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Cigar Review: Villiger TAA Exclusive Toro

22 Jul 2020

In early March, we learned Villiger Cigars had, for the first time in the company’s history, created an exclusive cigar for members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA). As you may recall, TAA is made up of approximately 80 retailers and 40 manufacturers, and it aims to “maximize professionalism and success” through training and sharing best practices.

You can locate a TAA shop near you here. When you arrive, ask about their selection of TAA Exclusive smokes. In addition to Villiger, the lineup in 2020 includes brands like A.J. Fernandez, Crowned Heads, E.P. Carrillo, J.C. Newman, La Flor Dominicana, La Palina, My Father, Tatuaje, and more.

Participating in the TAA Exclusive initiative is only the latest in a series of moves by Villiger in to step up its premium cigar game. For quite some time, the Switzerland-based company had been known almost exclusively as a purveyor of machine-made cigars. In recent years, though, Villiger has introduced several premium handmade cigar lines out of its North American headquarters in Miami, including La Flor de Ynclan, 1888, San’Doro, La Vencedora, and La Meridiana.

For this limited 2020 TAA release, Villiger joined forces with cigar icon Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and his Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. factory in the Dominican Republic. The blend calls for an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Only 500 boxes of 20 cigars were made (total production of 10,000) in a single, box-pressed Toro (6 x 54) format. The MSRP is $9.

The Villiger TAA Exclusive Toro officially shipped about a week ago. I sampled two for this review, both provided by Villiger. This cigar has a slightly mottled, milk chocolate-colored wrapper with a reddish hue. The single ring (it looks like a double-banded cigar, but it’s all one ring) of maroon, gold, and white clearly sets it apart from the rest of the Villiger portfolio. The pre-light aroma at the foot is sweet and earthy, and the cap clips cleanly to reveal a moderate cold draw with a bit of meatiness on the palate.

These days, so many cigars start with a “blast of pepper.” This one does not. It introduces itself with a classic-tasting, medium-bodied profile with flavors of leather and a warm tobacco sweetness. The texture is bready. Background notes help make the overall impression a harmonious, well-rounded one. They include green raisin, oak, and a bit of cayenne.

I had anticipated some changes along the way, but the Toro rides out the introductory profile from start to finish. As it does, the physical properties leave little to be desired. The sturdy, gray ash holds well off the foot, the burn is straight, the smoke production is generous, and the draw is clear.

I don’t like to deduct points from a cigar whose only real fault is an unchanging—albeit tasty—flavor. That said, I wish I had the ability to try this in a smaller corona format; this thick toro doesn’t necessarily overstay its welcome, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say my interest starts to wane in the final third.

I am still strongly recommending this cigar in the only format we have. The harmonious, classic flavor coupled with outstanding construction is more than enough to justify the $9 cost. Hiring Ernesto Perez-Carrillo to make you a cigar is never a bad idea, and this one scores four stogies out of five in my book.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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