Soon after the annual Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) convention in March, Padrón announced a special release for TAA members, likely due to the company’s 50th anniversary.
Patrick Lagreid’s review of the AVO 2nd Movement explained the TAA for those unfamiliar with the organization:
The TAA is a fairly small group of some of the country’s top tobacconists, a group of about 80 retailers (though many have multiple locations) as well as about 40 manufacturers. The association gathers annually to discuss issues facing the industry and retailers, as well as to have its annual trade show, a unique event that works on a group buying format in order to secure exclusive deals for these generally high-volume merchants.
In addition to the special discounts, various manufacturers make exclusive products for members of the TAA. Padrón is one of a few that makes a cigar available annually, the Padrón 1964 TAA Exclusive Toro (5 x 54), but this year it also joined the list of manufacturers to make a special size for 2014.
That list includes:
- La Flor Dominicana 707
- Padrón 1964 Belicoso
- Padrón 1964 Belicoso Maduro
- H. Upmann Bank Note
- Tatuaje TAA 2014
- Crowned Heads “The Angel’s Anvil”
- My Father 2014 TAA Exclusive
Based on the company’s 1964 blend, the Belicoso was released in both a natural and maduro wrapper.
The company has not indicated how many boxes it created, only that it is a one-time release.
- Cigar Reviewed: Padrón 1964 TAA Exclusive Belicoso Maduro
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Cubanica S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $15.00 (Boxes of 25, $375.00)
- Date Released: June 18, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
The cigar looks a lot more petite to me than your average torpedo, probably due to it being box-pressed and shorter. The wrapper looks nice and has a slightly rough and oily feel to it. Though the cap has a unique shape to it that looks like it is open and doesn’t need cut, that’s not the case. Wrapper aroma is actually a very light barnyard note with a touch of generic wood. The cold draw has some unique mild wood notes with some mild baking cocoa and a touch of sweet tobacco.
The first third starts out with some bright pepper, some spice, and a touch of meatiness. Pretty quickly, the pepper fades into the background and the spice comes forward. The burn is a touch wobbly but doesn’t get out of hand anywhere. I only clipped the smallest bit off the cap, but the quarter inch opening leaves the draw ideal – I think if I clipped any more off the cap the draw would have been pretty loose. The ash is a little flakey, though it holds to about three quarters of an inch before looking like it needs to be ashed. Retrohale is a bit harsh, with much more of the pepper up front. Ignoring the retrohale however, the cigar is quite mild and smooth with the profile reflecting that—not really muddled, but relaxed.
The second third continues with the relaxed profile: pleasant without any specific flavors popping out if you’re not paying attention. Upon closer inspection however, the meaty pepper is still in the background, with the spice and a nice espresso note taking center stage. Unfortunately, the wobbly burn has gotten a little out of control and needs a minor touch-up. Another issue is that the small opening is causing a little tar build up, which ends up being an unpleasant bitter surprise on the tip of my tongue. Clipping a little more off the cap fixes the tar issue, though it confirms my suspicion from earlier about the draw being quite open with a deeper cut. The good news is that the open draw doesn’t seem to affect the profile much, though my taste buds are still slightly recovering from the bitter tar taste despite a couple of rinses with some mineral water.
The final third sees a return of the pepper, though not in full force and lacking the meatiness from before. Spice and espresso are still present and some cocoa that I hadn’t tasted since the cold draw returns. The burn continues to be a bit off, needing some touch-ups here and there. Burning it down to just a nub, it finishes up nice enough without getting overly harsh or bitter.
- Both samples were very similar as far as construction goes. Having learned my lesson from the first sample however, I clipped more off the cap of the second one and avoided the tar issue. Unfortunately, that meant the draw was a bit on the loose side, though not unacceptably so.
- Most box-pressed cigars that I smoke usually end up warming up and then lose most of their shape about halfway through. The Belicoso was a very tight box-press, however and held it’s shape almost to the very end.
- I don’t think the uneven burn had much if any affect on the profile, though the number of touch-ups needed was on the verge of becoming annoying.
- The samples for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time averaged right around two hours.
I've smoked a number of TAA exclusive releases from various manufacturers, and as you would expect there’s a wide range of good and bad cigars. The Padrón TAA Exclusive Belicoso kind of fell right in the middle of that range. The profile was there and set to develop into something great, but it never really seemed to get off the ground. The construction issues didn't seem to affect the cigar so much as it was just a minor annoyance. I'm not entirely sure I would buy more of these over the regular release 1964 Anniversary series, say the slightly larger Imperial or Torpedo for the same price. Having said that however, it is different enough and I did enjoy the cigar so I can still suggest you go out and try a few for yourself, especially if you're a fan of the 1964 Anniversary line.