La Flor Dominicana TAA 2018 Golden “Oro” Anniversary

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You’ve likely heard the brainstorming-related phrase of spitballing ideas, throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. In the case of the La Flor Dominicana TAA 2018 Golden “Oro” Anniversary, a hastily drawn mockup of the box lid ended up sticking to the chagrin of seemingly everyone who comes across the cigar.

As the story goes, La Flor Dominicana’s owner, Litto Gomez, asked his son Tony to come up with a box design. The younger Gomez opened up the WhatsApp app on his phone, came up with something and sent it to Litto. That sketch was then placed onto the mock-up boxes that were shown to TAA retailers in late April.

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That group, approximately 80 of the most influential and highest volume retailers in the country, liked the design so much so that it ended up being used on the finished product, albeit with the addition of a few elements, including a silhouette of Gomez smoking a cigar.

While the cigar wears the Oro band, it is a slightly different blend than the standard Oro line. This cigar uses a Nicaraguan sun grown wrapper over a Dominican binder and Dominican fillers, most notably a Dominican criollo 99 leaf that the company has been growing at its La Canela farm for a few years but had yet to use.

The cigar, a box-pressed torpedo that measures 6 1/2 inches long with a 54 ring gauge, also stretched into a price territory that LFD had rarely entered, with an MSRP of $24 per cigar, or $480 for a box of 20. There’s no confirmed number as to how many cigars were made, though it was a single run of cigars based off of what was ordered by TAA retailers at their annual meeting and trade show in April.

It becomes the latest in a string of TAA exclusive releases from La Flor Dominicana, who has been one of a handful of companies to consistently release such cigars for the organization.

It’s also one of 17 cigars announced this year for the TAA in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

  • Cigar Reviewed: La Flor Dominicana TAA 2018 Golden "Oro" Anniversary
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Flor S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Length: 6 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Torpedo
  • MSRP: $24 (Boxes of 20, $480)
  • Release Date: August 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The La Flor Dominicana TAA 2018 Golden “Oro” Anniversary is a visually imposing cigar, though judging simply by its dimensions it probably shouldn’t be. The pointed head helps its cause, the box press helps a bit and the dual bands with plenty of gold contribute as well. The cigar is about as firm as it can be while still having a bit of box press give, and it feels a bit lighter than I’d expect from a cigar of this size, though that could simply be a function of the tobaccos used and box press, and not read as implying the cigar is under-filled. There are some interesting aromas off of the foot of the cigar; the first thought is fragrant pine needles, though further sniffs partially dash that thought from my head for a cold pepper that I can’t figure out, with a vanilla ice cream following behind that, almost more in texture than flavor, though the sweet creaminess is easily detectable. The cold draw is smooth and easy and delivers a bit of dry peanut butter—think the middle of convenience stores crackers—with some plain peanuts behind that and just a bit of dry wood and table pepper that come in simultaneously to tingle the tongue.

Notes of wood and white pepper jump off the La Flor Dominicana TAA 2018 Golden “Oro” Anniversary as soon as it is lit, carried by copious amounts of smoke that can pick up a chalky finish at times. Retrohales are equally as bright and peppery, leaving a tingling sensation after each puff that is about as stimulating as it can be without being overpowering. The draw is quite smooth—almost too smooth—as it leads to getting just a bit too much smoke and thus overdoing the flavors, most notably the white pepper. I’m not sure if the two are connected, but the more open the draw, the more prone it seems the cigar is to being harsh, which occurs a bit in the second sample, resulting in a grating on the top of the throat. The first clump of ash breaks off around the usual one-inch mark, easily shaken off with a quick flick of the wrist. The third sample begins to pick up a decidedly smoky finish that is reminiscent of a mix of Worcestershire sauce and slightly charred steak. The draw is generally quite good though it varies from cigar to cigar, ranging from a bit tight to a bit loose.

The second third is fairly restrained as far as flavor and pepper, definitely a much mellower and smoother experience than what the cigar offers in the first third. It’s not quite creamy but seems to want to get there, though the second sample develops a biting waxiness that causes my tongue to curl in response. Upon closer inspection, I find two distinct buildups of tar on the head of the cigar, leading me to snip off more of the top of the cigar in hopes of getting things back on track. The third sample is by far the best of the group, with a thick banana custard sweetness entering the profile and giving the cigar a very enjoyable profile with depth and richness.

The draw continues to be incredibly smooth entering the final third of the La Flor Dominicana TAA 2018 Golden “Oro” Anniversary, so much so that it captures my attention with each puff. Pepper is starting to return, slowly but steadily, and moves the profile back towards the full-flavored profile of the first third. A bit of black pepper comes into give the cigar its finishing note, while the burn line stays fairly even, the draw is still remarkably smooth and smoke production is plentiful. The first cigar is easily smoked down to a small nub, while the other two samples were not as cooperative; the second retains a harsh flavor that forces me to put it down early, while the third sample refuses to burn past the burn line despite several attempts at relighting the cigar. That final sample’s performance is a particular shame, given that it was on track to achieve the highest score of the trio.

Final Notes

  • La Flor Dominicana has been one of the most consistent companies when it comes to releasing a TAA exclusive cigar, doing so at least back to 2013.
  • In 2015, the company allowed retailers to vote on what the La Flor Dominicana TAA 47 would be; it ended up being a 5 1/2 x 52 robusto extra.
  • I reviewed the La Flor Dominicana Oro Natural No. 6 back in October 2012.
  • Unlike seemingly most of La Flor Dominicana’s releases, there’s not a lot of nicotine strength in the La Flor Dominicana TAA 2018 Golden “Oro” Anniversary. If anything, there’s a bit of lingering pepper on the finish, but the cigar doesn’t come swinging with nicotine strength.
  • The varied performance of the three samples was both amazing and concerning; the first was nearly flawless from a burn perspective with solid flavors; the second was harsh and had some burn challenges, while the third was on a great track until refusing to burn part way into the final third.
  • While not technically a TAA exclusive, this year Kristoff gave the TAA first crack at its relaunched Vengeance line.
  • Similarly, TAA retailers got the first shot at Colibri’s new Apex lighter.
  • Scott Regina became the new president of TAA in April 2018.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by La Flor Dominicana.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 55 minutes on average.
  • Site sponsor Corona Cigar Co. carries the La Flor Dominicana TAA 2018 Golden “Oro” Anniversary.
84 Overall Score

Part of the reason we smoke three samples for our reviews is to give as well-rounded and comprehensive of a review as possible, ironing out the peaks and valleys that may come with individual cigars. Yet when it comes to the La Flor Dominicana TAA 2018 Golden "Oro" Anniversary, the three samples seemed to create more questions than answers. The first cigar was solid on all fronts, burning well while delivering balanced flavors that had me optimistic that the cigar would deliver on its price tag. The second cigar was the exact opposite due to serious problems with tar and related bitterness, while the third was on a better track than the first until slamming the brakes in the final third and refusing to burn. When it is at its best, this cigar is near sublime, yet the uncertainty I'm left with after smoking three of them leaves me hesitant to return to it or recommend it, though even despite the price, the high points of the cigar do make it tempting.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

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.

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