Posted by Jack | in L'Atelier | on 14 May 2015 | at 10:16 AM | 1848 views
The announcement of a Pete Johnson creation containing Pelo de Oro last year at the IPCPR was akin to seeing a new blockbuster movie teaser.  The hype was heavy and it did create an air of excitement.  Pelo de Oro is a very sought after and incredibly difficult leaf to grow.  susceptible to mold and diseases, most farms avoid growing it if they can cultivate it at all.  In fact, the Sancti Spiritus leaf that Pete uses on the core L'Atelier line is a hybrid of Pelo de Oro and Criollo which is much more hardy.  Pelo de Oro itself is regarded for strength and sweetness - but again, being hard to grow it isn't seen often.  This cigar landed at the Wharf here in Dayton earlier this week and it created a buzz in the shop, I can tell you.  So, what does this mean for cigar smokers when a master blender like Pete Johnson gets his hands on some?  Let's see, shall we?
Construction: Slightly lumpy and veiny, the Cote d'Or is draped in an absolutely beautiful, thick, and oily wrapper leaf.  A common misconception is that the wrapper is the highly regarded Pelo de Oro leaf, but it is actually a high priming Sancti Spiritus leaf. Higher priming means darker, richer flavor - think sun grown here.  It's a beautiful cigar and the presentation with creamy white ribbon and band makes it look as elegant as it should.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: Out of the cello the Cote gives off a heavy aroma of sweet earth, molasses, barnyard notes, and a mild damp hay.  It actually is making my mouth water.
Light and Burn: I had some minor issues at the start with a lop-sided burn but it corrected itself well and was razor sharp after that - so no complaints there.
Tasting: Here we go. Off the start, I get notes of earth, raisin, white pepper, dried peaches, and an underlying sweetness that is just incredible.  Flavors are dense and chewy.  The finish is heavy and lasts a long while. Each puff seems to slow time.  A note of tea shows up with a hint of brown sugar.  Smoke production is huge and the burn is spot-on with a nice clingy white ash.  Body and strength are full tilt so make sure you are well fed before enjoying.
The middle third takes things down a notch in terms of strength but the body is still full. Notes of sweet oak, minerals, some dark roast coffee, and more of the dried peach notes.  The flavors take on a nice creamy quality and the finish is still miles long with a chewy quality.  With some months or more in the humidor, this cigar is going to be incredible.  I mean, it already is....but even more incredible in future.
The final third shows a lot of intermingling of the aforementioned flavors and this really shows off the balance of the blend.  It is masterfully done.  A sweeter chocolate note creeps in for a visit . The raisin, chocolate, and creamy notes play together to create a rich flavor like port wine.  Strength drops down to a heavy medium in this segment as well.  A nice meaty flavor adds itself to the mix here as well while flavors keep moving in and out making this a cigar one I wish would never end.  Needless to say, I smoked this thing until I couldn't hold it anymore.  Incredible cigar.
Value: At $16 or a few bucks more, this is a fairly pricey cigar - but worth every cent.
Final Thoughts: Seriously, this cigar lived up to the hype it generated at the IPCPR last year.  It was worth the wait and a bit more time will turn it into one for the ages.  I have enjoyed every cigar that Pete and company have put out under the L'Atelier line but this one is easily the cream of the crop.  One thing I love about Pete's cigars is how well they smoke at release and how magnificently they mature over time.  I know I have sang his praises before but this cigar really shows how masterful he is at his craft.  This should be one to find for every cigar enthusiast out there.  Simply unreal, folks.  Very highly recommended.
Wrapper: Sancti Spiritus high priming
Filler: Nicaraguan and Pelo de Oro
Strength: Medium full
Size: 7 x 47 soft box press
A simple and elegant presentation adds to the mystique of this cigar
If you are interested, Cote d'Or translates to Gold Coast
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