Tatuaje TAA 2016
Last week I celebrated my birthday with a nice little brewery crawl between southern New Mexico and El Paso. I was a bit tired the next day as you’d imagine so I skipped a review, but I am back at it on this beautiful El Paso afternoon to bring you the Tatuaje TAA 2016 paired with a bottle of Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew.
The Good Stuff
Every year since 2011 Tatuaje has produced a TAA exclusive blend. For those who don’t know, TAA stands for Tobacconists Association of America which is a group of retailers across America which is a small group of retailers around the US who meet annually to discuss matters facing the tobacco industry. The Tatuaje TAA 2016 is actually a reappearance of the highly acclaimed 2012 TAA blend and format. Blended at the My Father Cigars S.A. factory in Nicaragua, the blend features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The cigar is offered in one format, a 6.25 x 50 soft box pressed toro which comes packaged in boxes of 20 with a $11.95 price tag. These cigars are very limited, and go fast with only 4,000 boxes produced. I picked mine up form out friends of at 2 Guys Cigars.
Size: 6.25 x 50
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Pairing: Dogfish Head Miles Davis Bitches Brew (Imperial Stout 9.5% ABV)
The Tatuaje TAA 2016 starts out with a very dark brown, almost black wrapper. The color is very consistent and only a few lighter brown areas could be found around the cigar’s cap. The texture is incredibly toothy and rough with very little oils. This cigar seriously feels like it was wrapped in sandpaper. The Tatuaje TAA is very tightly packed and is extremely firm to the touch with absolutely not soft spots. The cigar features a very slight, soft box press format with an extended wrapper which is gently folded over the footer of the cigar. The long body leads up to a double wrapped capped as the cigar is polished off with the standard red, white, blue, black and gold wrapper we’ve seen on all of Tatuaje’s TAA releases.
The wrapper gives off great oak, spice, and natural tobacco aromas while the foot of the cigar is very similar with only a bit more earthiness peeking through the cigar’s wrapper. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar double bladed cutter. The cold draw is very spicy with some black pepper, cinnamon, and cocoa. While the cigar felt really tight to the touch, the draw feels very easy. Lets hope this translates to a great smoking experience.
Utilizing the wrapper which was folded over the foot of the cigar resulted in a very easy light for my butane torch. The Tatuaje TAA 2016 starts out with a massive cayenne pepper blast which stuck around for quite some time. As the pepper began to fade notes of cocoa, oak, sweet spice, brown sugar and cinnamon began to make their way through the flavor profile. As expected after the cold draw, the cigar’s draw is flawless and effortless. Each puff pumps out a great deal of thick, white smoke while the cigar gives off a good amount of stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line pretty thick, but dead even leaving behind a consistent trail of tightly compacted light gray ash which held on for a an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Tatuaje TAA 2016 and this flavor profile is incredible. The pepper is gone now and the cigar leads with a nice oak, plum, sweet spice, and cinnamon backed by cocoa and musk. I am really enjoying it. The body is in now in the full range. The retrohale reminds me how much pepper is buried within this cigar. The burn line is still rocking dead even while I am feeling almost nothing in the nicotine department.
Into the final third of the Tatuaje TAA 2016 and there has been a significant ramp up in strength. The cigar settled into the medium range through the first two thirds but has jumped into the upper crest of medium/full within this final third. The flavors remain consistent with the second third with a good amount of oak, plum, sweetness, spice, cinnamon, cocoa and musk. There’s a lot going on there but each flavor was easily picked apart. It took me 2 hours to take this cigar down to the nub and I experienced no harshness, and no extended heat. I never once had to touchup or relight the cigar. In fact, it burned very even the entire experience.
The Tatuaje TAA 2012 is easily one of the best cigars I smoked all year. It’s complex, yet easy to break down sporting a favor profile that carries a great amount of different flavors. The burn was flawless, the format is incredibly comfortable, the TAA support is awesome, and the price is exactly where one would expect it to be. I’m glad I picked up quite a few of these as this is a cigar I will really miss once they are gone.
Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew is a rotating release that celebrates the life of the same titled album by Jazz legend Miles Davis. The beer is a 9% ABV Imperial stout brewed with honey and gesho root. Essential it’s a stout/mead mashup. The beer starts off incredible sweet with lots of honey, cocoa, coffee, and a nice floral flavor with a surprisingly light mouthfeel before finishing even sweeter with more honey, apple, and cocoa with a spicy aftertaste. This pairing was perfect. The beer easily complimented the flavors in the Tatuaje TAA 2016 while adding a bit of character of its own. This is another one of those beers that seem like they were created just to pair with cigars. I could also see myself pairing this cigar with a spiced ale, belgian dubbel, or tawny port wine.