The Surrogates line was made originally for New Havana Cigars by Pete Johnson of Tatuaje. The line became fully available when the new company L’Atelier Imports was formed. L’Atelier is french for “The workshop” and is the result of a collaboration by K.C. Jonson, Dan Welsh, and Sean “Casper” Johnson, with some close involvement from Pete Johnson. When the company was formed, Dan Welsh licensed his Surrogates line to the company, so now it will be in B&Ms nationwide. L’Atelier Imports’ initial portfolio will include two bundle lines and two premium lines. The premium lines are, of course, the Surrogates, and the new LAT which will retail around $8.00 to $9.00 a stick. Upon the formation of the new company, they had a line extension for the Surrogates which is now offered in four vitolas, the Bone Crusher which I am reviewing today is a 5 1/4 x 55, the Tramp Stamp is a 5 1/4 x 48, the Crystal Baller is a 5 3/4 x 56 box pressed, and the Skull Breaker is a 5 1/4 x 52 Belicoso. The two original vitolas in the Surrogates line, the Bone Crusher and Skull Breaker, feature a Broadleaf wrapper with Nicaraguan fillers and binders, while the two new sizes feature a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.
Size: 5 1/4 x 55
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
Construction and Appearance: The Surrogates Bone Crusher has two black bands. The top one says Bone Crusher with a cartoonish looking bone in between the two words. The second says Surrogates in a stylish cursive writing. Both bands are black with white writing. On the back of the lower band there is a red warning sign. The wrapper of the Surrogates Bone Crusher is jet black, with mild veins and a nice bit of oil to it. The construction is pretty firm and the Bone Crusher is topped off with a neat triple cap.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the Surrogates Bone Crusher has notes of rich chocolate and coffee. The foot has a scent which is a blend of spice, wood, coffee, and a bit of cocoa. To prepare smoking the Surrogates Bone Crusher I use a straight cut and on the cold draw there is a flavor of chocolate, rich spices, and a little coffee.
Smoking Characteristics: The Surrogates Bone Crusher fires up with a blast of spice and pepper which linger on the palate with a bit of a coffee flavor. From the first few puffs you can feel that this one is going to pack a bit of a punch. After the first few draws a nice blend of dark chocolate and coffee starts to emerge into the flavor profile along with the spice which remains, but the pepper has faded out. The smoke is very smooth, cool, rich, and creamy, each puff easily providing a full body of smoke. Each draw leaves a pleasant finish on the palate which consists of a bitter sweet chocolate. In the first third, I would place the strength in the medium to full range, providing a nice kick early on.
Into the second third of the Surrogates Bone Crusher,the flavor starts to really hit its stride. Now the Dark Chocolate has evolved into more of a classic bittersweet chocolate. The coffee has become a very rich espresso and the spice is still complimenting both flavors wonderfully. During this third, a bit of a molasses sweetness is also introduced along with a nice berry tone, the two flavors rounding out the profile wonderfully. The finish on the Surrogates Bone Crusher is also surprisingly clean, with just a sharp chocolate and espresso flavor lingering on the palate between draws.
In terms of construction it holds up well, the burn is very sharp and requires no attention. The draw is wonderful as well. The one place where I am a bit disappointed is the ash. I can’t seem to get it to hold to the inch point without noticing it starts to get a little shaky. Rather than risk it I just keep ashing around the half inch mark. The strength in this third does increase markedly, with a wonderful buzz setting in while smoking.
During the final third of the Surrogates Bone Crusher, the flavor doesn’t evolve as much as it did from the first to the second third. The espresso, dark chocolate, spice, molasses, and berry all remain, but no new flavors are introduced. The overall flavor has become a bit creamier and sweeter. The smoke is still very cool, smooth, creamy, sweet, rich, with a nice full body on each draw. The construction remains about the same during this third. The burn still remains very sharp, the draw excellent, but the ash still only holding to about the half inch point. The strength remains in the full range, with a very nice relaxing feel taking me over as I smoke. The aroma which fills the air is very rich and pleasant with a nice full chocolate aroma to it. The Surrogates Bone Crusher performs well to the nub, without warming or pulling any heat.
Conclusion: The Surrogates Bone Crusher is a delicious maduro at a price point that won’t impact your wallet too much. With the well blended flavors, excellent strength, and suitable construction I could see this one becoming popular quickly now that it is nationally available. In fact, it already had a bit of a following when it was exclusive to New Havana Cigars. Now that it can be found in B&Ms nationwide, the demand should be quite healthy. Do I suggest trying this one out? Certainly the presentation alone is intriguing, and the stick speaks for itself. Would I buy a box? I’d say it would certainly be worth it.