In March of 2011, the Tobacconists’ Association of America held its yearly convention in Cabo San Lucas, where it was announced that Tatuaje would be producing a limited production cigar that would be sold only at the stores of the TAA members who attended the convention and signed up for it.

Says Pete Johnson about the cigar:

This (cigar) is only for members that visited the show and will stay that way every year. The blend is going to be similar to the styles of Brex and Tenderloin but with a cool twist. The size that was being tossed around was 5 5/8 x 54. I’m gonna play with the blend this week in Nica. Luckily the TAA had about 40 retailers sign up so it should be pretty easy to get. This will be a one time production and next year we will create another cigar (in a different blend and size) for the TAA at the show.

There are 1,500 boxes of 20 cigars split between about 40 different retailers who were at the show. Like the Tatuaje Black Label Petite Lancero, the cigars are wet-packed in foil.

The boxes look like this:

Tatuaje TAA (2011) 1.png Tatuaje TAA (2011) 2.png

Here is the TAA (bottom) compared to the Barclay Rex (middle) and the Pork Tenderloin (top):

Tatuaje TAA (2011) 3.png

And here is a list of the TAA stores that will have the Tatuaje blend for sale:

  • Ansteads Tobacco-Fayetteville, NC
  • Barclay Rex-42nd/Broad St-New York, NY
  • Briar & Bean-Evansville, IN
  • Briar Patch-Sacramento, CA
  • Burns Tobacconist-Chattanooga, TN
  • Churchills Fine Cigars-Phoenix, AZ
  • Cigar Box-Saint Clair, PACigar Chateau-Wichita, KS
  • Cigars & More-Birmingham, AL
  • Cigars & More-Libertyville, IL
  • Cigars Plus-Brick, NJ
  • Club Humidor-San Antonio, TX
  • De La Concha-New York, NY
  • Diebel’s-Kansas City, MO
  • Elite Cigar Café-Addison, TX
  • Emerson’s Cigars-Virginia Beach, VA
  • Havana Connections Richmond, VA
  • Havana Manor-Longmont, CO
  • Iwan Ries-Chicago, IL
  • Lake Country Cigars-Delafield, WI
  • Liberty Tobacco-Del Mar, CA
  • Liberty Tobacco-San Diego, CA
  • Maxamar Cigars-Orange, CA
  • Metro Cigars-Germantown, WI
  • Mission Pipe-Pleasanton, CA
  • Mission Pipe-San Jose, CA
  • Old Virginia Tobacco-Woodbridge, VA
  • Outlaw Cigar Co-Kansas City, MO
  • Palm Desert Tobacco -Palm Desert, CA
  • Racine & Laramie-San Diego, CA
  • Rain City Cigars-Seattle, WA
  • Schwabs Pipes N Stuff-Lexington, KY
  • Signature Cigars-Rockville, MD
  • Squires Cigars-Santa Rosa, CA
  • Stogies on Grand-St Paul, MN
  • Telford’s Pipe & Cigar-Mill Valley, CA
  • The Briar Shoppe-Houston, TX
  • The Cigar Shoppe-Athens, GA
  • The Tasting Room-Monona, WI
  • The Tobacco Shop of Ridgewood- Ridgewood, NJ
  • Tinder Box #377, #370-Mesa, AZ
  • Up in Smoke-Irving, TX
  • UpDown Cigar-Chicago, IL
  • World Famous Cigar Bar-Fort Meyers, FL
  • Ye Olde Pipe & Tobacco Shoppe-Phoenix, AZ
  • ZT Cigars-Oklahoma City, OK

Tatuaje TAA (2011) 4.png

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje TAA
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Size: 5 5/8 inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $11 (Boxes of 20, $220)
  • Date Released: September 2011
  • Number of Boxes Released: 1,500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The cigar itself is a wonderful looking stick, slightly box pressed. Honestly, it’s more oval than anything with a cinnamon brown wrapper that is rough to the touch. The cigar has a closed foot and is nicely hard when squeezed with just a little give. It smells sweet with notes of wood, chocolate and earth. 

The first third starts out with a great amount of spice and black pepper. Not overwhelming, but definitely in the profile. Flavors of earth, espresso, leather and wood all combine for a wonderful beginning. There is a sweetness in the profile as well, but at this point, it is just a general sweetness—not a specific flavor that I could discern.

Tatuaje TAA (2011) 5.png

The second third mellows out a bit—very little spice or pepper even on the retrohale. The flavors are pretty much the same, although the sweetness is quite a bit more pronounced, a wonderful rich note of sweet earth and leather.

Tatuaje TAA (2011) 6.png

The final third remains much the same as the second third, same basic flavors, but there was a bit more spice on the lips and I noticed a distinct chocolate flavor on the finish. The black pepper was gone completely, however, a nice ending and it never got hot at the end, and easy to finish.

Tatuaje TAA (2011) 7.png

 Final Notes

  • While some of the cigars with the Exclusive Series bands that Pete has used have looked like crap (see Tatuaje Tattoo), the TAA logo in the middle of the round space looks great to me, like it belongs there. Perhaps it would be better if he used logos for stores releases instead of just the text of the names?
  • With 1,500 boxes spread over 40 stores, these are not going to be selling out anytime soon. So, unlike some of Pete’s blends, you have plenty of time to order a five pack to try before you buy a box or more.
  • Since the TAA blend is supposed to be close to the Barclay Rex & the Pork Tenderloin, I smoked one of each in conjunction with the three of the TAA sticks I smoked to compare them.
  • The burn was perfect on all three samples, and the draw was great on two out of the three, but one of the samples had a slightly loose draw, not a wind tunnel, but close.
  • The final smoking time was right at one hour and 40 minutes for all three samples.
  • If you want to purchase any of these Tatuaje TAA cigars, you can go to any of the TAA stores (link above), but I would go to Smoke Inn, or call them at 888-766-5371 and tell them we sent you.
91 Overall Score

When Pete mentioned that the blend was "similar to the styles of Barclay Rex and Tenderloin," I—along with every one else—started salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs. So, the biggest question on everyone's mind is most likely: Does this taste anything like the Pork Tenderloin or Barclay Rex? The answer is: sort of. There are definitely some similarities, but in my opinion, the TAA is not as full bodied as either of them. It is also closer to the Pork Tenderloin in mouth feel and closer to the Barclay Rex in profile with the noticeable sweetness and less spice, but is not quite as complex or as balanced as either of the other two. Good enough to buy a box to put down, for sure.

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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.