Team Cigar Review: Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020

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Cigar Details: Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020

  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • Length: 6″
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua and Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza
  • Blender: Ernesto Perez Carrillo
  • Price: $9.00
  • Release Date: July 2020
  • Source: Developing Palates

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The square pressed Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020 has a marbled medium brown wrapper with some lightly raised veins present. The seams are easily visible as they are slightly raised in some areas and the head is finished off with a well applied triple cap. The band is the traditional current design for the company but uses a burgundy, white and gold color combination. The upper portion of the band denotes the company and the lower portion denotes that it’s for the TAA and the year. The aroma from the wrapper is a mix of wood and sweet hay while the foot brings a nice mixture of aged cedar and mustiness. The pre-light draw is a more intertwined combination of cedar and mustiness along with a mild spiciness on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

With a soft press, the Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020 is finished with a wrapper that is Colorado in coloring. The cigar sports veins that are small in size and it is firm to touch. The triple cap is applied well and the texture is smooth overall. The foot delivers an aroma of rich spices, sweet earth and dark cherries, and the wrapper has similar notes.

Pre-light Experience

The Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020 has a combined style band with a white strip giving the illusion of two bands. The upper part of the band indicates Villiger with the bottom indicating Exclusive TAA 2020. One of the notable things about the cigar is the fairly square box press. Aromas from the cigar included sweet molasses, graham cracker, aged wood and bread. From the foot, some sweet raisin.

Pre-light Experience

The Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020 has an in between Colorado Claro and Maduro wrapper shade. The wrapper quality looks good, giving off an oily sheen. Veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and head finished off with a multi-layered wrap. Aromas from the wrapper tell strong wet barnyard and black pepper. Aromas from the foot tell rich roasted nuttiness and bold black pepper spice. Cold draw reveals faint dried persimmons and aged cedar.

First Third

The cigar begins with a mix of cedar and mustiness. At a half inch in, a light baking spice joins the profile. The retrohale is a full musty cedar. The third maintains the musty cedar and light baking spice through to the end. The strength in this third was slightly below medium.

First Third

The first third begins by delivering sharp spice notes and it is paired by soft stone fruit notes. I am picking up some coffee, leather and earth, and the finish is that of red pepper. I would classify the cigar as being medium in body, and strength is just above.

First Third

My initial impressions are light plus leather, wood and lingering wood into the post draw. Earth, leather and wood combine on the retrohale. As the cigar progresses, a lingering baking spices sits on my lips through the post draw at roughly medium strength. As the first third settles in, a pleasant mild powdered cocoa enhances the retrohale. Some post draw pepper begins to settle on the palate, with post draw leather matching in intensity by the 15 minute mark.

First Third

The first third is a bit soft in flavors and to a certain extent, bland. I’m getting mainly cedar with a minute amount of cherries. Retrohaling incorporates some spicy baking spices along with the cedar. The finish is all about the cedar note. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

The second third continues on with the musty cedar and light baking spice. At a quarter inch in, a light char joins the cedar. At a half inch in, the char has picked up a bit. The retrohale is now a mix of a general wood note and mustiness. At an inch in, the cedar has transitioned to a general wood note and still carries some char while the baking spice is now very faint. At an inch and a quarter, the baking spice has left the profile. The third wraps up with charred wood and mustiness. The strength in this third bumped up to medium.

Second Third

The second third shows a continuation of the flavors in the first third and I am picking up a profile of red pepper, sweet spices, black cherry stone fruit and earth. It has a profile that is fairly similar to that of the first third and the cigar is smoking just above medium in strength and body.

Second Third

Chocolate and leather lead the retrohale into the second third. The center of the profile is largely wood with some baking spices to accent. Mild earth makes up the post draw. As the second third settles in, post draw leather mixes with the earth. Minutes later, a mild sour citrus joins the middle of the profile. Nearing the halfway point, cedar is driving the retrohale. As the cigar is nearing the transition point over to the last third, post draw earth is taking on a toasted quality.

