In 2016, La Flor Dominicana once again provided a cigar offering as a part of the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) Exclusive Series called the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48. Each year a series of manufacturers and brand owners offer an exclusive cigar be sold at retailers who are members of the TAA. La Flor Dominicana’s offering, the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 marks the fifth consecutive year that La Flor Dominicana has been a part of the TAA offerings. Recently I’ve had the opportunity to smoke through the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48. Overall I found this to be a solid addition to the TAA’s long history of exclusive offerings.
Similar to 2015, members of the TAA were given an opportunity to select the cigar that would be the 2016 exclusive offering from La Flor Dominicana. Three sizes based on a common blend using a San Andres Natural wrapper were presented to the TAA retailers as candidates for the TAA 48: a Robusto (5 1/4 x 50), a Gordo (6 1/4 x 60), and a box-pressed Toro (6 x 54). The final selection was made this past March at the 2016 TAA Convention held in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico with the box-pressed Toro as the winner and becoming the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48. The “48” refers to the 48th edition of the TAA’s annual convention.
In addition, when the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 was announced, a second blend was also announced called the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 Celebration Limited Edition Maduro. This was a more limited release that features a San Andres Maduro offering of the TAA 48. The TAA 48 Celebration offering was only made available at events held at TAA retailers supporting the rollout of the TAA 48.
In terms of the TAA as an organization, it is a small group of retailers. At press time the number of retailers is approximately 80. As per their web-site, the TAA is defined as:
The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. is a trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists. By providing education, communication, research, advocacy, and member discount programs, The TAA works with our members and the industry they support to offer the tools and relationship building opportunities needed to maximize professionalism and success.
Exclusive cigars for the TAA are nothing new, but over the past few years the number of offerings offered per year has grown quite large. 2016 included ten new limited offerings, the La Flor Dominicana limited event only offering, and six on-going exclusive offerings. This brings the total cigars for 2016 available to TAA members to seventeen.
This year, the following new cigars have been released for the 2016 TAA Exclusive Series:
- Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto
- CLE Azabache
- Crowned Heads – The Angel’s Anvil 2016
- Padrón 1926 Serie No. 48 Natural
- Padrón 1926 Serie No. 48 Maduro
- La Palina Bill’s Blend
- Tatuaje TAA 2016
- My Father El Centurion H.2K.CT Box Pressed Torpedo
- Herrera Esteli TAA Exclusive by Drew Estate
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 48
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 Celebration Limited Edition Maduro (Event Only)
In addition to the offerings introduced in 2016, the six blends used as on-going releases exclusive for TAA retailers are:
- Ashton VSG Robusto Especial
- Drew Estate Acid Big Bang
- Padron 1964 Toro TAA Exclusive Natural
- Padron 1964 Toro TAA Exclusive Maduro
- Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary Robusto Grande
- Nat Sherman Panamericana
As mentioned, La Flor Dominicana has a five year history in the TAA Exclusive Series. These releases include the following:
- 2012 La Flor Dominicana TAA 2012 Air Bender Maduro Torpedo
- 2013 La Flor Dominicana Double Press Maduro (TAA Edition)
- 2014 La Flor Dominicana 2014 TAA Exclusive – The 707
- 2015 La Flor Dominicana TAA 47
- 2016 La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 and La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 Celebration Limited Edition Maduro (Event Only)
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 and see what that cigar brings to the table.
The blend to the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 is a three region multi-national blend.
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera La Flor S.A.)
As mentioned, the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 is available in one size – a 6 x 54 box-pressed Toro. The cigars are packaged in 25 count boxes.
The San Andres wrapper to the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 has an espresso bean color. There is a light coat of oil on the surface of the wrapper. This cigar had a smooth surface with only some thin visible veins. Most of the wrapper seams were also quite thin. This is more of a sharper box-press, but not quite the sharpness of the La Flor Dominicana Factory Press series.
Thee are two bands on the TAA 48. The primary band has a black background with gold font. On that background it has the classic LFD gold script logo. The band has what I term classic “LFD gold adornment” for trim. On the left and right side of the script logo, there is both a gold leaf and a gold medallion.
There is a secondary band that rests just below the primary band. It is also black in color with gold font. At the center of the band is the Indian logo of the TAA. To the left is the text “48th”. To the right is the text “TAA”. The band is finished with more LFD-styled gold adornments.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. After clipping the cap, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw produced a mix of chocolate and damp earth notes along with some citrus and white pepper. Overall I considered this to be a very good pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The start of the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 delivered a short hit of black pepper. Once the black pepper subsided notes of coffee and damp earth surfaced in the forefront. The pepper settled in the background and was joined by some notes of citrus. There was a slight sour component to the citrus component that was present throughout the smoking experience. Meanwhile the retro-hale produced an additional layer of black pepper.
During the first half, the coffee and damp earth notes remained in the forefront. During this stage I found that the coffee notes had a slight edge over the damp earth. The citrus and pepper notes also remained in the background. Both of these notes had varying degrees of intensity.
Just past the midway point, the damp earth notes became more prominent and eclipsed the coffee notes as the primary flavor. The citrus and pepper still remained in the background and continued to vary in degrees of intensity.
The last third of the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 saw an increase in the black pepper with it closing in toward the forefront. At times the pepper spice had some of the pungency that I often associate with San Andres tobacco. There still was a citrus component in the background, but the coffee notes pretty much dissipated. This is the way the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature, but slight firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
On each of the samples of the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48, I had a little bit of jaggedness on the burn line at the start of the smoking experience. After about 1/2″ into the cigar, the burn line straightened out and remained sharp for the remainder of the cigar experience. This was also a cigar that burned in a straight path – never in danger of tunneling or canoeing. The resulting ash was light gray in color. This was an ash that was not overly firm, but it wasn’t loose or flakey either. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal
iThe draw to the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 also performed very well. It was not too loose, nor too tight and it seemed to maintain the right amount of resistance throughout the smoking experience. Overall, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 is definitely a bolder cigar. This is a cigar that starts out medium to full for both strength and body right out of the gate. While there was a slight increase in intensity with both attributes, the strength and body held in the medium to full range right until the end. Both the strength and body balanced each other.
With this the first review of the 2016 TAA Exclusive Series, I want to give a few of general comments up front. First, seventeen blends in a given year remain way too many offerings in the TAA series. Second, I still think with this many cigars the TAA as an organization should invest in some marketing and promote through press releases. The better educated a consumer is, the better the cigar will do. Finally, I believe more creativity from the manufacturing end will help the series as a whole. That being said, five years into being a part of TAA releases, La Flor Dominicana has done a stellar job at doing creative things – whether it is the voting on the cigar or the event only offering.
One thing that stood out about the TAA 48 is how different of a La Flor Dominicana cigar it was. While this wasn’t the boldest cigar produced by La Flor Dominicana, there is a ruggedness and gritty feel that gave entire TAA Exclusive Series. I did find the flavors of the first half of the TAA 48 to be better than the second half. In particular, the later stages of this smoke will amplify some of the pungency I often get from San Andres tobacco. Overall, this is a cigar that I would steer to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s a cigar I’d smoke again – and it’s worthy of a box split.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Damp Earth, Black Pepper, Citrus
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split
News: La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 Features a Vote and a Special Event Cigar
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufacturer (Prior to August 8th)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a
Brand Reference: La Flor Dominicana