In March the Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd.—or the name you might be more familiar with, TAA—held its 48th annual convention.

Leading up to the convention, we started seeing all the different announcements for the 2016 TAA releases, one of which was from La Flor Dominicana. With TAA releases becoming a staple for many manufacturers, we tend to see them stick to a blend and size of their choosing, usually mixing up one or the other from year to year.

La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 Vitolas

La Flor Dominicana does it a little differently, as they did with the TAA 47, asking TAA members to smoke three different sizes of this year’s blend—a 5 1/2 x 50, a 6 x 54 box-pressed and a 6 1/4 x 60—and letting the retailers vote on what size they liked best.

Once the votes were tallied, the consensus was for the 6 x 54 box-pressed size, which should be shipping to the TAA retailers that ordered them by the beginning of May.

La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: La Flor Dominicana TAA 48
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Flor S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Cameroon
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro Gordo
  • MSRP: $9.40 (Boxes of 25, $235)
  • Release Date: May 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

The dark brown wrapper of the TAA 48 kind of allows the black and gold LFD band to blend right in instead of producing any contrast like last year’s regular red, black and gold band. Soft and slightly oily to the touch, the cigar is firm with just a slight bit of give to it. Coming off the wrapper is a mild aroma, with just light notes of leather and earth. The cold draw however, is much more flavorful, with raisins, earth, charred oak and coffee showing up.

Starting into the first third, a big pepper note pops up at the front, with some medium spice, a general sweetness and some musty oak following the pack. The burn starts quite even, not quite perfectly sharp, but impressive enough to make note of it. Dense ash holds on to well over an inch, not even hinting at wanting to fall off before I roll it off into my ashtray. A coffee note has joined the fray along with sweet raisins in the background, both adding nicely to the existing notes of pepper, spice and the musty oak.

La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 2

Almost on queue as I move into the second third, I start having severe burn issues with an entire half of the cigar lagging behind, creating a 45 degree angle burn line. The spice note has grown significantly, almost seemingly demanding to be the center of attention, with the pepper, sweet fruits, coffee and musty oak all still in the room, but mostly standing around listening to spice’s story. While the burn luckily doesn’t seem to be affecting the profile, I’m still needing to nurse it along with my lighter every little bit, as it doesn’t want to cooperate or burn evenly on it’s own.

La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 3

The final third doesn’t see much change in the profile, though the spice note has retreated slightly, creating a more even footing between the spice, sweet fruits, coffee and musty oak, while the pepper has faded into the background somewhat. The burn has started to act slightly better, though it still wants to trend towards a sideways burn line than anything else. As the LFD TAA 48 wraps up, the flavors continue to shine without any encroaching harshness that I would have expected from a cigar that has required as much touch-up help along the way.

La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 4

Final Notes

  • Both samples seemed to have the exact same burn issues, starting and continuing almost at the exact same areas of the cigar.
  • The interesting thing La Flor Dominicana does with the voting system is instead of just having people cast a ballot physically or online, the votes are how many of each size are pre-ordered by the retailers. The size with the most orders is the winner.
  • The other interesting thing is, regardless of what size won, the MSRP was set at $9.40 per cigar.
  • While La Flor Dominicana might have used the same voting system for the TAA 47, both the blend and sizes were all new this year.
  • Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by La Flor Dominicana.
  • Final smoking time averaged around two hours.
87 Overall Score

With special limited edition releases for TAA retailers somewhat of the norm now, and even some releases taking top spots in end-of-the-year lists, that doesn’t mean all the TAA editions are good. Thankfully, the La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 is definitely on the side of the good releases. Oddly enough, despite the frustrations with the burn, it didn’t seem to affect the profile negatively, as flavors shined and mixed wonderfully throughout the whole cigar. Unfortunately the score will end up suffering slightly because of the burn issues, but regardless it’s a cigar I can definitely recommend picking up once they hit the shelves.

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.