September 26, 2012

Cigar Review: L'Atelier Surrogates Tramp Stamp

Tramp Stamp
I try not to review cigars from the same company back to back, but when you have a brand new company release tons of great new product, and they catch your attention with the smokes what can you do? I have been smoking up the new smokes by L'Atelier lately, and I am finally able to light up one of the cigars that has caught my attention since I read about it. Maybe the reason it caught my attention was because the title of the cigar was Tramp Stamp, maybe it was because I am a fan of the Surrogates line, or maybe it was because the blend is somewhat based off of Pete Johnson's personal blend  of the Tatuaje Black Label. I think everyone knows what a tramp stamp is, and if you do not you can Google it. I am not going to put up a photo or explain it, because if you don't know what it is you have been living in a cave for far to long. Anyways let us begin with another review of a cigar of the new L'Atelier Imports, and talk about one of the two new additions to the Surrogates line, the Tramp Stamp.    

Covered in a dark wrapper from Ecuador, the wrapper is Habano seed Oscuro. It is adorned with a great triple cap, and there is even a closed shaggy foot to the cigar as well. Underneath that is Nicaraguan fillers and binders, and Dan Welsh has told me that it is a combination of tobacco from Jalapa and Esteli. Esteli is known for its strength of the tobacco, while Jalapa is known for producing sweet tobacco. The Tramp Stamp comes in one size, and it is a 5 1/4" by 48 Corona Gorda. The wrapper is oily to touch, and with that there are some veins present. The cigar has a nice aroma of black pepper, cedar, leather and even some unique spices that are all over the place. There are some potential floral and herbal notes in that, at least that is what I am getting.   
Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
 Lighting up the cigar I get some Pepin pepper blast right away, and it is really that of black pepper. It eventually fades down some, and it is accompanied by lots of unique spices that are really almost incense like. I am getting some leather notes in the background which are checking that sweet spice flavor profile, and there is even some soft floral/herbal flavors there as well. It is a great start to the cigar, and it was really not what I was expecting at all. I will say that I knew it would be a solid/good cigar, because you can't release a bad cigar with the name Tramp Stamp, you just can't do that. There is a great burn with the cigar, and it is producing a firm ash that is showing a solid gray color to it. I would say the strength level is at a medium body level, and I could smoke these anytime of day.
First
When I get into the second third of the cigar there is a nice flavor profile addition, and it is really balancing out those sweet and spicy notes. I am getting some oak notes in this third but they are fairly soft and there has been a nice espresso/coffee bean addition to the cigar. There are still some pepper notes present, but like most Pepin smokes, it has faded in this third. Those sweet floral flavors are still there, but they have really taken a back seat in this third which is showing some great transition. The strength level of the cigar is still remaining at that medium body level, and it might be a little bit fuller than that to some. The cigar is smoking cool, while producing lots of smoke, and the burn is still very nice in this third. The ash is keeping that solid gray color in this third, and I am looking forward to the final third.
Second
I am in the final third now, and the cigar has shown a transition in flavors again. Beginning by showing some sweet spice and floral/herbal notes, I am beginning to get a cigar that is showing more leather, wood and coffee flavors. There is a bit of sweetness to it, and it is almost like dark cocoa powder. It is very soft, but present with the cigar. I am getting a little bit of floral and sweet spice notes on the finish of the cigar, but it is mostly showing those leather, wood and coffee notes. There was a surge in black pepper notes on the finish, and I would say the strength of the cigar on the finish was that of medium full. Like the rest of the cigar, the burn line remained solid and so did that lovely gray ash. I smoked the cigar down past the photo below and even on the finish it was cool to the draw and showing some lovely coffee notes.   
Final
I dig the Surrogates line, and part of the reason is that it is more of a brand with single vitola lines in it than a line really. I have had three of the four smokes now, and I can say that the two new releases are great additions. I was talking about the Tramp Stamp and other things with Dan Welsh last night and he was curious to see which one I prefer, "Tramp Stamp or Crystal Baller?" Directly afterwards he phrased it in the matter which is awesome, and a phrase I believe is more appropriate, "are you a baller or a tramp?" Right now I can say I am a Baller, but I am going to have to smoke more of each to be 100% positive. Both are very flavorful and constructed wonderfully, but the flavor profile of the Crystal Baller screams out to me a little bit more. I will say that the Tramp Stamp was offered in a great size, and that besides being constructed wonderfully, was packed to the rim with flavors. I myself am interested to see which line is more popular, and with that I give the Tramp Stamp a 92. Pick up some samplers of these sticks at New Havana Cigars, and then see where you lie. 

If you have smoked the two new smokes, are you a Baller or a Tramp? 
Surrogates Tramp Stamp