Brand: Alec Bradley
Size: 7″ X 48
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
Binder: Nicaraguan / Honduran
Machine or Hand-rolled: Hand-rolled
Age: 3 Years
Price: $9.00 USD
Where to Purchase: Atlantic Cigar Co.
I can still remember back in 2011 when I walked into my local tobacconist and asked for his recommendations. At this time I was a few years into my cigar journey, yet I did not have the refined palette I do today. I was still looking for what I called at the time “my perfect cigar”, however that did not, and I deem will not, ever come! I finally realized that there never will be a perfect cigar because cigars are constantly changing; both at home in your humidor and in the factories. Nonetheless, my local tobacconist gave me an Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill, and he told me that he thinks I would enjoy it. After smoking the stick I rushed back to his store and told him, “I can’t believe how good this cigar is, its definitely my new favourite”. It was this day that I believe was the day that my cigar journey really took off.
Three years later I am reviewing this stick to see how the aging process has changed the flavour profile. I took one of the velvet chocolate sticks from its sleek box and cut off the cap with my cigar scissors. The cigar has an insanely oily wrapper with tight, invisible seems and a soft, yet even pack. Its aromas were definitely potent with notes of hay, cocoa, and coffee. I wanted to treat this cigar right so I toasted the foot with a cedar match and used it to give it the final light. The initial flavours were definitely more refined than its younger counterpart, however it nonetheless produced similar flavours of leather, nutmeg, hay and bitter chocolate. However, it was the first third in which this cigar truly shined!
First Third (1/3) – 35 min
This box-pressed beauty produced an uncharacteristically voluptuous amount of smoke for such a slow burn time. The smoke was consumed with notes of all-spice, brown sugar, molasses and bitter chocolate. Although many non-smokers are not a fan of cigar smoke, I think that this room note would definitely alter their perception of stogies! The initial draw flavours were cool and defined; they were reminiscent of espresso, brazil nuts and sweet leather. The finish was remarkably long and continued to produce flavours that lasted far beyond a minute; like toffee, cherry and the slightest hint of tawny port.
Second Third (2/3) – 40 min
It was this third that the aging process really made an impact. In the younger sticks that I have tried of this line this particular third was always dominated by a harsher interpretation of the first thirds flavours. However, it seems that the past few years have mellowed out that slight harshness and replaced it with refined notes of amarone wine, sweet chocolate, and sweet hay. The finish did not linger any less than the previous third and I was not disappointed with that. The cigar smoke definitely produced the chewy mouth feeling and you could definitely feel it on the back of your tongue. Overall, I was quite pleased with this third since it really improved on the small complaint I had when I first tried it.
Final Third (3/3) – 40 min
I still remember how hot the cigar got when I reached this third a few years back. I was disappointed for the main reason that I couldn’t continue to enjoy the remarkable flavours that this stick was capable of putting out. But it seems that aging them for a few years at a lower humidity level rectified that issue and I was able to enjoy the cigar until there was almost nothing left to hold. Yes, the cigar was that good! The notes of leather, spice, chocolate, and espresso started to meld together into one large hodge-podge of flavours that became evermore difficult to differentiate from one another. Regardless, the flavours continued to please me, as did that that chewy mouth feeling since it persisted even far after I put the cigar down to its final resting place.
Total Smoke Time: 1h 55min
Its no wonder that this cigar got all the acclaim that it did. Alan Rubin and all the folks at Alec bradley Cigar Co. have done a remarkable job at blending and rolling this beautiful gift of a cigar. The flavours are refined and only continue to be so over the course of its lifespan. I look forward to trying this cigar at regular intervals over the years to see how the flavours change. Whether your a novice or an aficionado I nonetheless highly recommend this particular cigar because of its deep complexity, rich flavours and overall amazing smoking experience. Taking all of these aspects into account I give this cigar on The Leather Library’s 10-Point Stogie Scale a:
I recommend that you try this cigar fresh, although I will warn you that it is a nicotine powerhouse when it is fresh. Once you have tried it place the remaining cigars in you humidor and try one at intervals of six months. The six month period is typically the threshold for change and nicotine/ammonia breakdown. This will always change the flavour and it is interesting practice that all cigar smokers should get into.
By: Steven Umbrello
Steven Umbrello is a student of philosophy and an avid cigar and pipe smoker. He has been smoking cigars and pipes for over five years and has made it his mission to learn as much about the industry as possible. He has attended some high profile cigar events and is a leading member of the Toronto Cigar Club. You can find more from Steven at his blog The Leather Library Blog.