Tatuaje TAA 2011
Year of Production: 2011
Date Smoked: August 27, 2014
In anticipation of the Tatuaje TAA 2014 release, I will be reviewing all three of the Tatuaje TAA releases to date leading up to the fourth release which we should expect to begin seeing late September/early October. First of all, letâ€™s talk a little bit about what the TAA is and why there are special cigars made just for them. The TAA (Tobacconistâ€™s Association of America) is â€œa trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists,â€ (taken from thetaa.org). They are very similar to the IPCPR but much smaller. Every year the TAA holds a convention in some exotic location for its members. Well, because very few retailers found it beneficial to be a member, the TAA has commissioned various cigar manufacturers such as: My Father Cigars, Padron and Tatuaje to release special cigars exclusively to TAA retailers in hopes of increasing interest in becoming a member of the TAA.
In 2011, Tatuaje released their first TAA exclusive which was a 5-5/8×54 slight box pressed toro with a closed foot. 1,500 boxes of 20, which were wet packed in foil, were released and shipped out to approximately 40 TAA retailers with an MSRP of $11 a stick. Now, Tatuaje has had quite a few of their releases wet packed in foil. Typically, after a cigar is rolled, it is set aside for a bit to dry, since the roller keeps the tobacco fairly damp in order to help keep the tobacco malleable; but with wet packed cigars, the cigars are sealed in foil while they are still fresh or â€œwet.â€ The purpose of wet packing cigars is essentially to enhance the fermentation process by slowing it down and allowing for longer term aging and, allegedly, stronger flavors.
Vitola: Box Pressed Toro (5-5/8×54)
Blend: Connecticut Broadleaf Wrapper with Nicaraguan Filler and Binder
Appearance: The Tatuaje TAA 2011 is an absolutely great looking cigar. The chocolate brown colored wrapper has only minor veins present and a little bit of tooth, (â€œtoothâ€ refers to those tiny raised dots that cover the leaf; they are small pockets of oil and almost all wrappers have them, it is just more prominent in some than in others). Between the great looking wrapper, the red, white and blue band with the TAA symbol on the front and the closed foot, this is one sexy looking cigar!
Pre Light: The cold draw gives off very classic Nicaraguan notes such as black pepper, cocoa and cedar.
First Third: Now, before I begin my review, you should note that this cigar is being smoked three years after its release. As Nicaraguan tobacco ages, it tends to mellow out a bit strength wise and, if aged too long, can lose a large majority of its strength and flavor. With that being said, this review is going to be quite different from the reviews you will read from those who have smoked this cigar within a year or so of its release in 2011.
Alright, on to the fun stuff!
First Third: Upon lighting the cigar, I immediately taste coffee and chocolate with some sweetness on the finish, similar to mocha. I also pick up notes of toasted almonds, cedar, leather and earth with just a touch of black pepper on the retrohale. The draw is perfect, giving just enough resistance, the smoke output is average and the burn line remains fair throughout the first third. The strength is at the higher end of a medium body and the ash falls after about an inch.
Second Third: As I enter the second third the cigar becomes very earthy and the toasted almond notes become more prominent. The mocha has turned into more of an espresso and the black pepper on the retrohale fades. I am left with cedar and leather on the finish with just a little bit of sweetness. The smoke output remains average and the burn line remains fair, requiring no touch ups or relights. The strength is now a solid medium and the ash continues to fall about every inch or so.
Final Third: Not much changes in the final third of the cigar. The black pepper has just about disappeared from the retrohale but the espresso, toasted almond, cedar and leather remain with the sweetness on the finish. There is a faint tobacco flavor, (weird, right?), on the retrohale and remains on the finish. The strength picks up just a little bit as I approach the end, never becoming too bitter but remaining rich and smooth until the end. Total smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes.
Overview: The Tatuaje TAA 2011 started off with classic flavors of cedar leather and earth along with toasted almonds, coffee, chocolate and some sweetness similar to mocha on the finish and some black pepper on the retrohale. The second third mellowed out a bit and presented flavors of earth, espresso and leather on the finish with less black pepper on the retrohale. The final third does not change much except for the black pepper fading on the retrohale and being replaced with rich tobacco. The cigar never exceeded medium in body, the ash fell in about one inch intervals and the burn line was fairly straight all the way through requiring no touchups and never needing to be re lit.
Closing Thoughts: When I first smoked the Tatuaje TAA 2011, it was in early 2012 so the cigar was still fairly new. Every one that I smoked that year was consistently full bodied with much more black pepper up front and more distinct and prominent flavors. There was little complexity to this cigar; the flavors remained fairly consistent throughout with very little change in strength. In all, it was an incredibly pleasant cigar to enjoy and I am very glad to have saved a couple throughout the years so that I can do this review. One thing I would like to add, for those of you who are holding on to your last few for a â€œspecial occasion,â€ SMOKE THEM NOW! They are just going to continue to get milder and milder until there is little left; this is not a cigar you want to save for 5-10 years after its release.