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In February, L’Atelier Imports announced the forth vitola in its La Mission de L’Atelier brand, which originally debuted last year in three different sizes. Co-owner Pete Johnson is a large fan of wine, and as such each of the vitolas in the line is named after the vintages in which Château La Mission Haut-Brion has received a 100-point rating from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. So far, that has happened seven different times: 1955, 1959, 1982, 1989, 2000, 2005 and 2009.

Internally, the blend remains the same as the other vitolas in the line, a Mexican San Andrés wrapper covering a binder and filler tobaccos from the García family farms in Nicaragua, including an unknown amount Sancti Spiritus leaf that L’Atelier has become known for using in a variety of its releases. The regular release vitola has a suggested retail of $9.25 each and is sold in boxes of 18 for $166.50.

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There are now eight different vitolas in the La Mission de L’Atelier line:

  • La Mission de L’Atelier 1959 (4 3/4 x 52) — $8 (Boxes of 18, $144)
  • La Mission de L’Atelier 1989 (5 5/8 x 54) — $9 (Boxes of 18, $162)
  • La Mission de L’Atelier 2009 (6 1/2 x 56) — $10 (Boxes of 18, $180)
  • La Mission de L’Atelier 1955 (6 3/4 x 44) — $9.25 (Boxes of 18, $166.50)
  • La Mission de L’Atelier 2020 (9 1/4 x 47) — $15
  • La Mission de L’Atelier 1982 (6 1/8 x 52) — $10 (Boxes of 18, $180)
  • La Mission de L’Atelier 1999 (5 5/8 x 46)
  • La Mission de L’Atelier 2003 (6 1/4 x 48)

La Mission de L'Atelier 1955 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: La Mission de L'Atelier 1955
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 3/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 44
  • Vitola: Lonsdale
  • MSRP: $9.25 (Boxes of 18, $166.50)
  • Release Date: May 6, 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Visually, the La Mission de L’Atelier 1955 is quite distinctive, with an oval box-press as well as a short pig-tail protruding from the cap. The cigar is covered in in a dark mocha brown wrapper that is relatively smooth to the touch, and features just a bit of oil. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong earth, manure, leather, dark chocolate and pepper, while the cold draw brings flavors of cocoa, espresso beans, hay, licorice, generic nuts and slight vanilla sweetness.

The La Mission de L’Atelier 1955 starts off immediately with a multitude of flavors: charred meat, dark cocoa, gritty earth, hay, ground coffee beans and roasted peanut shells. There is a bit of vanilla sweetness on the retrohale, some slight spice on my tongue and a significant black pepper note that seems to be getting stronger as the first third burns down. Construction-wise, the burn is razor sharp so far, but the draw is a touch tighter than I would like, and the smoke production is massive coming off of the foot. The overall strength starts off fairly mild, and fails to reach the medium mark by the time the first third comes to an end.

La Mission de L'Atelier 1955 2

Coming into the second third of the La Mission de L’Atelier 1955, and the dominant notes have shifted to a combination of cinnamon and aromatic cedar, closely followed by flavors of bitter espresso, baker’s spices, earth, hay and dried tea leaves. There is a touch of salt on my lips that was not present before, as well as some distinct honey sweetness on the retrohale combined with some remaining black pepper. Construction-wise, the burn continues to impress, and while the draw remains a bit tight for my tastes, the smoke from the foot is well above average. The overall strength remains restrained, and ends the second third a bit short of the medium mark.

La Mission de L'Atelier 1955 3

The final third of the La Mission de L’Atelier 1955 shifts profiles again, with a district floral note interspersed with cedar taking over the dominant spot, followed by other flavors of gritty earth, charred meat, hay, espresso and leather. The salt on my lips that showed up in the second third is still present and the sweetness in the blend is now reminding me more of maple, but the white pepper on the retrohale has diminished noticeably. The draw remains a bit tight for me, and the burn has started to waver a bit, forcing me to touch it up to a avoid it getting out of control. One big change is the strength level, which  has increased noticeably, and hits a point above the media mark right as the final third comes to a close.

La Mission de L'Atelier 1955 4

Final Notes

  • La Mission de L’Atelier translates from French into the mission of the workshop.
  • The La Mission de L’Atelier 1959 took the No. 4 spot in halfwheel’s Top 25 of 2015.
  • Each of the bands on my three samples were noticeable off-center to the left on the cigar.
  • The La Mission de L’Atelier 2020 is an interesting deviation from L’Atelier’s original explanation: release a different vitola of the La Mission de L’Atelier line for each of the years that Château La Mission Haut-Brion has received a 100-point rating from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. It’s believe L’Atelier is moving away from that concept for naming the vitolas.
  • You can see half wheel’s coverage of L’Atelier’s booth at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show here.
  • While the overall burn was quite good for the most part, the draw on each of the samples was a bit tighter than I liked, even after cutting down on the cap further than I normally do. Not bad enough to negatively impact the profile, but definitely noticeable nonetheless.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • L’Atelier advertises on halfwheel.
  • The final smoking time for all three cigars averaged one hour and 40 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any La Mission de L’Atelier 1955 cigars, site sponsor Atlantic Cigar has them in stock.
88 Overall Score

I have enjoyed the La Missions I have smoked in the past, and the 1955 is no different in that regard. The cigar offers a nice combination of complex flavors, subtle sweetness and nicely integrates strength that I look for in a blend, and the lonsdale vitola—one of my preferred sizes—is just icing on the cake. I did not enjoy it quite as much as another recent lonsdale that L’Atelier released—the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15—but it is easily good enough to recommend, especially if you are already a fan of the La Mission de L’Atelier line.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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