Raices Cubanas

Raices Cubanas, Danli, Honduras

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

Viaje Zombie Antidote

Well, halloween is behind us, we need an antidote against the zombies that have been plaguing us for the last week and Dr. Andre Farkas came up with a vaccin, the Viaje Zombie Antidote. I just love this cigar, a syringe shaped cigar that comes in a plastic medicine bottle with a funny label mimicking a real prescription bottle with all warnings and all, rewritten of course for the cigars and zombies. Unique packaging with a lot of humor and I like that. The cigar that I’m smoking comes from the original 2014 release.


The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro yet it classifies as a Honduran cigar since it’s made at Raices Cubanas in Danli. It’s the first skinny Zombie cigar from Viaje with a 44 ring and a 6 1/2 inch length and as a lover of skinny cigars I dig that vitola. Because of the tempered foot it’s not a lonsdale but a figurado, yet it has lonsdale length and ring. My previous employer carried Viaje for a short time and I met Andre Farkas because of that, we hung out in The Netherlands for a few days with Abe Flores from PDR and we met at Intertabac a few times. Once we got these Zombie Antidotes in I bought a jar just because of the way it looks, it’s a nice showpiece


Once I release the cigar from its cellophane I smell a feces smell, not a barnyard aroma but human feces and its medium strong. The cigar has a few soft spots and it looks like the cigar is a little under filled. The wrapper is beautiful though, quite dark, mild oily, smooth with a thin long vein running over half the cigar. The ring is simple, its about an inch high, white with a red cross, blood spatter and blue letters “Zombie Antidote” on one side and the words “single dose” and Viaje Pharmaceuticals on the backside. The cigar has a triple cap that is placed neatly.


Since the tapered end is at the foot I could use my punch to prepare the cigar for smoking. The predate is great, more resistance than I expected with the soft spots in the construction. I taste hazelnut with some pepper in the cold draw. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a nutty espresso with some nutmeg. The flavor changes to wood with some cinnamon and a chili pepper aftertaste. After a third I also taste a faint sweet chocolate on the background, far on the background. Halfway I taste more spices like nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon with some oak and citrus. The cigar gets darker in flavor with a nice mix of spices and pepper. Near the end I taste some nuts, lemon and pepper, quite strong.


The smoke is white, thick and full. The ash is coarse, frayed and covered with black smears but firm. The draw is close to perfect, just like the burn. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. With a better construction the cigar would have scored a point higher. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have three quarters of a jar.

Score: 90
number90

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

Viaje Zombie Super Shot

Its almost halloween, the time for monsters and zombies. Now zombies are a very American thing I think, nowhere in the world are so many people believing that a zombie outbreak could really occur, nowhere in the world are people preparing so much against a zombie outbreak and even the American government has zombie battle plans. As a rational European being that is hilarious. I remember I was in Orlando a few years ago, at Corona Cigar Downtown location and a group of people, dressed as zombies walked by. It was right at the time that the Russians were about to invade Ukraine for the Krim area and when another cigar aficionado, that those zombies tried to scare, laughed them off, the zombie seriously said “but when the Russians drop the bomb on the Ukraine we will all turn into zombies”. I was shocked for two reasons, the first that someone could actually believe that and the second that an American citizen had a clue what was going on in the world. And it made me realize that if I am wrong and a zombie apocalypse will happen a lot of people will get killed just because they will sit and laugh when the zombies appear thinking it are actors, just like what happened in Orlando.


I must admit, I never had much for zombie movies or tv shows but that changed after the arrival of The Walking Dead, I am hooked on that show and on the spin off Fear the Walking Dead, although the first season of the Fear the Walking Dead was difficult to get through, but it got much better. And I’m not the only one, it has been a hit from day one and zombies are more popular then ever. We even saw some cigars smoked in the show and the Abraham character is a known cigar smoker in real life. As zombies are popular, so is the merchandise and everything zombie related. Now I don’t know if Andre Farkas from Viaje got his inspiration there but he has had a zombie line since 2011, a year after The Walking Dead appeared. And he also had a line called Super Shot, a shotgun shell sized cigar in a cardboard old style shotgun shell box.


