Lâ€™Atelier, meaning â€œthe workshop,â€ is a new cigar line from Pete Johnson rolled at the famous My Father factory. Lâ€™Atelier was officially launched at the 80th IPCPR in 2012 and is a take on Cohibaâ€™s well known Behike line. In 2013 Lâ€™Atelier began releasing new blends and sizes as well as the release of their new Surrogates line. There are seven cigars in the Surrogates line, to date, they are: Skull Breaker, Bone Crusher, Tramp Stamp, Crystal Baller, Satin Glove, Animal Cracker and Cracker Crumbs. Each of these cigars are unique in both blend and vitola which makes the entire line incredibly diverse. The cigar I am reviewing today is the Tramp Stamp; at 5.2×48 it is a corona gorda which retails for around $8.50. The blend features an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper, Nicaraguan long-fillers and a closed foot.
Now, onto the fun part!
The Tramp Stamp is a great looking corona gorda. The band really blends in well against the dark chocolate colored wrapper and the closed foot just makes it that much more sexy. The feel is good, some minor veins are present but the cigar gives just the right amount of resistance when squeezed. The cigar stays intact after cutting the cap and the draw is perfect.
On the dry inhale I get a lot of classic Tatuaje flavors and aroma: black pepper, leather, dark chocolate, cedar and tobacco. Upon lighting the cigar, Iâ€™m immediately surprised by the sweetness on my palate. Itâ€™s a very distinct sweetness like that of sugar cane. Typically when I taste sweetness on a Tatuaje/Pepin cigar, itâ€™s a very mild subtle sweetness that simply balances out some of the spice, but on this cigar the sweetness is its own distinct flavor which is why Iâ€™m so surprised. The sugar cane sweetness is very pleasant and is accompanied by some more of the classic Pepin flavors I tasted earlier such as black pepper spice, cedar, rich tobacco and earth. The solid gray ash is holding fine and the cigar gives off quite a bit of smoke but has a light resting smoke, which I always appreciate. The retrohale is fair, giving off a lot of leather and the strength is at medium-full.
After the first quarter inch or so, the sugar cane sweetness dies down a bit and Iâ€™m met with another surprising flavor: jasmine! I canâ€™t say that I have ever tasted this in a cigar; sure Iâ€™ve had a few cigars that give off some floral notes, but this is a very distinct flavor that is reminiscent of the jasmine tea my family would enjoy while we were living in Egypt. The Jasmine fades in and out during the first third, the rich tobacco and earth flavors remain consistent, the black pepper spice has also faded significantly and the sweetness returns, very subtly, as bittersweet chocolate.
As I enter the second third, the ash has fallen and the profile takes a disappointing turn. Now, I should preface this by saying that if I were to pick up the cigar at this point, it would be a great cigar, but because of how exciting and complex it started, it is disappointing to see the cigar turn into something more linear. At this point earth, cedar and leather are most prominent; however, the bittersweet chocolate and black pepper spice havenâ€™t disappeared completely, they are just far more subtle in the second third. The cigar continues to give off a lot of smoke, the ash isnâ€™t holding very tightly, but the burn is clean and requires no touch up as of yet.
Once the second third comes to a close and I enter the final third, the strength actually dies down just a bit, the bittersweet chocolate and black pepper spice have died down almost completely and Iâ€™m left with flavors of earth, tobacco and leather with some dark red fruit notes intermittently until the finish.
In all, the Tramp Stamp was a very good cigar with some unique and intriguing flavors. The construction was good, it had enough complexity and the flavors were all well balanced. I only wish that the flavors in the first quarter wouldnâ€™t have died down so quickly and that the spice would have picked up a bit throughout the later portions of the cigar.