Alec Bradley

Alec Bradley Post Embargo Robusto

In July of 2015 Alec Bradley showed a new line at the IPCPR, the Post Embargo, and Alan Rubin said that the name is based on his hope that the embargo ends soon to create a level playing field for all cigars. Rubin hates that due to the embargo the Cuban cigar is still seen as the benchmark for cigars and all others are labelled as ‘non Cubans’ which makes them sound inferior while non Cubans have won more #1 spots in Cigar Aficionado and other magazines than Cubans for over a decade now. And I agree with Alan on this, while there is no doubt that Cuba is the birthplace of the premium cigar and used to be the best by far it has been surpassed by Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic due to a lack of fertilizer and a mono culture which depleated the soil, unmotivated workers and a lack of quality control. I’m not saying all hope is lost, with the right steps Cuba could become the best cigar producer in the world again as their Vuelta Abajo soil is unique.


When I read about the release and the limited edition lancero I asked my friend George Sosa to bring a few lanceros on his European travels as I’m a big lancero lover. George didn’t but he did give me this robusto when I met him at Intertabac last september. The cigar is made by Raices Cubanas in Honduras with a Honduran wrapper, a double binder, one from Honduras and one from Nicaragua and fillers from the same countries too. The wrapper is quite dark, not maduro or obscure dark but still and it has a few darker smears over it. The construction feels good with a nice triple cap and a beautiful box pressing. The ring, well, its not my kind of art, but it was designed before the United States and Cuba opened embassies and rekindled their relationship so Alan Rubin was his time ahead by a few months when he designed the Cuban and American flag together with the Alec Bradley logo in the middle in all pastel colored decorations around, like on the TV Show Miami Vice. Although it’s not the kind of art I adore I must admit, it is something else than most cigar rings. The cigar has a nice barnyard aroma, medium strong.


I punched the cigar, as I like to do with Robusto sizes and thicker cigars. The cold draw is good with a dry raisin and cedar flavor, the aftertaste is white pepper. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste a nice medium coffee flavor with a strong peppery aftertaste. After a centimeter it’s more spices, with a little lemon on the side. After a third I taste leather, cedar, nutmeg and the flavors are all dry. The flavor now changes into a bit of a corn chips flavor that I like a lot with some lemon. Soon after the lemon becomes stronger with a faint cacao. Near the end the cigar gets bitter, time to let it die in the Alec Bradley ashtray that I grabbed for the occasion.


The draw is very good and so is the smoke, thick, plentiful and white. The ash is silver gray with black smears, layered and firm. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, it’s not as good as the Tempus Nicaragua but still good enough to buy again.

Score: 91

91

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Categories: 91, Alec Bradley, Nicaraguan cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alec Bradley Nica Puro Tubo Churchill

During the last Intertabac trade show, my friend George Sosa gave me the Nica Puro churchill in a tube. Now I knew the Nice Puro, I love that cigar, but the tubo was new to me. That’s not strange since hardly no cigar comes in tubes no more in The Netherlands due to anti smoke regulations. All ‘packaging units’ need to be stickered with warning labels, previously the Dutch version of the FDA didn’t consider tubes as a packaging unit until 4 years ago. And with every tube 65% covered in warning labels you couldn’t see anything on the tubo no more so most distributers decided to scrap them from their portfolio and don’t introduce new ones, like this Alec Bradley tube.


Well, the Nica Puro, it’s one of the few Alec Bradley cigars that isn’t made at Raices Cubanas in Danli, Honduras because this Nica Puro is made in Esteli, Nicaragua by the Plasencia family at their Cathedral de tobaccos as the locals call the Plasencia factory. I’ve been there, a beautiful factory with a hacienda style courtyard with fountain, a huge hall full of cigar rollers that hit their rolling desk with their chaveta when visitors come walking in as a sign of respect. Great place to visit, the Plasencia’s are great people and together with Alec Bradley they made this great cigars.


The cigar is dark, with a mild glossy, dark chocolate colored wrapper. A busy big ring with the Alec Bradley logo surrounded by different colored ovals and the NICA PURO letters and the year 1685 on the bottom. The construction feels good with a nice rounded head and a triple cap. The cigar has a strong aroma, hay, stable, charred hickory and manure come to mind. The tube is gold colored with the Alec Bradley logo in black on the top part and the Nica Puro in red on the bottom part.


I used my punch to punch a hole in the wrapper. I taste thick, sweet raisin and some pepper in the great cold draw. After lighting I taste coffee, sweetness and nutmeg. After an inch I taste some pepper too. Halfway I taste mild, sweet chocolate with dry leafs and spices. The flavors turn meaty. The final third starts with leather and a hefty pepper. I also taste some nuts.


The draw is good. The smoke is medium thick and full. The burn is straight and the light gray ash is as is firm. I would call this cigar medium plus bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? With or without a tube, I don’t care, but I like this cigar.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Alec Bradley, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Pryme Torpedo

I used to live in a small apartment with more cigars than I could store properly in regular humidors so I had several coolers filled with five finger bags full of cigars so when I was looking to buy a house I specifically searched for a house where I could build a man cave and a walk-in humidor. And I bought that house in February 2014. I don’t know if I should be proud of should seek help, but the man cave and the walk-in humidor were the first room to be ready. That’s when I started to unpack my coolers and found some hidden gems that I didn’t knew I had. And because this is the 11th birthday of my blog, I decided to publish a review of one of my vintage cigars.


One of the hidden gems were a handful of the Alec Bradley Prime Gold Series torpedo, and I did know nothing about these so I reached out to my friend George Sosa, whom I spend many hours in the car and on events with, and he told me that this was from a limited edition from 2004 and only 1500 boxes were made. That only made me wonder where I got these cigars from as I lit my first cigar December 2005 on a trip to Singapore & Indonesia. Well, to cut a long story short, on George’s next trip to The Netherlands I picked him up from his hotel and surprised him with one of these cigars that he hadn’t smoked in a long time. Now that I am down to my last one, why not say farewell to this line with a beautiful review?


The cigar comes wrapped in ceder for the bottom two thirds, with a cloth foot ring in a beige yellow color and a print saying gold series on the cedar. When I remove the cedar I find a beautiful, mild oily Ecuadorean ligero wrapper with one thin vein. The construction feels goor and the head of the cigar is so pointy that it’s almost considered a weapon. The ring is great, yellow and purple colors with a colorful crest in the middle and a banner saying pryme. Only on the side there is mentioning of Alec Bradley in a beautiful but small purple font. After all these years the aroma faded, so all I smell is a mild wood aroma.


Due to the shape of the cigar I have no other option than to cut, for which I use my Xikar cutter. The cold draw is perfect and gives me a nice and spicy raw tobacco flavor with pepper on the lips. How else could I light this cigar other than with my Alec Bradley Burner? Straight from the start I taste a very nice coffee flavor with cedar. After a quarter of an inch I taste green herbs too and a bit of a citrus flavor. After an inch I taste citrus, wood, some nutmeg and a little pepper. After a third it’s green herbs like basil, parsley and thyme that I taste with a nice dose of pepper. Halfway I taste spicy cedar with a very faint cocoa powder. Slowly I taste more spices and with an inch and a half to go I clearly taste cinnamon with cedar, lemon and pepper.


The draw is immaculate. The smoke is medium plus is volume and thickness. The white ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight as can be. There is a complexity and depth you can only find in vintage cigars. The cigar is still medium full to full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That won’t be possible but this cigar is pretty flavorful for a cigar with this age. I would not mind Alec Bradley bringing this blend back.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan

Candela, the green wrapper, has lost a lot of the charm and popularity over the years. If you go back to World War II, most cigars were candela wrapped due to the high demand. Farmers in the Partido region of Cuba used fires to cure the tobacco in the barns but the temperature raised too high, curing the tobacco in 3 days instead of the usual long process that naturally turns the wrapper yellow and then brown. So a lot of farmers started to use that method, those cigars were distributed to the American soldiers and that’s what they wanted to smoke after the war too.


Nowadays the tobacco is more of a gimmick and that’s exactly the way Alec Bradley thought of it when they decided to use a Candela wrapper for a limited edition of the Black Market. And they picked the green themed St. Patrick’s day as the occasion for this cigar to b released. The cigars, made at the Plasencia factory in Honduras instead of Raices Cubanas, were a hit and the Filthy Hooligan became a returning release, with tweaks in the blend and eventually even becoming a barberpole cigar. But this cigar is from the original 2013 release, a 6×50 toro with a Nicaraguan Candela wrapper, Nicaraguan and Honduran double binder and filler from Nicaragua and Panama.


I wouldn’t buy this if I was a regular consumer in a cigar shop, just because of the look. The wrapper is a pale grayish green with a clear vein, it looks dry and brittle. The ring is cool, just like the regular Black Market but with some green, a clover and the Filthy Hooligan name. The cigar feels well constructed, the triple cap is nice and the overall shape is good. For a supposedly mild cigar that aged for 5 years, the aroma is strong yet grassy, not green grass but mowed wet grass.


After cutting the cigar I taste a surprisingly peppery cold draw. After lighting I taste a sharp, metallic flavor over some grassy base flavor. There’s a little pepper too, white pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar with a little pepper. After a third the cigar gets harsh, I taste a little pepper, cedar and some salt. Halfway I taste the metallic flavor again, with salt and still that harshness on the tip of my tongue.


The draw is fine. The dark ash is coarse and not very firm. The smoke is thick. The burn is straight. This is a mild to medium bodied medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, just as I remembered the OR was the Filthy Hooligan I liked least.

Score: 86
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Categories: 86, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Prensado Lost Art Robusto

When the Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill was picked as #1 cigar of the year by Cigar Aficionado I was surprised. Not that it was a bad cigar, but I never would have imagined it as a winner, it’s good but not that good. But then again, I disagree with reviews and top 25 lists more often than not, it’s all about personal preferences I guess, and I know that people disagree with my list too.


Last month George Sosa handed me a few new Prensado cigars, the Lost Art, in a robusto shape and the first one I lit I loved, I liked it so much better than the regular prensado so I kept one for a review too. And here it is.


The box pressed cigar is made in Honduras, at Raices Cubanas, where the majority of Alec Bradley cigars are made. The cigar has a Honduran corojo wrapper and binder plus filler from both Honduras and Nicaragua. The ring is the same as the Prensado ring, with the red AB logo in the middle, several colored rings around it in a Indian color scheme but with an add ring saying Lost Art.  The coffee brown wrapper has some veins and the head got a few wrinkles because of box pressing the cigar. The aroma is medium strong and it’s clearly a tobacco and barnyard aroma.


I cut the cigar with a double guillotine cutter. The cold draw is perfect, i taste raw tobacco with a little spice on my lips. After lighting with my trusted soft flame I taste a strong and spicy coffee with a soft cedar undertone. After a centimeter I taste a nice cedar with herbs and spices. The aftertaste has a hint of chocolate but very subtle. The whole cigar is subtle with a spicy and peppery layer over the subtle wood and toast flavors. The background flavors are a very delicate mix of flavors, subtle enough to taste but hard to identify since they are balanced and complex.


The draw is perfect, the smoke is thick, white and voluminous. The ash is light gray with dark smears. The burn is straight. This cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I love this cigar.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Robusto

Years ago, while working for my previous employer, we released the Alec Bradley Black Market in The Netherlands and we couldn’t keep up with the demand, it was insane. Of course the demand dropped a little after a few months but it was still a good selling cigar, nice priced and it scored a 90 when I reviewed it earlier this year. Now there is a new Black Market, the Black Market Esteli.


I got this cigar from George Sosa, VP of Sales for Alec Bradley during the Big Smoke Amsterdam weekend, George and I have worked well together and he always hooks me up with plenty of cigars. He gave me this Nicaraguan cigar with a Nicaraguan wrapper, a double binder, one from Nicaragua and one from Honduras and Nicaraguan fillers. The cigar is made at the Plasencia factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.


The packaging is similar to the regular Black Market, so with a three quarters long paper wrapping on the cigar. That was designed because Alan Rubin, the owner of the brand, didn’t want the cigars in cellophane yet still wanted to protect them from  damaging, hence the huge ring. Eventually the cigars were packed in cellophane too, but the big paper rings remained. The wrapper is smooth, oily, quite dark and pretty. The construction feels good, nice triple cap, evenly filled. The aroma is quite strong and smells like a sheep farm, but not in a filthy disgusting farm, a clean farm with healthy clean animals.


I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter. The cold draw is perfect with a mild minty and raisin flavor. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a sweet coffee and toast. The sweetness stands out, with an earthy undertone. After an inch I taste that earthy flavor with still a sweetness, a cake like sweetness but also a little black pepper in the aftertaste. Halfway I taste some milk chocolate too. Soon after I taste pepper with the earthy flavor and a little bit of a metallic taste. All of a sudden the cigar changed to earthy toast with some pepper.


The draw is perfect, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is white and layered. The burn is straight. The smoke is medium plus thick. I would say this cigar is medium plus bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Much to my surprise, considering my love for Nicaraguan cigars, I prefer the Honduran Black Market.

Score:  90
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your reviewer with George Sosa and Bradley Rubin (Alec Bradley Cigars)

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alec Bradley Fine & Rare Torpedo (2012)

Because it’s George Sosa’s birthday today I’m publishing an Alec Bradley review.

In 2011 Alec Bradley released a limited edition cigar that was pretty rare, with only 1000 boxes of 10 Toro’s, 100 boxes of 10 Torpedo and 11 boxes with 10 Toro, 10 Torpedo and 10 Perfecto for charity events. Now the 10 and 11 theme might look confusing but the 10 makes sense because 10 different tobacco’s were used to blend this cigar and the 1111 boxes make sense because the cigar got released on 11/11/11. I think I smoked one or two of the cigars back in the day, but I can’t remember for sure.  But I do have some of the later years, and the oldest one I have is the torpedo that was released the next year.


The blend was changed a little bit to a Honduran wrapper, Honduran binder and filler from Honduras and Nicaragua but still 10 different tobaccos used. For the shape Alec Bradley went with a torpedo and the production was doubled from 1000 boxes of 10 to 2000 boxes of 10. The MSRP got raised to by $2.50 to $16.50. For Alec Bradley this cigar is what the Opus X is to Fuente, the Family Reserve is to Padron, the Cohiba is to Habanos and the Melanio is to Oliva, their masterpiece. Not I’m not comparing the cigar to those other brands, it’s just to reference how big of a deal this cigar is to Alec Bradley.


The wrapper, as far as I can see it because of the huge ring, is dark, oily, shiny and smooth. The ring is huge but also very detailed, its a beige color with black details and then a huge white label with a lot of information like the roll date, the release date, the signature of the roller team, the quality control supervisor, how many cigars were produced that week and how many boxes were released in total (2000 as I said before). It’s very nice that the rollers are included on the ring and get credit for their skills. The construction feels flawless and the tip of the cigar is beautiful and sharp. The aroma is stronger than I expected and reminds me of cacao, hay and a little bit of a barnyard too.


I cut the cigar with my Xikar xi2 cutter. The cold draw is perfect and I taste dry tobacco, raisin and pepper. I taste coffee with lime and pepper right after lighting it with my vintage Ronson. After a few puffs I also taste nutshell, chocolate and cedar, complicated straight from the start. After a quarter of an inch i taste cedar, oak and pepper, all the other flavors have disappeared. After an inch some chocolate shows up too. Slowly the chocolate grows in strength and a toasted flavor shows up too, with some lemon in the aftertaste.


The smoke is thick, full and white. The draw is great. The ash is salt & pepper colored but coarse. The burn is slow but I had to touch it up a few times. This cigar is medium bodied, medium full flavored, pretty  complex and very well balanced. The final third starts with hazelnut and walnut with caramel, a little salt and pepper. The nuts and pepper get stronger. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? For a special occasion. I can’t justify the price, there are cigars that give me the same level of enjoyment for less.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Terra Nova

Mid september 2015 George Sosa from Alec Bradley came to The Netherlands for the Dutch Big Smoke, which is not related to the American Big Smokes hosted by Cigar Aficionado due to our laws, but at the Dutch Big Smoke 10 cigars were introduced to the Dutch market. We as the Alec Bradley distributer decided to go for the Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Terra Nova, a 5×50 Nicaraguan puro produced in Honduras. I picked George up from the airport and his first question was if I ever smoked the Tempus Nicaragua. My answer was no, he pulled one out of his bag and we lit up. Straight away I loved the cigar, without thinking twice I told George it was the best Alec Bradley I had ever smoked, it was a great fit for my palate.


The Big Smoke was very successful and the days after the event we drove around, visiting accounts and smoking nothing but the Tempus Nicaragua, even on the long drive to Dortmund, to the Intertabac trade show we lit those babies up.  So its safe to say that this isn’t a review where I don’t know what to expect, but more of a review where I wonder how high the score will be. The cigar has a nice dark and rustic looking wrapper, you know its not going to be a mild cigar just by looking at it. The construction feels good and the cigar has a beautiful triple cap. The ring is exactly the same as on the Tempus and the Tempus Maduro but in a different color, just like the Tempus and Tempus Maduro differ in color. The foot ring is brown with golden lining and white letters Nicaragua while the regular ring, which is quite big has the red & white Alec Bradley logo with crown surrounded by silver and golden circles, a black banner with the Alec Bradley name and a brown bottom with beautiful Roman style lettering saying Tempus. The gold and silver really pop, beautiful printing quality. The aroma is medium strong, but it has a deep and pleasant aroma of a barnyard, horses and a little bit of dark chocolate.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw, which is perfect, gives me a little spice and raisin. I used my Ronson varaflame to light the cigar. The first puffs are a full coffee, a little bitter, with some cocoa and spices. After an inch I taste spices, herb and a very mild citrus. Soon after I taste a spicy, pleasant bitterness with a little sugar like sweetness. Halfway it’s all spices and herbs with a little sweet chocolate. A few puffs later the cigar becomes meaty, not a meat flavor but a feeling. After two thirds it’s a beautiful mix of spices, sweetness, a little pepper, well balanced. Near the end I also taste nuts with the mentioned flavors and a mild acidic citrus flavor.


The draw is great, smooth and easy. The smoke is thick, luscious and abundant. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is a little bit crooked but it corrects itself quick. The strength I would call medium plus, both in body and in flavor.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this was my last one, need to get a new box.

Score: 93

93

Categories: 93, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alec Bradley Sanctum Robusto

The cigar market has always seen new blends pop up, some of them stick around, others disappear after a time. Alec Bradley has been one of many companies that have released quite some new blends in the last few years and retired a few too. Only in the last 3 to 4 years we have seen the Mundial, Tempus Nicaragua, Nica Puro, Flithy Hooligan, Fine & Rare, Family Blend, Family Blend Lineage, Coyol, Texas Lancero, Post Embargo and the Sanctum show up plus a re blended and rebranded Maxx. I probably missed some and since Alec Bradley hasn’t been on the Dutch market for so long, only a few years, I don’t now what blends they retired.  Now new lines or brands, I have mixed emotions about that. As a cigar geek I love it, because I always want to try new stuff. And as a cigar salesman I loved it, since its pretty easy to sell something new, easier than building a brand to stay in the market long term but on the other side I hated it too as a cigar salesman because you simply can’t carry all brands, customers request cigars that are not in your portfolio and as a consumer I sometimes got tired of it as well. For example, when Viaje was introduced I hunted down all new releases until there were so many small batches I couldn’t keep up and lost interest, same with a Tatuaje, too many special releases so I couldn’t bother anymore and even Rocky Patel overdid it with his seasonal ‘spring, summer, autumn & winter’ releases. Its a shame because all mentioned brands I love.


Back to Alec Bradley, I worked for a cigar distributer and Alec Bradley didn’t have an importer when they were chosen to be the cigar of the year. The second that happened, I remember sitting at a parking lot refreshing my screen franticly as the #1 is announced late on the working day for us and close to the x-mas period where the company was closed, if one of our cigars was #1 I had a short time frame to push the sales up at the end of the year. Well, Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill, not one of ‘our’ cigars so no nice added turnover that week but we did reach out to them that afternoon and a few days later we were the official Alec Bradley distributer for The Netherlands and in the years after we built a good relationship. I always liked most Alec Bradley cigars but considered them to be a ‘middle of the road’ cigar, good but not fancy, except for the Mudial and the Tempus Nicaragua that I loved. I parted ways with my employer and decided to reboot my review blog, but reviewing demands a different approach to smoking, one with way more attention to the cigars than how I smoked for the past few years and when I did, it changed my mind on Alec Bradley a bit, the ‘middle of the road’ Black Market for example it a much better cigar than I always thought, but I only smoked it casual before. And that happened with more Alec Bradley sticks, so I can’t wait to try this Sanctum Robusto.


The Sanctum is made from Honduran, Colombian and Nicaraguan filler with a Costa Rican binder and a Honduran wrapper and its made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras. When I release the cigar from the cellophane jacket it feels silky. The wrapper looks good but has a long, thin vein, straight in the centre that I personally would have hidden on the back pure for the looks in a humidor. The construction feels good and the cigar is well finished. The cigar has an aroma that reminds me most of the kitchen when I’m boiling cauliflower and its quite strong. The ring is big, covers at least a third of the cigarand maybe even more. It’s black with white and a red Alec Bradley logo in the centre, surrounded by golden details and the test Sanctum in a beautiful font. At first glance the logo with the golden decoraction made me think of a fire department crest.


I punched the cigar and the predawn is a little tight on the good side. The flavor reminds me of old dark chocolate. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a nice coffee flavor with some cedar and far in the back even a little bit of dark chocolate. After a centimeter the cedar has completely taken over from the coffee, with some pepper and some milk chocolate with some vanilla. The overall flavors are creamy. Halfway I taste wood with a honey sweetness. Slowly the pepper gets stronger and I also taste a little nutmeg Abe cinnamon like spices. After two thirds I mainly taste the spices and some pepper.


The smoke is quite thick and the volume is fine. The ash is light gray. The draw is great, the little too much resistance I had in the cold draw isn’t noticeable after lighting the cigar. The ash is firm and the burn is pretty darn straight. The cigar is medium plus bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is and hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a good cigar but I prefer the Mundial, Coyol and Tempus Nicaragua over this blend.

Score: 90
90

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Black Market Robusto

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.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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