Tatuaje TAA 2012

We all have our favorite cigar haunts, and part of the challenge of being on the road as much as I have been lately is finding a temporary replacement for the home shop. Or in some places, just finding a place you can smoke a cigar all you can hope for, forget the climate control and cozy leather chair. But traveling also has its benefits. Going to new shops means seeing an entirely different lineup of available cigars on the shelf, and that can make up for other inconveniences. Don’t forget, just because a shop seems small doesn’t mean there aren’t gems to be found in the humidor. Which brings me to today’s cigar review: I found these Tatuaje TAA 2012’s in an untouched box in the corner of small shop’s humidor while on vacation far from home.

Briefly, the Tatuaje TAA 2012 is a limited edition cigar produced exclusively for Tobacconists Association of America member retail shops who attended the organization’s convention in 2012. The 2012 blend is identical to previous 2011 blend, the only difference being the longer, thinner vitola. (The 2011 blend is reportedly based on the yet earlier Pork Tenderloin and Barclay Rex blends.)

Though limited to 2500 boxes, and sold out most places online, it would appear that there are some still floating around out there in TAA cigar shops, if the full box I found is any indicator. Now let’s see how this limited edition performs.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 1/4 x 50
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $11.00

The Pre-Smoke
The TAA 2012 is a good looking soft box-pressed stick with deep brown wrapper and veins ranging from fine to medium in size. On closer inspection, the veins consistently have a twisted and flattened appearance. In a couple of cases, the edge of the wrapper leaf spiraling around the cigar had some rough edges. Aside from an apparently vein-caused tear near the foot of one stick, they were free of other imperfections.

The cigars were firm for a box-press, and the wrapper aroma varied from pungent compost, cedar and chocolate to an impressive rich honey sweetness. The cold draw was good and had a similarly sweet flavor that was more like caramel than honey.

The Burn
Aside from an occasional irregular burn line, the TAA 2012 did everything right. It kept burning, had a good volume of smoke, drew perfectly, and produced solid ashes.

The Flavor
From the beginning The TAA 2012 offered up a rich, creamy and lingering combination of including coffee, caramel and leather. A light wood, mild spice and hints of vanilla were also present in the first third, particularly in the finish.

The middle third didn’t have quite as much of the rich mouth feel as before, but the profile still had plenty of creamy flavor. Wood’s influence grew in this third, and notes of caramel, coffee and dark chocolate continued to appear.

Nearing the final third, the creamy mouth feel continued to fade as the smoke took on a more nutty, woody and cinnamon spice character. A tart element also appeared as the wood gained some impressive aromatic qualities when retrohaled. Hints of dark coffee and leather also made appearances.

The Price
Though I still prefer my cigars under double digits, the TAA 2012 is worth the price.

The Verdict
I didn’t have the opportunity to smoke a Tatuaje TAA 2012 when they were first released, but I can’t imagine they could be any better than they are right now. This cigar is beautiful, and just oozes rich, palate-coating flavor. I burned each stick until my fingers were singed. If you come across any in your travels I’d recommend buying them. If I could do it all over again, I would have purchased the entire box.

Liked It: Box-worthy
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.