Before we begin with this cigar review, I think we need to begin by giving the translation of the brand, sub-brand, line, etc. We have French and Spanish all over the place here, so let us understand what these words mean before we begin talking about them. (Pete Johnson clarified with me the meanings.
L’Atelier is French for “the workshop”
El Suelo is Spanish for “the soil”
Terreno is Spanish and “refers to land or a farm size”
(Pete clarified that the names are referring to Cuban terms for farm sizes)
This year we saw a couple line extensions from Pete Johnson with Tatuaje, and a the new Halloween Smoke, but we also saw a new brand involving Pete Johnson taking the name of L’Atelier. L’Atelier is a brand that evolved between the collabaration of Pete Johnson, his brother Sean “Casper” Johnson, Dan Welsh of New Havana Cigars and also K.C. Johnson, Pete’s other brother. They made their first public appearance at this years IPCPR, and at the show they announced the release of four lines. One of the line is the flagship bran, and takes the name L’Atelier. That line has me foaming at the mouth, and I can not wait to smoke it. The other line is the Surrogate line which was originally launched for New Havana Cigars. The line is now going national, and is expanded to four vitolas. The other two lines are El Suelo and Trocadéro. These two lines are wallet friendly smokes, and are “bundle” cigars. Pete has proclaimed that though they are bundled cigars, they are of the highest quality and caliber. I am going to take him for his word, and that is why today I will be reviewing El Suelo.
As I said earlier, El Suelo is Spanish for “the soil,” and that seems appropriate for a cigar line name given that the tobacco used in the cigars originates from the tobacco seed planted in the soil. Both wine and cigars gets their great qualities from the soil in which they are grown. Yes water and sun are involved, but you gotta have good soil. The cigar is made in Esteli, Nicaragua, and I have read that it is made not at My Father, but at the Garcia’s old Esteli factory Tabacalera Cubana (TACUBA). These cigars are composed entirely by the bunchers in the factory, and are extremely well made. The blend for this cigar begins with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, the leaf is from higher primings, and the filler and binder are a mixture of Nicaraguan and Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco. All tobacco in this cigar is long filler as well, there is no short filler present here.
For this review I was given the smallest size in the line, still huge though, and it measures 5.25″ with a 56 ring gauge. The size is called Terreno, and is along the lines of a super robusto you could say. All vitolas in El Suelo and Trocadéro are sold in a large ring gauge format, and they are meant to be seen as a bang for your buck cigar. The cigar is firm in hand, and is finished with a lovely cap. The wrapper is silky to touch and has some veins present throughout. The cigar has a lovely coloring to it, and it really falls into that solid Colorado, dark brown, coloring. The cigar has a great aroma to it, and I am getting bits of leather, cocoa, rich earth, spices and oak. There is a great cold draw to the cigar, and on the draw I pick up some great flavors.
Starting the cigar, it has a nice soft opening to it, and it is very enjoyable. There are some lovely flavors present with the cigar, and with that a great amount of smoke. I am getting a perfect burn line to the cigar, and with that it is leaving a nice solid gray ash that is very firm on the end of the cigar. For a bundle cigar it is smoking wonderfully. In terms of flavors there is a lovely balanced flavor profile, and it is showing some earthy notes with some nutty characteristics, and also some soft spices and leather. I am finding the strength level to be at a solid medium level, nothing major, just middle of the road. In the second and final third of the cigar the flavors tended to be very consistent with the first third, and it did not deviate from the intended path. I know I typically break the cigar down by thirds, but in this case I will be splitting it into a third and then two thirds. The initial flavor profile to the cigar is really that of sweet earth, and there are some very soft cocoa notes present with that. Those flavors of nuts, soft spices and leather were still very present, and they were really finishing touches to that sweet earthy flavor profile. I got a perfect burn through the second and final third which was similar to the first third, and with that a lovely solid gray ash. Through the last two thirds the cigar remained at that solid medium body level, and the finish was cool and flavorful.
Let us look at what this cigar is. This cigar is meant to be an incredibly affordable bundled cigar by “Tatuaje.” With that being said, how is this cigar? It’s fucking awesome man! This cigar has tons of great flavors, wonderful strength level, and with that amazing construction. With a price range of roughly $4 a stick you can not go wrong with this cigar. I have found the perfect cigar to work in the yard with, fly fish and all other active activities. Hell, this is a cigar I would run a 5k with. I have had some bundled cigars in the past, and they are entertaining, but in no ways as entertaining as this cigar. I am interested in seeing the counterpart to this cigar, but I can tell you that this cigar is going to move. I don’t care what store you run, if you don’t bring these in your are crazy. This is a “Tatuaje” that is even more affordable then they already are. I believe Pete Johnson makes incredible cigars at incredible prices, and this cigar definitely delivers in those areas. I give it an 87 as a cigar, and for a bundled cigar that is rocking!
|El Suelo Terreno|