Over the past decade, when one looks at the brands that make up the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) Exclusive Series, Tatuaje is one that ranks right at the top. Each year since 2011, Tatuaje has released an annual limited edition cigar to be a part of the annual TAA Exclusive Series. Seven of the previous eight Tatuaje TAA releases have featured a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. 2019 would see a change of pace as a Mexican San Andres wrapper was introduced for the 2019 release. That release would be dubbed the Tatuaje TAA 51th (not 51st) and it’s the cigar we are assessing today.
The TAA Exclusive Series consists of cigars made by leading manufacturers that are exclusively sold at TAA member retailers. The TAA is a small group of retailers. At press time the number of retailers is approximately 80. The TAA has defined itself 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.
There are 14 cigars released for 2019 as a part of the TAA Exclusive Series:
- AJ Fernandez New World Redondo
- Brick House Ciento Por Ciento TAA Exclusive by J.C. Newman Cigar Company
- CAO Brazilia Select
- Crowned Heads The Angel’s Anvil 2019
- Don Pepin Garcia Original TAA Exclusive Limited Edition 2019 by My Father Cigars
- E.P. Carrillo La Historia 656
- Eiroa Jamastran 11/18
- Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente
- Joya de Nicaragua Selección de Torcedor
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 50th Segunda Edición Natural
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 50th Segunda Edición Maduro
- La Palina Silver Label Toro
- Timeless 2019 Limited Edition for Nat Sherman
- Tatuaje TAA 51th
As mentioned, this is the ninth consecutive year Tatuaje has provided an exclusive cigar to the annual TAA series. Below is a complete list of Tatuaje’s TAA releases.
- 2011: Tatuaje TAA 2011
- 2012: Tatuaje TAA 2012
- 2013: Tatuaje 10th Anniversary Grand Chasseur TAA 2013
- 2014: Tatuaje TAA 2014
- 2015: Tatuaje TAA 2015
- 2016: Tatuaje TAA 2016
- 2017: Tatuaje TAA 2017
- 2018: Tatuaje TAA 50th
- 2019: Tatuaje TAA 51th
Without further ado, let’s break down the Tatuaje TAA 51th and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Mexican San Andres wrapper, the Tatuaje TAA 51th features all Nicaraguan tobaccos for the binder and filler. Production is handled at the My Father Cigars factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: My Father Cigars SA
The Tatuaje TAA 51th comes in one size – a 5 x 52 box-pressed Robusto. The cigars are packaged in 20-count boxes.
The Mexican San Andres wrapper of the Tatuaje TAA 51th had a classic roasted coffee bean color to it. Upon closer examination, some mottling could be seen on the surface. There wasn’t much in the way of oil on the surface of the wrapper. The veins that were visible were on the thin side. Despite the darker color of the wrapper, there were some visible wrapper seams. Like most of the Tatuaje TAA releases, the Tatuaje TAA 51th had a covered footer.
The band of the Tatuaje TAA 51th is a somewhat humorous variation of the Tatuaje TAA Exclusive releases. The cigar features red, white, and green stripes (as opposed to the red, white, and blue stripes on other Tatuaje TAA releases). On the white stripe it says “TATUAJE” on both the left and right side in black font. On the green stripe, it says “TAA EXCLUSIVE” in white font. On the front of the band is a cactus with a sombrero and mustache (as opposed to the TAA Indian logo) in black. Around the logo it says “TOBACCONISTS’ ASSOCIATION of AMERICA, LTD” in black font arranged in a circular fashion. The name “AMERICA” is crossed out and with the text “MEXICO” written over it. Below the logo is the text “51th” in red font. A gold ring surrounds the logo and text on the front.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the Tatuaje TAA 51th. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw delivered a mix of mocha, black pepper, and earth. Overall this was a very good pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to toast up the foot of the Tatuaje TAA 51th and await what the smoking phase would deliver.
The Tatuaje TAA 51th delivered notes of mocha, black pepper, and earth. The mocha notes are what I call a fusion between coffee and sweet chocolate. The mocha notes moved to the forefront and it was the chocolate component that stood out. As the Tatuaje TAA moved through the first third, the chocolate notes got richer. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of black pepper on the retro-hale.
As the Tatuaje TAA 51th moved into the second third, the chocolate component subsided and chocolate/coffee components of the mocha were back on even ground. Meanwhile, some citrus notes emerged in the background, and there was a slight increase in the pepper. This continued throughout the second third.
The last third of the Tatuaje TAA 51th saw the mocha remain in the forefront. By this point, the black pepper was a close secondary note. Further back were the citrus and earth notes. This is the way the smoking experience of the Tatuaje TAA 51th came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
In terms of burn, the Tatuaje TAA 51th maintained a relatively straight burn path from start to finish. There was a slight amount of curvature on the burn line itself, but in the end, this was not a cigar that required frequent touch-ups. The resulting ash was mostly silverly gray in color. This wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it wasn’t a loose or flakey ash either. The burn rate and burn temperature maintained ideal levels from start to finish.
For a box-press cigar, the Tatuaje TAA 51th performed very well. It had a touch of resistance and wasn’t a box-press that was too open. There was a decent amount of smoke production that came from this cigar.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the Tatuaje TAA 51th started out medium to full. During the first half, both attributes gradually increased in intensity. The body increased a little more rapidly than the strength and around the 2/5 mark, the cigar progressed into full-bodied territory. The increase in intensity leveled off in the second half, but in the end, the Tatuaje TAA 51th closed out with medium to full strength and full-bodied favors.
In terms of strength versus body, the body had a slight edge over the strength.
As I smoked the Tatuaje TAA 51th cigars, there were striking similarities to my experience with the Tatuaje Mexican Experiment (ME 1). In terms of The TAA 51th, while the flavor profile was similar, there were differences with the overall experience. I found the flavors to be richer and more refined. With the Tatuaje TAA 51th, I also found a better synergy of the flavor notes overall. As I started this assessment out, the Tatuaje releases for the TAA have ranked among the top – and the Tatuaje TAA 5tht is another reason why. It has been said that TAA releases are the best cigars by the best manufacturers for the best retailers. While there are many TAA releases that score well, many miss this “best of the best” mark. The Tatuaje TAA 51th doesn’t. It’s a cigar I’d recommend to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s one I would smoke again and not hesitate to make a box purchase.
Key Flavors: Mocha (Chocolate, Coffee), Pepper, Earth, Citrus
Strength: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Purchase
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop