L’Atelier LAT-52 Pre-release Review
Ever sine we broke the story of Pete Johnson’s new venture L’Atelier in mid May, there has been one dominant question on my mind; what does the core line taste like and is it similar to Tatuaje? Its a question I’m sure many are going to ask and a practical one at that. According to Pete Johnson, L’Atelier is from the “producer of Tatuaje” and meant to stand by itself. That being said however, Pete did have a hand in all the blending for these new lines and a comparison can’t be helped. So how does the L’Atelier line stack up?
The L’Atelier LAT line is a visual homage to the Cohiba BHK in many respects, but the flavor profile is anything but similar. L’Atelier LAT lines are using a special wrapper called Sancti Spiritus which was developed by the Oliva family in Ecuador and is a hybrid between Criollo and Pelo de Oro. Pelo de Oro is a rare treat as it is a notoriously problematic leaf to grow and harvest. Creating a hybrid version is a unique way to deal with a lot of the issues inherent to Pelo and it pays off nicely in the package of the LAT.
The L’Atelier LAT-52 has a great visual appearance with a smooth wrapper that has very little oils on it and only a slight toothy texture. Inspecting the foot and wrapper reveal notes of ammonia, barnyard, and a floral tea mixture. Cutting the cap reveals a smooth draw with just the right amount of resistance. Right off the initial light the cigar takes on an interesting note of strength. Usually a cigar takes time to develop this strength level, but of the two samples I had both developed this strength early on. Notes of floral and oak with a bit of harshness pervade throughout the first part of the cigar. As quickly as the notes begin though, the cigar changes to some pretty wild notes of sour fruit, perhaps apricots, and a roasted beef note. I kid you not, some of the notes that were clearly coming through on both the samples had a roasted beef like quality. Confirming this in the future with the other sizes and actual release sticks will be a must for me, but during this experience those notes were clear and carried through the middle of the cigar. As the middle develops the pepper increases and the soured fruit note fades. Roast beef or a charred rare steak note remains and stays as a counterpoint to the pepper. Towards the final third the cigar notes change again to a sweeter profile. The cigar finishes with the sweet profile and a resurgence of the pepper note.
Smoking the LAT-52 was truly an enjoyable experience. This cigar is definitely a changeling as it goes through many different flavor shifts and strength shifts. Despite its initial full bore approach the LAT ends up being a true medium to medium + smoking experience. As to the question of it being similar to Tatuaje; well to be honest, it really is quite different. The team over at L’Atelier have done a great job creating a tasty cigar that stands on its own merits and is quite different from other Tatuaje projects. This cigar is definitely a recommend in my book and perhaps one of the most interesting cigars in its sharp changing notes. If your a fan of full flavor and complexity, then the L’Atelier LAT core line is a line you need to try.