Posted by Jack | in L'Atelier | on 16 Oct 2012 | at 6:17 PM | 512 views
I recently found that Pete Johnson of Tatuaje was creating a new company - stating that the Tatuaje catalog is full and creating a new line therein would be difficult.  So from that moment on, I made it my mission to locate and smoke his new creations.  To be honest it wasn't difficult to locate them.  SeriousCigars.com had them in stock and sells them by the single stick.  Payday arrived and I ordered a nice 54 ring gauge size.  When the package arrived via standard shipping - that's ordered Friday, arrived Monday! - I was like a kid on Christmas morning.  So, of the three new cigars in that pack (more reviews coming), which one was I going to try first?  The obvious answer - the L'Atelier LAT54.  So how was it?  Let's see....
Construction: The LAT54 looks a little rugged.  The Sancti Spiritus wrapper quite multi-colored....well, in shades of brown.  It's an attractive package overall.  I like vintage and rugged looking cigars and knowing that this is a Pete Johnson creation makes it even better.  Pete makes cigars about substance rather than looks.  There are a few minor veins but otherwise no construction issues.  The LAT54 is topped with a beautiful flag-tip pigtail.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: Out of the cellophane this cigar gives off a very pleasant sweet tobacco and cinnamon-like spice aroma.  Because of the new hybrid wrapper leaf, I was more than a little excited.
Light and Burn: I had a relatively calm evening in what has been an overly windy Fall so I was able to light her up with matches instead of the jet.  The L'Atelier blazed to life easily and developed a relatively even burn.  I noticed a few wonky lines until I got past half-way.  After that it was laser-perfect.  Couple of minor touch-ups before the very end.....I couldn't bring myself to put it out.
Tasting: Complexity is the name of the game with this cigar.  Pete's cigars are always complex but this one is insane.  I picked up dried fruit, orange peel, a creamy floral tea, milk chocolate, cinnamon toast, anise, caramel, and a very exotic spice on the finish.  This cigar is elegant, efficacious, and enigmatic.
Value: I ordered a single LAT54 from SeriousCigars.com for around $10.....and it was totally worth it.
Final Thoughts: The original L'Atelier feels like Pete both thumbing his nose and paying homage to the Cuban Behike line.  Same shapes, same flag-tip cap, even a similar band.  I can't fathom the Behike being anywhere near as complex, however.  Pete is a genius and this new line is proof.  There are two other lines within the L'Atelier family that I need to try next - and they are insanely cheap.  The idea behind the L'Atelier brand is to offer ultra premium cigars that won't destroy your budget in these rough economic times.  So, Pete Johnson, if, by some miracle, you read this, sir...I salute you.  Never in all my years smoking cigars have I experienced so many good cigars as I have with your creations.  And the fact that you are trying to help the consumer smoke fantastic cigars for less money qualifies you for sainthood in my book.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sancti Spiritus
Strength: Medium to Full
Size: 5 5/8" x54
The LAT54 is a truly beautiful cigar.  Multiple shades of earthy brown.  Quite rustic.
Love the simple and elegant band.
Nice rustic flag-tip.  As you can see, the Sancti Spiritus wrapper leaf is not perfect in appearance - but it's not about that anyway.
Slightly wonky burn line - just after this photo it evened out.  There was only an inch of this cigar left when I put it down
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