L’Atelier Maduro (MAD54)

The L’Atelier Maduro is a new line of cigars that was released by L’Atelier Imports just prior to the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show.  While the company has already released some maduro blends under the Surrogates line, this is the first maduro blend to be branded under the self-titled L’Atelier line.   Recently, I”ve had an opportunity to smoke this new maduro offering.  Since its inception last year, L’Atelier Imports has fired on all cylinders and the L’Atelier Maduro is no exception as this ranks among the company’s best work.

L’Atelier Imports made its debut at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show.  Tatuaje founder Pete Johnson was involved with the launch of the company, but the operations are separate and run by Johnson’s brother K.C. Johnson, Johnson’s friend Sean “Casper” Johnson, and Dan Welsh of New Havana Cigars.

One thing that has become a staple of the L’Atelier Imports cigars branded “L’Atelier” has been the incorporation of Sancti Spiritus tobacco.  Sancti Spiritus is a hybrid of Criollo and Pelo de Oro and really has been positioned as a replacement for Pelo de Oro.  This is becoming a staple of many cigars made at the My Father Cigar factory (where the L’Atelier Maduro is made – this tobacco has also been used in the re-launch of My Father Cigars’ El Centurion).    For the L’Atelier Maduro, Sancti Spiritus was used for the binder.

At this point, let’s break down the L’Atelier Maduro and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

For the maduro wrapper, a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is used and the filler is Nicaraguan. The Sancti Spiritus actually originates from Ecuador and this is the same leaf used as the wrapper on the core L’Atelier line.  There is also a Nicaraguan leaf on the binder.

As noted above, the cigar is blended by the Garcia family at My Father Cigars.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Sancti Spiritus, Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The L’Atelier Maduro is currently available in three sizes. The cigars are packaged 20 per box:

MAD 44: 4 1/2 x 44
MAD 54: 4 1/2 x 54
MAD 56: 5 1/2 x 56

For this smoking experience, I smoked the MAD 54 – which is basically a petit robusto.  The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper has a rich milk chocolate color to it. There is some oil on the surface of the wrapper.  The wrapper itself is slightly bumpy (typical for Connecticut Broadleaf). There are some visible veins and the wrapper seams are well hidden

The band of the L’Atelier Maduro has a similar design as the core L’Atelier line, but with a varied color scheme.  The color scheme is black, gold, white, and silver, but with the colors re-arranged from the core line band.  The top and bottom of the band have a gold trim to it.  The majority of the band has a white background. The band has the gold L’Atelier logo in the center of it (a gold leaf surrounded by a gold square).  There are four silver leaves that surround the logo to the right and left.  Below the white background is a black stripe with the name L’ATELIER in white font – and a gold font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the L’Atelier Maduro MAD54, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap.  I then started the pre-light draw ritual.  The dry draw provided a mix of chocolate, leather, light pepper, and light citrus notes.  Overall I found the pre-light experience of the L’Atelier Maduro to be very positive.  At this point, I was ready to light up my L’Atelier Maduro and see what the smoking phase would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

The L’Atelier Maduro started out with a short blast of pepper. When the pepper subsided, it was joined by notes of leather and pepper. In the early stages, the cocoa seemed more present on the main draw while the pepper was more prominent on the after-draw. The pepper was also present on the retro-hale where it was a combination of white and red pepper notes through the nasal passages.  Toward the latter part of the first third, the chocolate notes got somewhat richer.

In the sccond third, the spice picked up and was now a part of the full-draw.  The spice now had more of a baker’s spice quality to it.  This spice blended nicely with the chocolate notes.  Meanwhile some light nut flavors surfaced in the background.

The flavor profile above pretty much held for the remainder of the smoking experience.  On some of the smokes I had of this vitola, the chocolate notes became more earthy in the second half.  At the close of the cigar experience, the L’Atelier Maduro remained flavorful – namely it had some spice, but the spice was not overwhelming.  The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.

Burn and Draw

Consistently, this cigar shines when it comes to the construction.  This is a very well-made cigar and this is reflected in the burn and draw.  Keeping the burn line straight required very little in the way of touch-ups.  The resulting ash was tight and firm.  The ash was mostly white in color with some darker speckles mixed in.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

The draw also consistently performed well.  I would describe the draw as not too loose and not too tight.  This was an enjoyable smoking experience from start to finish.

Strength and Body

For the L’Atelier Maduro, I found this cigar had a little more kick that one might think.   I assessed the strength as falling into the medium to full range of the strength spectrum.  As for the flavors, I found the L’Atelier Maduro to have bold flavors.  I assessed this cigar as being a full-bodied cigar from start to finish.  When looking at strength versus body, I gave a slight edge to the body.  The L’Atelier Maduro delivered deep flavors yet still provided enough strength to satisfy.

Final Thoughts

One thing I didn’t call out is that the L’Atelier Maduro is not a the original L’Atlelier blend with a different wrapper.  This is a different blend and is going to deliver a different experience.   I didn’t find the L’Atelier Maduro to be a cigar that is going to break any new ground when it comes to maduro smokes, but I did find this to be an excellent maduro smoke.  2013 seems to be a very good year for maduros and the L’Atelier Maduro is one that shines.   This is a cigar I would definitely recommend to any maduro cigar enthusiast.  I’d still steer this more toward an experienced cigar enthusiast, but this is a great cigar for a novice to try who is looking for more strength and body.  This is definitely worthy of being a regular rotation cigar in my book – and it already has become one.  It’s one absolutely worth checking out.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Low
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Full
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: Memorable
Score: 93

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, NC.