The ever popular Pete Johnson has released his 2016 Tatuaje TAA blend. Tatuaje, which is a household name for any craft cigar smoker, is no stranger to blending fantastic TAA cigars—having undoubtedly the most popular bend in the TAA Exclusive Series. Here are the following years and vitolas of the Tatuaje TAA Series:

20115⅝ × 54 box-pressed1,500 boxes of 20 cigars
20126¼ × 50 box-pressed2,500 boxes of 20 cigars
20136⅜ × 542,500 boxes of 20 cigars
20146 × 52 box-pressed2,800 boxes of 20 cigars
20155⅝ × 54 box-pressed3,800 boxes of 20 cigars
20166¼ × 50 box-pressed4,000 boxes of 20 cigars

As you can see, with each year, production has increased with the amount of boxes available. Pete made an interesting decision starting on his 2015 release by making its vitola the same size as his original 2011 blend. He followed this up in 2016 by mimicking the following year’s 2012 vitola. Both of which, the 2011 and 2012, have become “unicorn-class” cigars for many smokers, due to an intriguing combination of full flavor, complexity, and limited availability.

Tatuaje TAA 2016 Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Limited/Seasonal (4,000 boxes of 20 cigars)
  • Vitola: 6¼” × 50 box-pressed toro
  • Price: $11.99

The cigar is said by Pete Johnson to be a combination of the Barclay Rex and Pork Tenderloin cigars. From the first look at this cigar, you’ll notice the trademark box-press vitola, dark and oily broadleaf wrapper, and closed foot that all previous TAA blends have—outside of the 2013 release. The cigar I used for this review had some large veins in the wrapper and a somewhat rough looking cap adhered to it. I noticed quite a bit of “tooth” on the wrapper and felt like it was of very solid construction—having hardly any soft spots to take note. Although, the dense roll had me slightly worried that the draw may be hard to pull from. The smell was of hay, leather, and barnyard.

Smoking Experience

Initially, after feeling the firmness of the cigar, I anticipated that I would have some tight draw issues. This, however, was not the case—I was able to light it and draw off of it with no problems at all. Within the first inch, it showcased a nice baker’s chocolate blast! This was joined by lots of black pepper on the retrohale. It gives a nostalgic feeling of warm, hot chocolate being heated on a chilly, winter evening. After the first inch, the retro spice toned down a notch. The ash held on solid for about an inch before falling.

  • Flavors: bakers cococa » milk chocolate
  • Retro: black pepper » sweet & smooth leather

Tatuaje TAA 2016 cigar smoking

Coming into the second third, it made me feel and taste like I was at a campground in a heavily wooded area. The taste was reminiscent of fresh-cut fire wood, getting ready to be set on a campfire. There is a pretty significant amount of smoke output at this point—with the ash falling around two inches.

  • Flavors: light leather with a hint of ammonia » leather with some musky & earth notes
  • Retro: leather mixed with white pepper » earthy with white & red pepper

The thoughts of fresh-cut wood maintained through the last third. There was a slight coating on my tongue, tasting of white pepper. The roof of my mouth had a tingling sensation, as the cigar’s strength grew. By the last inch or so, each draw had a definite temperature increase. It didn’t feel unpleasant, I just knew that I would not be able to nub the cigar. The overall burn throughout the cigar became a little wonky at times, but it always managed to correct itself.



  • Flavors: leather with sweet cedar/musky notes » sweet cedar and semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Retro: white pepper with notes of red pepper sprinkled in

Tatuaje TAA 2016 review

Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?

This was my 4th time smoking the Tatuaje TAA 2016. I would definitely call this “box worthy” for a couple reasons. First, the consistency and the volume of flavor output throughout are tough to beat. Secondly, the fact that with each prior year, the the Tatuaje TAA blends have only gotten better with time—I see no reason 2016 will be any different.

In other words, yes—I have and will smoke this cigar again…

Tatuaje TAA 2016 cigar review and rating

Tatuaje TAA 2016
I paired this cigar with some Hawaiian Hazelnut coffee. It could easily be paired with a nice glass of Cabernet, Malbec, or port wines, in addition to a good bourbon or whisky. If you're looking for that big leather and nicotine kick that is experienced in the Tatuaje TAA 2012 & 2014, you may be disappointed. I personally really enjoy the Tatuaje TAA 2012 & 2014 and put them in a top 5 category of my favorite cigars to smoke. I would consider this 2016 version to be a nice marrying of a 2012 and 2015. It had smooth transitions, ash that would hold on for about 1.5 - 2 inches throughout, and very pleasant flavors from start to finish.
Appearance96%
Burn/Construction80%
Draw98%
Flavor95%
Complexity89%
Price/Value92%
Pros
  • Easily enjoyable flavor profile
  • Superb draw
  • Makes for a great pairing with most adult beverages
Cons
  • Inconsistent/wavy burn
  • Last third, draw heats easily (harsh notes)
  • Occasional ammonia flavors
92%Return to Glory
Reader Rating: (7 Votes)
70%
  • Dan F.

    I know this author. We’ve smoked countless sticks together. An excellent palate and passionate hobbyist. I look forward to seeing more of his reviews soon.

  • Barrett Keating

    great job by Guest Author……..they should be a regular reviewer!!!