This year’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show was certainly a big one for Tatuaje and L’Atelier Imports. Big in the size of the booth, its walls, the photographs of the company’s staff and the number of new cigars on display in the booth.

Between a new Monster, two new Skinny Monster samplers, new Skinny Monster boxes and a 10-count sampler of Tatuaje broadleaf releases—it’s easy to get lost in the flood.

Getting lost in the flood seems to be most of the L’Atelier Imports releases: there was an extension to La Mission, a new Surrogates Crystal Baller, two new lines— Identité and Négociant—and the new Racine.

Racine was one of the first cigars of a growing trend of releasing a cigar that is only available to retailers that attend and place orders at the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.

L'Atelier Racine ER16

Now in a fourth year, it’s a Nicaraguan puro using a sun grown criollo wrapper and Sancti Spiritus tobacco in the filler, the signature tobacco of L’Atelier Imports.



  • Cigar Reviewed: L'Atelier Extension de la Racine ER16
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 4 7/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $9.25 (Boxes of 20, $185)
  • Release Date: September 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Racine looks familiar, though the shorter length makes it seems like this might be a 52 as opposed to the listed 50 ring gauge. The criollo wrapper is a consistent mud color, reminding me of standard fare chocolate ice cream. Aroma off the wrapper is a mixture of oatmeal cookie, leather and uncooked white rice. From the foot I get a very sweet chocolate, like a HoHo, a lot more earth, lacquer and a cherry flavor that reminds me of Dr. Pepper. The cold draw is a bit restrained all things considered: orange, white pepper and earthy.

Things start toasty with almonds, hay and sweet sugar cookies on top of some thyme and paprika. About an inch into the Racine, a dry cedar and sawdust combination has taken over as the obvious characteristics of the cigar. Even the early parts of a retrohale are somewhat pedestrian, but two seconds after the smoke departs my nose the L’Atelier delivers a sweet sake and pistachio combination. Some puffs have some vanilla ice cream, though it’s not a consistent flavor. There’s a touch of white pepper on the tongue, but it’s minor. Body and flavor are medium-full, while strength is medium. Construction is great with an incredibly firm ash.


The saw dust remains for the second third of the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER16. It’s now joined by some bubble gum and ginger up front. The somewhat delayed retrohale still remains the source of the majority of complexities: white pepper, creaminess, lemon, soggy french fries and some floral flavors. There’s substantially more flavors on the finish including an interesting mixture of cinnamon and floral flavors. Construction remains quite good, though I make a somewhat preventive touch up to prevent the cigar from going out. By the midway point, the strength seems to have increased to medium-full.


An earthiness has taken over as the dominant flavor, though the saw dust is certainly still there. In addition, there’s a sizable addition of dijon mustard, some sour raspberries and hoisin sauce. The finish is unfortunately a bit pedestrian with the earthiness being too overwhelming for just about anything else. There’s not many other changes: medium-full in strength, body and flavor and great construction.


Final Notes

  • I’ve always liked the Racine’s packaging as it has a very mid-1990s Cubatabaco/Habanos S.A.-styling.
  • If you aren’t retrohaling, this is going to taste like a lot of woods and earth.
  • Strength starts medium-plus, but ends medium-full.
  • Tatuaje/L’Atelier Imports advertises on halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time is one hour and 45 minutes, rather slow even for my notoriously slow smoking.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigar Hustler, Corona Cigar, Lone Star State Cigar Co. (972.424.7272) and STOGIES World Class Cigars (713.783.5100) carry the Racine ER16.
91 Overall Score

The 2016 rendition of the Racine is a very good cigar. I'm not sure what I was hoping for, but a bit more punch would seem like a logical feature for the size, though I cannot say I found that. It's not as complex as I found last year's to be, but this is still one of the best active blends from the house of Pete Johnson.

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.