Surrogates, a brand that is owned and distributed by L’Atelier Imports, has always maintained a certain air of mystery throughout the cigar world. When first released, the brand was made specially for Ohio retailer New Havana Cigars as an affordable alternative to today’s increasingly popular limited edition cigars. The original NHC exclusive consisted of the Bone Crusher and Skull Breaker – a release that was met with confusion amongst consumers. “Are Surrogates cigars intended to be clones of existing cigars?” people began to wonder. Concerns were quickly met with a response from brand runner Dan Welsh:
The Surrogates brand now consists of 6 cigars, and with each new release we seem to uncover more and more about the intensions of the brand. Originally thought (by some) to be a label that offered dark, strong, full-bodied cigars at an affordable price, the 2012 release of the Crystal Baller proved otherwise. As it was described to us by Dan Welsh, part-owner of L’Atelier Imports, Surrogates has always been a one-off brand. I.E. every cigar in the line consists of its own size, blend, name, and design. He went on to describe in detail the predictive pattern of so many cigar smokers, putting so much emphasis on the brand name, design, marketing, etc. With the Surrogates “experiment”, he hopes to offer the cigars as a sort of “blind taste test”, allowing the cigars to speak for themselves. Notice the strange branding used throughout the line, the unconventional names of the cigars and the strange, cartoon-like designs – the message certainly reads “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
But all this isn’t to say there isn’t more than meets the eye with Surrogates’ significance. Let’s take a moment and examine the dictionary definition of “surrogate”.
a substitute, especially a person deputizing for another in a specific role or office.
Who’s to say the original Bone Crusher and Skull Breaker cigars weren’t an homage to Viaje (skull and bones)? Dan teased at the fact that their Tramp Stamp release clearly poked fun at business partner Pete Johnson’s Tatuaje logo. And then there’s the Crystal Baller, Dan further insinuated that the cigar showed his respect and love of the Illusione Epernay. And let’s not forget about L’Atelier’s own LAT line, a clear salute to the great Cohiba Behike. Which brings us to the most recent Surrogates release, Satin Glove.
Satin Glove details:
- Vitola: Satin Glove
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Length: 7″
- Ring Gauge: 47
- Wrapper: San Andrés Mexico
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Box Count: 20
- Price: $8 (not exact)
It’s no secret that the Mexican San Andrés wrapper has become the next big trend in the cigar world, with almost all manufacturers releasing their versions of the dark, rich, and uniquely flavored tobacco. It then comes as no surprise that the Satin Glove would become the first Surrogates cigar to incorporate this ripe tobacco leaf.
With the Surrogates Satin Glove now in my hands, the cigar looks impressive. Yes, the band is quite strange, with a familiar resemblance to that of, dare I say, the Hamburger Helper glove… More on the band later. The cigar itself has a semi box-press, looking rectangular in shape, which I always find has a pleasant and natural feel in the mouth. There is a triple cap, which should be expected, and the wrapper itself is fuzzy and velvety. Running down the long, 7 inches of the cigar are quite a few veins, but the seams are barely noticeable. On the nose, the cigar smells heavily of chocolate cookie dough, with a touch of pepper and earth. It is a densely packed cigar, feeling solid and weighty in the hand.
After cutting and lighting, the Sating Glove showed a slightly tight draw, though there was enough smoke output to be satisfying. Right away there is a blast of chocolate flavor, followed by a slight nuttiness. Soon coffee and toffee are added to the mixture, making for a very enjoyable, full-flavored smoke. At this point the cigar is medium bodied, full flavored, and just above medium in strength.
The ash stacked up nicely, with a bright white color, laying loosely and looking like the inside of a freshly baked pastry. Falling in near 2 inch segments, the cigar showed all the signs of great construction. Another aspect I enjoyed was the continuous outpour of smoke coming from the cigar, which was possibly due to the Mexican wrapper. The texture of the smoke was also very enjoyable, having a delicate, silky quality in the mouth (almost like a silk or, dare I say, satin glove?…).
Approaching 30 minutes into the cigar, there was an added dose of black pepper in the nostrils. Sugar cookie dough, heavily creamed coffee, powdered sugar, and a zing of cold strength in the nostrils comprised the profile at this point. The draw loosened up around this point, having just the right amount of resistance.
There was nothing shocking about the flavors, no dramatic shifts, but the profile did gradually progress, keeping me interested throughout. Sugary coffee was most noticeable, now having a subtle dark fruit (cherry or blackberry) aspect. Throughout the cigar, there were no unwanted flavors, every puff provided a silky smooth burst of full-flavored smoke.
After the halfway point the cigar took on a charred flavor, along with a hint of anise. The charred aspect became a toasted bread and the profile felt warm, with caramel and leather creeping in. Nearing the finish, I pegged it at full flavor, medium/full strength, and medium/full bodied.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
Absolutely! With a price of around $8 per stick, this is easily one of the best value cigars out there. The construction was fantastic, the burn line remained perfect throughout, there was a decent amount of smoke output, really everything one could ask for. The smoking time was around an hour and a half for me, but I could see getting nearly 2 hours out of this cigar!
A special thank you to Dan Welsh for providing the samples for this review!
- Perfect burn/construction
- Great value
- Full flavors
- Lacks progression
- Tight draw