Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Appearance (0-20): The Surrogates line (from L'Atelier) comes forward with a simple design to their bands, and the Bone Crusher is no exception. The two bands are both set in a matte black with a simple white design (one says “Surrogates” and the other “Bone Crusher" with a white bone in the center). Cigar oils along the outside gave this stick a slight sheen, with a lot of nice rich colors to the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. There are a few more minor imperfections that are easy to spot, but nothing so adverse that I would be afraid to smoke it.
Construction (0-20): Glancing at the bottom reveals a nice, tight wrap job. No excess debris in the initial cut. The prelight draw was a little tight, but upon lighting it loosened up to nearly a perfect airflow. Burning cool throughout, it was a hair off with its lines but kept a decent ash (1.5 inches per). The ash itself was a hair flakey, but overall, solid.
Strength (0-20): Listed as full, I’d say it does very well to stick near that mark. It begins with a heavy smack, teeters toward medium, but tends to sit in the full range overall.
Flavor (0-20): The initial blast from this brings a huge amount of pepper that is quickly melded with a slight sweetness and a slightly bitter coffee. Those same flavors mingle together with a bit of wood as you progress, with the pepper slowly fading. But be ready for another shot of smokey pain, as the pepper comes back (harder than before) and takes over for a bit in the middle. The nicety is that when you think you’ve hit your limit on the spice, it drops and is replaced with some creamy and chocolaty notes that help to stabilize your palate. The last bit adds just a hair of leather and smoothed out nicely while fading to cream.
Value (0-20): $7.50 is a reasonable price for a stick like this. While it isnt an outright bargain, the Bone Crusher won’t disappoint.
Additional Notes: Paired with water on my broskie’s deck.
Overall (0-100): To this point I have been impressed with the L’Atelier offerings. The Surrogates line is especially fun. This is the type of cigar that has the capacity to knock you straight on your ass with its power, but also has a nice complexity to back it up. Look for coffee, leather, wood, pepper, pepper, pepper pepper pepper (yes I meant to type that over and over), some cream, and a little chocolate too. The pricepoint is right for what you’re getting, it’s well-constructed, and they didn’t go nuts on the branding. You’ve got my seal of approval on this one (which isn’t worth much, but hey, you’ve still got it). Pick one of these up for sure.