Cigar Buying Guides

2019 CA Report: The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide to Alec Bradley Cigars

CIGAR ADVISOR’S ESSENTIAL ALEC BRADLEY CIGARS TASTING & BUYING GUIDE

Editors/Reviewers: Jared Gulick, Gary Korb, John Pullo, Tommy Zman Zarzecki

The Alec Bradley Cigars Back Story

Founded by Alan Rubin and Ralph Montero at the tail end of the Cigar Boom 90s, Alec Bradley Cigars is named for Mr. Rubin’s sons, Alec and Bradley. The company’s earliest releases were not as successful as expected, and Alan and Ralph were finding it hard to make ends meet. However, after meeting renowned master blender, Hendrik Kelner, in 1999 they went all-in together with their first release, Occidental Reserve cigars. Made at Kelner’s Occidental Factory in the Dominican Republic, Occidental Reserve was a bundle selection that offered cigar smokers very high-quality smoke at an affordable price. It was just what cigar smokers needed in a post-cigar boom market. Occidental’s success helped pay-off the company’s debts and put Alec Bradley Cigars on the road to future stardom.

The ambitious Alec Bradley Trilogy cigars, a groundbreaking release of triangular-shaped cigars followed in 2002. Then, in 2006 Alec Bradley debuted an all wide ring selection appropriately named MAXX. The idea here was “more flavor, more balance, and more power.” The timing was good, too, since the trend was moving toward bigger and stronger cigars.

In 2008, the Alec Bradley Tempus selection – a 7-year project that began in 2001 – became the big breakthrough release Alan and Ralph had been waiting for. The Tempus Centuria scored a “classic” ’94’ rating in Cigar Insider and Aficionado, and later landed the #5 slot in Aficionado‘s “Top 25 Cigars of 2017.”

In 2010 lighting struck again with the release of Alec Bradley Prensado cigars. The Prensado Corona Gorda made Aficionado’s “Top 25” again with a ’92’ rating, and in 2011 the Prensado Churchill made “Cigar of the Year.”

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley cigar reviews alan rubin of alec bradley cigars

In the years that followed, releases such as Coyol, Mundial, Black Market, Alec Bradley Connecticut, American Sun Grown, Tempus Maduro, Nica Puro Rosado, and Prensado Lost Art – all featured in this Guide – also received high ratings and awards. Moreover, the Prensado Lost Art made Cigar Advisor’s Top 25 Cigars of 2018, and several other influential lists.

About two dozen Alec Bradley blends have been released to-date, and since its humble, boutique beginnings the company has grown by leaps and bounds. Alec and Bradley Rubin have also joined the company, and last year they debuted Blind Faith cigars, their first blend, a limited edition release they created together.

Today, with so many award-winning cigars in their stable, Alec Bradley has become a significant peer to the most time-honored brands, while retaining its boutique soul.

As Alan Rubin says, “I could sit here and tell you things like, ‘our brand is synonymous with quality’ and ‘we make the best cigars,’ etcetera, but the reality is that we just want to make cigars that people can enjoy.”

For our Advisors’ Alec Bradley Guide, we’ve done a quick analysis of each of the AB lines currently available at Famous Smoke Shop; that’s 23 in all, and it took us the better part of a month to smoke them all and finalize our notes below. Our Alec Bradley cigar reviews are listed alphabetically to make it easier to find more details about the cigar(s) you’re interested in learning about. Reviews are subjective and palates are different, but we’re pretty sure that these quick looks will give you a basic idea of how each cigar performed, and whether it’s your kind of smoke. Try them – then let us know what you think about these cigars with a comment below. 

 

Alec Bradley 1600 Brazilian Cigar Review 

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Toro (6″ x 52)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Brazil (Habano seed)
Binder: Costa Rica
Filler: Honduran Jamastran, Nicaraguan Jalapa & Estelí 

 alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley 1600 cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction and Overall Appearance: Projecting a look of freshly polished leather, the Mata Fina wrapper is mouthwatering in all its glistening, oily glory.
Draw:  Perfect.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Salted cashews.
First few puffs: Sweet, right off the bat, with some earth and leathery elements.
Retrohale: So, that’s where the pepper is!
Base flavors: Sweet spice, light pepper, earth, oak.
Aroma: Sweet.
Burn / Ash Quality:  Very good. No issues for the burn. Ash is mostly grey and quite firm.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Summary: This cigar leads with a savory sweetness right out of the gate. There’s a slight nip of pepper on the finish, but the base notes at this early juncture are mostly sweet, spicy and earthy. Highly consistent, the smoke continues to issue sweet spice into the second act, as the pepper exits from the finish. Entering the last third, the cigar segues to more defined flavors of earth and wood while a thin undercurrent of sweetness remains.

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley 1600 brazilian cigar review by Gary Korb
Fitted with an oily Mata Fina wrapper, the Alec Bradley 1600 offers “a savory sweetness right out of the gate.”

One key factor to this cigar’s success was letting it rest a bit longer in the ashtray between draws. What I also liked about this cigar is that I didn’t have to think about it or tend to it. It just rolled along smoothly with plenty of rich taste. Even more impressive—this Toro smoked for three hours without a relight. – Gary Korb

 

 

Alec Bradley 1633 Connecticut Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Toro (6″ x 52)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Binder: Costa Rica
Filler: Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley 1633 cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Some color variations on an otherwise silky Connecticut wrapper; not perfect, but checks all the boxes for a well-made premium.
Draw: Clear.
Pre-light flavor: Smells a bit sweet, with a mellow taste of hay, earth and nuts.
First Few Puffs: Toast and hay.
Base flavors: Crackers, earth and pepper.
Retrohale: Pepper and wood.
Aroma: Toasty, with a faint caramel sweetness.
Burn & Ash Quality: Stacks of grey ash from a mostly even burn; great smoke output.
Balance of flavors: More medium than mellow, based on an uptick in flavor – not strong, but the flavors are a little fuller.