In 2013 he combined the two with the Zombie Super Shot, the Zombie blend in the Super Shot size. He kept the box style packaging but now with a Zombie on the outside and a bullet hole in the head of the zombie when you open the box. Even though this cigar is made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras it is a Nicaraguan puro with a Nicaraguan Criollo 98 wrapper. The size is exactly like the smallest of the Nubs, the original ‘short and fat’ cigar, 3 1/2×54 and thats about as thick as it should get in my humble opinion, I’m not a fan of thick cigars. Once I open the box I see short dark cigars, darker than I expected, a little smudged dark wrapper with a few thin veins and a closed foot, I checked a few but on none of them the triple cap was applied nicely. The construction feels good though. As the cigars have no ring I will score the colorful box with the zombie and the combined Zombie and Super Shot logos and I like it, its something else than a wooden box or a cellophane or paper bundle, I like the detail that the box opening is a bullethole in the zombie’s head. Very creative work. The aroma is quite strange but not too strong, it smells a bit like mild peppery licorice.


I punched the cigar to find a surprisingly good cold draw, I expected it to be tight due to the closed foot. I taste some raisin with a mild spices aftertaste. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste coffee with earthy notes and after a few puffs some pepper too. After that I also taste spices, a bit vanilla and nutmeg. Halfway I taste earthy smoked flavors with some pepper and a little bit of citrus twang. The pepper is getting stronger, much stronger. The coffee returns a little later still with the pepper. The pepper mellows out and then I taste earthy flavors and nuts until the end.


The smoke is thick, white and decent in amount. The draw is great. The burn is oke, not perfect though and the dark ash is frayed yet firm. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. Even though it’s a small cigar it lasted me an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible

Score: 90
90

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

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

Illusione ~HL~ Natural

There are three different Illusione ~HL~ blends on the market, this one, the original Illusione ~HL~, the ~HL~ Candela and the ~HL~ Maduro. And I have reviewed all three of them by the time you read this review, but I may or may not have published the reviews yet. I always have a bunch of reviews in stock so that if I cannot review for a while due to a busy schedule, a vacation with wife & kids, health issues of what other reason, I can still update my blog. So if you can’t find the reviews of the other Illusione ~HL~ blends yet, check back soon.


The Illusione ~HL~ is the 5 1/2×40 lancero from the Illusione brand, a brand created by Dion Giolito, and most of the cigars have names that are either numbers of have something to do with history or conspiracy theories. The ~HL~ stands for Holy Lance and refers to a lance that pierced Jesus his side when he was on the cross and later carried by the first Christian emperor of Rome, as the myth goes the lance gave him protection and special powers and therefore it was holy. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro although it classified as a Honduran cigar as it’s made by Raices Cubanas, a factory known for Illusione, La Palina, Viaje and most of all Alec Bradley.


The cafe colorado wrapper looks pretty with a few thin veins and a silky touch. The construction feels good and the tiny pigtail fits the slender cigar. The cigar has a very faint aroma, I had to sniff a few times before it hit me: dog poo on a barnyard, and trust me, that’s different and less gross than dog poop under your shoes. The small ring is white with gothic letters in golden print and golden outlines.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter, the cold draw is perfect with a mild raisin flavor and a mild peppery aftertaste. I lit the cigar with my Ronson and taste coffee and leather. After half a centimeter I also taste cocoa and some pepper. After an inch the cigar turns to wood with nutmeg and pepper and for a short while the cigar was a little harsh. Halfway the cigar gets more spicy and peppery. The pepper still gains strength. After two thirds I taste nutmeg, cinnamon, a little cocoa and pepper with just a little lime in the aftertaste. Soon after I also taste some wood.


