The Tatuaje TAA 2020 edition marked the tenth consecutive exclusive release for the Tobacconists Association of America (TAA) Exclusive Series. Since the launch of the first Tatuaje TAA release in 2011, the Tatuaje TAA releases have been some of the most sought-after releases in the TAA Series. Many will actually credit Tatuaje with putting TAA exclusive cigars on the map. With the Tatuaje TAA 2020, it would be a very different release in that it would be the only Tatuaje TAA release to date to utilize a Sumatra wrapper. Today we take a closer look at the Tatuaje TAA 2020.
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
There have been a total of 10 TAA Exclusive releases by Tatuaje Cigars:
- 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
- 2020: Tatuaje TAA 2020
Without further ado, let’s break down the Tatuaje TAA 2020 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, the remainder of the blend of the Tatuaje TAA 2020 consists of all-Nicaraguan tobaccos.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: My Father Cigars SA
The Tatuaje TAA 2020 comes in one size – a 5 5/8 x 54 box-pressed offering. This is the same size used on the original Tatuaje TAA 2011 and again on the Tatuaje TAA 2015. The cigars were presented in 20-count boxes. A total of 3,000 boxes were produced.
The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper had a caramel-brown color to it. There was some oil on the surface of this wrapper. The wrapper had some visible veins as well as some thin visible wrapper seams. The cigar had a soft (Cuban style) box-press and a covered footer.
The band is a variation of the bands that Tatuaje uses 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 “EXCLUSIVE SERIES” in white font. On the front of the band is the TAA Indian logo in gold on a black field. Around the logo, it says “TOBACCONISTS’ ASSOCIATION of AMERICA, LTD” in gold font arranged in a circular fashion. Below the logo is the text “2020” gold font. A gold ring surrounds the logo and text on the front.
Prior to lighting up the Tatuaje TAA 2020, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was successfully detached, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw delivered a mix of wood, natural tobacco, and a slight fruit sweetness. This was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this time, I lit up the Tatuaje TAA 2020 to see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Tatuaje TAA 2020 started out with a combination of natural tobacco, fruit sweetness, cedar, floral, and black pepper notes. Early on the cedar and fruit notes moved into the forefront. The natural tobacco, floral, and black pepper notes settled in the background. As the smoking experience progressed through the first third, some earth notes emerged. The retro-hale delivered an additional layer of black pepper.
During the second third of the Tatuaje TAA 2020, the cedar notes remained grounded in the forefront. The fruit notes gradually decreased, and the earth notes gradually increased. Just past the midway point the earth notes replaced the fruit in the forefront, The fruit notes joined the natural tobacco, floral and pepper notes in the background.
There wasn’t much of a change in the final third. The cedar and earth notes remained in the forefront. The floral, fruit, natural tobacco, and pepper notes rounded out the flavor profile. This continued until the end of the smoking experience. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
While the Tatuaje TAA 2020 was able to maintain a relatively straight burn path and straight burn line, this was a cigar that still required frequent touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash was a silvery-gray. This wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it wasn’t a loose nor flaky ash. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal throughout the smoking experience.
In terms of the draw, the Tatuaje TAA 200 was on the open side. Normally I like a little more resistance on the draw. While the draw was open, there weren’t any other adverse effects other than how comfortable I was smoking the cigar. This cigar produced a nice amount of smoke as well.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the Tatuaje TAA 2000 started out as a medium strength, medium to full-bodied smoke. Along the way there was a slight increase in intensity in both attributes, but in the end, the Tatuaje TAA 2000 remained medium strength and medium to full-bodied. When looking at strength versus body, the body maintained the edge from start to finish.
The cigars used for this assessment were over one year old. At the same time, I have smoked several of these since they were released, and I did not see aging change my thought on this cigar.
Overall, the Tatuaje TAA 2020 was a cigar that was satisfying, but one that unfortunately lacked a wow factor. It’s that wow factor that makes the difference between a good cigar and a great cigar. It’s no secret that I have been disappointed with TAA cigars – especially in 2020. The wow factor is something that I think is needed to be a part of an elite series like the TAA Exclusive Series. Again, it’s good cigar, but it’s certainly not the best Tatuaje TAA cigar I’ve had.
Taking the TAA piece aside, there still were enough positives where I would recommend this cigar to the experienced cigar enthusiast or a novice looking for something on the medium plus side to try. As for myself, there was enough where I would buy and smoke this cigar again.
Key Flavors: Cedar, Earth, Fruit, Natural Tobacco, Floral, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop