While I usually review cigars in the evening, after a good meal, sitting in my man cave with the TV on, this cigar I reviewed in the morning after a nice breakfast, an hour long workout and a shower. Right after Alec Bradley won the Cigar Aficionado Top 25 in 2011 the company I then worked for started to distribute the Alec Bradley brand in The Netherlands and much to our surprise our best seller wasn’t the blend that won the number #1 spot that was the best seller, but the Black Market was. We just couldn’t keep up with the demand, the cigars just flew of the shelves. And it still surprises me, I smoked quite a few of them and my impression was always that it was a good smoke but nothing spectacular. Now in the summer of 2014 we released a one time only business to business magazine for the Dutch retailers and we included a top 25 cigars from our portfolio, all tested blind by a panel of 10 cigar aficionados and the Alec Bradley Black Market came out as number one.
Last september at Intertabac 2016 I ran into George Sosa again, and I must say, over the last few years George and I formed a real friendship. As I had left the company George said “let me give you some cigars so you won’t be without” which is funny since my stash holds 5000+ cigars anyway. Including the hand full of cigars he gave me was this Black Market robusto and since I hadn’t smoked it in a long time (my go to Alec Bradley is the Tempus Nicaragua robusto) and never reviewed it before I decided not to smoke it on the spot but review it. The blend of this cigar consists of Honduran and Panamanian filler, a Sumatra binder and a Nicaraguan wrapper and the cigars are being produced by Raices Cubanas in Honduras. The size of the cigar is 5.2×52 and the wrapper is quite dark, like a 72% dark chocolate bar with some minor veins. The ring is huge, it covers the bottom half of the cigar but when you remove it you’ll find a small separate ring just past the midway point of the cigar. The construction feels good, the cigar is evenly filled and has a medium strong spicy barnyard aroma. The cold draw is fine and I taste a raisin flavor.
As you can see I used my trusted combination of a Xikar Xi2 butterfly cutter and my vintage Ronson varaflame to cut and light the cigar. Straight from the start I taste spice, some pepper and a mild coffee flavor with some sugar like sweetness. After a centimeter the flavor changed to wood with some spice on the back of my tongue and some sweetness too. After a thirds I taste some pepper again.
The flavor changes to wood with lemon, a nice and refreshing lemon. It changes quickly to a hickory wood without the lemon though but with sweetness again, a sugary sweetness. After two thirds I taste a mild milky chocolate with spices. Later the flavor changes to a mild peanut butter but still with the sugary sweetness. Near the end I taste a nice fresh aftertaste.
The ash is light colored, beautifully layered and firm. The smoke is light gray and nothing more than medium thick and medium in amount. The draw is fine, just a tiny bit on the tight side but still fine. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is medium bodied yet medium full flavored, it’s well balanced with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, it’s been a while since I smoked it and it’s a nicer cigar than I remembered, combined with the price it’s a cigar I will buy more often.