La Mission is the latest (and strongest) release form L'Atelier Imports. La Mission is a soft box press and is currently available in three sizes with four more on the way. I had a chance to sit down and chat with Casper at IPCPR and he gave us the low down on La Mission and the new Racine.
La Mission du L'Atelier
Size: 5 3/4 x 52
Vitola: 1985 (Robusto)
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Filler: Nicarguan including Sancti Spiritus
Cigars smoked for review: 2
Cigars for review provided by Drew Estate
Note: For this review we used CigarFederation's rating system
Rob's review: 89 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"
Pre-Light: What a gorgeous cigar! La Mission has a beautifully ornate band and a supremely dark wrapper. The look is quite different from any other L'Atelier release and the level of strength is on a different level as well.
The Mexican San Andres was DARK and it made the new style band really stand out. The construction was spot on with a very clean cold draw. The wrapper smelled strongly of earth with dried vegetation and black pepper. The cold draw offered up notes of earth and black pepper as well.
Beginning: Right off the bat I was hit with notes of rich leather and wood. There was a strong note of black pepper on the lips and the tongue as well. A bittersweet note of molasses brought a nice balance to the early profile, and it completed the cigar. The strength was a solid medium to start, but grew as the cigar progressed.
Middle: The black pepper spice calmed down a bit in this third. The heat from the black pepper calmed quite a bit and took on more of a peppercorn flavor. The molasses sweetness transitioned into a deep note of dark chocolate. This dark chocolate took the profile to the next level for me. The first third was good, but the middle third got my attention.
End: The roller coaster continued. The heat from the black pepper came back and the strength kicked up to a medium-full level. The sweetness held strong, but got ran over a bit by the heat of the black pepper. I'm confident that given some time the end will smooth out bit.
Final Thoughts: La Mission is very different from any other L'Atelier release and that was the whole point. They wanted a stronger cigar and that is exactly what they came up with. They did a great job of showing off the peppery side of San Andres and I think a lot of folks are going to LOVE this cigar. I enjoyed it, but it's a bit outside my wheelhouse. With that being said, La Mission offered up everything I want in a spicy cigar.
Rating: 89 aka "5-Pack Purchase"
I would pick up a fiver of these without hesitation. In fact, I plan on letting a few rest and revisiting them later this year.
Jerad’s Review: 89 AKA “5-pack”
The wrapper on La Mission looks great. Slightly oily, with a heck of a lot of toothiness, but still a nice clean wrapper.
The cold draw is pretty straightforward, with notes of cedar, natural tobacco, sweetness, vague coffee notes and nice little kick of white pepper spice.
The first third started with a whirl of flavors that were not easily placed. There was a cocoa note, then cedar, then some spice and finally it settled on an herb flavor. Very much like rosemary with a slight dill aftertaste.
The second third became creamy, with a vegetal flavor. The creaminess was very nice, and was evened out with a nice pepper spice in the background.
The final third lost the creaminess and became much drier and the finish became longer. Smokey, savory and herby is how La Mission ended for me.
The first two thirds were solid medium in strength, but the final third becomes much stronger and pushes up into the full range. Solid construction, clean burn and solid ash were all there as well.
Surgeon's Rating: 90 AKA "Box Split"
The nose is spicy fermented tobacco on top of dry hay.
Using a single v-cut it had a tight draw but I elected to not make a second cut.
The start has light hay with a spicy retrohale. I get a sweet leather to finish each draw. The retrohale is quite complex and keeps building as I proceed through the first third. There's a prominent woody note that comes in once the first third has established itself. A chocolate flavor joins into the mix at about the 15 minute mark.
La Mission is smoking so well I'm finding myself having to slow down my pace.
The first third is quite elegant but it took me a while to wrap my head around the profile. The ash held on very tight through the first third.
In the middle third the spice on the retrohale decreases in strength significantly. Each draw finishes with a velvet cocoa chocolate. A nice rich and creamy mouthfeel that carries through the entire third. I find the retrohale quite balanced and I get a little bit of leather to finish each draw as it moves into the last third.
Flavors of spicy wood are what stands out most for me in the last third. There's still some post draw leather and a little bit of dry wood that enters into the mix halfway through. It has me wishing I had a pairing to go along with it. Smokes beautifully right to the nub. La Mission du L'Atelier is a complex little cigar that is an easy box-split decision.
Surgeon's Pairing Recommendation:
I don't think you could go wrong with a red wine, port or a sherried whisky. If you gravitate towards pop, I think a Dr. Pepper or a Coke would be a great choice.
Cigar Federation Group Rating: 89.33 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"