Cigar Review: Jaime Garcia Reserve 2017 TAA Exclusive

  • JaimeTAA_straightVitola: Torpedo (box-pressed)
  • 6.125” x 52 ring gauge 
  • $9.99
  • Purchased from Burns Tobacconist

Background

This is one of those times I started looking up a history a cigar and was surprised to find how long it’s been in production. The Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial hit stores in 2010 and despite having a pedigree that is a sure winner—made in the My Father factory, blended by Jaime Garcia personally, and uses Nicaraguan fillers and a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper—I never was a huge fan. But when the My Father TAA release for 2017 ended up being a redux of their 2011 one—a box-pressed Torpedo size of this blend—I decided to take another look at it.

The Tobacconist Association of America is a group of about 70 to 80 shops nationwide that comes together once a year for a business meeting, to trade ideas on how to best run shops, have a mini-trade show, and relax in a foreign country. This year, they met in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I was curious to see what effect the new FDA rules would have on TAA releases for this year. While there are a couple that seem “new,” I am not surprised to see several TAA cigars that are repeats of previous years’ releases…including this one.

I have smoked several of the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial cigar in the past, but this is my first one of this vitola. I bought it at Burns Tobacconist.

JaimeTAA_anglePrelight

The packaging for this TAA version of the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial is essentially the same as the regular releases…a rather plain wooden box with a hinged lid…it holds 16 sticks, all wrapped in cellophane. The cigars themselves use the regular Jaime Garcia band and the same blue ribbon on the foot that the rest of the line uses, although this time around, the band has a gold “TAA” printed on it…so you can tell this release apart from the 2011 one at a glance.

The wrapper leaf was the familiar Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro used on a host of My Father-wrapped cigars…dark chocolate brown in color with a rough-n-ready appearance, some mottling, and a smooth oiliness to the touch. The box-pressing was very soft, with widely rounded corners and I could see no visible flaws to the wrapping job as a whole.

I gave the wrapper a sniff and got a strong earthiness with touches of chocolate and raisin; the foot was a more dominant earth note with just a whiff of cedar. I cut about 1/4″ off the tip of the Torpedo and took a test draw. It seemed to be open-enough and tasted of earth, cedar and dry cocoa powder.

JaimeTAA_footFlavor

Fired up, the cigar had strong espresso bean and cedar flavors right up front, with a slight cocoa note finish and enough sweetness in the mix to round it off nicely. The retrohale had more espresso, some roasted nuttiness and a very strong red pepper burn.

As I got into the second third, there was some sourness mixed with the sweetness, more espresso and more cedar. The pepper notes had backed off a bit. At the beginning of the second third and again at the end, I got an emergence of the bitter tobacco juice on the head of the cigar, which necessitated me recutting it.

After the recutting, the final third smoked like it should have, with plenty of coffee bean and earth in the forefront and cedar and cocoa powder following behind.

Construction

The draw was pretty good, though I did have to recut twice to deal with bitter juice buildup on the head. The burn line was even enough for a Maduro and the ash was solid the whole way.

JaimeTAA_headValue

The price point of these is right in line with the rest of the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial line, so if you’re already a fan, it is a good price.

Conclusions

I found that I did enjoy this cigar except when it started seeping juice out of the head. That didn’t kill the experience, but it did impair it greatly. While the overall profile of this cigar does match my preferences to a great degree, I would choose it in a non-torpedo shape, simply because I think the shape did a lot to cause the pulling out of the juice. The low rating for this stick is because of that more than anything else.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 1.5/2
Flavor: 3.5/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 7.5/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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