Cigar Reveal #94

L'atelier Imports - L'atelier Selection Spéciale

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Brand L'atelier Imports
Cigar L'atelier Selection Spéciale
Wrapper Ecuador
Binder Nicaragua
Filler Nicaragua
Description Ten or so years ago, Tatuaje’s Pete Johnson partnered up with his brother KC Johnson and his friend Dan Welsh to create a new cigar line called L’atelier. Because if you’re Pete Johnson, why wouldn’t you have a great time making new cigars with your brother and friends? Must be nice! The original L’atelier (which means ‘workshop’) was a hit, scoring a 94 in Cigar Aficionado. And in 2013 they added to the line with this cigar, the Selection Speciale. They used the same components as the original, but for the wrapper they used a higher priming. Primings refer to the vertical position of the leaves on a plant, meaning that these wrappers came from higher up on the plant, which, generally, are considered to be stronger and smaller leaves than the lower leaves. The result was a more full-bodied, slightly more intense experience. (Not to get too much in the weeds here, but these cigars use a special wrapper grown by the famed Oliva Tobacco Company using a seed from My Father Cigars. They called it ‘Sancti Spiritus’.)  And last summer they added three new sizes to the line, including this size, the LAT 54. “The higher priming of Sancti Spiritus really shines on the three original vitolas,” said Johnson. “We decided after 8 years it was time to revamp the sizes and the bands on both the original and Selection Speciale to accent the new additions.” Like Tatuajes, these are made in the My Father factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. We mostly agree with Halfwheel’s review, though not as intensely. The first half of the smoke is definitely superior to the second half, though the second half still has plenty to offer. The smoke begins with spice and cocoa, and creaminess, espresso and pepper notes come and go. The second half mellows and starts to have an occasional burn issues. I think the occasional re-lights muddle the flavors a bit, though it’s still very enjoyable. This isn’t a perfect cigar by any means, but certainly delicious. I doubt too many people will make this their go-to cigar, but a great option to save some up as an occasional after-dinner treat. 
Review: Kohnhed
This is a grown up’s cigar. A cigar for very experienced smokers. Newbies would burst into flames. Or disappear through spontaneous combustion like the drummer in Spinal Tap. The creaminess is the main flavor. Cocoa follows behind it. At the last third, the cigar begins to mellow quite a bit. It moves back to medium bodied. The stick doesn’t get very complex. It dotes on the aforementioned flavors. I’m sure 6 months of aging will change the character quite a bit.
Review: Halfwheel
There’s a deep nuttiness and woody flavor, but everything seems to be a bit restrained. That flavor eventually goes away, replaced by a spicy roasted mixture that sits on top of earthiness, white pepper, cedar and some salt. The finish has acorns, saltiness, earthiness, sharp lemon, and something that reminds me of mineral water. Retrohales are dominated by peanut butter over top of some woodiness. While the main flavors might not be top tier, the retrohales in the first third of the L’Atelier are absolutely delicious. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus ... By the final third, the joy of the retrohale in the first third is a very distant memory. Whether because of the open draw, the touch-ups likely caused by the open draw or the cigar itself, the profile is just too bitter and becoming increasingly bitter as the cigar comes to a close ... If I only smoked the first third of this cigar, I would come away with a very different impression, as it was something that performed much like the majority of Tatuajes over the years. The second half was anything but and quite different than anything I've ever had from Tatuaje.