Earlier this year L’Atelier Imports introduced a new limited edition cigar called L’Atelier Côte d’Or La Tâche. This is the second installment in limited edition L’Atelier’s Côte d’Or line. Côte d’Or is positioned as the most premium line in the L’Atelier portfolio. What makes the Côte d’Or an ultra-premium offering is the blend uses a Sancti Spiritus wrapper (a staple tobacco found in all L’Atelier branded offerings) and low yield Pelo de Oro tobacco. With La Tâche, a 5 1/2 x 50 Robusto is introduced into the line – following up the original Côte d’Or Churchill that was released in 2015. While the size is different, the blend also varies in that La Tâche uses a lower priming wrapper than the original Côte d’Or. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the L’Atelier Côte d’Or La Tâche. As we will see, I found the La Tâche to deliver a different cigar experience than the original L’Atelier Côte d’Or Churchill..
When we previewed the release of the L’Atelier Côte d’Or, we described the meaning of the name and the analogy with the wine industry.
The name Côte d’Or translates to “gold coast”. It also is the name of the department in Eastern France that is the famous Burgundy wine growing region. One grape grown is the Pinot Noir – which is considered a high maintenance, temperamental plant. There is an analogy to Pelo de Oro as it is a high maintenance leaf to work with (it has been prone to mold). While both Pinot Noir and Pelo de Oro have low yields, both are known to produce high quality end products for wine and cigars respectively.
As for the name, La Tâche it is French for “The Task”.
Without further ado, let’s break down the L’Atelier Côte d’Or La Tâche and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned the Côte d’Or line is highlighted by the use of a Sancti Spiritus wrapper and Pelo de Oro tobacco. There is an irony of both of these tobaccos being used in the blend – namely that Sancti Spiritus is a tobacco that is intended to be a replacement seed for Pelo de Oro. Pelo de Oro is a low yield tobacco that is often prone to mold, so it tends to be more costly to produce and as a result it is usually in short supply. Sancti Spiritus is a tobacco leaf grown by the Oliva family with a seed from the Garcia family. It is a hybrid of Criollo and Pelo de Oro. While the intent of Sancti Spiritus was to provide an altnerative to Pelo de Oro, both types of tobacco are found in the Côte d’Or offerings.
The original Côte d’Or uses the same priming Sancti Spiritus wrapper found on the L’Atelier Selection Spéciale line. With Côte d’Or La Tâche, it uses a mid-priming Sancti Spiritus wrapper, thus changing up the blend.
Wrapper: Sancti Spiritus (Ecuador)
Binder: Nicaraguan (Double Binder)
Filler: Nicaraguan, including Pelo de Oro
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (My Father Cigars SA)
The Côte d’Or La Tâche blend is available in one size – a 5 1/2 x 50 Robusto size. Even though the blends are different, we list the two offerings under the Côte d’Or line.
La Tâche: 5 1/2 x 50
Côte d’Or: 7 x 47
The L’Atelier Côte d’Or La Tâche is packaged in ten count boxes. A total of 2,000 boxes (20,000 cigars) were produced.
The Sancti Spiritus wrapper of L’Atelier Côte d’Or La Tâche definitely looks different than the original Côte d’Or. It has a medium brown color with a colorado red tint to it. The surface of the wrapper has some oil on it. There are also some thin visible wrapper seams and thin veins.
The band of the Côte d’Or La Tâche has an antique white color with gold trim on it. The center of the band has a variation of the original L’Atelier logo (a gold leaf surrounded by a red square). To the left and right of the logo are four gold leaves and the text “EDITION LIMITEE” (also in gold font). Below the L’Atelier logo is the text “La Tache” in gold font. Just below that is the text “L’ATELIER” in a larger gold font surrounded by a line on the left and right side. Just above that line on the far left and far right is the text “2016” in small gold font. Meanwhile, the footer has a red ribbon around it.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the L’Atelier Côte d’Or La Tâche, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. Once the cap was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw gave a good taste of what was to follow as it delivered a flavor that was a combination of natural tobacco, caramel and floral notes. Overall I considered this a very good pre-light draw. At this point, I removed the ribbon of the La Tâche, lit up the footer, and awaited what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start of the L’Atelier Côte d’Or La Tâche delivered hit of white pepper. It didn’t take long for a similar natural tobacco note from the pre-light draw to emerge. This natural tobacco note had more in the way of berry and floral components. The natural tobacco / berry / floral combination went primary early on. Some cream notes surfaced in the background. As for the initial white pepper, it pretty much dissipated quickly. Meanwhile while there was white pepper on the tongue, I picked up more of a black pepper on the retro-hale.
During the first third of the La Tâche, the natural tobacco notes continued to be in the forefront. The berry component of this compound note definitely was the most prominent component. At the same time, the cream remained in the background keeping the flavor profile very smooth.
By the second third, the natural tobacco shed some of the berry sweetness and became more of a traditional natural tobacco note. By the midway point, a slight cedar component now began to surface in the background. During the later part of the second third, the cedar component increased in intensity. Meanwhile there still was very much a creamy component to the cigar.
The last third of the La Tâche saw the cedar notes and natural tobacco notes pretty much on par in terms of intensity. There was a decrease in some of the creaminess of this cigar. This is the way the flavor profile of the L’Atelier Côte d’Or La Tâche remained until the end. The resulting nub was a nub that was slightly soft, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The burn of the L’Atelier Côte d’Or La Tâche maintained both a straight burn path and a relatively straight burn line from start to finish. The resulting ash was mostly a light gray color with some darker speckling. This was an ash that was on the firmer side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were both ideal.
Strength and Body
With the lower priming wrapper on the La Tâche, I was expecting something something a little more dialed back than the original Côte d’Or Churchill – and that’s exactly what I got. La Tâche delivered a medium strength, medium-bodied smoke from start to finish. It is worth noting I found the original Côte d’Or Churchills to be quite bold when they first came out – only to mellow over time. With La Tâche, I didn’t smoke one of them when the cigar initially hit the shelves, so I could not make an equal comparison.
In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other very nicely with neither overshadowing the other.
There are a couple of main summation points I have on this cigar. One thing is that the Côte d’Or La Tâche is going to have a different flavor profile than the Côte d’Or Churchill. Comparing these flavor profiles, I can definitely say I had a preference for the La Tâche. However much like the original Côte d’Or Churchill, I still found the La Tâche to lack what I call the “wow factor” – namely those intangibles I would expect from an ultra-premium offering. The medium strength, medium-bodied profile makes this a cigar that can positioned for either the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. It’s a cigar I certainly don’t mind keeping in my humidor, but it’s not one I’d probably stock up on.
Assessment: 2.5-Try One