L’Atelier Imports L’Atelier MAD 44 Maduro
So, you guys should all be familiar with Jeff by now. He’s our honorary Casas Fumando writer, and he kicked out tons of great reviews. If he keeps this up we are going to force him to join us full time. Until then, enjoy his newest “Guest” review.
With Christmas looming, I wanted to be sure to get another review in this week, so I decided to go with something that, hopefully, will be rather quick, but worthy of attention.
The L’Atelier MAD maduro series was released just before the 2013 IPCPR trade show and immediately garnered positive notice. Coming in three vitolas – MAD 44: 4 1/2 x 44, MAD 54:
4 1/2 x 54; and MAD 56: 5 1/2 x 56 – they run from $6.50 to $9.50 for singles, with most box prices lowering the cost by nearly a dollar a stick. Like all of the L’Atelier lines outside of the bundled ones, these are manufactured at the My Father factory.
I previously reviewed the Ecuadorian Sancti Spritus wrapped LAT 46 several months back, and this MAD 44 came from the same sampler that I bought from Small Batch Cigar back then (the contents of the sampler have changed slightly since then).
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas, and thank you for coming here to read and take part in the goings on here!
Wrapper: USA Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaragua, Sancti Spiritus
Size: MAD 44 – 4 1/2x 44
Smoking time: One hour, five minutes
Pairing: Victory Storm King Imperial Stout (9.1% ABV)
The petite corona sized L’Atelier MAD 44 comes clad in an extremely dark, nearly black, wrapper that shows a slight amount of oiliness and a bit of tooth. It is very firmly packed, and it takes a good look to discern the seams on the wrap. The black, gold, and silver graphics and lettering on the white background of the band are simple, yet effective, and pops out against the deep color of the wrapper. The wrapper gives up scents of earth, barnyard, and a bit of smoke, while the foot shows woody tobacco and dark Oolong tea (I swear, that’s what I’m picking up!). A shallow clip of the cap reveals a good draw with sweet hay and not much more and leaves a peppery tingle on the lips.
The L’Atelier MAD 44 opens up with a nice mouthful of earthy tobacco, bitter coffee, and smoky oak, backed by a good amount of pepper, which shows even more prominently in the retrohale. A bit of sweetness and some cocoa are present in the aftertaste. A tartness soon creeps in and the pepper dials back as the mouthfeel turns rounder and smoother. The burn line is a bit wavy and the ash falls on me at ¾”. The pepper picks up in intensity, then again falls back as a definite savoriness enters the picture. Nearing the tail end of the first half, the MAD 44 has developed what former – and much missed – Casas Fumando reviewer Daniel used to aptly term a “peninsula”, and although tempted to correct it, I allow it to do so on its own, which it mostly does.
The rest of the way:
Sweet spice and the return of the pepper ushers in the second half of the L’Atelier MAD 44, which at this point is at a medium-full body, but no more than medium in strength. The mouthfeel is somehow paradoxically smooth, yet bitey. Savory charred oak, coffee, and earth continue to run the show, while the burn wavers and self-corrects. With and inch and a half to go, the sweetness has fallen back and the tanginess har mover forward, only to soon change places once again. The MAD 44 smokes cool and without harshness down to where I can no longer hold onto the small nub.
The L’Atelier MAD 44 turned out to be something I wasn’t quite expecting in that I thought it would be more of a typical sweet maduro. Instead, it was a much more serious smoke with a decent amount of complexity with a definite amount of edginess to it. It’s a cigar that kept me on my toes while delivering a different kind of maduro experience. The construction on it was less than perfect, but acceptable, and the price, while on the slightly higher side for a small stick, was certainly in line with the results. I can’t say that this would be a cigar that would exhilarate those who prefer a sweet, chocolate driven maduro, but I think it is a one well worth looking into.
The Storm King Imperial Stout by Victory Brewing Company clocks in at 9.1% ABV, and is a very hop forward example of the genre. Not having had either before, I was expecting a bit more sweetness from both the beer and the cigar, so it wasn’t the ideal match I was hoping for. Couple that with the fact that the cold weather outside refused to let the beer warm up to show its true self, and things fell a bit flat. The L’Atelier MAD 44 would do much better with a sweeter version of a stout, or perhaps a darker Belgian ale. A nice deep tawny or reserve port would be an ideal match for this cigar.