If there was one company that caught a lot of eyes this year at the IPCPR it was L’Atelier Imports. This brand new company is a collaboration between Pete Johnson, his brother K.C., Sean Casper Johnson, and Dan Welsh of New Havana Cigars. The company had a big first year with four releases and they are already making big press. The company decided to launch two economical lines, “bundles”, and while they are economical they are more than what others in that category are. What I mean by that is that even though they are bundle cigars, they have more of a “high quality” vibe to them. The two lines are El Suelo and Trocadero, and after smoking the El Suelo line I was thoroughly impressed. The other line released was the Surrogates line, which is unique because it is composed of four cigars that are all different and are meant to be limited edition cigars available on a regular basis. I have reviewed the Crystal Baller, which was sick, and look forward to smoking the other three for reviews. The final and most prestigious line you may say, was the flagship line L’Atelier. The line is almost an American off-shoot of the Cohiba Behike line in my opinion, but with all that Tatuaje vibe to it.
L’Atelier is French for “the workshop,” and is a line that is a first of its kind in a way. Like all cigars made for Pete Johnson of Tatuaje and the rest of the crew for L’Atelier Imports, the cigar is made by Pepin, and this line is made in the My Father Factory. The cigar is composed of Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler and binder, but has a wrapper that is the first of its kind. It is called Sancti Spiritus, and is a hybrid of Criollo and Pelo de Oro. It is grown in Ecuador, and this is the first cigar to feature this wrapper. For this review I decided to grab the middle of the line cigar, the LAT54. The cigar measures 5 5/8″ with a 54 ring gauge, and is finished with a great triple and fan cap. The packaging behind it is so Behike, and even the sizes are the Behike sizes. The cigar features a wrapper that is marbled in coloring, and it has some veins present throughout. I would say it falls between the Natural and Colorado side of things, and is very antique wood like color. The cigar has an intoxicating and unique aroma, and I am picking up those Far East spices, cedar notes, rich earth, bits of ammonia and some tea leaf notes.
|Nice Triple Cap Pigtail|
Lighting up the cigar I am immediately greeted by tons of flavors that are complex and unique. I am getting those tea leaf notes from the get go, and there is also this spice flavor that is really that of spices you would get in India and China. There is a lovely Spanish cedar flavor profile present as well, and with that I am getting a nice amount of rich earth and ammonia notes. It is liking walking into a curing room. There are some fruity and meaty notes present with that cigar also, and it is awesome. The first third is burning wonderfully, perfect burn line, and producing a lovely light gray ash on the cigar that is slightly flaky. I am finding the strength of the cigar to be right over the medium body note, and I am loving this cigar! When I enter the second third of the cigar the flavors are still rocking like they were in the first third, and it is not letting up in anyway. Those tea leaf notes are still so present, and they are pairing wonderfully with those Spanish cedar notes also. I am still getting that sour fruit and meaty notes, and it has a finish that is really earthy and spicy. The ammonia notes have faded in this third, and it is just getting better and better as a cigar. I am still getting that perfect burn line to the cigar, and the ash is very light and flaky. It is showing that lovely light gray color to it, and it is very pretty. The strength level is still at that medium body level, and this is a cigar that I could smoke back to back .In all honesty I could this cigar down now and be happy and sad at the same time, it is that good.
|Sancti Spiritus Wrapper|
I am in the final third and the cigar is finishing wonderfully. The spice level has increased some, and I am getting those Eastern Spices much more than before. I am picking up some soft paprika notes, and they are just present enough to catch your attention. Those rich earth/barnyard notes with meaty notes are very present as well with the exhale, and it has that cedar and tea leaf finish that I have been digging throughout. It really has a long finish to it, and I love how this cigar is smoking. The burn line is still razor sharp, and with that it is producing that great light gray ash that is flaky. I am getting a strength level closer to medium full in this third, and I like the increase in strength on the finish. It smokes cool on the last draw at the nub, and very flavorful as well. What a terrific cigar this has been.
I loved this cigar if you could not already tell, and it is another great release from a successful IPCPR. This is truly a great flagship line to L’Atelier, and I look forward to smoking more and more in the years to come. I love that I have a sampler box tucked away, never to smoke, and I would recommend this cigar to anyone. From beginning to end it was constructed wonderfully and the flavors were impeccable as well. I love that Pete worked on this with his family and friends, and kept this cigar for L’Atelier and not make a Tatuaje smoke out of it. Pete is a good guy and would not do that, but I am sure some manufacturers out there would. If you do not buy a box of these cigar after smoking it I would be surprised. This cigar will be remembered by me for the remainder of the year, and I am already looking at my list that I am generating for the Top 25 and this smoke will most likely be in the Top 5. I give this cigar a 96, it was simply awesome!