|Tatuaje TAA 2012|
For the second year in a row, the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) has selected Tatuaje Cigars to blend an exclusive cigar to be made available to its member retailers to sell. TAA releases are commonly done in extremely limited releases. The Tatuaje TAA 2012 follows up last year’s Tatuaje TAA 2011. It uses the same blend, but comes in a different size. Last year, the Tatuaje TAA 2011 was done as a one time release, and as a result it became a very sought after cigar among cigar enthusiasts. I recently had an opportunity to smoke the Tatuaje TAA 2012 – and I found this to be an outstanding cigar and one that exceeds the Tatuaje TAA 2011 release.
Last year, the Tatuaje TAA 2011 was a good cigar in my book. When I assessed this cigar (almost exactly a year to the date), I felt this was a cigar that still needed some age. When I had some subsequent smokes that had some additional age, this did provide a better smoking experience. While a good cigar, there are still many Tatuaje smokes I would have reached for over the Tatuaje TAA 2011. The Tatuaje TAA 2012 is a different story. This cigar seems to click on all cylinders. I’ll infer the vitola change combined with tobaccos more aged has led to the cigar smoking as good as it did.
Without further adieu, let’s look closer at the Tatuaje TAA 2012 and see what this cigar brings to the table:
As mentioned above, the Tatauje TAA 2012 has a similar blend profile to the Tatuaje TAA 2011.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Like last year, the Tatuaje TAA 2012 is only available in one size. The Tatuaje TAA 2012 is slightly longer than the Tatuaje TAA 2011, but it does have a thinner ring gauge. For completeness purposes, both the TAA 2011 and TAA 2012 are included.
TAA 2012: 6 1/4 x 50
TAA 2011: 5 5/8 x 54
The estimated production for the Tatuaje TAA 2012 is around 1500 boxes of 20.
The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper of the Tatuaje TAA 2012 has a classic coffee bean color. It has some dark spots on it. The wrapper itself is not an oily one and has more of a silky complexion. There are some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The cigar itself is a box-press with a covered foot. The box-press is very well-packed.
The band itself is a variation of the bands that Tatuaje for many of its “Exclusive Series” (i.e. limited, retailer-exclusive) releases. It features the red, white, and sky blue stripes found on those bands. There are also gold and black stripes across the top and bottom. On the white stripe it says “TATUAJE” on both the left and right side in black font. On the blue stripe, it says “TAA EXCLUSIVE” in white font. On the front of the band is the TAA Indian logo in black. Around the logo it says “TOBACCONISTS’ ASSOCIATION of AMERICA, LTD” in black font arranged in a circular fashion. Below the logo is the text “2012” in red font. A gold ring surrounds the logo and text on the front.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Tatuaje TAA 2012, I opted to go with a straight cut into the cap of the cigar. It was then on to the pre-light draw. Despite the fact that the foot was covered, I was able to get some pretty good flavors from the dry draw of the Tatuaje TAA 2012. The flavors I detected were cocoa and pepper. Overall, I considered the pre-light draw to be superior on the TAA 2012 compared to the TAA 2011. At this point, I was ready to toast the foot and see what the actual smoking experience would bring to the table,
The start to the Tatuaje TAA 2012 treated me to a traditional Garcia family pepper blast. The pepper settled down quickly, Some notes of coffee emerged and together with the pepper these were the early primary notes. I also detected some cream and raw sugar in the background. While this might sound like a spicy cup of coffee, there was a real tobacco undertone to all of these flavors.
The coffee notes moved slightly ahead of the pepper notes as the cigar progressed through the first third. The coffee would change into a dark chocolate flavor. As the cigar progressed toward the midway point, the cream and raw sugar cane began to dissipate and the dark chocolate and pepper would be the flavors fighting it out.
In the Tatuaje TAA 2011, the flavor profile transitioned to more of an earthy profile in the second half. I like the fact the TAA 2012 did not do this. While I could detect some earth notes it never took control from the dark chocolate and pepper flavors. As the cigar moved into the last third, the pepper notes took over. The close to the Tatuaje TAA 2012 had a peppery finish, but the spice was not overwhelming. It finished with an ideal nub – cool in temperature and firm to the finish.
Burn and Draw
One thing that hurt the Tatuaje TAA 2011 when I assessed it is that it did not have the best burn. No such problem with the TAA 2012. The cigar burned straight from start to finish requiring minimal touch-ups. It produced a salt and pepper ash. There was some slight flaking, but nothing major. The burn temperature was ideal. The burn rate was actually on the slow side each time I smoked it. The slow burn had no adverse effects whatsoever on the flavor or temperature of the cigar.
My first TAA 2012 I smoked was plagued by a very tight draw. This seemed to be an isolated incident as the subsequent TAA 2012s had no such problems. In fact the draw was outstanding on those subsequent smokes.
Strength and Body
Back when I smoked the Tatuaje TAA 2011, I assessed it to be a medium to full strength, full-bodied smoke. The Tatuaje TAA 2012 seemed to have a much heavier punch than the TAA 2011. It starts out full strength – and it gets even stronger in the second half. As for the flavors, they had some nice depth to them. Like the TAA 2011, I assessed the TAA 2012 to be a full-bodied smoke. The strength and body balance each other nicely in the first half. In the second half, the strength seems to have a slight edge over the flavor.
While I felt the Tatuaje TAA 2011 was a good smoke, I feel the Tatuaje TAA 2012 is a great smoke. This vitola really works well in this blend. It also seems to be that the tobaccos are much more mature in the TAA 2012 than the TAA 2011. While there is a decent production allotment of 30,000 cigars, I would expect still expect these to move quick as many Tatuaje enthusiasts will probably opt for box purchases. Given this cigar has a lot of strength, I’d recommend this to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, I would smoke this cigar and certainly consider a box purchase of it.
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Iwan Ries in Chicago, Illinois