Second Third

The second third continues to be a one note wonder. The cedar prevails through every facet. Nothing technically wrong or off putting, just a bit mundane. Strength and body remains medium.

Final Third

The final third continues on with the charred wood and mustiness but sees a light, dry earth join in. At a half inch in, the char is now fairly heavy. The retrohale remains musty wood. The third wraps up with the heavily charred wood, mustiness and dry earth. The strength in this third bumped up to slightly above medium.

Final Third

Similar to the second third, the final third delivers a profile that is showing dark cherry notes, sharp spices, coffee beans and earth. It is just over medium in strength and body, and it has a long finish.

Final Third

Tannic cedar leads the retrohale with some of it lingering into the post draw. Toasted earth makes up the post draw, also lingering between draws. Approaching the middle of the last third, some mild baking spices move into the center.

Final Third

The last third builds a little more complexity in that it gives some dried nuts, but overall, the profile is still fairly bland with a lasting cedar. Strength and body finishes medium.

Burn

The burn was a bit wavy throughout and the cigar went out twice in the second half, requiring re-lights. The ash held on in inch and a half increments.

Burn

Burn was solid from beginning to end. Not perfect, or even great, but solid.

Burn

The burn was fairly straight through the entire review experience. Ash held on consistently in 1-1/2 inch increments.

Burn

Burn performance was spot on. Even burn, tight ashes, cool burning temperature and ample smoke production.

Draw

The draw was slightly tighter than I prefer, but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.

Overall

The cigar began with a mix of cedar and mustiness. Some baking spice joined in fairly quickly. The second third saw some char join in and the baking spice depart. The final third saw the char become heavy and some dry earth join in. Construction was just OK as two re-lights were required and strength built from just below medium to just above. The Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020 had a nice start and then gradually dropped down in enjoyment as the char built up. This cigar wasn’t in the top tier of what Villiger can do and even though the price point is fairly attractive, it isn’t likely something I see myself returning to.

Draw

Nice level of resistance on the draw and a great bit of concentrated smoke produced.

Overall

I was extremely disappointed with the Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020. Featuring an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and made at Tabacalera La Alianza, I was hoping for a balanced cigar that was flavor focused and showing great Ecuadorian Sumatra notes. I typically find that Ecuadorian Sumatra offerings can be dark and spicy or lighter with soft spices and plenty of stone fruit notes, but this was the darker offering and I typically don’t like that experience. I thought it had complexity and depth, and the sharp spice notes were not overly pleasant. Really a disappointment for Villiger and TAA. With the success they had with Black Forest, I would have preferred they wok with Tabacalera Palma. I think Palma is showing more consistency than La Alianza.

Draw

The draw has some resistance to it, roughly 2-1/2 to 3 notches.

Overall

The Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020 had some promising flavors in the first third, but ultimately did not provide the level of complexity and nuance that we’ve had from past Villiger releases. Great construction with a resistant draw, I was left with an overall average experience. Total smoking time was 2 hours and 2 minutes.

Draw

The draw was also flawless, giving the ideal air flow.

Overall

One word comes to mind when referencing the Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020: mediocrity. While there wasn’t anything off-putting about the cigar, it was quite a one note wonder and bland. It was basically just copious notes of cedar throughout the vast majority of the tasting experience. This experience further makes me believe TAA releases for this year re just not worth the money.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Good
GoodFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Average
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
Average
SubparFinal
Third
AverageFinal
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AverageFinal
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Average
AverageBurnGoodBurnAmazingBurnAmazing
Very GoodDrawVery GoodDrawGoodDrawAmazing
AverageOverallAverageOverallAverageOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.30

Cost/Point

$1.70

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.40

Cost/Point

$1.67

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.80

Cost/Point

$1.55

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

5.75

Cost/Point

$1.57

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020
John McTavishTeam Cigar Review: Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020

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