Everything You Might Expect from a Top-Rated Smoke (Alec Bradley Prensado Robusto)

2015-12-20 16.06.25I had an Alec Bradley Prensado, a gift from Steven, that I was saving for a special occasion before I had a humidor.  And it got lost somehow.  We found it again several months later, damaged and cracked.  However, I was reluctant to let a good cigar, especially one with the Prensado’s sterling reputation, go to waste, and so I decided to give it a try anyway.

This is a prestigious smoke!  The Churchill made #1 in Cigar Aficionado’s Top Cigars of the Year 2011 with its incredible 96 score.  CA’s website describes how their founder Alan Rubin came from humble beginnings to found the company, named for his two sons, to eventually create the Prensado:

Rubin had smoked a very dark wrapper leaf grown in a region of southern Honduras called Trojes and decided to build a cigar brand around it, using Central American tobacco exclusively. And what a cigar he made. The brand hit the market in 2009 and was acclaimed from the very beginning. In a vertical brand tasting in Cigar Insider of the five original sizes, each scored 91 points or more and earned our accolade of Humidor Selection.

Well, I couldn’t wait to try it!  And I wasn’t about to let some minor cracks deter me.  We repaired it with a Zig-Zag (bad, yes I know) and I chose to cut the end with scissor cutters because there was a large crack that I was certain would become a problem later in the smoke.

That wrapper they’re talking about is a rich Colorado maduro shade, not veiny, with clear winding seams and a well-constructed double cap.  The presentation is beautiful; it’s a thick, meaty-looking box-cut cigar.  Its label is an attractive gold affair with lots of embellishment and colours that reminded me of the southwestern style colour palate.  Its fillers are a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos.  It is rated as a full-bodied cigar, so not recommended for beginners.

It cut easily enough with the scissors, despite the cracking, so I was hopeful that I had successfully saved the stick!  Even though it had been open for quite some time you could still detect the wrapper note of cocoa, chestnut and perhaps a hint of wine.  Toasting the foot produced a rare nut sort of scent.

Disaster struck!  I lit the cigar and it fell apart at the head as I was lighting it.  I managed about a dozen puffs out of it before it disintegrated completely.  Well, damn!

That was more than a year ago; so I have literally been waiting for a year to try this cigar.  I acquired a new one as part of a Five Card Stud Sampler from Pipes & Cigars.  It’s been aging gently in my humidor for the past six or seven months, and this time it cut beautifully with my double guillotine. Aging brought out a stronger wine scent and diminished the cocoa by comparison.

Toasting the foot revealed a toast and brandy scent blend that was as intriguing as it was unexpected.  I lit it roundly with my cedar spills, making sure every corner was covered.  It drew with no resistance at all, as eager as a young virgin.  It was dark and rich; quite beautiful, really.  Elements of cedar, perhaps a hint of cocoa, and a rich wine or brandy undertone — or perhaps prunes — were the primary flavours of the first third, which lasted some 40 minutes.  The luxurious smoke plumed from my mouth like a dragon’s breath and left its delightful signature behind.

The second third, taking about half an hour, was dominated by a strong cedar and molasses taste, with a hint of that wine and prune undertone; and it also introduced something spicy, like cinnamon or ginger.  It’s definitely got a dark sort of taste that might accompany something dark, decadent and sweet, like black forest cake or perhaps some really rich, dark chocolate.  Or perhaps some fruity brandy, port, or rich red wine.  The oils lingered delightfully in my mouth and on my lips in ways I have not experienced as of late; truly outstanding!

Unfortunately I should never let my husband Jamie near my cigars.  Informing him that I was smoking such a highly-rated cigar, naturally he had to try it, and because he insists upon puffing on them until they burn hot, he wrecked my perfect light completely and it struggled along at a pie-slice angle until it finally went out at the end of the second third, thus necessitating the removal of the label and signifying the last third of the cigar.

The cigar finished after a good 45 minutes, however, with strong notes of spice and leather to go with the prune and cedar elements, and released much stronger suggestions of cocoa than it had since the beginning; though I must own that I did relight it once more.  I would also like to note that even though it’s billed as “Alec Bradley’s fullest bodied cigar to date,” I found it to be about the equivalent of the Camacho Criollo I smoked in December, which was a “toned down” version of Camacho’s usual fair and billed as “medium-bodied.”  So, as with all things cigar, when it comes to body, YMMV.

Because it went out twice I can’t give it a perfect mark; but it really was amazing, and everything you might expect from a CA top rated smoke.  So I am inclined to rate the Prensado at:

Stars - 4 and a half

You can get them at Pipes & Cigars as part of the Five Card Stud Sampler, as I did; but they are available in many different places; including Cigars International for $43 USD for a five pack and $162.99 USD for a box of twenty; Cigar.com for $10.65 USD for a single, $48.99 USD for a five pack, and $180.99 USD for a box of twenty; or you can take advantage of a great sale that’s going on at Thompson Cigar, in which they are offering combinations of five packs — one will run you $45.70 USD, but two will only cost you $49 USD, three is worth $65 USD, and four — a full box — is available for the fantastic price of $79 USD, which is definitely what I would go for, since this lady’s perspective is that I’m pretty sure that once you’ve smoked one of these, you’ll want another.

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