While many of the companies that normally produce TAA exclusives aren’t creating new exclusive cigars for 2021, there’s one company that is making its debut Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) Exclusive Series Program release.
The Illusione TAA Exclusive 2021 will be a 6 3/4 x 52 toro made entirely of Nicaraguan tobacco.
“I’ve been working on and off with a particular tobacco for a couple of years now that Eduardo (Fernández Pujals of AGANORSA) grows off and on,” said Dion Giolito, Illusione’s founder, to halfwheel. “I made some things personally for myself to smoke when I’m at the factory using this viso. I’m very comfortable with it now, and know how to utilize it within the context of a blend. It’s full-bodied rich and goes deep, it has all the characteristics of an Illusione cigar when blended correctly.”
The MSRP is set at $15 per cigar and it is limited to 3,500 boxes of 10 cigars. No shipping date has been announced.
This is the first time that Illusione has released a TAA exclusive. The company became a TAA supplier last year. 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, a minimum of 50 cents per cigar.
The TAA hosted a virtual meeting earlier this week and plans on having an in-person event at Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic this October.
This year, there are 13 companies releasing new TAA ESP cigars:
- Crowned Heads
- E.P. Carrillo
- Forged Cigar Co.
- J.C. Newman
- Joya de Nicaragua
- La Flor Dominicana
- La Palina
- Rocky Patel
Update — The original version of this story incorrectly stated the typical donation to TAA.