Tatuaje TAA 2012 | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.25 x 50 “Toro”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $11.00




Today we take a look at a vintage Tatuaje TAA 2012. The only way you will ever get your hands on one is if you know someone. I am reviewing it so I can have it in my catalog of reviews. And because Brian Gulley gifted it to me.

It was released in the fall of 2012. 50,000 cigars were released to the public.

It has a striking box press with a closed foot. And was produced by Pepin Garcia at My Father Cigars S.A. under the aegis of Pete Johnson.
Some of the TAA cigars have been pretty good and others not so much.

I haven’t smoked this one and since it has 2-1/2 years on it, it should be very interesting how much of the original flavors and zest is left.

Construction is pretty sturdy. Tight seams. Lots of small veins. A semi-oily dark coffee bean colored wrapper. Toothy here and there. Packed solid. A perfect triple cap.

I clip the cap and find aromas of chocolate, cinnamon, spice, barnyard, strong lemon citrus, and leather.
Time to light up.

I hate burning up a beautiful thing like a well done closed foot. It seems like destroying art. Just as I hit the lighter ignition, the spice has a delayed reaction and I sneeze three times in quick succession.

Lighting a closed foot is always a mess. And needs a touch up a minute or two later.

Umm…Starts off nicely with some black pepper, chocolate, cream, and sweetness. Very, very earthy tobacco with that mineral element. The sweetness has a twist to it but won’t make itself clear to me quite yet. A cruller. Those French doughnuts that are very light and almost creamy with that dab of white frosting. I used to go nuts for those as a kid. While the other kids went for the chocolate ones with sprinkles, I was the culinary snob that wanted a French cruller. LOL.

And why haven’t they figured out how to make a sugar free doughnut yet? Everything else, they can make sugar free. A doughnut? No. So these lips have not touched a doughnut since 1982. Really. The smell of a doughnut shop is so intoxicating that I have to cross the street if I pass one. On my death bed, I want a baker’s dozen of doughnuts put into my saline drip.

The Tatuaje TAA 2012 switches on the heavy earthiness. It nearly blots out the other flavors. But not the strength which blasts out of the gate at medium/full.

Some dark espresso appears. Makes a good combo for the cream and cocoa.

The draw is the tiniest bit tight. But it still blows giant plumes of smoke into the room. The ash isn’t very sturdy as it falls off in the ashtray at the half inch mark.

I get some citrus. But instead of the aroma of lemons, it is an orange-ish citrus. Sweeter. Less tart.

The sun is out even though it is something like 20 below zero outside. The sun really amplifies my photos of the wrapper. In some places, it is oily and others it has a matte finish. The bits of toothiness are present.

“Roxanne” is playing. What cracked me up in The Police videos when they were new was that it always showed Copeland singing back up. In Curved Air, he wasn’t allowed within 10 feet of a mic. Clearly, Sting is doubling his own vocals and some idiot thought it would look better in the video if Copeland and Summers voiced the backups. Funny.

This is a monumentally slow smoke. I’ve smoked 1-1/4” and it’s taken me a good 20 minutes.

The sweetness changes gears and becomes our friend: Caramel. The French cruller has disappeared. A very woody component has entered stage right.
A nice bunch of floral notes appear. Mostly honeysuckle.

As the sun really hits the Tatuaje TAA 2012, the whole cigar glimmers with oiliness now. And all that tooth is easily visible.
Photographic lights are great but there is nothing like true sunlight to accentuate the details of a cigar.

The foot needs a major tune up.

The complexity has hit a serious depth of character now. All those years aging has made this a spectacular blend. The balance could not be more perfect.

If this cigar were released today in the backlash of the 2014 IPCPR trade show frenzy, it would be at least $15. It amazes me how some cigars, and few at that, age beautifully with time and most of the rest just become drab. Garcia is the Master.

The second third is upon me after 40 minutes.

Here they are: Earthiness, chocolate, creaminess, caramel, sweetness, espresso, orange citrus, floral notes, leather, wood, and a toasty nutty flavor.
The strength remains at medium/full.

Halfwheel says he tastes maple. I don’t. May have disappeared in the aging process.

There is something else afoot. I take a sip of my Diet Coke and an elusive flavor bangs on my palate but can’t identify it yet.

The Tatuaje TAA 2012 is a wonderful cigar and I wish I would have had the dough to buy a box. But I never would have been able to allow them all this aging. I’d have to be serious bucks up to be able to hold on to cigars like this.

Good news. I snagged my bass. I went to Reverb.com which acts as a middleman for music stores all over the country. It’s not Ebay-like. But it does have a “Make me an Offer” element. The bass was $20 less than everyone else. And then I offered $25 less than that and got it. Now all I have to do is pay for it.

I reach the halfway point.

The Tatuaje TAA 2012 is simply outstanding.

The complexity is super thick. And as a result, this is not a flavor bomb. Subtle and nuanced better describes the flavor profile. I really like how the black pepper is so stable and ever present throughout the smoke. Gives the character of the cigar some real oomph.

The sun is my friend this morning. I’m getting some beautiful shots.
But shortly, it will rise further and I will lost its glory.

I’ve now invested a full hour into this stick. And 3” to go.

Normally, I piss and moan about how bored I get with a 2 hour cigar. Not in this case. The Tatuaje TAA 2012 is so interesting that it keeps my attention.

It will ruin me for the rest of the day’s smokes.

I have a single criticism. The char line. It needs a lot of attention to keep it in line. A lot of preemptive strikes on my part with my lighter. And it has gone out a couple of times.

I posted this on my FB page as a public service announcement. I have a shit load of digital hygrometers so I can insert 3 in each humidor. But the batteries are going out on all of them. Have you seen how expensive these watch batteries are? I found an incredible deal on Amazon. A 20 count pack of Maxell batteries for $3.73 + free shipping. I have no idea where they came from but it only took 10 days to get to me. So must have come from Hong Kong. If you are tired of spending $3 a battery, check this out. Of course, salt testing them was a real pain in the ass.

The last third begins.

I’m now into over an hour and a half of smoke time. Certainly, you get your money’s worth.

The strength moves to full bodied.

Pete Johnson and Pepin Garcia have really created a masterpiece that did well with extended humidor time. They are a helluva team.

The last third sees an explosion of flavor. The Tatuaje TAA 2012 is simply stunning.

In my book, quite near a perfect cigar for my palate.

I’m quickly running out of cigars that Brian Gulley sent me and that means that in about a week, it is hiatus time. I spent my cigar budget on my new bass so that means no cigars for March.


If you can find a Tatuaje TAA 2012, buy as many as you can. Then treasure and cherish them. I’d pay $15 for this cigar.

Thanks again to Brian for gifting this cigar to me. Without his kindness, I would have missed out on one of the great ones.

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