I have no idea what the reference to Crystal Baller is, so I am not going to get into that, but the concept behind the Surrogates line I do get and love. The line was created by Dan Welsh sometime back in the hopes of creating a cigar that was a limited released but not limited. A cigar that you wish you could smoke more often, but could not because eventually they would be gone. Dan Welsh solved that problem with the Surrogates brand. The line was made in Esteli, Nicaragua at My Father Cigars, and was created with the assistance of Pete Johnson. One of the newest vitolas and blends in the line is the Crystal Baller. The cigar is a robusto extra in dimensions and measures 5 3/4' with a 56 ring gauge. It is a box pressed cigar, and features a wonderful cap. The cigar begins with an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper, and is then composed of Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler and binder. I do not know the seeds for the filler and binder, but I imagine it has some Corojo and Criollo in there. The cigar has a toothy and oily wrapper showing some veins while remaining fairly smooth, and has a wonderful aroma of of sweet spices, molasses, sweet earth and wood that has been washed up on the shore from the ocean.
When I light up the cigar the first third really catches me by surprise. There is this lovely doughy biscuity flavor to it, and living in the South a Southerner would understand that. There is some molasses flavors present with that and also that salted and damp wood flavor. I am getting some soft spices and sugar cane notes with all of that, and it is a very enjoyable first third. Unique and balanced are two great words to describe the first third. It is producing a solid burn line to it with a charcoal colored ash, and the strength level is remaining right underneath that medium body level. It is really not at all what I was expecting from the first third of the cigar, and maybe because of that I really am loving it.
|Great Wrapper in Box Press|
I am in the final third of the cigar now, and it is finishing wonderfully. It is still showing those lovely sweet spice notes, and I am getting this cinnamon, sugar and toast flavor with that. There are still some nutmeg notes here and there, but they are more in the background with this dark cocoa powder and earth flavor. I am loving this consistent flavor of doughy biscuits from beginning to end, and with that soft molassess flavor I am getting with it, it is leaving a nice flavorful and long finish. I smoke the cigar all the way down to the nub, and till the end it is smoking evenly and producing a nice charcoal colored ash. Each third was truly enjoyable and unique, and after smoking one I needed to have another.
I loved this smoke, and of the Surrogates I have had, and anything under the L'Atelier brand, this has been my favorite. It did not possess a super strength level, or have those typical Pepin flavors to it, but instead was a complete change of pace and a wonderful cigar anytime of day. I would probably find myself smoking more of these throughout a day, and they are definitely worth buying a box of. The Surrogates line is really a sweet line by L'Atelier, and I think Dan Welsh really had a great idea when he wanted to create a limited cigar for daily enjoyment. If you were a fan of Skull Beaker and Bone Crusher, I would say this cigar is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum to those, but equally as great. I look forward to seeing other new releases by L'Atelier, and I can say that the three running it, not including Pete, are doing a great job to begin with. I give this cigar a solid 93 and can not wait till it is released.
|Crystal Baller of Surrogates of L'Atelier|