Brand: Alec Bradley
Size: 6″ x 54
Binder: Nicaraguan / Honduran
Machine or Hand-rolled: Hand-rolled
Age: 3 Years
Price: $10.50 USD
Where to Purchase: Atlantic Cigar Co.
I already reviewed the Alec Bradley Prensado in churchill and robusto and now I will be doing the same with the Gan Toro size. The toro is about one inch shorter than the churchill and thus will produce flavour transitions at a different time and different intensity.
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 took the cigar out of its yellowed cellophane wrapper and 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) – 30 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 refined; they were reminiscent of espresso, brazil nuts and sweet leather and cocao. The finish was remarkably long and continued to produce flavours that lasted far beyond a minute; like toffee, cherry and a nice burst of tawny port!
Second Third (2/3) – 35 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) – 30 min
I still remember how hot and soft 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 35min
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 want to explain the different marks in terms of the churchill and robusto. It seems to me that this cigar only get better with age. The robust got a perfect 10 because it seems that the year 4 mark supersedes that toro and the churchill’s 3 year age. The only real difference between them is that the robusto’s flavour was far more consolidated. It required a more sensitive palette to distinguish the flavours and this provided me with a great opportunity to test my palettes power! However, the churchill I think was slightly better then the toro as a standard, as well as the robusto. If they were all aged at the same level I think the Churchill would have came on top with the toro second and the robusto last. The length of the cigar determines the temperature of the smoke. I find that the longer the cigar, the cooler the smoke and thus the easier it is to pick out flavours. Since the churchill is the longest it provides the best opportunity to enjoy the vast array of flavours that this stick has to offer.
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.