Summary: An Alec Bradley homage to the year tobacco was first grown in Connecticut: 1633, hence “First Crop” on the band.

 What I noticed immediately: even though this is a Connecticut, it has less than the usual “Connecticut-ness” – meaning less harsh, less dry. The 1633 doesn’t give off a ton of smoke while it’s resting, but taking a pull rewards you with fat rips of thick, cool smoke that cross the tongue with a touch of pepper.

The smoke gets creamier as the cigar progresses, with a barely-there, dry spice…then a bit of a breakthrough at 1/3, where I found pleasant tastes of tea and leather; don’t be surprised if you also detect a subtle sweetness. I enjoyed that, as it refreshed the taste buds and made things taste a little “brighter” – I really have no other way to describe it.

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley 1633 toro cigar review by John Pullo
Fat rips of smoke + a good amount of flavor = “a sub-$5 premium that’s very easy on the palate.” The Alec Bradley 1633 is a real surprise.

Connecticut cigars seem to come in three forms these days: on one end is the super-mellow smoke, and on the other there’s the “Connecticut That Will Surprise You™” – you know, the ones that have an Ecuador wrapper, and blended with strong tobaccos to shock your system with full flavors and wicked intensity you wouldn’t normally expect from a Connecticut. The third form is the in-between, and that’s where the 1633 lands.

If there are two things to take away from smoking the Alec Bradley 1633, they are: (1) the blend is more than diverse, it’s a veritable melting pot; and (2) it’s a sub-$5 premium that’s very easy on the palate. And those two factors, I think, make this hidden gem from AB worth a try. – John Pullo

 

 

Alec Bradley American Classic Cigar Review 

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Robusto (5” x 50)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Honduran Connecticut Shade
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley american classic cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Firmly rolled.
Draw: Easy pull.
Pre-light flavor: Slightly herbal.
First Few Puffs: Creamy.
Base flavors: Wood, nuts and coffee.
Aroma: Dark wood.
Burn & Ash Quality: Burns well with a solid ash.
Balance of flavors: Good balance with straight-forward flavors.

Alec Bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley American Classic robusto cigar review by Tommy Zman
The AB American Classic could be one of the best “morning” cigars in this Guide for the money.

Summary: Time to take a walk on the mellower side of Alec Bradley with the incredibly toasty American Classic. When it’s time to ramp down on the strength a bit, but enjoy some nice full flavor, this one delivers the goodness. Wood, coffee, and a wonderful nuttiness lace the palate with a big mouthful of creamy white smoke upon every draw. The sweetness of a good bourbon brings out the flavors of this cigar. And if you fire this up with your morning coffee, I guarantee you’ll eliminate the carb-filled breakfast pastry and you’ll order up a box before you know it. – Tommy Zman

 

 

Alec Bradley American Sun Grown Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size:
 Robusto (5” x 50)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Sun Grown Habano
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley american sun grown cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Very dark brown, oily wrapper, nearly invisible cap line.
Draw: Consistent, easy draw.
Pre-light flavor: Creamy and spicy.
Toasting & Light: Notes of toast and creaminess in the smoke.
Base flavors: Pepper, cream and wood.
Retrohale: Peppery and spicy.
Aroma: Spicy and woody with a hint of cream.
Burn & Ash Quality: Held the ash well.
Balance of flavors: Sits on the spicy and peppery side.

Summary: Alan Rubin’s mission when blending American Sun Grown was to use 100% sun grown tobaccos and bring it to the American cigar market. It seems that the brand is aptly titled, so let’s see how it smokes.

From the outset, I receive a healthy serving of pepper. Spicy is the main theme, but that’s to be expected from a Habano. After the initial light, there’s some canoeing, but it’s not extreme. Flavors seem to mellow a hair about a third of the way down and my palate is sensing a creamier smoke. Some sweetness comes and goes for the remainder of my session with American Sun Grown.

In closing, I’ll admit that I was pretty impressed overall. The level of spiciness is just right –

not an oversight and not overpowering. It exhibited a creaminess that I didn’t expect from a Habano, especially being sun grown for that matter, and the surprise was welcomed. I’d recommend it as a proper after-dinner smoke. – Jared Gulick

 

 

Alec Bradley Black Market Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Robusto (5 ¼” x 52)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Hybrid 
Binder: Sumatra
Filler: Honduras, Panama

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley black market cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Firmly rolled.
Draw: Smooth smooth smooth.
Pre-light flavor: Coffee bean.
First Few Puffs: A tad spicy.
Base flavors: Dark chocolate, black cherry.
Aroma: Toasty & sweet.
Burn & Ash Quality: Just perfect.
Balance of flavors: Extremely well-balanced with medium complexity.

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley Black Market robusto cigar review by Tommy Zman
Working with this special tobacco from Panama, it took the Alec Bradley blending team over a year to nail the Black Market recipe.

