Here it is readers, the highly anticipated new cigar from Pete Johnson (Tatuaje), L'esprit De Verite! Actually, la Verite is the flagship of the brand (Churchill), which I will be reviewing soon. L'esprit De Verite is a Robusto, and is supposed to be a little lighter than its big brother. If you haven't heard, La Verite is Pete's newest undertaking and is a first in the industry. He is taking a page out of the wine book and doing a single farm vintage cigar. That means that all the tobacco that goes into La Verite 2008 is from a single planting on a single farm. In 2008 they planted a single crop of Habano Criollo on Pepin's La Estrella farm, and that is all that goes into the 2008 release. This isn't normally how cigars are blended. The tobacco that was grown in 2008 was rolled into cigars from 3-30-09 to 7-3-09 and has been aging in master cases until its final release, which was in the past couple of weeks. Only 20,000 Robustos were made and when they are gone, they are gone. Each year Pete will produce a unique blend under the La Verite brand.
The L'esprit has a very firm feel to it, with a pale brown wrapper that has a slight greenish hue to it. This is well rolled, which is to be expected coming out of Pepin's factory. The band isn't one of my favorites that I have seen from Pete, but I guess it was an old style Cuban band and he liked its simplicity. The predraw shows a slightly open draw with a light sweet flavor with some woody flavors as well. Once lit, this starts out very nice! The smoke has a creamy mouth feel with a touch of classic Tatuaje spice at first, which quickly fades away. There are also some woody flavors here, sweetness, black tea with cream....plenty of light and crisp flavors that just dance across the palate. I am loving the complexity of this cigar so far! The room aroma is quite pleasant as well. The ash is very white and on the flakey side, but holds on for an inch.
At the halfway point the flavors have stayed pretty consistent, but never boring. I have noticed that flavor profile has darkened up and gotten a little deeper the further I get into the L'esprit. It seems to have settled into a medium bodied smoke. The final third delivers more of the same, but with some leather and cinnamon. Like I said before, this is definitely a complex cigar!
I really didn't know what to expect from the L'esprit De Verite 2008, but it definitely didn't disappoint! This isn't your typical Tatuaje at all. This is a mild/medium bodied cigar with very light, crisp flavors, a perfect cigar for earlier in the day when you don't want something really heavy. The complexity of this cigar amazed me, since there is only one type of tobacco blended into this. With such a small number of these being produced, a higher price tag shouldn't come as a shock. The Robusto comes in at $16 a piece, making this Pete's most expensive line of cigars. The question of whether this cigar is worth $16 is obviously going to come up, but I don't really have an answer for that one. Is any cigar worth $16? It all depends on how you look at it and what you are willing to spend. I enjoyed L'esprit De Verite and am hoping to grab a couple more.