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Cigar Review: L’Atelier Imports Surrogates Skull Breaker

5 Feb 2014

Skull BreakerThe Surrogates line is an effort by brand owner Pete Johnson to release “consumer price conscious” cigars with premium quality.

To increase the appeal, each of the five Surrogates vitolas, rolled at Don Pepin Garcia’s My Father Cigars factory in Nicaragua, has a different blend and flavor profile. The idea is to create cigars with something of a limited edition feel in a regular production run.

For the Skull Breaker, a belicoso (5.25 x 52), that means a splotchy Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with few veins and Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. It’s listed at $8 per stick.

I’ve smoked five and generally enjoyed each one. I did encounter some inconsistency between sticks. A few, for example, were rolled a bit tight. And while smoke production was generally good, it was notably thin in one Skull Breaker. Across all samples the burn was excellent, and the ash held on tightly.

Pre-light, the wrapper had a nice, spicy, barnyard aroma while the filler gave off a sweet and chocolatey air. Smoking through it, I was surprised at the relatively mild level of pepper considering where it was rolled and the Nicaraguan filler.

But it did have the strength and body typical of many Nicaraguans, as well as flavors of leather and espresso.

The Skull Breaker isn’t particularly complex, though it did develop a bit, and I generally liked the second half more than the first.

I’d like to try others in the Surrogates line. It’s an interesting concept. Patrick A reviewed the original Skull Breaker when it was introduced at New Havana Cigars and gave it three and a half stogies. A year and a half later, I’d agree.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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