The Tatuaje TAA 2014/2017 is a cigar that might seem a little confusing if you haven’t been following the annual releases of the exclusive Tobacconist Association of America (or TAA) line. It’s commonly referred to as simply “TAA 2017”, but hang on a second, the band says 2014. What’s going on here? It isn’t a band misprint, nor have these cigars been suspiciously discovered in the back of a warehouse after three years. It’s actually a rerelease of the size and blend from 2014. I can see how that might cause a little confusion in your humidor if you still have the original 2014. To avoid full-fledged chaos, I recommend smoking all the original ones now. No rush, I’ll wait. All done? I’ll bet they were great. Now that that problem is solved (or at least until 2020 when they might be released again), let’s see how the new one smokes.
But one note before we get into the details, as I mentioned, this is an limited annual TAA exclusive release. That means your best bet for finding them is to check your local TAA cigar shop, or try your luck hitting google. At the time of this writing, they were still available online. Now on to the review.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Price: MSRP $11.95
The Pre Light
The TAA 2014/2017 has an enticing appearance. It’s rustic with a good amount of variation in wrapper leaf color, but it also has fine tooth and mostly fine veins. The cigars I smoked for this review were firm for a box-pressed stick, but I noted a little inconsistency to the touch in a few cigars. But not so much that it would cause any real concern.
The First Third
The first half inch or so of the TAA 2014/2017 produced some peppery cedary notes, but these quickly receded. With those gone, I could really appreciate the sweet chocolate and cocoa notes the cigar had to offer. Coffee and mocha-ish flavors made appearances, and the profile grew earthier as it progressed. In the first third the cigar had a lot of candy sweetness in the finish. So far so good with the combustion characteristics, it burned evenly and produced a solid, lighter gray ash.
The Second Third
Earthiness was more of a factor in the second third, and sweet chocolate took over the finish. Notes of espresso were frequently present, as well as a touches of roasted nuts, cinnamon and vanilla. Earth continued to grow, with pepper and wood notes returning around the halfway point. The burn line strayed a bit at times, but the all-important draw remained perfect.
The Final Third
No surprise in the final third, the profile grew more robust, with big earthy chocolate, savory pepper, wood, espresso and spices running the show. Even with the bolder flavors, the lighter sweeter cocoa note carried through nearly to the end. Again here there were minor burn irregularities, but nothing that required torch intervention. The ash remained solid, and the draw never deviated.
The Tatuaje TAA 2014/2017 was an absolute delight to smoke every time I lit it up, and was easily one of my favorite cigars of the past year. It was also an easy one to review, as each stick was pretty consistent in burn characteristics and flavor development. Though local taxes and other markup may push the price up a bit, it’s well worth the cost, even if you wind up paying a little more than MSRP. One of the mistakes I made in 2017 was not buying a box, but I did pick up enough to enjoy both before and after working on this review. As I mentioned earlier, last I checked, this stick was not hard to find out in the wild. If you have the opportunity to pick some up, do it, the TAA 2014/2017 is box-worthy.