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
I reviewed the Oliva Serie V Melanio a little while ago and I enjoyed it. I mean, it wasn’t the best cigar I’ve ever had but it was pretty good. Better than that really. Will the wrapper change make a difference for the better… or worse? (Technically, I guess there could be a push.)
With a darkish black/brown wrapper, which is velvety to the touch, this box pressed torpedo (the only vitola they offer according to their website) looks expertly put together. Firmly packed with a bit of oil on the wrapper, I can’t see much wrong with the way this cigar looks. Sure, there’s that one rogue vein near the head of the cigar but that’s not going to cause a problem for the draw or anything else that actually matters in terms of taste and whatnot. The prelight draw is a bit tight but, based off of the other one I smoked, that will not pose a problem.
Length: 6 ½”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Mexican Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano
Price: $110.95/Box of 10 | $58.00/5 Pack
Better Call Saul Flame!
A hard, bright spice is the first I noticed when I started this cigar. There’s also a strong peppermint flavor going on, which is unique in my cigar smoking experience. In the background we can also find some cocoa and some other complimentary flavors. It’s really an interesting mix and it wasn’t what I was expecting when I first tried this cigar.
It’s weird but in that good, Memento sort of way. (I would try to wring every last drop out of the Memento comparison but I don’t think a cigar review would be that enjoyable to read backwards.) Peppermint is the main flavor I’m getting during the second third followed by spice, some dark (but definitely background) wood notes and a bit of rich earthiness on the aftertaste.
Peppermint basically disappears during the first part of the final third as an ascendant barbecued meatiness takes over. Some sweetness does come on at the tail end but it would have been better if it had been around for the full third to provide a nice counterbalance to the somewhat off putting barbequed meat flavor.
Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn, the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro is a worthy addition to the Melanio line extension. It was a very interesting cigar during the first two thirds and I sincerely enjoyed how the peppermint played off of the other flavors. The final third, on the other hand, was a bit of a dud. Still, I think the first two thirds are worth it and, with some age, I’m sure the final third will round out nicely. Did I like it more than the original Melanio? Yes, but barely.
At just a little over seven inches, this Cigar Rights of America Special Edition cigar from CAO is a great looking cigar. The first thing you notice is that there is a heavy sheen of oil glistening on the reddish brown wrapper. Even the feel of it is slippery.
There are some veins, it is a smidge misshapen in places and it is packed very tightly. As I pull out my cutter I find myself thinking about how oily this cigar is again. It truly is one of the oilier cigars that I have ever seen. Fighting through my awe and wonderment I successfully cut the cigar and take a pre-light draw. The draw is good and the flavors center on a core of spice.
Upon lighting the CAO Lx2 Rosado Especial you are hit with just a ton of robust cigar flavors and (unfortunately for my eyes) a ton of cigar smoke as well. The flavors are awesome. A spice that kind of tastes like a candy cane but manlier and a whole lot spicier and there are also some leather flavors.
While I do love the flavors the burn is atrocious at times. A couple of major touch ups have been made and I am barely at the halfway point. Another nit that needs picking is the poisonous smoke that wafts from this cigar. Never have had a cigar that actually made my eyes water. Well, at least no cigar that has made my eyes water this much.
After the halfway point the robust spice becomes somewhat less robust. Of course by less robust I mean still very robust but not as glaringly so. Actually, with the power backing off ever so slightly it has become a much more complex cigar.
The final throes of this cigar have a cherry oak flavor mixed in with the peppermint spiciness. It really is a very good cigar, very enjoyable. Full bodied with a nice draw (bad burn though) is always good for something in my book. And this CAO Lx2 has great flavors as well.
As is the case with all the other cigars from the Cigar Rights of America sampler I will not be scoring this one.
A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the Cain Maduro and, even though I do think it is a solid cigar, it is not worth all the hype. Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about the Cain with the Habano wrapper since I have yet to have the pleasure of smoking one of those stogies. But I have smoked a few of the Cain F, which is only being offered in five packs right now (either as an incentive to buy a box of the two other Cain lines or to be sold on its own).
