TAA sounds like it might be related to the TSA but it isn’t. TAA is an acronym for something like “Tobacconist Association of America” or something like that. I’m not completely straight on what the story behind this organization is but what I do know is that every year a handful of cigar makers will make special cigars for the brick and mortar retailers who belong to this organization. It’s a way to say “thank you” for carrying their products, I guess.
If memory serves, and it’s doing so with less regularity nowadays, I have liked TAA edition cigars in the past and, yes, that is true as I did like the Tatuaje TAA 2012. That was a tasty cigar and, unfortunately, it’s gone now. Moving forward….
This TAA exclusive is a thick, dark brown parejo that comes adorned with a band of black, white and gold. One unique thing about this cigar is that it comes with a closed foot, which looks cool and I think there’s some practical purpose to doing that as well.
Length: 6 3/8″
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Price: $197.95/Box of 20 | $55.00/Pack of 5
During the summer last year I purchased the cigars for this review as well as some of the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Habano, which I liked. I’ve been looking forward to reviewing this cigar for a while and today is as good as any other.
Maybe not an exquisite looking cigar, it does have a rich look to it. Also, the wrapper feels like velvet, velvet with some oils. There are also a couple of bumps and veins on the semi-dark brown wrapper. It feels uniformly packed and it’s pretty solidly packed at that; slight box press to this cigar.
Length: 6 ½”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Study Hall (American Horror Story Short) Witch Burning!
There’s an overall softness to the flavor profile that is nice. Sweetness, a mixture of bright spices that linger in the nostrils after a healthy retrohale and there are some pleasant wood notes occasionally coming through. The flavors are good at this point and my overall impression of this cigar is that it’s pretty laid back but that there is also this underlying spicy intensity just wanting to be let free.
That soft spice is evolving into something more exotic and the intensity is picking up a bit from the first third. This spice has some body and depth to it. Sweetness, which has a faint resemblance to brown sugar, is still chugging along. Any woodiness that was around in the first third has receded well into the background. I’m hoping that the intensity of flavors (not the strength of the cigar) will continue to increase.
During the final third the flavors seem to drift a bit and lessen in intensity. Not a bad turn as the flavors, which are pretty much the same with a bit of doughiness added in, are still enjoyable but this cigar didn’t end with the bang I was hoping for.
Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn; the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Sumatra features a well developed flavor profile that never turns bad. Throughout my time smoking this cigar I got an unmistakably exotic feel to the flavor profile that was interesting and pretty tasty. It’s a good cigar and I’m glad that I got the chance to smoke these cigars.
I received two of these cigars from Smoke Inn for this review; as always, all reviews are my own
“Quesada” is the name of the cigar making family, “Oktoberfest” is a drunkfest celebrated by Germans (I think they are celebrating short dresses, lederhosen and beer; I’m not sure though) and “Dunkel” is German for what I’m guessing is some sort of “dunking.” Maybe some of that first sentence is true, maybe none of it is. For some real info check out the blurb from Smoke Inn’s site:
This exclusive cigar is the newest offering in the Smoke Inn Microblend Series™. The Oktoberfest Dunkel is a 6×54 cigar that is specifically blended to pair perfectly with your favorite Oktoberfest brew.
The Oktoberfest Dunkel features the same binders and fillers of the regular Oktoberfest release, with the exception of the wrapper. A very select broadleaf maduro wrapper envelops this rich cigar with a slight underlying Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper at the foot, thus giving the appearance of a dark rich Dunkel beer with a savory foamy head.
Like the above quote points out, the main wrapper, the broadleaf maduro, comes up about a quarter of an inch short of the foot revealing a much lighter wrapper, which is the Ecuadorian Connecticut. It’s interesting to look at but will it have much of an affect on the flavor of the cigar? Speaking of the cigar, it looks well made with a slightly rough texture, a decent amount of oils and some small, lighter colored marks on the wrapper. There are some veins as well.
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Broadleaf Maduro/Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $134.25/Box of 15 | $44.75/5 Pack
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It starts out very pleasantly. Warm wood, fatty nuts and some caramel sweetness lurking around in the background. I like this mixture of flavors and I can easily see the connection between this cigar and beer. The flavors are dark and robust with an underlying sweetness that is very enjoyable.
A floral sweetness with some spice comes on during the second third, which is a nice progression for this cigar to make. The strongest flavor going on is that caramel sweetness tinged with a hint of oak. It’s still quite good but less like beer.
