Tatuaje TAA 2014
The 2014 limited edition Tatuaje TAA exclusive. This particular run was a 6” x 52 vitola, wrapped with Connecticut Broadleaf. The internal components are all Nicaraguan, and it was produced at My Father. About 56,000 of the cigars were produced, and they retailed at the time for about $11US.
A couple of petitions have been posted. Turnout has thus far been lackluster with fewer than 13k of the required 100,000 signatures posted as of this afternoon on the primary one. For all the bluster, I fear the industry is too splintered and complacent to mount an effective grassroots movement. I see a lot of social media jockeying by consumers, a good bit of energy from the small, “boutique” companies, and even some action from bigger companies (very little, for the most part)…but the low number of signatures on the petition and reports of overwhelming ignorance at the real-world consumer level have caused me some degree of trepidation. I fear the years of it being “someone else’s job” to inform everyone are coming home to roost; if the consumer base is largely unexposed to social media – and social media has been the default mode of communication – it’s no surprise that the average Joe cigar smoker in the shop doesn’t even know about the recent FDA changes. Unless the masses can somehow come down off the Facebook soapbox and spread the word in their local shop, this whole fiasco is destined to solidify in its present state. It takes fewer than 60 seconds to fill out this petition. There are an estimated 3,000,000 cigar smokers in the U.S., and fewer than 13,000 have signed in 10 days. Do that math. If people can’t rally now, when?
Nicholas Melillo’s Foundation Cigars has put out a new line – called The Upsetters. Interestingly, it features some Jamaican tobacco in the filler blend. The line will have eight vitolas, The 5”x 54 Django, 4.5” x 40 Small Ax, the 4.5” x 38 x 54 Skipper, 7” x 48 Rock Steady, and 4” x 32 SKA all feature a claro wrapper. The 6” x 60 Original Rude Boy and 6” x 52 ZOLA use a maduro wrapper, and the 4.5” x 38 x 54 Para El Sapo uses a candela wrapper. The factory has not been disclosed, but it will be manufactured in Estelí. Melillo says he wants to bring Jamaican tobacco back into prominence.
Nicaragua has imposed some restrictions on their foresting operations, due to an ongoing severe drought throughout the country. The current ban precludes the cutting and transport of naturally-occurring wood (at the moment, trees planted specifically for the purpose may be harvested). Those cigar box makers not prepared with long inventory may feel the sting of already increasing material prices, and should the drought persist I imagine some changes in packaging (aside from labeling requirements) will occur…
Never one to pass up an opportunity to tinker, Sam Leccia is launching a new line of cigars that will feature flavored pipe tobacco in the blend. The line, called Bumpy Roots, will come in three varieties – Cherry Stout, Dee’s Nut Ale, and Pap’s Blend. All three will have aromatic pipe tobacco included in the interior, and judging by the pictures showing up online, will be strongly influenced by the same. I really liked the addition of the Fire Cured leaf in his Black, but this is probably over the top for my tastes. Even when I smoke a pipe, I don’t smoke heavily flavored aromatics…and *never* a cherry blend…
What Else We’ve Been Smoking
98 Montecristo Especial – A friend asked if I could help out with a special cigar from the birth year of his newly graduated cousin and I was happy to oblige. I cracked the first of my boxes and was met with some white, pillowy mold. Not much but enough to remove the culprit sticks and put them to the top of my “Smoke Now” stash. They’re smoking like cigars in transition; not without flavor, rather swaying between the two profiles these cigars tend to embody. The light was tart & fruity and the first third progressed towards savory cocoa & creamy coffee. Excellent sticks that are always some of my favorites. These are not the best I’ve had but are perfectly constructed, very flavorful and really only suffered from the mold visually. My second box was clean and I passed along 2 sticks for them to enjoy.
PrimerAño from Chogui…I still like the Dos77 better. Much, much better.
Not much…fought off a headcold this past week.