Cigar Snapshot Podcast Episode 21 Tatuaje Tobacconists' Association of America 2011 Size: 5-5/8 x 54 Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua About: Pete Johnson created this special blend for the Tobacconists’ Association of America in 2011. The Tobcacconists’ Association of America (TAA) is a trade group that was established in 1968 by a group of tobacconists. According to the TAA website, their mission is “To provide an open forum of ideas, strategies, and problem solving between retail tobacconist and vendors to the trade.” Only 1,500 boxes of this special release were produced, and they are available exclusively at the Tobacconists’ Association of America retailers across the country that attended the TAA show in 2011. Prelight: This box-pressed cigar had a deep chocolate brown wrapper with a slight toothiness. The foot was closed, meaning that the wrapper on the cigar was cut a little long and then folded over the foot. There was a patch down by the foot that measured about 1/4- inch by 1/8-inch. The cigar was solid and well-constructed, with no hard or soft spots. It had the red, white, and blue Tatuaje special release band that said "Tobacconists' Association of America" and featured their Indian Head logo. AROMA: The prelight aroma was mainly subtle leather with a nice creamy undertone. I also noticed a barnyard component, along with an almost floral-like background note. TASTE: The prelight taste immediately assaulted my palate with a strong blast of pepper spice. It was enough of a surprise that it almost caused me to cough. There were some rich black cherry flavors, along with a deeper, heartier leather background. 1/3: The cigar started off relatively powerfully, with some deep earthy flavors. There was also a nice bite of black pepper at the very back of my palate and in my throat. In addition, there was a noticeable sweetness on the wrapper. The finish was medium in length with the earthy components lingering, along with some grassiness that I also detected in the retrohale. The ash was medium gray in color and relatively firm, but not solid. 2/3: The flavor elements mellowed out a bit, and began to mesh together. Though mellower in their attack, the leathery and earthy flavors retained their depth and complexity. In addition to the sweetness that I still tasted, a dry cedary flavor emerged in the finish. The peppery spiciness faded in the second third, almost to the point of non-existence. 3/3: In the final third, the strength and body continued to be a solid medium to medium-full. The subtle yet deep flavors of earth and leather continued and the sweetness faded. The dry cedar in the finish evolved into what reminded me of what I would best describe as finished furniture - almost like the experience of walking into a nice furniture showroom. The flavors intensified as I approached the end of the cigar, and remained in balance at the same time. I smoked this cigar fight down to the nub with no harshness or bitterness at all. Overall: Overall, this cigar started out with what I would pretty much classify as the "typical" Tatuaje flavor profile with the addition of a couple of extra flavor notes. The flavors were good, but in the first third they were not meshed and working together. The second third is where this cigar really started to shine. The profile started to come together and exhibit some deep complexity that I found to be a pleasant surprise and change of pace from the typical Tatuaje. It was a very pleasant smoke overall, with the balance and profile particularly good in the second and final thirds. If this were a regular production cigar, I think that it would do very well, and rightfully so.