Tatuaje TAA Exclusive 2017
It’s still raining here! I think we’ve seen a break in the weather maybe on or two days over the last three weeks and I am loving it. Today I find myself enjoying the weather with a Tatuaje TAA 2017 paired with a bottle of Deschutes Brandy Barrel Abyss.
The Good Stuff:
I feel like a broken record here, so I’ll touch on this quickly. The Tobacconists’ Association of America is a group of around 80 retailers across the United States that meet annually to discuss issues facing the cigar industry. Many cigar manufactures create blends specific to those retailers to help support their business and Tatuaje is one of those brands. You can read our review of the 2011 here, 2015 here, and 2016 here. The Tatuaje TAA 2017 marks the second re-release of the popular blend. What I mean is, the 2016 Tatuaje TAA was actually the same release as the 2012, and This years is a re-release of the 2014, two of Tatuaje’s most coveted TAA releases. The TAA 2017 is based off the Barclay Rex (which we reviewed here) and the Pork Tenderloin. The blend sports a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Nicaraguan Binder, and Nicaraguan Filler. The cigar comes offered in a single 6 x 52 soft-box pressed format, packaged in boxes of 20 running $11.95 a stick. As I smoked the 2014 blend before and loved it, I made sure I picked up my fair share of these from our friends over at Smoke Inn.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Pairing: Deschutes 2016 Brandy Barrel Abyss (Imperial Stout 13.3% ABV)
The Tatuaje TAA 2017 starts out with a stunning, dark, reddish brown wrapper. The color is semi-consistent with splotches of darker brown and reddish brown scattered throughout. The wrapper’s texture is incredibly toothy and gritty. It almost feels like sandpaper. Its very hard, and very dense carrying almost no visible veins until you get closer to it’s round, triple-wrapped cap. the Tatuaje TAA 2017 also carries a bit of a shaggy foot where the wrapper extends passed the body of the cigar and is folded over itself at the foot. I am such a huge fan of soft-box-pressed cigars and glad that these releases always carry them. The cigar is polished off with the standard Tatuaje TAA band only this one still carries the 2014 year on the crest to signify the reuse of the ever-popular blend.
The wrapper on the Tatuaje TAA 2017 gives off some powerful raisin and brown sugar aromas with a bit of spice while I get mostly the same from the foot (probably due to the wrapper leaf being folded over it) with the exception of some added pepper. The cap cut very clean and easily using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw produced a great deal of spice, sweetness, molasses and pepper.
The Tatuaje TAA 2017 starts out with an unexpected absence of pepper. What was present was some bold brown sugar, spice, sweet molasses, oak, vanilla and maybe some hazelnut. The flavor profile is killer right off the bat. The draw is very fluid and smooth releasing a decent amount of thick, white smoke each time I puff while the cigar itself gives off very little stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is pretty wavy which is usually the case at the start of cigars with folded feet as it leaves behind a tightly compacted trail of medium and light gray ash which held on for about three quarters of an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Well into the second third of the Tatuaje TAA 2017 and it almost tastes as if I am smoking an oak-aged graham cracker. Brown Sugar, oak, cinnamon, spice, raisin, bits of hazelnut, and vanilla with an overall bold body. The retrohale is incredible as its where the pepper has been hiding. It helps by throwing on more spice and oak. The burn line is still a bit wacky but I haven’t had to touch up or relight the cigar. The ash has been falling all over the place though. Not annoying, but just something to keep in mind as my shorts are covered in it. I close out the second third with only a very mild hint of nicotine.
Into the final third of the Tatuaje TAA 2017 and both the body and strength of the cigar have ramped up tossing both in the “Full” category. The flavors still lead with vanilla, spice, oak, and molasses with some nice cocoa notes, raisin, and even a bit of pepper finally. It took me two full hours to take this cigar down to the nub and damn was it worth it. I experienced no harshness, no extra heat, and the cigar left me with a good amount of a nicotine kick.
The 2012 and 2014 have been my favorite TAA releases from Tatuaje to date, and I am glad they brought them back. It’s hard to compare the 2014 to the 2017 as its been some time since I smoked one, but what I can tell you is that I absolutely loved the damn cigar. The flavor profile really got me going, while the cigar was bold, and not overpowered by strength. The size is perfect and I love soft box-press cigars. The price is a bit steep, but its something I’d gladly pay time and time again especially since it’s supporting the TAA who do so much for the industry.
The Abyss is probably the most sought after beer brewed each year by Deschutes in Bend, Oregon. Each year they release 2 alternate variants of the beer and this year one of those happens to be this variant with is aged for 12 months in Brandy barrels. Coming in at a whopping 13.3% ABV this Imperial stout leads with a whole mess of vanilla, chocolate, spice, booze, brandy, caramel, and molasses with a very, very heavy mouthfeel before finishing with a splash of tartness, vanilla, more booze, and malt. This beer is incredible and becomes even more so as the vanilla and brandy really come out more as the beer warms. The vanilla, molasses, chocolate, and spice mashed up almost too perfectly with the flavor profile of the Tatuaje TAA 2017.