Summary: Now, I’m not sure why, but I hadn’t lit up a Black Market in a couple of years, especially since I’ve been smitten with the Black Market Esteli. But, I’m not kidding, just a few puffs in and I was kicking myself for my egregious mistake. I mean, I really forgot how good the original namesake is. First off, that oily Nicaraguan wrapper is some serious reddish brown eye candy, and the cigar feels quite solid in your hands. There’s a little pepper and spice at the start, but that Panamanian tobacco gives it a dark cherry-like sweetness that I just love. This is a damned good smoke and I have now corrected my errant ways. – Tommy Zman

 

 

Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Cigar Review 

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Robusto (5” x 52)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua, Honduras
Filler: Nicaragua

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley black market esteli cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: A dark brown smooth wrapper with a few darker spots, and flawless cap.
Draw: Smooth and easy.
Pre-light flavor: Spicy with some tingling on the tongue.
Toasting & Light:  The initial puff is quite strong with lots of pleasant, nutty smoke and pepper.
Base flavors: Nuts, coffee, cream, and spices.
Retrohale: Pepper and coffee grounds.
Aroma: Thick, creamy, and nutty.
Burn & Ash Quality: Even burn, solid white/grey ash.
Balance of flavors: Well balanced with tinges of cream that play nicely with spices, nuts, and coffee.

Summary: Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli was created to shine a light on the importance of Esteli, the beating heart of Nicaragua’s cigar industry. The torpedo size recently secured the #9 spot on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2018. I’m going to take the Robusto for a ride and see how it stacks up.

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley black market esteli robusto cigar review by Jared Gulick
Jared found this Black Market very nub-able: “Get your tweezers out – you won’t want to waste a millimeter.”

Black Market Esteli is one of those fleeting cigars that you can tell is going to be great from the first few puffs. Properly categorized as full-bodied, it keeps that pace from foot to nub. Amidst the pyroclastic eruption of creamy, nutty smoke, I find plenty of pepper, spices, and even a dash of java playing in perfect harmony. Get your tweezers out – you won’t want to waste a millimeter.

At the end of the day, accolades don’t mean much if you don’t like the cigar, but the praise feels well-deserved for Alec Bradley. If you want to give a top-25 stick a go, but torpedoes aren’t your thing, give the Black Market Esteli Robusto a shot. It’s worthy. – Jared

 

 

Alec Bradley Connecticut Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Robusto (5″ x 50)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley connecticut cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: A smooth, tawny Connecticut-seed wrapper shows moderate veins and mostly even color…a well put-together, attractive smoke.
Draw: Tight.
Pre-light flavor: Primarily hay and barnyard.
First Few Puffs: Nutty, with a whisper of pepper.
Base flavors: Earth, hay and coffee.
Retrohale: Charred wood.
Aroma: Toasty.
Burn & Ash Quality: The Connecticut burns with a pretty thick line, leaving a dark grey ash with a bit of flake.
Balance of flavors: Not overly complex and not at all strong, this AB is a pretty “in-tune” smoke.

Summary: From the outset, this Alec Bradley Connecticut smokes with that dry, bitter “Connecticut taste.” The hay and barnyard flavors tighten up into a straight wood taste, and some of that dry edginess comes off about half an inch in; a little bit of pepper now and again keeps it interesting. By about 1/3, the smoke adds a layer of coffee/espresso flavor, and even gets a little sweet…by halfway, it gets a little creamy – so patience pays, as this AB Connecticut is just a bit slow to develop.

I always look to the cap to judge how well a cigar is made: the tobacco should lay flat and smooth. This one has what looks like 18 caps, each of them perfectly applied (actually, it’s only 3 – it’s impressively built).

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley connecticut robusto cigar review by John Pullo
If you’re new to cigars, but want to step up your game a bit – consider the AB Connecticut. It’s exceptionally well-made.

For sure, this is an Alec Bradley made with the mellow smoker in mind… this AB was a slow n’ steady burn that I enjoyed with my coffee on a Friday. It’s also a solid “beginner’s cigar” candidate: maybe you’re just starting out, smoking your way through some different picks, and you want to drop a couple extra bucks on a box of something nice – I’d put this Connecticut on that list. And if you’re already an Alec Bradley convert by way of others in this Guide, then consider this a good pick for a traditional start of your morning. – John

 

 

Alec Bradley Coyol Cigar Review 

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Robusto (5” x 53)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Honduran Hybrid 
Binder: Honduras, Nicaragua (Double Binder)
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley coyol cigar reviews at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Very well rolled like all AB’s.
Draw: Buttery smooth.
Pre-light flavor: Coffee bean-like.
First Few Puffs: Spicy and sweet.
Base flavors: Leather, spice, honey and cocoa.
Aroma: A clean toastiness.
Burn & Ash Quality: Razor sharp.
Balance of flavors: Complex and extremely well-balanced.

Alec Bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley Coyol Robusto cigar review by Tommy Zman
Via Alec Bradley’s website: “La Vega Coyol is one of our exclusive farms in Honduras…the tobaccos exhibit great flavor and wonderful aromatics.”

Summary: The Coyol farm in Honduras is a special place for Alec Bradley owner, Alan Rubin, and this cigar is named after the premium tobacco producing vega. While it is medium in strength, the Coyol is absolutely full of rich flavor, garnering high review marks from many a Famous customer. There’s a honey and cocoa sweetness in the profile, with other complex notes of leather and spice. I paired it after dinner with a Balvenie 12 year-old Doublewood Scotch and I didn’t want to move from my patio for hours. This is a hell of a tasty stick and one of the company’s finer offerings. – Tommy Zman

 

 

Cruz Real Cigar Review (Natural) 

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Toro (6” x 52)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade 
Binder: Nicaragua, Honduras (Double Binder)
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras

alec bradley cigars guide cruz real cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Good construction, firm
Draw: Draws smooth, lots of smoke 
Pre-light flavor: Slightly floral
First Few Puffs: Spicy
Base flavors: Dark chocolate, pepper, licorice, nuts and spice
Aroma: Sweet and toasty
Burn & Ash Quality: A solid gray ash
Balance of flavors: Straightforward flavors

alec bradley cigars guide cruz real toro cigar review by Tommy Zman
Even though it’s a value-priced smoke, Cruz Real offers some features found on pricier cigars – some interesting flavors, too.

