In 2020, La Aurora Cigars would release its first exclusive cigar for the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) and it would be simply titled “La Aurora TAA Exclusivo.” La Aurora was one of two cigar manufacturers contributing a cigar for the first time to the TAA Exclusive Series (the other was Villiger Cigars). With La Aurora being the oldest factory in the Dominican Republic and having a substantial-sized brand on a global scale, it makes sense for La Aurora to be a part of the TAA Exclusive Series. Today, we take a closer dive into the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo.
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 12 cigars released for 2020 as a part of the TAA Exclusive Series:
- AJ Fernandez Belles Artes Maduro Figurado
- Brick House Ciento por Ciento 6 1/4 x 54 (Return from 2019)
- CAO Expedición
- CLE 25th Anniversary 11/18
- Encore 656 by E.P. Carrillo
- Kristoff San Andrés Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020
- La Aurora TAA Exclusivo
- My Father The Judge TAA Exclusive
- Rocky Patel TAA Exclusivo 2020
- Tatuaje TAA 2020
- Timeless TAA 2020 (Nat Sherman)
- Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020
There were four additional TAA Cigars that were announced but never released in 2020. While it was never explicitly stated, the reasons were most likely related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Crowned Heads release was effectively postponed indefinitely while the La Flor Dominicana and La Palina releases will be a part of the 2021 TAA Exclusive Series.
- Crowned Heads Lost Angel 2020
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 52nd Oro Tecera Edición 6 1/2 x 58 Chisel Natural
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 52nd Oro Tecera Edición 6 1/2 x 58 Chisel Maduro
- La Palina White Label 6 x 50
Without further ado, let’s break down the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The La Aurora TAA Exclusivo features a Habana Vuelta Arriba wrapper from Ecuador, binder from Cibao Valley, DR, and fillers from Cibao Valley, DR, mixed with Broadleaf Pennsylvania
Wrapper: Habana Vuelta Arriba (HVA, Ecuador)
Binder: Dominican Cibao Valley
Filler: Dominican Cibao Valley, Pennsylvania Broadleaf
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: La Aurora S.A.
The La Aurora TAA Exclusivo is available in one size – a 6 x 50 Toro. The cigars are presented in ten-count boxes with a total allocation of 500 boxes made available to TAA retailers.
The HVA wrapper of the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo had an almost caramel color to it. There was some oil on the surface of the wrapper. The surface of this wrapper had a slight amount of bumpiness, a slight amount of visible veins, and a slight amount of visible wrapper seams.
The bands of the La Aurora TAA Exclusivos are brown with gold font and adornments. At the top center of the band is the La Aurora logo with a lion. Just below that logo is the TAA Indianhead logo. On the upper portion of the band to the left and right are images of the outside of the La Aurora factory. To the left and right of the Indianhead logo are gold medallion designs. To the far right of the medallions is the text “EDICION LIMITADA” in white font. The lower left and lower right of the band has the TAA logo “QUALITY INTEGRITY SERVICE” in a ticker-tape fashion. Just below that is the text “COLECCION CONMEMORATIVA” on the left side and “HECHO A MANO TAA” on the right side. On the gold trim on the lower part of the band is the text “EXCLUSIVO” in a dark
Prior to lighting the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered notes of wood, natural tobacco, and floral notes. This was a pre-light draw flavor profile that didn’t exactly have me doing cartwheels or handstands. At this point, it was time to light up the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The La Aurora TAA Exclusivo started out with notes of natural tobacco, lemon, and wood. The natural tobacco and lemon notes moved into the forefront early with the wood settling into the background. Mineral and red pepper notes soon joined the wood in the background. As the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo moved through the first third, the natural tobacco surfaced as the primary note with the lemon joining the mineral, red pepper, and wood in the background. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of red pepper in the background.
During the second third of the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo, bread notes surfaced joining the natural tobacco. The background notes remained the same with the pepper, lemon, wood, and mineral notes holding in the background.
The final third didn’t see a radical change. The bread and natural tobacco notes remained the primary notes. The red pepper notes increased somewhat in intensity having a slight edge over the lemon, wood, and mineral notes, but still were in a secondary role. This is the way the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Each of the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo cigars that were assessed for review started out with a straight burn line and took a straight burn path. As the cigar progressed into the second and final thirds, there was more in the way of touch-ups needed to maintain the straight burn line and path. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color. This ash wasn’t a firm ash, but it wasn’t loose or flakey. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo was excellent. It had a touch of resistance – which is something that I like. Concurrently, this was not a difficult cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo was a medium strength, medium to full-bodied smoke. For the most part, the intensity levels remained constant from the start of the cigar to the completion. When looking at strength versus body, the body maintained the edge throughout the entire smoking experience.
One note that doesn’t factor into the review is the band design. I liked the gold on brown design of this band, but I have seen several other sites assessing this cigar criticize the design. To me the colors worked and contrasted nicely with the cigar.
When it comes to the TAA Exclusive Series, this series just seems to be becoming more and more a colossal disappointment. These cigars are supposed to represent the best cigars by the best manufacturers for the best retailers. The La Aurora TAA Exclusivo was not one of those cigars, but the latest in what is becoming a continuing saga of underperforming TAA cigars. The TAA Exclusive Series needs cigars that are better than cigars that score an 86.
As for the La Aurora TAA Exclusivo, the flavors were unbalanced and just never came together on this cigar. There is no better way to explain this other than I didn’t feel it performed strongly in the most important category – flavor. In fairness, this cigar may appeal to some people, so I would advise trying a sample if possible before buying.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Lemon, Bread, Wood, Red Pepper, Mineral
Burn: Very Good
Body: Medium to Full
Value: Try a Sample
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted