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Cigar Geeks Geek Critique

L'Atelier Surrogates Crystal Baller
Written by Cigar Geeks Member: Greg Swaine (Vanilla Gorilla)
88
Cigar Geeks Rating

Pete Johnson & crew were at it again.

Introducing the next project from L'Atelier cigars, Surrogates. Blended by Pete Johnson, and crafted in Don Pepin's My Father factory in Nicaragua, each Surrogate was masterfully created to serve up four unique and completely different experiences. This time around, their goal was simple. To create a new series of cigars, limited-edition in nature, that would be readily available to the consumer without breaking the bank. A winning combination if you ask me. Here's the bottom line: Surrogates deliver the goods as promised.

Each blend is easily distinguished by its....errr....'one of a kind' names and bands. I don't know where they came up with these, but they sure make for a good conversation.

Crystal Baller – Medium to full-bodied. Notes of natural sweetness, spice, cocoa, cedar, and a toasty finish. Featuring: Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan long-fillers, and box-pressed finish.


Length:
5.75
Ring Gauge:
54
Country Manufactured:
Nicaragua
Filler:
Nicaragua
Binder:
Nicaragua
Wrapper:
Ecuador
Color:
Colorado Maduro
Strength:
Medium-Full
Shape:
Toro

This cigar was enjoyed with Coffee and water

Pre-Light: 17 Points of 20 Possible

The nice thing about the L’Atelier Surrogates Crystal Baller was that this cigar looks exactly how you’d hope it would. It’s nicely rounded for a box press, which is a cigar style that I am not used to smoking, so having the rounded edges gave me a little more familiarity when smoking it. Its wrapper is a nice coffee and cream colour. Nice and tightly wrapped with only a view visable veins. The Cap is smooth and easily punched. The Crystal Baller is tagged with a double band, neither of which are particularly fancy by any means, but I usually end up removing those anyways so at least I don’t need to look at them for long. Scent given off the pre light is spices dark chocolate and dried fruit. It really reminds me of those Brookstreet chocolate covered dried fruits. Can’t mistake that anywhere. I’m intrigued and ready to dive in!

Light & Burn: 11 Points of 15 Possible

I had some small burn issues with this stick, which went out once as well. The biggest issue was needing to even out the burn line constantly, which It kept canoeing and needing some assistance. This stopped after the burn out issue, which once re-lit burnt without issue. Smoke and draw comes flawlessly with this cigar, which was a nice surprise. I was worried at first with how tight the wrap looked, but it does flow quite smoothly and draws with ease.

Construction: 28 Points of 30 Possible

I really like the look of this cigar and the burn issues I had I do not believe came from construction faults. It is evenly packed and feels solid throughout. No soft spots were found but there are no dense or hard areas either. This cigar is put together quite nicely. I was really impressed. I smoked this cigar until the very, very end. Never had issues with harshness or the smoke getting too hot.

Flavor: 32 Points of 35 Possible

This cigar is like walking into a bakery that just made a fresh batch of spice cookies. A LOT of spice comes out of this cigar. But not a peppery one. It was like smoking a dessert. This cigar would be a medium bodied/strength. The second half of the cigar there are hints of black pepper and chocolate that are added in, but the taste comes with the exhale and it’s almost like an afterthought. Dried fruits, berries in particular accompany the spice with a smooth creaminess to them throughout.

Summary

This cigar blew me away. It is something that I’ve been looking for in a cigar for awhile now and have never really found. It was perfect to smoke with a coffee in the fall up here in Canada. It would have also pared very well with a port or brandy. Regardless this cigar is a real treat. I had been resting it since I received it from Appolo back in Aug I believe it was. In my opinion this is the ultimate cigar to smoke in the fall. It was perfect and I’ve got to thank Stephen for sharing this with me. I’ll be looking too add more to my collection ASAP.




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