Summary: While you won’t find this one under the Alec Bradley moniker, it’s made for AB in Honduras at Plasencia. Honestly, no – this isn’t a top of the line smoke…but Cruz Real is a value cigar by design, and priced nice at that. The interesting thing about the blend is its double binder of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos – the combo gives it some tanginess for a Connecticut wrapped cigar. Another plus: the Cruz has a sweet and toasty aroma, and lets off a mountain of creamy smoke. If you’re looking for a good cigar that won’t put a hurt on your wallet, I’d definitely give this a try. – Tommy Zman

 

 

Cruz Real Maduro Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size:
 Toro (6” x 52)
Strength: Medium (listed Full)
Wrapper: Honduran Maduro
Binder: Nicaragua, Honduras
Filler: Nicaragua

alec bradley cigars guide cruz real maduro cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Dark brown, veiny wrapper. Seamless roll with a slightly darker cap.
Draw: Good draw, could be a smidge better.
Pre-light flavor: Sweet with hints of cocoa.
Toasting & Light: Hints of chocolate and spices, billowing smoke.
Base flavors: Slight sweetness with cocoa, spices, and wood.
Retrohale: Some pepper and a woody finish.
Aroma: Somewhat sweet, nutty, and woody.
Burn & Ash Quality: Solid white ash, superb burn line.
Balance of flavors: Woodiness and spices overshadowing a slight sweetness.

Summary: Cruz Real Maduro was crafted by Alec Bradley to be a budget option for Maduro fans. The idea was to provide a low-cost alternative to similar, more expensive cigars without sacrificing quality or flavor. I’ll dive in and see how it holds up.

alec bradley cigars guide Cruz Real Maduro toro cigar review by Jared Gulick
Cruz Real makes it easy to get into Maduro cigars; worth a try, if you’re trying to stay budget-conscious.

As I light the cigar, I instantly detect the telltale sweetness that should be accompanied by any Maduro wrapper. Sometimes this sweetness can be overpowering, and can even kill blends when used improperly; but in the case of Cruz Real, it seems to be complementary, and that’s a bonus I particularly enjoy. At about a half inch down, the burn line starts to become a bit inconsistent, but it isn’t a deal breaker (I expect this kind of thing from more budget-friendly cigars). At around the inch mark, I’m noticing a muskier flavor, but the sweetness hangs on and it stays this course throughout the rest of the burn. All considered, it’s not going to make my favorites list, but I still think it’s worth a try.

Cruz Real Maduro is listed as full-bodied, but I find it closer to the medium side of the spectrum. All in all, I think it’s a decent smoke for the price, and it seems like a logical jumping point for anyone who wants to pull the trigger on a Maduro but doesn’t want to break the bank doing so. – Jared

 

 

Alec Bradley The Lineage Cigar Review 

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size:
 Robusto (5 1/4” x 52)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Honduras Trojes
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley the lineage cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Smooth Honduran wrapper, lightly golden-brown wrapper, well-placed cap, expertly rolled.
Draw: Great, easy draw.
Pre-light flavor: Woody, earthy, and slightly creamy.
Toasting & Light: Notes of leather and spice.
Base flavors: Leather, wood, and cream.
Retrohale: A pinch of pepper and spice.
Aroma: Nutty and earthy.
Burn & Ash Quality: The ash holds up for about an inch or two before falling off; one or two relights were needed but otherwise burns consistently.
Balance of flavors: Consistent medium-body smoothness from start to finish.

Summary: Alan Rubin created Alec Bradley The Lineage as a labor of love and tribute to his two sons, Alec and Bradley, when they reached legal smoking age in 2014. Let’s try one out.

When lighting up, I find an aroma akin to roasted peanuts with woody and earthy notes that permeate throughout. After the first half inch, the cigar’s flavor profile really starts to take shape as hints of leather and sweet cream begin to emerge.

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley the lineage robusto cigar review by Jared Gulick
The Lineage is fitted with a pigtail cap; you can cut it as you usually do, or just twist the pigtail off to smoke it.

Midway through, and the experience remains more or less as it was when I began, aside from mellowing out slightly. There’s no complexity here, and I should stress that it may be a good thing, depending on your palate, as some smokers prefer things that way. There’s a slight spiciness that accompanies each retrohale, and I find that it’s better to hold back and smoke the cigar a bit more slowly than I normally would.

The final verdict is that it’s a pleasant medium-body smoke. It’s not quite go-to status for me, but if you’re looking for smoothness and consistency without sacrificing flavor, this might be the next cigar for you to try. Alec Bradley fans who enjoy a medium-body experience are likely to be pleased and I would recommend it as a solid breakfast cigar. – Jared

 

 

Alec Bradley Magic Toast Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Robus (5″ x 52)
Strength: Medium-Full
Wrapper: Honduras
Binder & Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras

 alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley magic toast cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction and Overall Appearance: Solidly built. Wrapper has an attractive ebony color and a leathery feel. 
Draw: Very good (I used a V-cut).
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Leathery.
First few puffs: Earthy, peppery.
Retrohale: Creamy, followed by a smack of red pepper.
Base flavors:  Earth, oak, coffee bean, cocoa, dried fruit, white pepper,
Aroma: Earthy.
Burn / Ash Quality:  Very good. Burn is even, revealing a very firm grey ash. 
Balance of flavors: Very good.

