Extension de la Racine holds the title of L’Atelier’s first limited edition cigar. The first edition of which, ER13, was released at the 2013 IPCPR show as incentive for retailers to become acquainted with Pete Johnson’s then-newly-minted L’Atelier brand. Offered only to IPCPR attendees, ER13 was an easy sell—delivering a more in-depth look at the exciting, new brand—of which only a handful of blends were offered at the time. Add to the mix Pete’s propensity for the rare and limited, and you have what amounted to a fun (and successful) release from L’Atelier.
The cigars were always intended to be an annual IPCPR release, and L’Atelier has held true to their word, releasing the ER14 and ER15 in successive years. The only change comes in size, going from a toro (ER13), to torpedo (ER14), to 2015’s lonsdale. Following suit with nearly all L’Atelier blends, the cigars use the premium Sanctí Spiritus tobacco, showcased in Extension de la Racine’s double binder.
Extension de la Racine ER15 Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo ’98
- Binder: Ecuadorian Sanctí Spiritus (double binder)
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Limited Edition (1,500 boxes of 20 cigars)
- Vitola: 6¾” x 43 Lonsdale
- Price: $9.25
The ER15 stays true to the cigar’s original look, showing a bright and glossy take on L’Atelier’s core-line band—which has been altered to focus on a red color scheme (I’ve always felt the bands were a bit flashy and would’ve been better suited in matte finish, L’Atelier has recently shown how this may have looked with their new La Tache…). The new size brings the ring gauge down and the length up, a nice looking lonsdale that feels great in the hand. On the wrapper, though, there are a few big water spots scattered about—with a pretty significant color variation from head to toe.
On the nose you’ll find a tangy and floral/tobacco aroma, very pleasant and refreshing. The pre-draw ins’t as interesting, showing only paper-like flavor through a medium resistance.
A quick light leads to a strangely off-putting combination of dull wood, paper, and bitterness on the finish. The flavors are mild and lack the usual zing to kick off the festivities. A tiny bit of brown sugar flavor begins to emerge, making way for more interesting notes of white pepper and anise in the retrohale. The flavors aren’t exaggerated, but more delicate and refined.
Brown sugar is joined by molasses and an increasing sweetness on the tongue, as well as an unfortunate perfume-like note lingering in the distance. I’d say the retrohale is the cigar’s focal point—it has just the right amount of spice and complexity, making it possible to exhale the entire length of each puff slowly and articulately—showing refined notes of tea (light, clean, and sweet), honey, and a touch of cinnamon.
The cigar’s construction has been on point, holding a lightly packed, dusty gray ash in 2″ segments. The burn is wavy but stays on track for the most part, requiring only a quick touchup closing in on the halfway mark. The cigar has shown refined and interesting highlights every few puffs—though I’d describe the underlying flavor throughout as a light, papery, cedar wood. Molasses and anise build again as the cigar makes its final rounds, tossing in an interesting note of baked cauliflower. Soon this is joined by more notes of vegetation, as well as a hot cinnamon (think Mike & Ike Hot Tomales candy) in the retrohale.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
I’ll say yes, though I’m not as enthusiastic as I’d hoped. The cigar is pleasant, delicate, refined—all good things—but I just kept feeling like it was missing some sort of ingredient throughout. It never really developed, more of just the same profile throughout (which was tasty), having shining moments here and there.
I would buy exactly 3 of these cigars for future enjoyment—which, would be best served with a clean cocktail (say, gin & tonic or mojito) on a nice afternoon.
- Fantastic aroma
- Clean & refined
- Nice construction
- Lacks progression
- Best flavors are scattered intermittently
- Occasional bitter and/or perfume-like notes