Last year, Pete Johnson gave L’Atelier Imports a breath of fresh air with the exquisite release of the L’Atelier Côte d’Or—which was one of my personal favorite maduros of 2015 (seecond only to Rocky’s Special Reserve Sun Grown Maduro). This year, Johnson is back with another addition to the limited edition Côte d’Or line, introducing the La Tâche in a 5½ × 50 robusto to replace last year’s Churchill. La Tâche means “the task”, which is quaint considering L’Atelier translates to “the workshop”. Hopefully the La Tâche was a task of love and not a pushed release…
The cigar hasn’t changed much besides the size, boasting the same rare tobacco used last year – the Ecuadorian Sancti Spíritus wrapper, a duel Nicaraguan binder, and the coveted Pelo de Oro used in the Nicaraguan filler. The only major change in the tobacco (that we know of) is the use of a mid-priming rosado for the wrapper instead of the higher priming used for last year’s maduro. Not much else has changed, although a switch up in vitolas can make all the difference in a cigar, and I’m very excited to see what’s in store with the new L’Atelier Côte d’Or.
La Tâche Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sancti Spíritus
- Binder: Nicaraguan (double binder)
- Filler: Nicaraguan (includes Pelo de Oro)
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Limited Edition (2,000 boxes of 10 cigars)
- Vitola: 5½″ × 50 robusto
- Price: $16.00 (MSRP)
As previously stated, I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s Côte d’Or, rating it the highest maduro I’ve reviewed thus far. It had flawless construction and superb complexity, both of which can be more challenging to perfect in a maduro, when compared to their habano cousins. I’ll admit, I am usually more excited in trying a smaller ring gauge of a cigar I know I already love, but nevertheless I am intrigued to see what changes with this year’s robusto.
The La Tâche looks simply exquisite. Last year’s white/gold combination worked really well, and this year’s is no different. I’m still not a fan of their logo used on the band, but that aside, the overall presentation is great. A beautiful gold and red color scheme looks good, with a bright red foot band giving the extra touch. The cigar’s wrapper looks very smooth—no tooth, and little veins. Compared to last years mustier maduro, I’m leaning towards the La Tâche for appearance.
After cutting and toasting, the cigar’s superb-looking wrapper takes a flame with such beauty. It’s clear Pete Johnson put the same level of care and detail into this year’s addition. The crisp Rosado wrapper lights up easily, and lets off rich, thick smoke. I can only describe the initial experience as a true cigar ritual… The smoke is thick and full, the flavors are bold, and the aroma is to die for. Right out of the gate, I can tell the complexity in this cigar is going to be incredible. First light flavors blend together cedar, pepper, a deep earth, and a rich tobacco core. This cigar ain’t made for a noob…
Getting into the first third, things start to get intense, pepper and earth are definitely dominating here, and I am still waiting on the sweetness I know is in the Spíritus wrapper to reveal itself. The retrohale is smooth and rich for now, but I expect a more intense experience is in store. A slightly lighter wood replaces the cedar on the finish, along with that incredible, aged tobacco aroma.
The construction is as flawless as last year’s—razor sharp burn line, solid ash, superb draw, and extremely fulfilling smoke output that beckons to be drawn over and over again. Each 5-inch robusto should give you a solid hour-plus, and two hours if you really treat it right.
Burning down to the halfway point, about an hour in, the cigar goes through a noticeable transition to a “smokier” bouquet. The cedar comes back, burning some charcoal and roasted espresso with it. The smoke also feels thicker—you can almost chew on it in your mouth. The retrohale at this point is a little intense for me, but it does add a little sweetness and spice to the rougher palate.
Things don’t change too much from the halfway on; there is almost no sweetness at this point and comprises mostly of intense “tobacco” flavors… which are decidedly delicious. Charred cedar, espresso, earth, deep leather, and a general intense tobacco note comprises the end of this 2-hour-long smoke.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Absolutely, although probably not often. The flavors and construction are definitely prestigious, but so is the price tag. $16 isn’t absurd, but I can think of several $8 cigars that I could enjoy almost as much for half the price. That said, it definitely deserves a spot in your humidor for those special occasions, right next to your Padróns.
- Unrelenting flavors
- Decent complexity
- Burns forever
- A little pricey
- Outdated look