Rocky Patel’s TAA 2021 release is a unique size of the company’s Vintage 2006 San Andreas line.

It’s called Bala, a 5 3/4 x 58/50 shape that has a round cap like a parejo but a bulbous foot like a salomones. The same size is offered in the Tabaquero by Hamlet Paredes line and the company produced the Bala vitola in the ALR Second Edition line for Smoke Inn earlier this year.

The blend is the same as the regular production line: an 11-year-old Mexican San Andrés wrapper over a Connecticut broadleaf binder and fillers from Nicaragua; it was introduced the line in 2017.

MSRP for the TAA exclusive version is $7 per cigar and it will be limited to 500 boxes of 20 cigars.

Nish Patel, evp of Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, Inc.—told halfwheel the Vintage 2006 Bala is likely to ship in October though the company may try to get some boxes to stores in July.

The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd (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, usually around 50 cents per cigar.

The TAA hosted a virtual meeting earlier this week and then plans an in-person event at Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic this October.

This year, there are 13 companies releasing new TAA ESP cigars:

Update — The original version of this story incorrectly stated the typical donation to TAA.

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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 have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.