There’s been quite a bit of buzz going around about the L’Atelier line since its release. A lot of the buzz has been very good but some has been not-so-good, not from a flavor or taste standpoint, but lots of people feel that the sizes and even branding were stolen from the Cohiba Behike line. There are a lot of people involved with the L’Atelier line. The actual company is called ‘L’Atelier Imports’ and is made up of Pete Johnson of Tatuaje, Dan Welsh of New Havana Cigars, Sean Johnson and K.C. Johnson (who is Pete’s brother). To throw a few others into the mix, the L’Atelier line is rolled at the My Father Cigars factory in Nicaragua. L’Atelier is French for ‘The Workshop’ or ‘The Studio.’ The ‘Pelo de Oro’ tobacco used in the wrapper is Spanish for ‘Golden Hair.’ The makeup of the Ecuadorian Criollo and the Pelo de Oro has been penned ‘Sancti Spiritus’ and from all accounts, this unique blend of wrapper is the first to be used on a cigar.
I’ve seen the L’Atelier line in the review section of Cigar Aficionado magazine several times and I don’t think that any ratings were below 90. I was really excited to try this cigar; the wrapper hybrid is unique and certainly with all the buzz and discussion, I was eager to get my mouth on this thing and try it out (that’s what she said).
As I mentioned, many people have criticized Pete Johnson for stealing ideas from the Behike line. To his credit, he’s responded to many of the comments on blogs and websites saying that he is only paying homage to the sizes of the Behike. He’s also stated that he believes in tradition and loves the old packaging. That being said, if you look at the band of this cigar, it does look a bit like a Cohiba Behike, but I only thought that after I read the comments comparing the two.
This L’atelier Lat52 had beautiful construction. There was a dark, milk chocolate brown colored wrapper with no veins and no soft spots. It was near-perfect. Looking down the barrel at the foot, this cigar looked very tightly packed. On its opposite end, there was a very well constructed pigtail and it looked like a double cap.
The band was black and white with a shiny gold leaf in the center, outlined by a square gold box. At the bottom of the band in black letters, ‘L’Atelier’ was displayed and then on either side of the gold leaf box, smaller, silver leaves stretched horizontally.
I don’t think I’ve used my Palio cutter yet for a review so I decided now was the time. Maybe a bit of myself paying homage to the old Cuban ways, I decided to use wooden matches to light this guy up.
I got a strong leather and musty smell on the wrapper and from the foot of this L’atelier Lat52, I picked up that same leather and just a hint of spice. After clipping that pigtail, the cold draw produced a very smooth, medium draw and immediately experienced a quite balanced earthy and leathery flavor but no spice.
After striking a match, this L’atelier Lat52 took the flame quite nicely; very balanced and even right off the bat (right off the LAT?).
The burn was very even throughout the first third but into the second and through the final third, it became a little uneven. The ash on this cigar hung on for 2 inches and was a charcoal-gray and flakey. The thing that surprised me the most about this cigar came at the halfway point just before the ash dropped. The burn was very cool, which was great, however, it took a lot to keep this thing burning! I was having to take a couple puffs every 30 seconds to keep it burning. In fact, while it was resting, it barely gave off any smoke at all.
The actual smoke had a creamy pepper smell to it and gave off a medium amount of gray smoke.
After putting the match out and taking the first few puffs, there was a nice floral flavor paired with leather and a bit of spice. There was much more spice in the retrohale of this L’atelier Lat52 which I loved!
About halfway into the first 3rd, there was a little sweetness on my tongue, which was reminiscent of the floral taste I got from the cold draw. The second 3rd brought a nutty flavor and the entire smoke tasted creamy. There wasn’t too much of a flavor change into each third, just consistent with floral, leather, nutty and a little spice. I would call it medium-full bodied and the same in flavor.
From a flavor standpoint, yes, I really enjoyed the flavors. However, it became almost annoying with having to work so hard to keep the burn going. I would hope that not all of the L’Atelier cigars have this issue.
I don’t think I’d buy a box but did enjoy this cigar.
To me, nothing about this cigar reminded me of anything Cuban-related. At this point in time, it’s getting harder and harder to put out a cigar that someone, somewhere didn’t come up with at least ONE aspect of before.
I think Pete and all others involved with the L’Atelier line did a great job. It wasn’t a crazy unique cigar but it was enjoyable, nonetheless.
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