Every year, the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) holds its annual convention where, amongst other things, various manufacturers offer exclusive releases to the retail members of the organization. While the exclusive cigars are hardly a new thing, over the last few years the number has greatly increased including a variety of limited edition offerings.

The Tobacconists’ Association of America website describes its purpose:

Our Mission Statement: To provide an open forum of ideas, strategies, and problem solving between retail tobacconist and vendors to the trade.

Our Organization’s Objectives: TAA exists to achieve three primary objectives:

To establish a forum where members can exchange information and share solutions to mutual problems.

To be represented by experienced tobacconists who promote professionalism in the industry through training and exercising fiscal responsibility. The representatives are full-line tobacco retailers who wholeheartedly comply with applicable state and local laws, are well established in the industry and the community.

To function as a buying group that takes advantage of industry close outs and passes huge savings to members, and exclusively provides high-quality cigars and pipes manufactured by TAA associate members and under TAA-owned trademarks.

TAA retail members can buy directly from associate members (manufacturers and suppliers)­ at special offered prices. The support and cooperation of all members is what makes TAA so valuable. Taking advantage of networking opportunities benefits all members. Sharing knowledge and experience is mutually satisfying, and buying from associate members strengthens purchasing lines. All members are encouraged to attend the annual convention, which is not only educational but enjoyable.

On November 1, 2013, AVO shipped its first TAA release, the AVO Movement TAA Limited Release.  The 6 x 52 box-pressed toro, also the first non-round cigar the company has made, is limited to 50,000 units. The blend, in general terms, is fairly typical AVO: Ecuadorian wrapper and Dominican fillers.

With the addition of the AVO Movement, there have now been 11 different TAA exclusive releases from various manufacturers in 2013:

TAA members were also offered Casa Antero and Ocaso, both of which are brands owned by the TAA. In addition, the La Aurora 107 Maduro and the Kristoff 685 Woodlawn were both shipped to participating TAA members before being released nationally. While they were exclusively available at TAA members for a short time, they are now regularly released cigars.

The boxes that the AVO Movement TAA Limited Release release come in look like this:

AVO Moveement TAA Limited Release.jpeg

AVO Movement TAA Limited Release 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: AVO Movement TAA Limited Release
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: O.K. Cigars
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Dominican Republic (San Vicente)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (Piloto Viso, Habano Viso & San Vicente Ligero)
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $11.00 (Boxes of 20, $220.00)
  • Date Released: November 1, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 2,500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2

Covered in a dark mocha brown-colored wrapper, the AVO Movement TAA has a soft but noticeable box-press. The wrapper is silky smooth to the touch, with almost no tooth at all and no veins or oil visible. The cigar is a bit spongy when squeezed, but the triple cap seems perfectly applied. Aroma coming off the wrapper is a combination of strong cedar, sweet tobacco, leather and earth. The cold draw has a significant graham cracker sweetness, along with a bit of white pepper.

The first third of the AVO Movement TAA starts out with a noticeable funky mushroom flavor up front, along with other notes of cinnamon, nuts, leather, earth and coffee. The profile is fairly creamy overall. Although there is a sweetness present on the retrohale, it is indistinct at this point of the cigar. There is some nice white pepper on the retrohale and just the tiniest bit of spice on my tongue, but it does not seem to be increasing at all. Smoke production is quite large, dense and billowy and white. Construction-wise, the draw is more open then I would like, and while the burn is a little wavy, it is never bad enough to affect the experience so far.

AVO Movement TAA Limited Release 2

While the creaminess continues in the AVO TAA during the second third, the largest change is in the sweetness, which has become quite a bit more distinct and is reminding me strongly of graham crackers. The other flavors flit in and out: cinnamon, leather, cedar, nuts and espresso. The pepper on the retrohale has increased slightly, as has the overall strength, although it is still barely to the medium mark by the end of the second third. The burn has evened up a bit, although it is still far from razor sharp, and the draw has tightened up noticeably.

AVO Movement TAA Limited Release 3

The final third of the  AVO Movement TAA Limited Release features a significant increase in the amount of pepper on the retrohale, along with a slight increase in the graham cracker sweetness, both of which combine nicely with the other notes of dark chocolate, leather, creamy cedar and the ever present cinnamon. Smoke production is surprisingly high and quite dense as it pours off the foot. Thankfully, both the burn and the draw have made significant improvements, and continues that way until the end of the cigar. The overall strength barely makes it to the medium mark, but the nub is cool to the touch when I put down the cigar with about an inch left.

AVO Movement TAA Limited Release 4

Final Notes:

  • Movement is a musical term. I am not a composer, and won’t try to be, so here’s the Wikipedia explanation.
  • The annual Tobacconists’ Association of America convention was held on April 7-April 11, 2013 at the Casa de Campo resort in the Dominican Republic. This was a bit of a change in venue as the convention is normally held in Mexico.
  • The 6 x 52 Toro size of the AVO Movement TAA Limited Release release is the exact same size as this year’s AVO Limited Edition 2013 The Dominant 13th, although the Movement is box-pressed while the Dominant 13th is not.
  • The ash was extremely flaky, and while the main part of the ash held on for quite a while, little flakes kept falling off every time I took a puff. Very annoying.
  • In case you have no clue who Avo Uvezian is, here is his Wikipedia page and here is the Icons of Cigars portrait I took of him this year. Honestly, I was extremely impressed with him as a person when I met him, and he seems to be one of the most humble and gracious people you will ever meet. His history is definitely worth a read.
  • There is no secondary band or any indication at all that this is a TAA release, although the box that they come in does and there is LE13 written in gold letters on the right side of the band.
  • I really loved the soft box-press on this release, and wish more manufactures would incorporate them into their lines, especially for larger ring gauges.
  • When I type TAA into Google, the first website shown is actually for the Texas Apartment Association at TAA.org. The Tobacconists’ Association of America website is actually at thetaa.org. Other organizations using the TAA abbreviation are the Texas Auctioneers Association and the Transportation Administrators of Arizona.
  • The finish is wonderful: nutty, slightly sweet and it lingers on the palate for quite a while.
  • The construction was interesting on two cigars I smoked for this review. On the sample I photographed, the draw was excellent, and the burn, while not perfect, was not overly problematic. In the other sample, the draw was more open then I would like, and the burn was all over the place, although still not bad enough to impact the overall experience.
  • The final smoking time for both samples of the AVO Movement TAA Limited Release smoked for this review averaged one hour and 25 minutes.
  • The samples smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel. Oettinger Davidoff AG’s Davidoff brand is a site sponsor.
  • There are 70 TAA members listed on the organizations website, none are site sponsors.
88 Overall Score

I enjoyed the AVO Movement TAA Limited Release for what it was: a medium bodied, full flavored cigar that you really need to concentrate on to get the most out of the profile. The buttery note combined with the black pepper and graham cracker sweetness really blended well together, and the profile was quite balanced overall. While the construction was not as good as other AVO releases I have had in the past, particularly the burn, none of the issues were so problematic as to truly take away from the experience of the cigar. A very good cigar as long as you are willing to take the time and effort to appreciate it fully.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.