E.P. Carrillo has begun shipping its contribution to the 2020 group of TAA exclusive cigars, the Encore 656.

As the name implies, the cigar is a 6 x 56 toro gordo version of the Encore blend, a Nicaraguan puro that includes some tobaccos aged using tercios, an old school method of placing tobacco in bundles and then wrapping them with leaves from the royal palm tree. The cigars are made at Tabacalera La Alianza in the Dominican Republic.

It’s a limited release, with just 750 boxes of 10 cigars heading to the members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America, a group of about 80 retailers representing approximately 240 stores across the country. Pricing is set at $13.25 per cigar.

Each year the TAA meets in late winter or early spring to discuss industry issues, network and host a group buying event. The organization also includes approximately 40 cigar manufacturers, some of whom offer exclusive cigars to the group, from new and exclusive sizes of existing lines, to completely new blends or early access to new lines coming to market.

In 2020, a total of 14 manufacturers created new cigars for the group:

In addition to producing its own cigar for the TAA this year, E.P. Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza also made Villiger’s TAA 2020 Exclusive and Crowned Heads’s The Lost Angel.

Image courtesy of E.P. Carrillo.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.