Summary: A peppery smack gets this dark beauty off to a snappy start that rounds-off fairly quickly. The first flavor at bat is oak followed by coffee bean and a subtle hint of cocoa in the early stages. The smoke also has good volume, density, and mouthfeel. A little further along, a fruity note bleeds through, and the pepper all but subsides.

alec bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley Magic Toast Robus cigar review by Gary Korb
A very in-demand smoke, Alec Bradley Magic Toast is a bit hard to find – but worth it, when you do.

By the midsection the flavors are well-balanced and the fruity tang is more pronounced. Think dark chocolate-covered cherries. (It’s not a sweet smoke, but the fruitiness does add a honeyed treat to the mix.)

By the final third, earth, oak, and coffee lie at the core complemented by a ribbon of dried fruit and cocoa. The pepper also returns, leaving its wake mostly on the palate. A toasty, burnt oak flavor arises, the coffee intensifies, and the smoke takes on more depth. This is the prestige of Magic Toast’s performance.

Magic Toast falls somewhere between the Alec Bradley Tempus and Prensado. Therefore, cigar smokers who enjoy those blends will appreciate this cigar – especially after a big meal. – Gary

 

 

Alec Bradley The MAXX Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: The Fixx (5″ x 58 Toro Extra)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano 
Binder: Costa Rica
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Mexico

 alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley maxx cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction and Overall Appearance: Excellent. The dark Habano wrapper is attractive, thick, even in color, and devoid of any prominent veins. The cigar is also tightly packed and heavy in the hand.
Draw: Very good, despite its solid packing.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Leathery.
First few puffs: A front-loaded shot of black pepper.
Retrohale: YOWZA!
Base flavors: Earth, espresso, sweet spice, charred oak.
Aroma: Sweet burnt wood, like that of a roaring fireplace.
Burn / Ash Quality:  Very good. The burn is slightly wavy, but not off-track, and the cigar required no relights. The ash is mostly grey in color and firm.
Balance of flavors: Good. 

Summary: Shortly following an eye-opening pepper blast, The Fixx settles down to a smooth medium-plus smoke rife with earthy spice and espresso-like flavors. Some sweet spice bubbles just below the surface, while black pepper lingers on a long finish. Well into the first act, the cigar segues to a full-throttle mash-up of earth, espresso, and charry oak flavors, but letting it rest longer between puffs takes some pressure off the cigar’s potency.

alec bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley the MAXX The Fixx cigar review by Gary Korb
A wildly diverse blend makes The MAXX a formidable smoke.

Beyond the midsection, the base flavors arrange themselves in more definitive order, but earth and charred oak dominate. The finish is less peppery in the latter stages, too, and you might just pick up a sliver of sweet tobacco buried in the mix. Suffice it to say, MAXX The Fixx is not for the squeamish, but those who like spicy, high-octane cigars will find it right in their wheelhouse. – Gary

 

 

Alec Bradley Medalist Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Robusto (5” x 52)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Honduran Connecticut
Binder: Connecticut
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley medalist cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Superb hand rolled construction
Draw: Buttery smooth
Pre-light flavor: Tobacco sweetness
First Few Puffs: Just a little spicy
Base flavors: Cedar, nuts, cream, and spice
Aroma: Super toasty
Burn & Ash Quality: A solid coin-stack style ash
Balance of flavors: Complex with perfect balance

Alec Bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley Medalist robusto cigar review by Tommy Zman
Yes, the AB Medalist is a Connecticut – but this is why you don’t judge a cigar’s strength by the wrapper color.

Summary: And here we have yet another example of a Connecticut shade wrapped cigar that you can’t write off as a mellow yellow. This Honduran-crafted beauty commands your taste bud’s attention with a Nicaraguan and Honduran filler that seriously pumps up the jam! This guy is extremely well constructed, the aroma is off the charts enticing, and you get a super-creamy mouthfeel with each draw. And then there’s that delectable flavor profile of cedar, nuts, a touch of spice and sweet creaminess. I think you can tell that I really enjoy the hell out of this cigar and I’m betting that you will too. A nice rum will make this a night to remember. – Tommy Zman

 

 

Alec Bradley Mundial Punta Lanza Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Punta Lanza No. 5 (5 1/8” x 52 Perfecto)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Honduras Trojes
Binder: Nicaragua, Honduras
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley mundial punta lanza cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Veiny wrapper with consistent golden-brown coloring, with a well-crafted foot and a properly-placed cap.
Draw: Easy draw without being too airy.
Pre-light flavor: Leathery and sweet with spices.
Toasting & Light: Peppery with a slightly sweet aroma.
Base flavors: Leather, black pepper, and cashews.
Retrohale: Peppery yet still smooth.
Aroma: Slight sweetness with leather and earth.
Burn & Ash Quality: A well-held ash and a tight burn line, no relighting needed.
Balance of flavors: A good mix of sweetness and pepper throughout. Very well balanced.

Summary: Alec Bradley Mundial is said to have taken Alan Rubin six years to create. Each is adorned with the prefix “P,” meaning Punta Lanza (Pointed Lance). Rubin’s goal was to pay homage to that shape while simultaneously honoring the people who taught him the cigarmaking craft. It’s interesting to add that Mundial cigars once made their way into the stratosphere via weather balloon. Let’s see how one does on terra firma.

From the initial light, I’m greeted by a slightly sweet aroma, hefty notes of black pepper, and an oaky presence of cashews. It’s a somewhat strong smoke, but not overly strong. I don’t feel as if I need to enjoy it on a full stomach, which is a benefit if you ask me! The draw is smooth but not too easy, and the retro effectively delivers ample shots of pepper.

