There are 13 special cigars heading to a select group of stores across the United States. They were unveiled today at the 47th annual Tobacconists' Association of America (TAA) meeting in La Romana, Dominican Republic, and the retailers attending will have a chance to purchase them tomorrow here at a trade show. They will begin appearing in cigar shops over the next several weeks and months, at suggested retail prices ranging from $6 to $18 per cigar.
It's an expansive list. TAA, which began in 1968, has been doing exclusive cigars for more than 45 years. The show officials say this baker's dozen is the most ever offered as TAA exclusives, cigars made available only to the retailers who belong to the TAA. A once sleepy organization, it has grown in size and stature, and today it counts 264 cigar shops as its members, and 33 cigarmakers and cigar accessory companies as associate members.
The list includes cigars from big and boutique brands alike. Most are special sizes in a line, such as the La Antiguedad Toro TAA Exclusive from My Father Cigars. Unlike the regular Toro in the line, this one measures 6 inches long by 50 ring gauge, and has a lighter wrapper. "The main change was the wrapper," said Jose Ortega, vice president of sales for My Father Cigars. "We're using a rosado leaf. It's much lighter. It makes all the difference."
The Casa Magna D. Magnus II Hadrian, a new size in the Casa Magna D. Magnus II line, is an all-Nicaraguan cigar measuring 5 1/2 inches by 60 ring gauge that is pressed on the ends, but not in the middle. That, plus the pigtail cap, gives it a distinctive shape. It's rolled in Nicaragua by the Plasencias. Look for it in April.
The La Flor Dominicana TAA exclusive for 2015 is quite unusual, and at this writing the final size and price have yet to be determined. Cigarmaker Litto Gomez is allowing the participants at the show to vote on the size, which will determine the final look and price. The smoke, made with a combination of Ecuadoran, Mexican and Dominican tobaccos, will retail for $8 to $10 per cigar.
One of the most popular sizes from Padrón Cigars is the Exclusivo from the company's 1964 Anniversary Series blend. This year, Padrón has created a version of that size in the company's fuller bodied Serie 1926 blend, called No. 47. Measuring 5 1/2 inches by 50 ring gauge in the familiar Padrón box-press, the Nicaraguan cigar (which will come in natural and maduro wrappers) will retail for $18. Expect it in June.
Crowned Heads of Nashville, Tennessee, is offering a new version of The Angel's Anvil, a cigar with a catchy name that's modeled after the initials of the organization. The company has changed the blend, the band and the size, as the 2015 version is entirely Nicaraguan on the inside with an Ecuador Habano wrapper. The 6 inch by 52 ring gauge smoke, made in the Dominican Republic by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo's Tabacalera La Alianza S.A., retails for $10.50.
Pete Johnson embraces the TAA exclusive program to such a level that his special cigar for the group incorporates its logo of a native American wearing a headdress. His cigar is called Tatuaje TAA 2015, and it's a 5 5/8 inches by 54 cigar that's dark and box-pressed. The cigar, made by My Father Cigars in Nicaragua, is entirely Nicaraguan save for a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper. It will be one of the later appearances, coming in August or September.
One of the first TAA exclusive cigars was the Por Larrañaga. Altadis is continuing that tradition with this year's Por Larrañaga TAA En Cedro, a 6 inch by 54 ring gauge cigar made entirely of Nicaraguan tobaccos. As the name suggests, the smoke comes cloaked in a sleeve of cedar. Production of this cigar is limited to 1,000 boxes, and there are 16 cigars per box. It's rolled in Honduras at La Flor de Copan.
Two of the offerings are unusual, because they are entire lines of cigars, rather than just one size. The Nat Sherman Panamericana—made in Nicaragua by Plasencia Cigars—debuted last fall as a cigar only available at the company's 42nd Street Townhouse in New York City. There are four sizes, packed in boxes of 10, and the cigars are made with Ecuador Sumatra wrapper.
The Asylum Nyctophilia is a line of three fat cigars (5 by 50, 6 by 60 and 7 by 70) made with Honduran wrappers and blended to be full in body. Expected in April, the line retails from $6 to $8 per cigar.
Four of the TAA cigars are continuations of releases offered before: the Acid Big Bang by Drew Estate, Ashton VSG Robusto Especial, Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Toro and Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary Robusto Grande are previous releases that will be sold once again this year at TAA shops.