The smoke is thick and there is a lot of it. The draw is fantastic. The ash is salt and pepper colored and reasonably firm. The burn is straight but not razor sharp. I usually don’t notice but this cigar has a very pleasant smell. The cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes a mixed box with the others would be nice.

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Illusione ~HL~ Maduro

After releasing the Illusione ~HL~ natural Dion Giolito, owner of the brand, had some empty boxes left over and instead of letting them go to waste he decided to create the same vitola in the candela and maduro blends he already made for other vitolas of Illusione. As a certified lancero whore I’m not complaining about this decision.


Like the other lanceros from Illusione, this one is made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras too. So it classifies as a Honduran cigar even though the wrapper is from Mexico and the filler and binder are Nicaraguan, no Honduran tobacco is used for this 7 1/2×40 elegant cigar. The Mexican San Adres wrapper is stalk cut, a technique where not the individual leaves are picked but the whole plant is cut down and hung to dry upside down.


The wrapper has a mild oily shine to it and is beautifully dark, like a thin chocolate bar. Unfortunately the cigar wasn’t wrapped in cellophane and that caused a little damage at the foot. The tiny pigtail is a nice detail. The construction feels great. The cigar has a mild floral aroma. The ring is identical to the regular Illusione ~HL~ ring but only in a different color, brown with golden letters and black outlines instead of white with golden letters and golden outlines.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is great. I taste a little pepper and a little citrus before lighting the cigar. After lighting with a soft flame I taste coffee. Soon I also taste chocolate. After a centimeter I taste spices with cedar and a little pepper. I also taste a tiny bit of chocolate sweetness. After a third I taste cedar with some spices and a little white pepper in the back of my mouth. Slowly a chocolate flavor returns. The flavors then change to toast with pepper and citrus. The flavors don’t change much anymore but become stronger and only some citrus shows up. Especially the pepper grows in strength.


The draw is just fine, no complaints at all. The smoke is thick and plentiful. The ash is fragile and light colored. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied yet full of flavor. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I like this one the best from the three blends and all three are worthy of another purchase.

Score: 92
92

Categories: 92, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Illusione ~HL~ Candela

Illusione by Dion Giolito took the market by storm, from the moment it was released the brand was a favorite amongst the well informed cigar geeks. And amongst them was a 7 1/4×40 lancero, made in Honduras by Raices Cubans, famous for producing several great bands like Viaje, Alec Bradley and La Palina too. Well, as a special Dion Giolito decided to create a candela version of his lancero, the ~hl~ holy lance. Now I can tell you, it was such a success that it became a regular production with a line excention so my expectations are high.


How the cigar is named after the mythical holy lance that the first Christian leader of Rome carried that that gave him special powers. The lance became so powerful because it punctured Jesus his side while he was on the cross. Now I am not religious so I don’t care about that story, but I am a lover of lanceros and since I read this is a mild cigar I am smoking it early afternoon instead of the usual evening review.


I never liked the look of candela wrappers and this one isn’t the exception of the rule, the wrapper is pale green but the construction feels good with a beautiful triple cap. The ring is simple, a thin white ring with the roman style font that Illusione always uses in golden letters. Now that gold fits the wrapper beautifully though. The cigar has a faint aroma that is a little grassy, which is also typical for candela wrappers.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is fine. I just taste some tobacco but the flavor is mild. I lit the cigar with my trusted Ronson lighter. I taste some mild coffee and a little chocolate. After half a centimeter the flavors turn grassy, something I expect from a candela wrapper. Slowly a mild lime flavor shows up with some cedar and a little spice. I still get hints of chocolate too. After an inch I taste nuts, salt and some pepper. After a third the cigar turns grassy again with some nutmeg. Halfway I taste pepper in the aftertaste and the cigar gets stronger and spicier overall. The final third starts with pepper and cedar but I also taste a faint chocolate again.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is full in thickness and in volume but ugly gray in color. The dark ash is layered and not very firm. The burn is superb. The cigar starts out mild but ends as medium plus while it is medium to full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind half a box.

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, Honduran cigars, Illusione, 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: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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