 is my favorite Cojonu.