Illusione’s first exclusive release for the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) is shipping to stores today.

The Illusione TAA Exclusive 2021 is a 6 3/4 x 52 toro made entirely of Nicaraguan tobaccos. It has an MSRP of $15 per cigar and is limited to 3,500 boxes of 10 cigars.

“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 in March. “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.”

This is Illusione’s first exclusive release as part of the TAA Exclusive Series Program. 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.

TAA hosted a virtual meeting in March, when this cigar was first announced, and is planning on having an in-person meeting next month in Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic.

This year, a total of 13 different companies announced TAA ESP releases, more than half of them have shipped to stores:

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.