Tatuaje founder Pete Johnson is a busy man. You’d think owning one leading cigar brand would be enough for him, but no. In 2012, he launched L’Atelier...
Tatuaje founder Pete Johnson is a busy man. You’d think owning one leading cigar brand would be enough for him, but no.
In 2012, he launched L’Atelier cigars, which has turned out to be a fine collaboration with the Garcia family in Nicaragua. You might also think that the Garcias have their hands full, but there’s clearly always time to create more 90+ rated blends, it seems. For those new to cigars, the Garcias, led by patriarch Don José “Pepin” Garcia, are responsible for creating some of the finest cigars on earth under the My Father brand. These include two Cigar of the Year winners at the time of this writing, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if they manage to notch another before all is said and done.
So, L’Atelier is essentially a collaboration between one of the hottest American blenders of the last few decades and a company that has absolutely mastered the art of making premium cigars.
At launch, the core blend line of L’Atelier cigars featured spiritus sancti tobacco as the wrapper leaf, whether it’s grown in Nicaragua or Ecuador. Technically it’s a hybrid of Criollo and Pelo d’Oro, sometimes referred to as the “lost seed of Cuba” online. Pelo d’Oro is a fragile leaf that isn’t used by many in modern cigarmaking, but if you can raise a crop of it, you can get an interesting taste of classic Havana.
One of the main focuses of the founding group of L’Atelier cigars is producing stogies that are, as they say, “consumer price conscious.” In a luxury product market, this idea can be tricky to define, but it’s clear enough that not everyone who enjoys cigars wants to go broke doing it. For that reason, most of the L’Atelier cigars we see are starting to retail at somewhere around $8 or $10. Whether or not that’s price-conscious is definitely up to you. We know that one man’s “price-conscious” is another man’s “overpriced.”
As for the meaning of “L’Atelier”(uh-tel-ee-YAY), it’s a French term for a studio, workshop, or place of creation. Cigar making, as an art form, needs some space to be done properly. Blenders work with different leaves, experiment, and test out how blends will actually taste when smoked. This requires piles of tobacco, a spot to roll, and a good amount of room.
If you’re interested in seeing blends produced by one of the cigar industry’s most promising collaborations, check out L’Atelier. They’ve already earned a 95 rating from Cigar Aficionado for the La Mission L’Atelier 1959 blend, so it’s safe to say that this brand is one to watch.