Oak and floral notes are the main thing in the final third. There’s also a slightly burnt caramel flavor coming through right now that takes a bit of my enjoyment out of the cigar but, overall, it’s still a plus cigar.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the Smoke Inn Microblend Series Quesada Oktoberfest Dunkel is a pretty good cigar. Have it with a dark beer (by the way, after reading a little more into it, “dunkel” means “dark” in German; who knew?) and you will have a good time.
I received the cigars I used for this review from General Cigar; as always, all reviews are my own
Esteli is a region in Nicaragua known for producing delicious tobacco. Personally, I like a lot of the cigars featuring tobacco from this region. Generally, the flavor profile leans towards being more robust with a good deal of spice. So, yes, I’m looking forward to reviewing this cigar.
On the other hand, it’s a thick cigar, which is something I generally do not like. So… strike one.
But it does look well made with a few minimal veins, some oils on the darkish brown wrapper and no soft spots in any of the samples that I have tried (this being the fifth).
Ring Gauge: 60
Price: MSRP $6.36/Single
Bear Dog Torch!
The beginning of the cigar is quite tasty. There’s a soft, effervescent spice buttressed by a combination of flavors including: cedar, cream, coffee and some sweetness (I swear, I didn’t mean to start out with that little bit of alliteration). It all works together extremely well and there isn’t a sour note to be found so far.
Caramel starts coming through during the second third. I think the saltiness of the caramel is playing very well with the soft, yet receding, spice and coffee notes.
A hint of vanilla gets added to the blend of flavors during the final third. At this point the spice is all but gone and the flavors that remain revolve around this sweet woodiness. It’s not a bad end, per se, but the first two thirds were much better.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli is a good cigar with a lot of good flavors going on during the first two thirds at least. During that part the dark flavor profile was a joy to experience and, perhaps, with some more age on these cigars the flavors will develop even more so.
I’m sure there must be an interesting story behind the name “Honey and Hand Grenades” – maybe it’s a play on yin and yang? – but that’s not why you’re here; you are here to read a review about this cigar that’s been out for a while now. About a year actually. That means that this cigar has some age on it since I bought this cigar (and its burnt brother) around the time it came out to the public.
One thing is for sure: it’s a visually striking cigar. It’s a perfecto and I am smoking the smallest vitola with the charming name of “The Shank.” According to Halfwheel, the other vitolas are named “The Shiv” and “The Rapier.” From my extensive knowledge of tv dramas with prison scenes, a shiv and a shank are basically the same thing: slang for an improvised weapon. For example, if you sharpened your toothbrush to the point where you can stab someone then it is a shiv/shank. (There might actually be a distinction between the two but unless you have ever roomed with Michael Milken or Martha Stewart you probably have no need to click that link.)
A rapier, on the other hand is a sharp, pointy sword that was popular during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe. More of a thrusting weapon than a slashing weapon it’s also substantially more refined than the shiv or the shank. There might be a scabbard involved.
As for the cigar itself, it’s wrapped up to the band in red foil. Peeling it off, I was disappointed not to find a golden ticket but hopefully the cigar is still good. As I think I said earlier, it’s a perfecto with a slightly darker than medium brown colored wrapper. There are a decent amount of oils on it and some minor veins as well. It looks like there’s an aborted pigtail on the cap and the “foot” is completely closed off and ends in a point. You can either cut some of the foot off to aid in the lighting or do what I’m about to do and attempt lighting it without cutting any of the foot off.
Length: 5 ¼”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Price: $250.00/Box of 25 | $10.00/Single
It took about fifteen seconds to get this cigar properly lit, which isn’t horrible. With that being said, I probably should have cut some off of the foot before lighting just to make things easier on myself.
The first part of this cigar has some very hot spice going on here, which lingers a while through the nose. Buttered wheat, chalky chocolate and a bit of sweetness as well. What’s weird is that besides the spice there really aren’t any very outstanding flavors but they all work together so well that it’s delicious; in this case, the sum is greater than its parts.
The second third is a bit different. There’s still that hot spice but the buttery wheat is a pretty strong flavor at this point.
It’s still interesting but I think it has lost some of its luster. The spice is pretty much gone but the buttery wheat is still kicking around. Throughout, there’s been this, I don’t know what to really call it other than a “presence,” that is this really basic, pretty much flat thing. It lingers on the tongue throughout and the best I can do is to compare it to that feeling you get after drinking Scotch. I hesitate to call it a flavor because it really isn’t a distinct flavor to me and more of a sensation. It informs the flavors but is separate from the general flavor profile.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the Viaje Honey and Hand Grenades is an interesting cigar with a lot to recommend it. I liked the spicy contribution at the end of the first third and during the second third and that persistent buttered wheat flavor was very pleasant.