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
First off, I would like to thank Cigars Direct for sending me this cigar to review. Very kind of you all and, as always, if this cigar is horrible I’ll tell you. If it’s good, I’ll tell you. Just because someone sent me this sample doesn’t mean they’re going to get a good score.
I’ve got to be honest here: I like La Flor Dominicana cigars. They are Dominican, which is always good, and they have a little bit of strength behind them. This cigar, the La Flor Dominicana Ligero L-250 (henceforth known as the LFD L-250) is a decent looking cigar and it is also available with an oscuro wrapper.
The wrapper is oily but it is also marred with many a speckled light spots along with one oil spill-esque light brown spot. I don’t know what you think about imperfections like that; personally I’m of a mixed mind. On the one hand I don’t care about what the cigar looks like if it still tastes good. On the other hand ugly is, well, ugly. So, the look matters to me but not all that much.
Spicy and full of dark, brooding flavors. There is also this minor annoyance of a flavor that, while not nearly as bad as bleach, is at least in the same family as bleach. Overall, it starts out decently during this first third.
The second third sees some significant improvement. In addition to the spice and the cessation of bleachiness there is a very nice plum sweetness. It is a great counterbalance to the spice that can be a little overpowering if left to its own devices. But it’s still very powerful and it is only growing in hefty strength.
During the latter part of the second third a hearty chocolate and hickory flavor meld starts to come through. I am actually pretty impressed with the LFD L-250 so far.
The final third reverted back to the spiciness that was so evident during the first third. I cannot say it was a great ending but, overall, it was a cigar that I enjoyed. With lots of flavor, a good draw and burn there isn’t too much I can say negatively about this cigar; except for the way it looked. So pick some up at Cigars Direct.
Note: This cigar came from the CRA Sampler Pack #1.
It looks old, worn. Older than Clint Eastwood, an Afghan goatherd and the Sahara combined. Leathery valleys are punctuated by veiny mountain ranges that jut upwards harum-scarum. The excess tobacco is not cut off at the foot but is folded over completely hiding the filler tobaccos.
Even though the picture looks bleak I am holding out a lot of hope for this cigar. It’s a Tatauje, which is usually a good thing. It’s oily, which is, again, usually a good thing. And it smells like it is going to be a robust cigar.
The rough outward appearance and texture suggests, to me at least, that Pete Johnson’s crew used an older wrapper that grew at the top of the plant. More sun exposure may mean a meaner look but it also usually leads to a lot of character as well. Hopefully that comes through loud and clear.
A syrupy sweetness is the high note for the pre-light draw. It’s also a surprisingly open draw as well – with tobacco hanging over and covering the foot I expected a lot more resistance than I got. There is some spice that reveals itself in the aftertaste but it is not a lasting flavor. The sweetness is low in acidity and reminds me of a darker, fruity flavor.
I decided against circumcising my cigar before I lit it and that did not cause any problems. The initial flavors run the gamut from plum, which bears little resemblance to the “syrupy sweetness” of the pre-light draw, to dried out leather. In a way it does taste like it looks – complex.
In between plum and leather there is spice, salt and a saccharine sweet aftertaste that lingers on the tip of my tongue for way too long. Other than that last flavor this cigar is very enjoyable. It will probably reach the full bodied spectrum, or at least barely so, as the cigar continues to burn. And the draw and the burn are relatively good (the burn being the better of the two) an inch in.
While I was smoking this cigar (and writing this post) I decided to go online and see what others were saying about the Tatuaje Black Label and I found this thoughtful review from Matt’s Cigar Journal. Great review.
At the halfway point and I don’t think my prediction of a full bodied cigar is going to come true. No bother, it is medium-full bodied and tastes great. The big change from the first half is a strengthening of spice – black pepper. A nutty flavor also presents itself. Sweetness disappears.
It ends with an intermittent raggedness maybe even some harshness. Taken in its totality, this cigar is still a very good one. Well worth the price of the CRA sampler. (No score given to CRA Sampler cigars.)
0/3: It actually looks like a well made cigar. Some veins, but none too pronounced. A small amount of oils on the wrapper and the cigar is a little hard to the touch. Trust me, I would love nothing more than to like this cigar since the Cu-Avana Intenso cigar is so cheap.
1/3: Wild is the first word that comes to mind. Wild spice leads the way. And then it calms down. I get a little bit of plum in the retrohale.
2/3: The burn goes a little off. Not a full bodied cigar, more medium-full bodied. Wildness is all gone now. That plum flavor has grown. Good draw.
3/3: Plum, leather and earth are evident. Good finish.
Conclusion: I don’t know why but I was surprised that this was a good cigar. Good flavors all the way through.