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 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.
In a way, this review of the Cain F lancero is pretty much a followup of a review I published a while ago of the La Flor Dominicana Air Bender lancero. The LFD Air Bender lancero was, without a doubt, one of the best cigars I have ever smoked; tons of flavor and strength.
The Cain F lancero looks and feels perfect. These cigars come in tubes and is one of the special offerings from Oliva’s Studio Tobac, which is basically their version of the cigar equivalent to Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works. There’s a bit of oil on the wrapper, the wrapper feels smooth and this cigar has a bit of give to it, which I appreciate because cigars that are packed too tightly tend to have a tighter draw.
So, is it better than the LFD Air Bender? Will it become one of my favorite cigars? Let’s find out.
Ring Gauge: 38
Price: $42.95/Box of 10 | $6.48/Single
The Red-Headed League Flame!
Spice and sweetness are the main flavors at the beginning. These flavors aren’t overly aggressive, actually, they are quite mature and refined. Even though this cigar is full bodied right now it probably wouldn’t overpower most cigar smokers. There are also light and bright barnyard flavors going on. Hay and grass add a subtle dimension to the flavor profile that I appreciate.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this flavor profile is how unique it is. It definitely has some strength to it but there’s also a lot of elegance as well. If this cigar were a person he would be able to knife a bad guy in an alley and then, ten minutes later, play a high stakes poker game whilst drinking a martini.
Vanilla – Is that right? Yes – enters the mix during the middle third. The spice and sweetness are still present without any diminution of force but the vanilla does provide a nice accent to the overall flavor profile.
Oak makes a brief cameo during the final third and I have to say that I am really enjoying this cigar. I have liked the Cain F series in the past but this one is by far my favorite of the series.
Full bodied with a good draw and burn; the Cain F lancero is an excellent cigar with a great deal of refinement. Do I like it more than the LFD Air Bender? No, I like the Air Bender a bit more but I have a distinct feeling that the Cain F lancero would have a broader appeal as it is less full bodied than the Air Bender, which is very strong. For another look at this cigar head on over to Halfwheel.
I received this cigar from the manufacturer, Kurt Kendall; as always, all review are my own.
I am reviewing the lancero – the thin and relatively long parejo – and it has had probably about a year’s worth of aging in my humidor. This lancero looks well constructed with some superficial veins and a decent amount of oils on it. There’s a pigtail on the cap and the texture of the cigar is a little bumpy.
When I started smoking cigars, I held the belief that lanceros weren’t as good as the other vitolas mainly because they were long and thing and, to my mind at least, they couldn’t perform as well because long, thin cigars inevitably had burn and draw problems. Since then, I have come to realize that lanceros can, in fact, be good cigars. Their thinness means that there is more wrapper in the blend than is the case for a cigar with a larger ring gauge and just because they are long and thin doesn’t mean they have any more burn problems than the more popular sizes. In fact, I like lanceros nowadays.
Length: 7 ½”
Ring Gauge: 38
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Costa Rica
Filler: Columbia, Honduras, Mexico & Nicaragua
Price: $150.00/Box of 20
Is George RR Martin Dead? Flame!
It starts out very well with notes of mild sweetness, cedar and some sweet spice. All of the flavors work well together and the overall feeling I’m getting from this cigar is calmness. This isn’t to say that this is a mild cigar but, rather, it’s an elegant mixture of nice flavors. Also, I’m thinking the cedar wrap on the cigar might have something to do with the cedar flavor.
The middle third proceeds in much the same way as the first third and that means more easygoing enjoyment for me. What I don’t like about this cigar right now (no bold flavors and not a lot of evolution) is easily outweighed by what I like about it (flavors working extremely well together, elegant profile and it is tasty).
Maybe I was a bit too hasty with my summation of the second third. It is a longish cigar, after all, and I am oftentimes impatient. The flavor profile does evolve and takes on a definite creaminess to its texture and adds on vanilla to the flavor profile. It’s a plus in my book.
Vanilla and cherry represent the main flavors during the final third. There’s a strong tobacco flavor that augments all of these flavors and I would be remiss if I forgot to mention that cedar is still playing a part at this point. It’s definitely an interesting mix of flavors and even though none of the individual flavors stand out as stars, as a whole, the flavor profile is quite enjoyable.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the 7-20-4 lancero is quite an enjoyable cigar. Deftly moving from cedar and spice to creamy vanilla and cherry, this cigar has enough changes to keep you interested and the flavors are elegantly married to one another. It’s a good cigar and should appeal to just about anyone but, if you are looking for a cigar with a bit of a wild side, this cigar probably won’t get you going. Usually, I’m in the latter camp but it is nice to have a cigar that is simply enjoyable. And this cigar is enjoyable in spades.
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro | Binder: Nicaraguan | Filler: Nicaraguan | Box of 10: $64.00; 5 Pack: $34.00 | Robusto | 5″ x 52
0/3: First off, I have to thank Keith from Tiki Bar Online for gifting me this cigar. It has been safely resting in my humidor for a couple of months now and it was resting in Keith’s for some time before that.
This is the first offering from Eddie Ortega’s new cigar company and I’ve heard only good things about it. It’s a perfect looking box pressed cigar with a minimum amount of veins and a dark brown wrapper.
1/3: Strong flavors ranging from earth to a bit of spice (close to habanero) and even some chocolate.
2/3: During the transition from the first to the second third a great bitter chocolaty flavor takes over. There’s still a bit of spice hanging around and some vanilla.
3/3: The final third sees an increase in the spiciness buttressed by a healthy dose of chocolate. Spice and chocolate works well in food and it works just as well in a cigar. Earthiness makes a resurgence. I had to perform a touch up to the burn line during this third.
4/3: There is a nice intensity of flavor with this cigar that I like. It never got harsh and was always enjoyable. Medium-full bodied with a decent burn and a good draw this is a cigar that most people will like. I think most people will also like the price point of this cigar. A good fit for those who like heavy flavors; mainly the earth and the chocolate.