IPCPR 2017: 13 Minutes with Pete Johnson

Drew Estate

One of the interviews I look forward to every year at IPCPR is our annual chat with Pete Johnson of Tatuaje. And it felt like almost no time had passed since our last installment of the Minutes With Pete Johnson series. There he was behind the bar at the back center of the booth, leaning over a lineup of Tatuaje Monsters, just like last year. Fortunately Pete’s considerably heavier beard this year snapped me out of my Deja Vu.

After some hot beard talk, we move onto new releases for the trade show. The first, the new Negociant Monopole #4 vitola (4 1/8 x 46), which Pete says is one of his favorite sizes to smoke. Then there is the new L’Atelier Surrogates 7th Sam, a cigar homage to a certain Japanese culture enthusiast in the cigar industry. The vitola is a 6 3/4 x 52 perfecto whose blend features seven different tobaccos. It will retail for $11 plus applicable taxes, making it the most expensive of the Surrogates line. Next, Tattoo Needles that come in a five pack, similar to Cracker Crumbs, one thing that makes them different is that they won’t be pre-cut. Last but not least, The Michael, the latest installment of the Monster Series. Pete calls it “the silent killer” because it’s deceptively easy to smoke and it will sneak up on you.

We switch gears a little and talk about some of Pete’s international projects. Like I say in the video, we do have plenty of viewers outside the U.S. The first is three additional sizes of Tatuaje RC Series requested by international customers, in ring gauges 52, 54 and 56. These will launch at InterTabac in Dortmund this year. Pete also talks about finishing a cigar he’s been working on for five years called Petit L’Eglise Petite Église (the name seems to translate to “small church”), which features Pelo de Oro tobacco.

A number of lines have been “put on the back burner” this year. Pete says that the “four old Cuban trademarks” aren’t actually going away, but production numbers will be very small, enough being produced to keep them around. It’s not a reaction to FDA concerns, it’s to shrink the product price list and focus business on the Tatuaje and L’Atelier brands. He hints that the packaging for these back-burnered cigars may be updated in the future to incorporate the Tatuaje name more prominently.

After that we switch gears and talk about talk about a project Pete is very enthusiastic about, Hand Rolled: A Film About Cigars (website, Facebook, Instagram). He tells us how he got involved with the movie and why he believes in the project. There’s a lot still to do, but the plan is for it to be released in the summer of 2018. If you’re interested in supporting the project, consider buying some merchandise from the Hand Rolled website and following the Facebook and Instagram accounts.

UPDATE: Pete confirms that he misspoke in the video, combing the name of two cigars accidentally: Petite Église and Clos L’Église.

Past Installments of Minutes With Pete Johnson (13 videos, 360 total minutes)

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