On a side note, over the past week and a half I have been sick (not H1N1) and didn’t have much of an opportunity to smoke any cigars. After a couple of days of recuperation I have smoked a couple of good cigars and now feel ready to really delve deep into another cigar. From what I have seen with the Cain F series is that they are above average cigars in terms of both flavor and strength, better than the Cain Maduros for sure. The only bit of advice I can give is that if you do get some of these cigars let them rest in your humidor for at least a month because they need the extra time.
All the Cain Fs, which are only being offered in one size right now, come unbanded. A dark wrapper glistening with oils holds together a lot of ligero tobacco. According to the box from which these cigars came from the tobacco in every Cain F is 32% Esteli Ligero, 25% Condega Ligero and 25% Jalapa Ligero.
For those of you paying close attention that means the percentage of ligero tobaccos is equal between all the Cain lines but each region imparts its own flavor. According to the educational booklet that came with my Cain cigars Esteli Ligero is a ball buster, Condega Ligero is strong but not insanely so and Jalapa Ligero is smooth (which would explain the smoothness of the Cain Maduro).
Beyond the genetic makeup of this cigars it does look and feel like it is very well made. The only soft spot is near the foot and even though it has its fair share of veins none of those veins are too pronounced and should not cause too many problems for the burn of this cigar. Having as much ligero as this cigar does can turn out to be a problem though and I do expect having to do a couple of touch ups throughout the course of this cigar.
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Fuerte)
Filler: Nicaragua Ligero (Esteli, Condega and Jalapa)
The pre-light draw is nice, maybe a little too loose. As a prelude of what is to come, my tongue is still stinging 30 seconds after my first draw. Should be interesting.
As expected, there is an onslaught of aggressively tasty spice. For my taste, it’s not on the edge of being too strong at all. The spice has a tinge of sweetness to it and is predominately a black pepper kind of flavor. I like it very much.
Unlike with the maduro wrapped Cain, the Cain F does not have a very smooth finish. That does not mean that I don’t like it though because I really do. It isn’t a complex cigar the first couple of inches but it is getting better. The spiciness is calming down and other flavors – nuts, oak, peppermint and earth – are coming into the mix.
The burn is surprisingly even with this cigar. With some of the others that I have smoked I have had to do a couple of touch ups. The draw is perfect. It is a full bodied cigar but not overly so.
I am somewhat conflicted about this cigar. Even though I did like it I just think that it was lacking in complexity. Working in its favor is the fact that the flavors that are there are very good, it burns well enough and the draw is quite good. In the end I can comfortably say that it is better than the maduro version of this cigar and I will not hesitate to smoke more Cain Fs if the price isn’t too extravagant.
From Carlos Toraño’s website:
Lovingly and painstakingly developed by Carlos Toraño, the Reserva Selecta is crafted much like a vintage estate wine,with the most refined tobacco grown in the lush Esteli Valley in Nicaragua and the Valley of Jamastran in Honduras. Packed with soft cool smoke, the Reserva Selecta is mild- to medium bodied with notes of sweet cream and cedar. All cigars are wrapped in cedar and encased in crystal tubes to preserve freshness. Packed in boxes of 20 or 5-count gift boxes, all tobaccos are aged three to five years.
The wrapper is very light and it has a light sheen of oils. It is packed nicely and the construction is above average. The veins that are there are not very pronounced and the discolorations are minor.
Length: 6 1/4″
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Filler: Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua
The first flavor that hits me is, obviously, wood. I don’t think I would describe it as cedar but, rather, spruce or a Christmas tree. That is the flavor I get when I exhale out my nose. When I inhale the flavor is more akin to a forest fire. To be fair, it is not that bad, it’s more like the aftermath of a forest fire, charred wood. It’s not totally un-enjoyable but it isn’t exactly a plus either.
Between the one and two inch mark that charred wood flavor migrates from being a minor annoyance to being a pain. The charred wood gets stronger and does start to take away from the rich wood flavor, which I still get on the exhale. A couple other flavors that are barely perceptible are vanilla and peppermint.
A weak ash, an uneven burn and a good draw sum up the fundamentals of the Carlos Toraño Reserva Selecta Torpedo. Any good thoughts about this cigar I had before I lit it were snuffed out by that harsh, charred wood flavor. It’s a mild bodied cigar that has a lot of promise. It would have been a very good cigar if not for that harshness. Too bad.