Over the years manufacturers have created a number of exclusive releases for members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA), and of course this year is no different. Among the ones to throw their hat into the ring for 2017 is Kristoff. To celebrate and support the TAA, Kristoff decided to create the TAA Exclusive 49. With the TAA having been founded in 1968, this year marks the 49th anniversary of the association, giving this salomon its name.

While Kristoff hasn’t released any TAA exclusives in the past, it has sold new releases to TAA members first at their annual meeting, with other retailers getting them later in the year. This was done with both the Kristoff 685 Woodlawn in 2013 and the Kristoff Classic Reserva in 2015.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Kristoff TAA Exclusive 49
  • Country of Origin: n/a
  • Factory: n/a
  • Wrapper: Honduran Habano Criollo
  • Binder: Dominican Habano
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 56
  • Vitola: Salomon
  • MSRP: $11 (Boxes of 10, $110)
  • Release Date: April 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Looking at the Kristoff TAA Exclusive 49, the wrapper looks nice and the dark embossed band with gold lettering really pops and looks good. It has a nice soft feel to it, though instead of an oily feel it certainly has a slightly more dry feel to it. Giving it a squeeze there is enough give to keep it from being hard and is free from any specific soft spots. Coming off the wrapper is rich notes of cinnamon, chocolate, leather and bread, while the cold draw is a mixture of cinnamon raisin bread and a light vegetal note.

Starting into the first third I’m immediately greeted by sweet spice, chocolate, earth and a little bit of black pepper. Starting off the burn isn’t that great, though I never expect it to start out perfect on salomons. Likewise, the draw is a little tight, but I expect that to change shortly. Black pepper is much more prominent on the nose, while the earth is a little more rich. Passing the bulk of the salomon bulge, the draw finally opens up as I expected, while the burn does need a little help to catch a section back up with the rest. While the ash appears dense and holds on quite strongly to around the inch mark, looking down I notice there is a fine sprinkling of ash all over my chest and lap. Smoke production is quite high, with plenty of smoke continuing to pour off the foot long after I take a draw.

Moving into the second third of the Kristoff TAA Exclusive 49 I start to see some development in the profile, with espresso showing up in the middle, an increase in the sweet, rich spice note, while the chocolate, earth and pepper combine nicely in the background. The burn has evened up significantly and appears to be on a good path that won’t require any interaction on my part. Out of nowhere a strong and decisive gingerbread note shows up that while surprising, fits right in with the rest of the flavors well.

Shifting into the final third sees the decline of the short-lived, but delicious gingerbread note, though it is seeming to stick around at least a little bit as a background note. Alongside it is the chocolate and pepper, while the earthiness has increased to be more forward, joining the espresso and a noticeably less sweet spice. The burn continues even enough, not quite needing intervention on my part but never getting to the point where I didn’t think I needed to keep an eye on it. As I reach the final inch the flavors persist, staying cool and enjoyable until I put the cigar down.

Final Notes

  • I really think there was a missed opportunity here to make this a 49 ring gauge. Having said that, the 56 ring gauge salomon was a pretty good size.
  • This would be the ninth limited edition 2017 release for TAA members according to its site, however the list doesn’t include this cigar.
  • In addition to the limited editions for 2017, there is also a list of seven cigars that are regular production TAA exclusives.
  • While these are limited editions, there seem to be plenty of sites out there with these still in stock – though a few were showing only singles and five packs left, having sold out of the boxes.
  • Next year’s TAA meeting will be held at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort in St. Maarten from April 15-19, 2018.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time averaged two hours and fifteen minutes.
  • Site sponsor Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136) carries the Kristoff TAA 49.
89 Overall Score

I admittedly don’t have much experience with the different Kristoff lines, so I didn’t really have any expectations going in, especially since TAA exclusives have gone either way for me in the past. Thankfully, the Kristoff TAA Exclusive 49 is a good cigar with a solid profile that develops and changes enough to keep me interested, but staying consistent enough to have a main theme. The construction wasn’t perfect, with the burn being mostly even, and one sample did have a slightly tighter draw than the other two. Thankfully though none of that was a show stopper, and the star of the show was certainly the profile—as it should be. If you are a fan of Kristoff Cigars, like supporting TAA members, or just want to try the latest TAA release—this is certainly an easy one to suggest you pick up for yourself.

Brian Burt

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially, I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010, I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion.