Disclaimer: what follows is my attempt to review a cigar. In reality, however, this is nothing more than my entry into the contest for some la barba purple!
Surrogates Cigars is a brand created and sold under the umbrella of L'Atelier Imports. The aim of the brand, according to the New Havana Cigars (owned by Dan Welsh) website, is to create "limited edition quality at everyday price." New Havana Cigars provides the pertinent background info:
"The offerings by L’Atelier Imports are all made by the Garcia Family and blended by Pete Johnson and the L'Atelier team. Surrogates was started in 2011 by Pete Johnson and Dan Welsh and when L’Atelier Imports was created in 2012, Surrogates was a perfect fit for the portfolio. Pete Johnson and industry friends Dan Welsh, K.C. Johnson and Sean “Casper” Johnson set out to make premium cigars that are 'Consumer Price Conscious' and to raise the expectations of cigar smokers at every level of experience."
Each cigar released under the Surrogates brand is a different blend and vitola. Previous releases are: Skull Breaker, Bone Crusher, Crystal Baller, Tramp Stamp, and Animal Cracker. At this year's IPCPR the brand showed off two new offerings: Cracker Crumbs and, the subject of this review, Satin Glove.
Surrogates Satin Glove
Size: 7 x 47 Box Press
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Factory: My Father Cigars
MSRP: $8.00 (I paid $8.99)
*Note: I gathered the blend info from Cigar Coop and New Havana Cigars*
Pre-light: The Satin Glove is a solid, box-pressed churchill. There are two bands. The main band has a picture of a maroon (satin?) glove set between the white-lettered words "Satin Glove." The secondary band has the Surrogates name. The wrapper is dark brown in color, silky (satin?) to the touch, and toothy and rustic in appearance. The veins and seems are quite prominent. The smell of the wrapper is a mixture of earth, pepper, and semi-sweet chocolate. The foot is similar, but sweetness and chocolate are more pronounced. The same notes are detected on the cold draw, which has a slight resistance.
First Third: The prominent note right out of the gate is semi-sweet chocolate, though this is balanced nicely by notes of earth and pepper. The retrohale is predominately pepper, but it leaves a combination of tangy citrus and cayenne for what is a very long finish. About an inch in, I start to pick up additional notes of nuts, coffee, and caramel while the earth and pepper recede. Draw and burn are perfect thus far, and the smoke out-put is voluminous. Each puff coats the palate. Flavor and body are full, and I'd peg it so far as medium strength.
Middle Third: Chocolate, caramel, nuts, butterscotch, and coffee are the major notes in the middle third of the cigar. There is a sweetness that ties all these flavors together that, when combined with the creamy texture of the smoke, makes this a very pleasant portion of the cigar. As you would expect from a Pepin made cigar the pepper is there, but it isn't anything more than a tertiary note, even on the retrohale. Burn and draw continue to be spot-on. Flavor and body remain full, and the strength holds at medium.
Final Third: The sweetness tapers off a bit and the nuttiness, coffee, and chocolate take on a darker, deeper quality. Charred oak and dark berry flavors also come into the mix, and the earth and pepper reappear at the back of the throat. With the change in flavors the strength also kicks up a notch, but I wouldn't say it is anything more than medium-full. The cigar burns and draws like a champ right down to a third of an inch. Final smoking time was 1 hour, 45 minutes.
Final Analysis: The Satin Glove is a well-made, full-flavored, medium to medium-full strength cigar that was a delight to smoke. Most notable is the balance of flavors, even into the last third where the flavors become much darker. It is not the most complex cigar on the market, but the flavors are so pronounced and play so well together that, given the price point and the length of the smoke, this is a no-brainer for me. In fact, to date, the Satin Glove would rank as my favorite Surrogates, though I have yet to try the Cracker Crumbs. If I were to follow the Cigar Federation scoring guidelines, I'd rate this a 90 "Box-Split."