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Fifty firfth? Fifty oneth?

Yes, it says 51th; and no, I have no clue how to pronounce it.

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This year’s the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) celebrated its 51st anniversary and Tatuaje along with 11 other manufacturers created exclusive cigars for the 80 or so retailers that are part of the organization. Tatuaje’s entry is in many ways similar to last year’s Tatuaje TAA 50th, particularly from a distance. It’s a 5 x 52 box-pressed robusto, priced at $11.95, sold in boxes of 20 and featuring the Tatuaje Exclusive Series bands.   

However, a closer look at the band gives some indication that there are some differences. The top of the band has Tobacconists Association of America Ltd. modified to read Tobacconists’ Association of Mexico Ltd. And the TAA’s cigar store Indian logo has been replaced by a mustached, sunglasses-sporting, sombrero-wearing saguaro cactus. That’s because the wrapper on this cigar—unlike seven of the previous eight Tatuaje TAA releases—is a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, not a Connecticut broadleaf.

Underneath that is the Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan filler combination that Tatuaje uses on many of its releases.

One other change is how early in the year this cigar shipped: late April, about a month after the TAA’s annual meeting and convention, which began March 17 in Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic. For context, in many years the Tatuaje TAA hasn’t shipped until September.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje TAA 51th
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 Inchse
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $11.95 (Box of 20, $239)
  • Release Date: April 25, 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: 3,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (60,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

While the appearance might suggest that this is not the typical Connecticut broadleaf-wrapped Tatuaje TAA, the smell upon opening the box doesn’t give me any hints, as there’s a heavy dose of pungent barnyard. That’s also the case on the dark wrapper, which is largely barnyard and some sweetness. The covered foot is predictably similar, though the barnyard is neither as dominant nor as pungent. For what it’s worth, there’s also some french fry smell on two of the samples. Thee cold draw tastes like a milder amaro long with some twang and a mild dose of barnyard flavors, around medium-plus.

The TAA 51th begins with potato chips, cedar, minerals, coffee beans and an interesting sweetness that I can’t identify specifically, around medium-full. A couple of minutes in and the profile has turned to a big earthiness over some minerals, restrained pepper and onion powder. Through the nose is a lot of whole-grain bread and—on some puffs—a wasabi-like pepper. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. One sample has a very even burn, while the other two have an uneven burn line, though none of the three need touch-ups.

While I didn’t have any notes about how the first third was dry, the second third of the Tatuaje TAA 51th is both less dry and sweeter. I wouldn’t describe it as smooth, though the flavors are a lot less sharp than the first third. Cocoa powder sits on top of the earthiness while a green apple skin sweetness is present on two of the cigars. Retrohales produce walnuts, cashews, multigrain bread and some very mild white pepper. The finish is medium-full with a restrained peanut butter and some more of the mineral flavors breaking through. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. Eventually, the uneven burns need a manual adjustment by my lighter. It also becomes apparent that the cigar is burning a bit hotter than it was in the first third. I can’t really notice any negative effects on the flavor, but even when I slow down, the cigar’s burn puts off a much brighter red color than the first third.

The earthiness seems to want to make a return for the final third, though right before it gets back to a similar range to where it was in the first third, it trails off. Instead, the Tatuaje’s profile turns to a mixture of black licorice, coffee and some oak flavors. Retrohales have floral and pine flavors, which is a rather bizarre combination. The finish is nuttier with walnuts and some green licorice, though the earthiness remains a big part of what I’m tasting by the end of the cigar. Flavor finishes medium-full, body is closer to full though still medium-full and strength is now medium-full.

Final Notes

  • It’s not challenging to write 51th but I have no clue what I would do if I  had to do this review on video or audio.

  • This was a typo at the factory. Above is a rendering that Pete Johnson originally sent me.
  • I’m a big fan of the change to the logo. One fun, but more expensive idea, would have been to make a select number of boxes with this logo and the rest with the normal design.
  • I definitely wish this cigar was a toro instead of the robusto, which is a good sign of just how much I enjoyed it.

  • Some of thee cigars we’re stuck to one another, something I can’t say I’ve seen before.
  • This is a big year for Tatuaje and Mexican wrappers. Next month, the company will ship the Tatuaje Mexican Experiment and ME II.
  • Tatuaje advertises on halfwheel.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was a relatively quick one hour and 30 minutes.

 

91 Overall Score

I hadn’t really thought about what would happen if one switched the Connecticut broadleaf wrapper of last year’s Tatuaje TAA with a dark Mexican San Andrés leaf, though if I had this would not have been it. While I picked up some off the staples of many Mexican-wrapped cigars: dark chocolate, earthiness and mineral flavors, this is not a typical Mexican-wrapped cigar. I enjoyed the Tatuaje TAA 51th quite a bit but I feel like it was missing some of the edge that I’ve come to enjoy in many prior releases. Whatever faults I might find, the annual Tatuaje TAA releases—as is typically the case—is one of best cigars I’ve smoked this year.

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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