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Cigar Review: L’Atelier Imports Surrogates Cracker Crumbs

1 Sep 2015

One cigar I constantly find myself in search of is an inexpensive, small cigar that isn’t small on flavor. It’s a tall order since the small size limits the number of filler leaves and the ratios between them that can be used.

surrogates-cracker-crumbsAnother challenge small cigars face is that consumers don’t want to pay full price for what they perceive as half a smoke. That poses a challenge since although less filler tobacco is needed, the labor required is nearly identical to a larger cigar.

One savings cigar makers can get when making a smaller cigar like this, is that the wrapper can come from a second cut of each half leaf. Normally, a wrapper leaf (which is by far the most expensive tobacco in the cigar) is de-veined, which splits it in two parts, then each half is used as wrapper for one cigar. However, if the leaf is large enough, there may be enough left after the wrapper is trimmed to roll a second smaller cigar.

Whether that’s what L’Atelier Imports is doing or not, I can’t be certain, but it seems likely that’s taking place in the four small cigars L’Atelier introduced in 2014. Each—L’Atelier, El Suelo, Trocedero, and Surrogates—comes in a 4.5-inch, by 38-ring gauge size, which is then sold in soft 5-packs that retail for $15 each.

The Surrogates version is called Cracker Crumbs, and is a pint-sized version of the large Animal Cracker blend. It features a dark Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos.

Once lit, I find oak and bready flavors with a hint of leather. There are also slightly tanic notes that, at times, create a slight sourness, though that largely fades toward the final third.

Construction is notably excellent, especially the ash, which holds for nearly an inch before gently being tapped off. It’s not supremely complex, but there’s enough there to make for an enjoyable 20-30 minutes. (It should be noted that if you smoke slowly this will last far longer, and the flavors benefit when you do.)

That makes the Cracker Crumbs perfect for a variety of times when you don’t have time for a larger smoke, like a short walk or drive, or maybe a lunch break. In terms of value and construction, there’s a lot to like about the Surrogates Cracker Crumbs, and even though the size does limit its complexity, it still earns a solid three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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