The Tatuaje TAA 2015 is one of ten cigars that were released exclusively for retailers who are members of the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA). It was back in 2011, when Pete Johnson made the Tatuaje TAA 2011, the first Tatuaje release for the TAA. The cigar became a huge hit and many consider that release as one that gave the TAA Exclusive Series a much needed boost. Each year since 2011, there has been a Tatuaje release as a part of the annual TAA Exclusive Series. For the Tatuaje TAA 2015, Johnson brings back the same blend and size as the original Tatuaje TAA 2011. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Tatuaje TAA 2015. Overall, this cigar is a home run for Tatuaje and the TAA – and it’s definitely the shining star of the 2015 TAA Exclusive Series.
The TAA 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.
The TAA Exclusive Series has grown over the past few years and 2015 represents the most ambitious series to date as ten new blends were released. When adding these blends to five on-going TAA releases it brings the total cigars for 2015 available to TAA members to fifteen.
This year, the following new cigars have been released for the 2015 TAA Exclusive Series.
- Asylum Nyctophilia Maduro (*)
- Casa Magna D. Magnus II TAA Exclusive Hadrian
- Crowned Heads – The Angel’s Anvil 2015
- La Antiguedad TAA Exclusive 2015 Toro by My Father Cigars
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 47
- Nat Sherman Panamericana (*)
- Padron Serie 1926 No. 47 (Two blends – Maduro and Natural)
- Por Larranaga TAA En Cedro by Altadis U.S.A.
- Tatuaje TAA 2015
* – Denotes cigar being released in multiple vitolas
The ongoing (annually released) TAA releases are:
- Ashton VSG Robusto Especial TAA Exclusive
- Drew Estate Acid Big Bang TAA Exclusive
- Padron 1964 Anniversary Toro TAA Exclusive (Natural and Maduro)
- Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary TAA Exclusive Robusto Grande
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Tatuaje TAA 2015 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
This following is the blend used by all of the Tatuaje TAA releases except the Tatuaje TAA 2013 (which was based on the Tatuaje 10th Anniversary blend)
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (My Father Cigars SA)
For completeness we list all of the cigars released by Tatuaje over the past five years for the TAA. With the exception of the Tatuaje TAA 2013 release, each size is box-pressed. As mentioned, the Tatuaje TAA 2015 uses the same size (5 5/8 x 54) as the Tatuaje TAA 2011.
* Note: Based on the Tatuaje 10th Anniversary Grand Chasseur TAA 2013 blend.
The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper of the Tatuaje TAA 2015 has a chocolate brown color to it. Upon closer examination, there is some darker marbling that can be seen on the surface. There is a light coat of oil on the wrapper. While there are some visible wrapper seams, I found this cigar to be almost void of any significant visible veins. The footer is covered.
While the Tatuaje TAA 2015 is the same 5 5/8 x 54 box-press vitola at the 2011 edition, I did notice that the 2015 had a flatter and firmer press. Whether the press loosened up from my 4+ year old Tatuaje TAA 2011 edition, I cannot say.
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 “2015” in red font. A gold ring surrounds the logo and text on the front.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I opted for a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap of the Tatuaje TAA 2015 was successfully removed, it was on to the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw was slightly muted from the closed foot, but I was still able to derive some flavor. There were mostly earthy notes on the dry draw, but I also picked up some subtle notes of chocolate and even more subtle notes of cedar. Overall I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the Tatuaje TAA 2015 and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Tatuaje TAA 2015 started out with a short blast of red pepper. This quickly subsided and gave way to notes of chocolate and earth. The chocolate and earth combination became primary notes. The red pepper moved into the background and was joined by a very subtle citrus note. Meanwhile the retro-hale produced a combination of red pepper and cedar.
Moving through the first third, the chocolate note morphed to more of a coffee note. The coffee note remained primary with the earth note. Throughout the first third, I found the profile of the Tatuaje TAA 2015 was a little rougher and a little grittier.
During the second third of the Tatuaje TAA 2015, the cigar moved away from the rougher / grittier profile and became a lot smoother. There was almost a creamy undertone to the flavor profile. Meanwhile the red pepper and citrus remained in the background. By the second half, a cedar note surfaced in the background and slowly increased in intensity.
By the last third, the cedar note joined the coffee and earth notes in the forefront. The red pepper and citrus notes remained in the background. The last third TAA 2015 saw a return the grittier profile. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The burn of the Tatuaje TAA 2015 performed quite well. I found this cigar maintained a straight path from start to finish. There was a slight curviness on the actual burn line, but this proved to be cosmetic and was easily remedied with some touch-ups. While I found a little flaking when the closed footer burned off, the TAA 2015 had a firm ash for the remainder of the smoking experience. The ash itself had a light gray color. Meanwhile the Tatuaje TAA 2015 maintained an ideal burn rate and ideal burn temperature.
I found the draw to perform quite well. This was not a loose draw, nor a tight one. Overall I found this to be a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
When it comes to the other three box-pressed Connecticut Broadleaf Tatuaje TAA releases, most of them have fallen into the medium to full / full range for both strength and body. When it came to the Tatuaje TAA 2015, I pretty much found this cigar fit into the same wheelhouse. I assessed this cigar as being medium to full for both strength and body. There might have been a little less strength and body than the comparable Tatuaje TAA 2011, but at the time the Tatuaje TAA 2015 was assessed it had more age than when the time the TAA 2011 was assessed.
In terms of strength and body, I found both attributes balanced each other very nicely with the Tatuaje TAA 2015 with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
At the start I mentioned it was the Tatuaje TAA 2011 gave a nice jumpstart into the exclusive TAA releases as a whole. Since 2011, these have been some of the most sought after TAA releases. From a personal standpoint, I have found some of the Tatuaje TAA releases (2012, 2013) better than others. However with the Tatuaje TAA 2015, at this particular point in time, this is the one that shines above the previous four. The increase in the amount of TAA Exclusive releases over the past couple of years has led to an increase in what I call “average” TAA cigars as opposed to “special” TAA cigars. The Tatuaje TAA 2015 is a special cigar. This is a cigar I’d recommend to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again and it’s worthy of picking up a box.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 4.0-Box Worthy