Cigar Reviews

Tatuaje TAA Exclusive 2011

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Today we have a fairly limited cigar up for review that I actually don’t think got all that much Press. It comes from the B&M Exclusive line by Pete Johnson of Tatuaje. If you haven’t stumbled across any of these before, you can find one of the previous ones reviewed here on Casas Fumando, it was the Tatuaje Barclay Rex 100th Anniversary. Pete Johnson continues this line with the Tatuaje TAA Exclusive 2011.

The TAA in the name actually stands for the “Tobacconists Association of America” and unlike his previous B&M Exclusive releases, you will actually be able to find these in more than just 1 store. The total distribution went out to 40+ TAA retailers across the United States of America. There was also a larger production turned around for this cigar with numbers totaling up at 30,000 cigars. This worked out to 1,500 boxes of 20 cigars per box, and if you had a retailer in your area, they would have sold between $10 and $11 per cigar.

As with most exclusives from Tatuaje and Pete Johnson, they don’t last too long on shelves and are already fairly scarce in most areas. One thing that made them a bit of a draw to Tatuaje fans is that Pete hinted the blend was similar to that of the Pork Tenderloin and the Brex. Both of those were limited releases from Tatuaje that were difficult to track down. Pete also decided to change up the shape of this cigar a little bit. You can find that it is a slightly rectangular box-pressed shape and the 5.675 x 54 vitola is also non-standard. I actually found the vitola here to be a good balance between a Toro and Robusto.

The cigar itself comes wrapped in an interesting Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Now the wrapper alone doesn’t make the cigar, but both Tony and I both seem to have a great appreciation for a lot of Broadleaf cigars so I’m hoping this continues the trend. It’s terribly cold out here today but I’ve got my propane heater to keep me warm from the outside and a nice tall bottle of beer to keep me warm on the inside. So let’s see what the Tatuaje TAA Exclusive 2011 has in store for me!

Cigar: Tatuaje TAA Exclusive 2011
Drink: Wychwood Brewery Bah Humbug Christmas Cheer
Vitola: Box-Pressed Toro/Robusto hybrid (5.625 x 54)
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: About $10
Burn Time: 1.5 hours

• The Tatuaje TAA is actually a tad rough looking on first glance with a few medium to large sized veins and some uneven areas in the diameter
• The wrapper looks like a tasty chocolate bar with a bit of toothiness and I’m actually getting some sort of glitter type effect on it, could just be my lighting (I later realized the glitter was likely caused by the temperature being so cold that the humidity droplets were icing over…)
• The cigar sports a closed foot and a box pressed shape, the triple cap ties up the presentation nicely
• There is a bit of inconsistency with regards to firmness on the cigar too with some areas being soft and springy while others are very firm
• The cap clipped away fairly cleanly with my double-bladed guillotine cutter, I’m met with a bit of an open draw here that concerns me
• The draw remains very open which is disappointing

• I actually peeled away the closed foot pieces to reveal a nice clean foot for my toasting since I’ve had terrible luck in the past with closed feet
• This resulted in a nice and evenly toasted foot and kicked me off to a great start
• A bit of a wave started after the toasting, we’ll see how it progresses
• The wave is progressing to be worse and will definitely require some touch-up soon
• The cigar almost went out and needed a fairly hefty touch-up, but we’re chugging along again now
• The draw seemed to get a bit tighter after my relight/touch-up and the burn has been a little more consistent, although still a tad wavy

Smoke & Ash:
• There is an absolute insane amount of smoke coming from each draw of this cigar, I could make smoke signals rivalling campfires with this cigar!
• Surprisingly, there isn’t much resting smoke coming off the cigar, just a moderate amount giving off a burning wood aroma
• The ash appears nice and clean so far with a light grey color tone
• First ash lasted just about an inch before falling off into the ashtray
• Second ash seemed to keep with the 1 inch mark as it’s standard

Tasting Notes:
• The wrapper has very little aroma, maybe just a bit of sweet tobacco
• Since the foot is closed, there isn’t much variance on the aroma but I do get a little bit of spice there
• The pre-light draw brings more sweet tobacco and spices, both in greater intensities now
• The initial draws offer an interesting mix of spices dominated by a white pepper type of flavor, mixed in there is also some cedar woodsiness that balances it all out
• The array of spices keeps changing as I smoke the Tatuaje TAA, there’s a variety of cloves, nutmeg and raw cinnamon along with the white pepper
• The initial sweetness I detected is pretty much gone but the cedar flavors seem to be balancing out the profile for now
• There is a very small bite on the retrohale and the finish is a nice smooth cedar flavor
• The body seems a little hard ot place right now, but I’ll say we’re near medium so far, I suspect that will increase soon though
• As I approach the half way mark I can’t say I’m getting much else in the flavor department, still spices and cedar
• It’s not a bad profile but I’m hoping it changes up a bit soon to keep me interested
• The balance of the cedar seems to be fading away and I’m getting more into a bland tobacco flavor paired with some mixed spices
• The Tatuaje TAA never really passed the medium threshold, stayed in the range until the end with only a slight buildup
• I really wish that initial sweetness made a presentation here, it would really bring a nice dimension to this cigar…
• Flavors going into the last 1.5 inches are really fading away, mostly getting a burnt woodsiness and some leathery flavors
• Had to put the cigar down a bit early as the flavors started getting harsh

Final Thoughts:
The Tatuaje showed some promise initially and I was enjoying the flavor profile from the start. Unfortunately, that profile didn’t change much as the cigar progressed and actually got a little bland shortly after the halfway mark. I also had a few issues with the burn and an extremely open draw. I think the cigar had some potential and maybe needed a little more rest time in the humidor, I’m not too sure. I’ve come to expect a higher calibre of cigars from Pete Johnson’s B&M exclusive lines and I don’t think this one lived up to the expectations I had. I’d definitely want to try another couple after they’ve had time to rest though and see how age treats them.

As we all know, Christmas is just around the corner and that means by favorite time of year in the brewery world! Christmas and Winter ales are probably my favorite seasonal brews and there’s always cool gift packs available too. You may recognize the Wychwood Brewery name from their famous Hobgoblin ruby ale which I’ve enjoyed in my review of Illusione 888 Slam and it’s own review here. This offering is called “Bah Humbug Christmas Cheer” and is one of theie seasonal ales. I actually found the flavors to be very similar to the Hobgoblin and not as “heavy” as you might expect. It’s basically got that smooth ruby ale character with an added touch of spices common in winter seasonal ales, such as cinnamon. I found it to be a very tasty pairing to the Tatuaje TAA since it offered a change of pace from the cigars profile and kept the whole experience a little more interesting.

Daniel T. (a.k.a. Dalamscius) is an IT Professional from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He enjoys cigars, scuba diving, hockey, fishing, nature and anything that challenges his mind. If he's not sitting on his big comfy couch or at work you can usually find him in a boat on top of the water or 100ft under the water enjoying a dive. He is engaged to a wonderful Fiance and looking forward to his wedding. Feel free to contact Daniel anytime via email (dalamscius[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter


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