Alec Bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley Mundial Punta Lanza No. 5 cigar review by Jared Gulick
Figurados may not be the most popular shape to smoke, but the Mundial Punta Lanza’s smooth draw makes it easy to enjoy.

A quarter of the way into the cigar and I’m sensing some changes. The presence of cashews fades, and I’m left with a leathery sweetness, slight hints of citrus, and a pinch of earth that’s mellowed out a hair, but the pepper is still there. From there, the smoking experience doesn’t deviate much more than it already has.

Mundial isn’t as strong as I’d like, but it certainly has secured its place in the Alec Bradley wheelhouse. I’d certainly smoke it again, and those who are looking to step up to full-bodied cigars without a strong nicotine buzz will find themselves at home with one of these! – Jared

 

Alec Bradley Nica Puro Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Robusto (5″ x 50)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley nica puro cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: An inviting, chocolate-colored Habano wrapper with an oily finish over top of a very heavy, firm and well-made cigar. The “1685” on the band is a nod to the year Esteli was first settled.
Draw: Tight.
Pre-light flavor: Has a heavily fermented tobacco smell, like being up close to a pilon. A little sweet, too. Taste is buttery, with a touch of black cherry sweetness, barnyard and wood.
First Few Puffs: Warm, sweet and woody with a hard shot of pepper across the bow.
Base flavors: Coffee, spice, wood, citrus fruit.
Retrohale: Charred wood & spice.
Aroma: Woody, and a bit bitey.
Burn & Ash Quality: Tight, even burn leaves behind a solid ash that holds on like a champ. Smoked 1/3 of the cigar before the damn thing fell off, and only ashed it once more after that.
Balance of flavors: Nica Puro leans hard on the core flavors, being more flavorful than it is strong…until the end.

Summary: An instant favorite in the cigar community, this AB core line was launched over 7 years ago. “Nica” is for Nicaragua, “Puro” for exclusively – so only Nicaraguan-grown tobaccos here. Alan Rubin says he enjoys blending with them, as “They add sweetness, spiciness, earthiness and strength.” Based on the pre-light, this one-country wonder promises what will (hopefully) become a very flavor-rich smoke.

Alec Bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley Nica Puro Robusto cigar review by John Pullo
Nica Puro ramps up near the finish “with more than enough flavor to get your attention and enough body to keep it.”

Nica Puro gets off to a diverse start: coffee, some spice and salty enough to get the mouth watering. As it settles in, the saltiness starts to make room for quick cameos made by leather and earth. Wood and a bit of dried fruit tanginess last through to the end before a peaty smokiness is added, telling me it’s time to call it a day. This is not Alec Bradley’s creamiest smoke, but the tart-sweet flavors are nice. And the smoke did thicken up later on.

To me, this is a lazy, slow-smoking stick. Don’t blaze it – enjoy it, because the Nica Puro ramps up in strength right towards the end…so smoking it at a full gallop will only serve to punish you.

The Nica Puro is a sturdy, complex smoke, with more than enough flavor to get your attention and enough body to keep it. If you’re a fan of the sweeter side of Nicaraguan tobacco, here’s where you pull the handle. – John

 

 

Alec Bradley Nica Puro Rosado Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Toro (6″ x 52)
Strength: Medium-Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Rosado
Binder: Nicaragua (Double Binder)
Filler: Nicaragua (3 Regions)

 alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley nica puro rosado cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction and Overall Appearance: Well-made and solidly packed. Wrapper has a nice tawny blush that’s even in color throughout with a low vein quotient. The cigar is seamlessly rolled with no soft spots, and finished with a well-applied twin seam cap.
Draw: Good, but a little on the tight side.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Earthy and leathery.
First few puffs: Earthy and somewhat nutty, with a peppery finish.
Retrohale: Black pepper, but not overly sharp.
Base flavors: Earth, pepper, leather, sweet spice.
Aroma: Sweet.
Burn / Ash Quality:  Excellent. Burn is even, exposing a very firm light grey & black marbled ash.
Balance of flavors: Very good.

Summary: This Toro is very solidly built and has some nice weight to it. The initial puffs are mostly earthy and peppery. The pepper eventually settles down after the first inch as some leathery notes and sweet spice enter the mix, but pepper remains on the long finish.

Alec Bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley Nica Puro Rosado robusto cigar review by Gary Korb
Not the most intense cigar Alec Bradley you’ll smoke, but the Nica Puro Rosado “has plenty to offer the smoker who likes spicy Nicaraguan cigars.”

Moving into the second act, the body is medium-plus, well-balanced, and produces plenty of dense smoke. The cigar briefly ventures into full-strength territory as the pepper continues to dominate the finish. By the end of this section the draw loosened-up, easing the strength and pepper while allowing some additional sweetness to squeeze-in.

As the cigar enters its final phase, the flavors are more harmonious as the body locks into the medium-full range. From here on the smoke is very consistent, offering a full-flavored smoke that oozes with earthy-peppery spice. The Nica Puro Rosado is not as intense as the MAXX, but it also has plenty to offer the smoker who likes spicy Nicaraguan cigars. – Gary

 

 

Alec Bradley Post Embargo Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size:
 Robusto (5” x 52)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
Binder: Nicaragua, Honduras
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley post embargo cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Nearly seamless wrapper, box-pressed, brown wrapper with darker brown blotches throughout, seamless cap.
Draw: Smooth and consistent.
Pre-light flavor: Sweet and slightly spicy.
Toasting & Light: Notes of pepper and almonds.
Base flavors: A bit nutty, slightly chocolaty and a hint of sweetness.
Retrohale: Copious amount of pepper and earth.
Aroma: Spicy and slightly nutty.
Burn & Ash Quality: Some flaking here and there but a very thin, consistent burn-line.
Balance of flavors: Complex with a good balance of sweet and spicy.

