Photo via halfwheel.com
The Tobacconists’ Association of America, started in 1968, is an exclusive group of approximately 80 of the most influential and highest volume tobacco retailers in the country. Every year they get together to decide on what exclusive lines they want to release under the TAA name, and La Flor Dominicana usually pops up on that list. In 2018 when the TAA was celebrating its 50th year, LFD was selected to produce the special 50th Anniversary Golden Oro Cigar to commemorate the anniversary. The Oro is a box pressed torpedo, giving it a unique square shape that has become more popular in recent years. What is unique about this cigar, is that it incorporates the Criollo 99 tobacco that LFD grows exclusively for its TAA releases in a darker center swirl that is noticeably a different color that then rest of the outer filler when looking at the foot of the cigar. So when I stopped by a cigar bar after dinner with some friends and saw these cigars in the bar humidor, I thought it was a perfect reason to try one. I used a guillotine cutter and got some wonderful leather and wood flavors on the cold draw. I tried to toast the cigar, but because I wasn’t expecting to drop by a cigar bar that night I didn’t have my torch. I had to use the bar’s spark wheel lighter (what cigar bar doesn’t have torches?!?) and while it caused an uneven burn to start, I eventually got the entire stick burning correctly. The draw was easy but not loose, and it produced a very thick smoke, which is a personal preference I enjoy.
First Third: Once lit, the first few puffs had some strong earth and cedar wood tones that while mild to the palate, meant that there were plenty of secondary road options for this cigar to eventually go down. I also started to get some notes of leather that I initially tasted on the cold draw, as well as some light nut flavors as I got to the end of the first third.
Second Third: On the second third, the leather flavor comes out a bit stronger to the forefront. The cedar and earth are still there, but the nuttiness has mostly gone away. On a few puffs I even get some chocolate notes which bring a light sweetness. As I got to the end of the second third, some hints of black pepper started to creep in as well. For the construction, while I was very impressed at how slow the burn was (this took well over an hour to fully smoke), I was a little disappointed at how weak the ash was. Maybe it’s because I talked with my hands too much and kept bumping my cigar against the ashtray, maybe it’s because the spark wheel lighter never got the initial burn hot enough, or maybe it was overall poor construction, but it was noticeable that it did not take much for the ash to fall off the foot of the cigar.
Final Third: In the final third, the black pepper starts to get a little stronger. It was a pretty even battle between the pepper, cedar and leather for the strongest flavor, but they blended very well together with nothing being too overpowering on the palate. Finding out later that the cigar strength was labeled as “full” made sense as I noticed I had a slight “buzz” from the cigar that can sometimes come with a high nicotine content.
While at the cigar bar, I had to go to my old favorite Lagavulin 16 year Scotch as a pairing for the LFD Oro. While the heavy smoke and peat flavors go well with pretty much any cigar, I didn’t think there was anything added to the experience by pairing the two together. Really this cigar had pretty mild flavors (not in strength but in boldness) so it can really be paired with any drink or even food if you so choose. The earth, leather and cedar are great foundations for any accompanying flavor, whether they be in a dark smoky scotch or whiskey or even just a light refreshing beer or mixed drink.
The price tag on the TAA Exclusives are pretty high and for me nothing on this cigar really stuck out as worth the price tag ($25+ per stick). It was a well rounded cigar with it’s flavors, and lasted me quite a while, but I still have questions about the overall construction. I suppose the high nicotine content could be something someone would look for and pay extra for, but it’s not at the top of my list for qualities in a cigar. That being said, it is still highly regarded and the flavors were a great blend for just about any occasion. I absolutely would not turn one down if offered, and would recommend it to anyone where price isn’t an issue, but it’s probably not something I would purchase for myself again.
Length: 6.5 in
Origin: Dominican Republic
Product: 50th Ann. Oro