As an incentive to get more retailers to the trade show and reward the ones who make the often long and expensive trip, in 2013 L’Atelier Imports announced that those store owners would have access to for a limited period of time following the show.
This new cigar got the name Extension de la Racine ER13, with the name translating to extension of the root. It bore the familiar L’Atelier band but in a modified color scheme, and the boxes it came in didn’t hide its comparison to the Cuban Cohiba Siglo VI that it was patterned after. Inside the box was a Nicaraguan puro released in a single 5 7/8 x 52 toro vitola and using sun grown criollo wrapper over a filler blend that included Sancti Spiritus tobacco. It also came with the promise that a new size was to be expected at the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
The company held to its promise, unveiling a new 6 1/8 x 52 torpedo vitola in Las Vegas this past July that would begin shipping just a few weeks ago. It debuted alongside three other new releases, the Surrogates Satin Glove, L’Atelier LAT Selection Spéciale extensions and a series of smaller sized five-packs in four of the brand’s lines.
- L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER13 (5 7/8 x 52) — September 2013 — n/a
- L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER14 (6 1/8 x 52) — October 2014 — 1,350 Boxes of 20 Cigars (27,000 Total Cigars)
- Cigar Reviewed: L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER14
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 1/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Torpedo
- MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 20, $190)
- Release Date: Oct. 21, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,350 Boxes of 20 Cigars (27,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The Extension de la Racine ER14 has a tall, pointed tip that brings your eyes upward from the red, gold and black band that is unique to this line. There is a lot of vein structure on the leather brown wrapper leaf, with a few larger veins spawning smaller, flatter offshoots that create a visual of seemingly interlocked pieces of tobacco. The cigar has just a bit of give to it, showing a bit more at the bottom than towards the top. The pre-light aroma is bright and sweet with notes of sugary fruit offering the first impression, followed by touches of pepper soon after. The cold draw is smooth and easy, offering an almost light butter or generic creaminess flavor with little to no pepper.
It’s a smooth and very creamy start for the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine, offering plenty of pepper-free smoke to ease into this limited production cigar for the first quarter of an inch or so. After that, white pepper starts to come along and add character and kick to the smoke both in the nose and on the tongue, before a graham cracker sweetness joins the mix. The draw is near effortless in the early going, producing plenty of smoke and maintaining an even burn line while the ash holds on for a good inch or so before breaking off. When it does, a prominent note of sweet wood rushes in and adds yet another layer of complexity to things. While incredibly enjoyable it appears to be a fleeting note, quickly replaced by chalk that redirects the flavor’s direction as the cigar enters the second third.
The chalk note that closed the first third ends up being a door to the earthier notes that the Racine ER14 has to offer. It’s a quick moving journey through a number of flavors: pepper, earth, tree bark and then a charred wood note; each stopping long enough to give just a taste before moving on to another sensation. One thing that stays fairly consistent is the sweet wood aroma that wafts off the cigar as it rests, a rich yet subtle smell that may just be the highlight of the cigar to this point. Past the midpoint, the cigar steps up the strength a bit and the smokes fills the mouth more prominently than it did earlier, turning a bit more robust and offering more pepper through the nose.
The rapid flavor progression slows down pretty drastically in the final third, settling on a still complex set of flavors that bring the earth, chalk and pepper front and center. It’s by far the most challenging flavors that the Racine has presented, and is a drastic difference from its smooth and creamy start, more robust coffee than smooth creamer found in the first puffs. There are still touches of sweetness in the aroma, though they have faded in favor of dry barn wood. The flavor stops short of being overpowering and reprises a touch of the creaminess found early on, making for a smooth landing on what has been quite the flavor journey.
- The production number estimate was provided by Pete Johnson.
- Charlie Minato’s review of the Extension de la Racine ER13 is here.
- L’Atelier is French for workshop.
- I was a bit taken back by just how firm and pointed the cap was.
- While I’m generally not a huge fan of torpedoes, I found this one very enjoyable, and while I can’t say for certain how much of an effect it had on the flavor, this blend seemed to benefit from the size.
- Final smoking time was just about two hours and 15 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar carries the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER14 Torpedo; be sure to tell them you heard about it on halfwheel.
Update (Nov. 14, 2014) — The original version of this posted listed the Racine ER14 as measuring 6 1/2 inches, it in fact is 6 1/8 inches.
If you like cigars that take you on a journey of flavors, the L'Atelier Extension de la Racine ER14 ranks as one of the best cigars this year in that category. While I might take a bit of an issue with the finish, there's no denying the palate-pleasing twists and turns of this cigar from the moment it's lit, something a fresh palate and attentive mind will be rewarded with in spades.