Summary: Alec Bradley Post Embargo plays as a love letter to the tenuous relations between the U.S. and Cuba in hopes that one day, we’ll be able to see Cuban cigars in the U.S. cigar market. It’s a dream I’m sure we all share as lovers of the leaf, so without further ado, let’s light one up and see how it fares.

Toasting the foot seems to set the tone as I’m provided with a healthy serving of spicy, nutty smoke. There’s a lot of pepper here, especially through the nose, but it’s not a particularly strong cigar to my palate – and while that pepper would cause some to classify it as full, I would place it closer to the medium end of the medium-to-full category.

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley Post Embargo robusto cigar review by Jared Gulick
You’ll likely find the majority of Post Embargo’s pepper n’ spice in the retrohale.

At the halfway mark, I’m getting strong hints of cedar and even a pinch of almond. The cigar burns more quickly than I expected, lending itself to those who are looking for a quicker smoke. A little bit later, the overall experience rounds itself out to end on a mellower footing.

Sometimes I’m looking for a cigar that’s ever-changing throughout but not necessarily inconsistent, and in that regard, Post Embargo doesn’t disappoint. – Jared

 

Alec Bradley Prensado Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Robusto (5″ x 50, box-pressed)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Honduran Trojés Corojo 2006
Binder: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua

 alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley prensado cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction and Overall Appearance: Gorgeous. Wrapper has an attractive caramel color and offers a slight whiff of chocolate. Cigar is well-packed and finished with a neat, triple seam cap. The box pressing has more rounded corners.
Draw: Very good.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Leathery and lightly spicy.
First few puffs: Peppery spice.
Retrohale: Black pepper.
Base flavors: Black pepper, earth, black coffee, oak, sweet spice.
Aroma: Sharp.
Burn / Ash Quality:  Excellent. Burn is mostly even, revealing a firm grey ash. (This sample went a little off-track in the final inches, but wasn’t a major issue.)
Balance of flavors: Very good.

Summary: The Prensado Robusto opens with a hearty helping of red and black pepper that prevails in the first inch. Shortly after, the flavors caramelize into a well-rounded mix of earth, black coffee, and oak, as black pepper lingers on a long finish. (You may also find a note of sweet spice, a la cinnamon, fluttering around at this point.) The flavors are full and well balanced as dense smoke cascades freely from the head and foot.

Alec Bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley Prensado Robusto cigar review by Gary Korb
Prensado: “…a profusion of rich, spicy flavors like a good bowl of Louisiana Gumbo.” Hearty, but well-balanced.

Moving into the second half, all of the gears are meshing in synchronicity, giving the cigar a more homogenous character. Taking a little extra time between puffs also helps keep the flavors integrated.

The last inches don’t deviate very much from the prior segment, but less experienced cigar smokers may find the final furlong a bit heady. All-in-all, the Prensado Robusto serves-up a profusion of rich, spicy flavors like a good bowl of Louisiana Gumbo. If you like that, this cigar’s got your name on it. – Gary

 

 

Alec Bradley Prensado Lost Art Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Robusto (5” x 52)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
Binder: Nicaragua, Honduras (Double Binder)
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley prensado lost art cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: The box pressing is very slight; some wild color variations on this leathery looking Corojo wrapper.
Draw:
Smooth, clear.
Pre-light flavor:
Salt on the lips, chocolatey-sweet, hazelnut and coffee on the draw.
First Few Puffs:
Pepper, coffee and baker’s chocolate.
Base flavors: Earth, wood, pepper and coffee.
Retrohale:
Toasty and slightly sweet.
Aroma: Woody and sweet floral.
Burn & Ash Quality:
Nearly-white ash is a bit flaky, but smokes nice even with a wavy burn.
Balance of flavors:
More interesting than intense, with complexity winning over strength.

Summary: As you’ve heard, AB’s award-winning Prensado blend was “tweaked” to create the Prensado Lost Art: though the box press remains, their signature Trojes wrapper is gone, replaced here with a more “straightforward” Corojo wrapper. What hasn’t changed is that Alec Bradley has put together another meticulously-crafted cigar.

Actually, there are a number of big differences between the original and this new Prensado 2.0: the most noticeable changes in the Prensado Lost Art are the amount of earth (a ton), roasted coffee (aplenty) and wood (heaps). This cigar actually has one of the best retrohales I’ve sensed in a while – catch it early, because that retro stiffens up with some ginger-like pepper as the smoke goes on.

Alec Bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley Prensado Lost Art Robusto cigar review by John Pullo
A “more approachable” Prensado from Alec Bradley – one of the reasons it landed in our Top 25 New Cigars of 2018.

Super-thick, creamy smoke pours off the Prensado Lost Art from the get-go; by halfway, a distinct taste and aroma of cinnamon become evident, while leathery, earthy and natural tobacco flavors see you across the finish line.

