Cigar companies have been using exclusive cigars as an incentive for retailers who attend the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show for a number of years, and in 2013, L’Atelier Imports unveiled its version. Dubbed the Extension de la Racine, the line now encompasses three different vitolas, all of which incorporate a sun grown criollo wrapper covering a Nicaraguan binder and an all-Nicaraguan filler blend that includes some Sancti Spiritus tobacco.

In July, L’Atelier announced the newest addition to the line, a 6 3/4 x 43 lonsdale that would be limited to 30,000 total cigars packaged in boxes of 20 with an price of $9.25 each.

LAtelier Racine 2015

While the cigars are supposed to be an incentive for retailers at the U.S. trade show, international customers attended the show and placed orders. Those orders have already shipped to Europe and as such, the cigar is already on sale in Germany.

“Our distributor comes to the IPCPR every year along with one of our best retailers in Germany,” said Pete Johnson of L’Atelier Imports in an email to halfwheel. “We wanted to give them a jump on the release since most of what we do is released in the USA first.”

There are now three different vitolas in the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine line.

L’Atelier Extension de la Racine Vitolas

L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 3/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 43
  • Vitola: Lonsdale
  • MSRP: $9.25 (Boxes of 20, $185)
  • Release Date: Sept 21. 2015
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2

Covered in a distinctive dark reddish brown wrapper that shows quite nicely with the red band, the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15 is smooth to the touch and features no bumps along with very few veins. The cigar itself is spongy when squeezed, and there is very little oil visible. Aroma coming from the wrapper is a pungent combination of oak, bourbon, manure, leather, citrus and peanuts while the cold draw brings a nice creamy cedar, leather, earth, a slight orange and a small amount of pepper.

Starting out, the first third of the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15 is awash in flavors of creamy leather, espresso, dark cocoa, grass, cedar and a touch of orange citrus on the retrohale. Instead of a more normal pepper, I am tasting a distinct red pepper heat on the retrohale, along with some significant spice on my tongue, at least to start. The finish features a wonderful sweet maple that seems to be gaining strength as the first third burns down as well. The draw is excellent so far, and the burn is close to razor sharp, while the smoke production is close to normal. Strength-wise, the Racine hits a point close to medium by the end of the first third, but seems to stall out there.

L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15 2

The spice on my tongue dies down almost nothing around the start of the second third of the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15, and while the red pepper note on the retrohale is reduced as well, it still strong enough to be a major player in the profile. Interestingly, while I am still tasting some maple sweetness on the finish, it has been joined by a very obvious—albeit fleeting—peppermint note, almost as if I had covered peppermint bark in maple syrup. The dominant flavor on the palate is an overt creamy cedar note, while other flavors of bitter espresso, dark chocolate, leather, earth, toast and hay flit in and out at certain points. Construction-wise, both the draw and burn continue to impress, while the smoke production has actually increased noticeably, although it remains within normal levels. The over ally strength has not increased much by the time the second third draws to a close, but does manage to inch to a solid medium.

L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15 3

The final third of the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15 is, if you will pardon the pun, an extension of the second third, with the same red pepper on the retrohale and maple sweetness on the finish combined with a touch of peppermint. The flavors in the profile remain pretty much the same: creamy cedar, bitter espresso, dark chocolate, leather, earth and a return of the orange citrus from the first third. The construction continues to give me no problems whatsoever, and the strength hits a point just north of medium by the time I put the cool-to-the-touch nub down with a little more than an inch left.

L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15 4

Final Notes

  • L’Atelier is French for workshop while Extension de la Racine translates to extension of the root.
  • The lonsdale has long been one of my top three vitolas of cigars, and there are not many produced these days, so it is always nice to see one come on the market.
  • I find it interesting that the lonsdale and robusto extra vitolas cost exactly the same. The torpedo vitola, something more challenging to roll, is only 25 cents more expensive.
  • Both Tatuaje and L’Atelier are no strangers to Sanctí Spiritus tobacco, as it is used in the Tatuaje CiGWAR, the L’Atelier Selection Spéciale and the L’Atelier Côte d’Or, amongst others.
  • You can read Patrick Lagreid’s coverage of the L’Atelier booth from the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show here.
  • The final smoking time for both of my samples averaged a relatively quick one hour and 20 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel by L’Atelier Cigars.
  • While the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15 has not shipped in the U.S. yet, site sponsor Atlantic Cigar has them up for preorder here.
93 Overall Score

I have smoked each of the other two vitolas of this blend and different points, and I have to say, while they are similar in profile, neither one of them holds a candle to the amount of complexity, nuance and balance that the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER15 shows. Both the constant red pepper heat on the retrohale and the maple and peppermint sweetness on the finish were extremely well integrated, and the combination increased the amount of complexity in the profile significantly. This is easily one of the best cigars I have smoked this year in a vitola I adore.

Brooks Whittington

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.