CLE Cigar Co.’s exclusive release for retailers who are members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. (TAA) is a familiar size with an unfamiliar name.
The CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 will come in the unique 11/18 perfecto, a 6 x 48/54/48 vitola that the company has used for a variety of releases over the years. If you are wondering about the blend, the company isn’t talking about that. And if you are wondering about the name—including what the THT, EKE, or 03/17 is referencing—the company isn’t talking about that, at least for now. Christian Eiroa, CLE’s founder, said “it’s something important” and left open the possibility of explaining it at a later date.
In terms of other details, it has an MSRP of $17.86 per cigar and will be sold in boxes of 25. The company says it will go on sale in June or July as a regular production item for TAA retailers.
The TAA is a fairly small group of some of the country’s top tobacconists, about 80 retailers as well as 40 or so 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.
During the event, the organization holds two selling events, one known as the Dream Machine where the retailers collectively order to secure larger discounts, while the other is a more traditional trade show. Typically, around a dozen manufacturers release new exclusive cigars for the retail members of the organization under the TAA Exclusive Series Program banner. Those manufacturers agree to give a portion of the proceeds to the organization, usually around 50 cents per cigar.
TAA 2021 will host a virtual meeting on March 23 and then plans an in-person event at Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic this October.
So far, only five companies have announced their TAA ESP releases for 2021:
Update (March 25, 2021) — The original version of this story incorrectly stated the typical donation to TAA.