If you like a full, rich and spicy smoke, stick with the original Prensado that Gary reviewed above; but if you prefer, say, Tullamore D.E.W. to Talisker 12 – as in, more approachable – I think you’ll appreciate the gentler experience Alec Bradley Prensado Lost Art can provide you. – John

 

 

Alec Bradley Sun Grown Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Toro (6″ x 52)
Strength: Medium – Full
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Honduras
Filler:
Nicaragua, Colombia
alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley sun grown cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: Very well built
Draw: A smooth pull each time
Pre-light flavor: Very woody
First Few Puffs: Woody
Base flavors: Coffee, wood, cocoa
Aroma: Lightly toasted aroma
Burn & Ash Quality: Burns well with a solid gray ash
Balance of flavors: Not overly complex

Alec Bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley Sun Grown robusto cigar review by Tommy Zman
Considering the price, the Alec Bradley Sun Grown exceeded our expectations on flavor.

Summary: Well guys, have I got a sleeper for you. The Alec Bradley Sun Grown is a true premium hand rolled cigar that’s offered at a ridiculously low price point, making it a top value at Famous. It’s very toasty and creamy with a nice tasty zip from the Nicaraguan and Colombian inner blend. But it’s that Brazilian wrapper that really brings the flavor up a few notches. You’ll find notes of coffee bean, wood, and a cocoa-like sweetness that is just so pleasant. The Sun Grown has received some very high ratings from our customers, so, maybe it’s not such a sleeper after all. Go for it. – Tommy Zman

 

Alec Bradley Tempus Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Imperator (6 1/8″ x 52 Torpedo, Natural)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Honduran Trojes Criollo (aged 7 years)
Binder: Indonesia
Filler: Nicaraguan & Honduran Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99 Ligero & Viso

 alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley tempus natural cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction and Overall Appearance: Solidly built with a beautifully tapered head. The wrapper is dark with a glimmer of red patina, and even in hue throughout. A second band is also placed at the foot for protection and to identify this model as the “Natural” offering.
Draw: Very good.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Sweet with a leathery note.
First few puffs: Peppery.
Retrohale: Unexpectedly creamy.
Base flavors: Earth, oak, nuts, pepper, cocoa.
Aroma: Cocoa-ish.
Burn / Ash Quality:  Very good.  Burn is even exposing a very firm light grey ash.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Summary: I would place the Tempus line as “the gateway” to Alec Bradley’s full-bodied selections. The Imperator starts-off with a peppery, attention-getting smack, then quickly segues to a well-rounded smoke with an earthy, nutty character as some light pepper lingers on the finish. Eventually, that fades, too, leaving a very creamy, medium-bodied smoke with notes of earth, nuts, oak, and light cocoa through the second act.

Alec Bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley Tempus Imperator Torpedo cigar review by Gary Korb
Tempus is a solid intro to Alec Bradley’s fuller, stronger blends.

Once you move past the midsection, the Klieg lights come on and the Imperator ramps-up in smoke volume and flavor. In full-body mode the earth and oak notes are more defined as some pepper returns to the mix. A hint of licorice will sometimes poke its head out, but earth and oak dominate the profile down to the nub. – Gary

 

Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Medius 6 (6″ x 52 Toro)
Strength: Medium-Full (listed Full)
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
Binder: Nicaragua (Double Binder)
Filler: Nicaragua (Esteli, Condega, and Jalapa)

alec bradley cigars guide alec bradley tempus nicaragua cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Construction: A “not-quite” Maduro with the same color and texture as a chestnut. Wrapper is well-stretched, with barely visible seams and a nice shine.
Draw:
Slight resistance.
Pre-light flavor:
Chocolate, barnyard, tobacco, dried fruit.
First Few Puffs:
Very woody with a thin line of spice, plus dark roasted coffee beans.
Base flavors:
Wood, leather, coffee, pepper.
Retrohale:
Pepper is the main takeaway.
Aroma:
Sweet, almost chocolatey-malty.
Burn & Ash Quality:
Thick, mostly even burn leaves a chunky ash.
Balance of flavors:
Flavor beats out strength until just past halfway through the cigar.

Summary: More from Alan Rubin: “With Tempus Nicaragua, I created a stout cigar, well-balanced and flavorful – something an enthusiast would take the time to enjoy and remember. Tempus Nicaragua is a cigar that will wake you up in the morning or enhance your experience after enjoying a great meal.” I chose to make this my after-lunch smoke.

Alec Bradley cigars guide Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Medius 6 Toro cigar review by John Pullo
It’s clear once you hit the sweet spot, at about halfway through…and that’s when the Tempus Nicaragua turns on the jets.

First thing you’ll notice is the Tempus Nicaragua is firmly packed…actually, I have yet to find an AB cigar within these reviews that hasn’t met or exceeded my expectations on construction.

I’ll admit, this next-gen Tempus got off to a rough start – I’m not sure if it’s frontloaded, but plenty in-yer-face enough to keep the taste buds on edge. Once it settles in, some sweeter and more savory flavors begin to appear; there’s also a citrus zest that slowly dials up for about half the smoke, before it gives up its spot to let some pepper in. And once it’s there, the heat lingers on the inside of your cheeks. I also noticed that the Tempus Nicaragua’s strength joined the party a little late.

If you like a cigar that blossoms around halfway – that “sweet spot” that people talk about – then amps up the intensity, I expect that you’ll have that kind of experience from the Tempus Nicaragua. – John

 

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Cigar Advisor Staff

Cigar Advisor Staff

The Cigar Advisor Staff is comprised of three good-humored, yet dangerously unpredictable writers who share over 75 years of premium cigar smoking experience. Traversing the tobacco landscape like smoke-shrouded Avengers, they wander (mostly because the fat one ate the map) in search of new leaf adventures armed with nothing but torch lighters and runcible spoons as their weapons. Each is equally knowledgeable on the matters and pursuits of the cigar lifestyle, with his own unique and capricious insights on various luxury, sports, automobiles and entertainment affairs - all served with good counsel for your reading pleasure.

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