Since originally debuting in 2011, Tatuaje has released three new additions to the fan-favorite TAA series. Of these three (TAA 2012, 2013, and 2014), only the 2013 iteration showcased a different blend; which was a take on the original Seleccion de Cazador blend. In the years following, each TAA release has simply been a rerelease of the 2011, 2012, and 2014 offerings.
In celebration of the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) and their 50th anniversary, Tatuaje has introduced the first update to their limited edition TAA series in four years. As such, the cigars have been rolled in a 5″ x 52 format for the first time.
|2011||5⅝ × 54 box-pressed||1,500 boxes of 20 cigars|
|2012||6¼ × 50 box-pressed||2,500 boxes of 20 cigars|
|2013||6⅜ × 54||2,500 boxes of 20 cigars|
|2014||6 × 52 box-pressed||2,800 boxes of 20 cigars|
|2015||5⅝ × 54 box-pressed||3,800 boxes of 20 cigars|
|2016||6¼ × 50 box-pressed||4,000 boxes of 20 cigars|
|2017||6 × 52 box-pressed||N/A|
|2018||5 × 52 box-pressed||2,500 boxes of 20 cigars|
Tatuaje TAA 50th Breakdown
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Rosado Oscuro
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Limited Edition (2,500 boxes of 20 cigars)
- Vitola: 5″ × 52 (Robusto)
- Price: $11.95 (MSRP)
Each year, the TAA holds an annual event for their 80-plus retail members and participating manufacturers. The 2018 gathering began on April 29th at Casa de Campo in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Along with 12 other manufacturers, Tatuaje debuted a new and limited edition cigar for the 2018 season.
TAA 50th is essentially the same blend as with past TAA releases, offering a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder/fillers. The cigars are box-pressed and boast an extended wrapper / closed foot.
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With almost every TAA release hovering around toro vitolas, it’s refreshing to see a smaller robusto. The cigar’s box-pressed shape is quite soft and could only barely meet the “box-pressed” guidelines. In actuality, it’s closer to an oval in appearance, giving the cigar a chunky feel in the hand. The wrapper is smooth (especially for a Broadleaf), showing impeccable construction, with thin veins and near-invisible seams. There is a dark and muted sheen of oil that comes to life with a glistening sparkle in the sunlight. Otherwise, the leaf is a standard maduro shade with reddish undertones.
Holding the cigar, there is a nice springiness when squeezed lightly. Likewise, the robusto takes a double guillotine cut with a crisp and clean result. The pre-light draw is firm, as should be expected from a closed foot. However, faint notes of paper and lead can be detected. On the nose, the wrapper is equally delicate, showing only leathery characteristics. The cigar’s foot offers notes of raw tobacco, chocolate, and chocolate chip cookies.
As with most-any cigar to come out of the García’s Nicaraguan facilities, this robusto is spicy from the get-go. Black pepper and red pepper are readily apparent through the retrohale, making up the majority of the profile for a quarter of an inch. The smoke then opens up to reveal it’s true intentions, offering bitter, dark chocolate and an underlying sweetness. Red pepper remains dominant, with black pepper trailing into the backdrop.
Unfortunately, the smoking draw isn’t much better than the pre-light test, being firm but manageable (8/10, if 5 is dead medium). Surprisingly, the smoke output is medium, which is impressive considering the cigar’s draw. The burn is crooked but seems to handle itself. The profile caters body over flavor and strength output, being medium/full, medium-plus, and medium-plus, respectively. With a creamy/chalky texture, the smoke hits the front of the tongue the hardest (sweetness), gradually drawing a line down the center of the tast buds (bitterness). There is also a cheek-puckering sensation, like a tannin-heavy wine.
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Further along, the profile really begins to unwind, showing a heavy influence of English-style tea (black, with loads of cream and sugar). The experience is very balanced, adding butterscotch, mineral, and sugary, flakey pastry. Moving into the second third, little remains of the spiciness from the cigar’s start.
What some call rice pudding, others may know as arroz con leche; in my childhood, we new the dish simply as “rice and milk and sugar.” The cigar does a fantastic job recalling a similar, milky, nostalgic profile. Sweetness abounds, with lingering sugary goodness on every puff. Increased puffing/heating adds dark chocolate into the fold, and a hidden toothiness/crunchiness comes through the smoke like sugar granules between the teeth (an uncommon treat that is always greatly appreciated in a smoking experience, personally).
The profile holds sweet and steady for the majority of the cigar, but there are a few changes as the burn approaches the band: mountainous pine, a returning spice in the form of chili powder, and an unfavorable tarriness. The latter note signals the end of an otherwise superb performance.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
In a heartbeat. This iteration of Tatuaje’s fan-favorite TAA Series is easily one of the best to date, on par (if not better) with the original 2011 and 2012 releases. Of course it’s a tough comparison, as any test with the former two will forever be skewed with seven years’ age leaning in their favor. I believe time will equally favor this release, and added boxes were purchased after review in order to prove it…
- Tatuaje has made the TAA 50th their most limited TAA release since 2013, with only 2,500 boxes available. Recent years’ releases have seen closer to 4,000.
- Tatuaje was the fourth company to announce an exclusive TAA release for 2018 (preceded by Altadis USA, CLE and Crowned Heads).
- Tatuaje was the second company to release a TAA exclusive for 2018 (following the CAO Estelí).
- Many of the samples showed firm draw resistances, although not distracting enough to discourage from future samplings.
- Despite the sweet and enjoyable profile, the flavors are surprisingly soft and dialed down, with strength and body taking the forefront.
- This release marks the first (albeit subtle) difference in banding since the 2013 release; as Tatuaje has replaced the year of release with “50th”.
- Flavor: Medium
- Strength: Medium / Full
- Body: Medium / Full
- English-style tea
- Bitter dark chocolate
- Sugar-coated pastry
- Heavily creamed coffee
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Medium-roast coffee, Root beer, Wheated bourbon, Barleywine
- Purchase Recommendation: Full box (or more)
- Chalky/velvet-like texture
- Long-lasting sweetness
- Balanced strength without overshadowing flavor
- Firm draw
- Uneven burn