If there is a company that has made big waves in the industry from the second it originated it has been L'Atelier Imports. The company has caught a tremendous amount of positive attention from retailers and critics and it only seems to grow every month. L'Atelier Imports is in its second year as a company and they have already released their sixth line. You might be able to say 10th if you count all the smokes in the Surrogates brand as their own smokes, but for conservative purposes let us say six. Along with having that many lines, they have just released their first limited edition smoke. While this cigar is limited in production, it is a cigar that is almost a line and will continue on for years to come with L'Atelier. I think one of the reasons why the company has been as successful as it has been is because of the hard work all involved have given it, but it is also a way for Pete to start over again with the knowledge he has learned throughout his ten years in the industry. With all of that being said let us look at L'Atelier Extension de la Racine ER13.
Extension de la Racine can be translated as extension of the root, and it pays homage to the flagship line of the company. The cigar was only available to the retailers who attended IPCPR, and I believe that to be a great concept. It makes retailers have to be more involved in IPCPR, and that is great for them and the industry. I think more manufacturers should consider practicing this same style of release, but we will see what happens. While I do not know the total production numbers for this cigar, it has been confirmed to me that total production was sold out at the show. The first to order have begun to receive their shipments and L'Atelier will continue to be producing them until all orders are complete. Once all orders are complete the release will be no more and we will have to wait till the ER14 is released. Basically if you want to get your hands on them you better move fast.
The smoke is offered in a single vitola offering and it is a vitola that has been used with only the greatest of cigars it seems. Habanos S.A. has used it with the Cohiba Siglo VI and Montecristo Grand Edmundo, La Palina has used it with the Goldie No. 5 and E.P. Carrillo has used it with past Short Run releases. The size is called cañonazo, and it measures 5 7/8" with a 52 ring gauge. The ER13 utilizes a Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo wrapper and has a double binder that utilizes the famed sancti spiritus that was used as the wrapper in the core L'Atelier line. The filler is all Nicaraguan and even the filler uses some sancti spiritus tobacco as well. The cigar has a beautiful marbled brown wrapper that is easily between Colorado and Colorado Maduro. It is a firm cigar with a lovely triple cap and it sports a few minor veins throughout. The aroma of the cigar is that of cocoa, tea leaves, marshmallows, wood and spice, and it is heavenly.
The cigar begins by showing some terrific spice and pepper notes. It has this great Asian spice flavor profile going on and it showing qualities of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. There are some nice red pepper notes present with that, and it is balanced by this natural tobacco and cedar flavor. There are some hay like qualities to the cigar as well, and it has a very soft toasted marshmallow flavor on the finish. To me the cigar is showing a very natural flavor profile that is complex and has the potential to age wonderfully. The construction on the cigar is terrific and it is producing an even burn line with a nice dark charcoal colored ash that is holding on firmly to the end. In terms of strength I would say the cigar is at a medium level. The biggest aspect of the cigar is the body which is an easy medium full. It is a complex cigar that has depth in terms of flavors, but it also has a terrific draw that is producing the perfect amount of smoke.
I am in the second third of the cigar now and it is showing a lot of growth as a cigar. There is this new sweet caramel flavor presenting itself and it is pairing with the lovely cedar qualities that were present before. I am still picking up the tobacco and hay notes from before, but the toasted marshmallow notes have faded some. There is still that core Asian spice and red pepper flavor profile present with the cigar and it has a wonderful finish with each draw. The construction on the cigar is still top notch and it is producing that beautiful charcoal colored ash along a razor sharp burn line. In terms of strength I would say the cigar is a little bit above medium now, and the body is right at a solid full. It is a complex cigar with a lot of depth, and it is a cigar that will speak to connoisseurs. Overall I am really digging this cigar and look forward to seeing how it closes.
When I get into the final third of the cigar I find that it is producing a flavor profile that is showing the greatness of the first and second third. The caramel notes are pairing with those toasted marshmallow flavors and is completed with a lovely Asian spice profile. There are some solid tobacco and hay notes present as well and it is a complex cigar. This is a cigar that will speak to a connoisseur and it will show the greatness of a medium strength level cigar. The body of the cigar has diminished to a medium full level in my opinion, and it finishes in a way that makes you want another one so you can continue the winding journey of the cigar. The construction in the final third is perfect and it is showing that lovely dark charcoal ash along a razor sharp burn line. The draw is cool to the end and it finishes with great flavors and a nice bit of smoke.
There is so much to love about this cigar. With the cigar itself I love the vitola offering that is offered in. The cañonazo, Cuban factory name for the size, is a terrific offering and it is a way to produce a larger cigar and not have it be to much. You are getting a little bit more from the filler because of the ring gauge, but the length is not over the top making it a shorter smoke overall. The construction on the cigar is terrific and and it produced a beautiful draw with the razor sharp burn line and charcoal colored ash. In terms of flavors the cigar shows the greatness of Nicaraguan Criollo and Sancti Spiritus tobacco. It is balanced in terms of spiciness and sweetness, and it is also balanced between being dry and rich. L'Atelier Imports has a hit with all of their flagship L'Atelier smokes, and this particular smoke is the cherry on top for the line. I also love that it is a limited release and that next year the cigar will be something different all together. The time spent on creating this cigar, not just the blend but everything about it was well spent. Be smart and buy a box of these cigars, you will not be disappointed. I am giving this cigar an easy 93 and I know it will get even better with age.
Seth's Humidor Rating: 93