Reading Time: 2 minutes It’s all in the family for these new Charter Oak CT releases that pay homage to Nicholas Melillo’s grandfathers, Pegnataro and Pasquale, who ignited the Foundation Cigar Co. founder’s passion for Connecticut cigars. Read all about it here.
#nowsmoking: Alec and Bradley Kintsugi Robusto
#nowsmoking: Alec & Bradley Kintsugi Robusto Cigar Review
Alec & Bradley Kintsugi Cigar Review – Robusto
Factory: Tabacalera Raices Cubanas – Danli, Honduras
Size: 5” x 50
Wrapper: Honduran Trojés Habano
Binder: Honduran & Nicaraguan
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
MSRP: $7.95/cigar* | Offered in singles, 4-packs, and boxes of 24
* at press time
The Alec & Bradley Kintsugi Back Story
Alec & Bradley ‘Kintsugi’ (pronounced Kint-Su-Gee) is the third full-production release from Alec and Bradley Rubin. Kintsugi follows the Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper selection which landed the #7 spot in the Top 25 cigars of 2020.
So, what is Kintsugi?
It’s a Japanese artform dating back to 15th century Japan. As the legend goes, a Japanese Shogun dropped his favorite porcelain vase, shattering it to pieces. He then ordered artisans to reconstruct it with gold or silver lacquer. Once it was pieced back together, the resulting vein-like repair lines made the vase even more beautiful. And so, a new Japanese artform was conceived.
With the release of Kintsugi, Alec and Bradley created an elegant, multifaceted, medium–bodied cigar. A silky-smooth Honduran Trojés Habano wrapper is set atop a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran binder and filler tobaccos.
One of the reasons for naming it Kintsugi is explained by Bradley who said: “Unfortunately, the cigar industry seems to be a bit fractured right now. We are all fighting to reduce or eliminate regulation, but there is little consensus on how to achieve this. We can all learn from the Kintsugi story. We are all better together. The passion behind premium cigars is the gold lacquer that binds.”
“We are honoring Kintsugi through our artform, cigar making,” added Alec. “Bradley and I hope that if we spread the story and spirit through our cigars, our colleagues and cigar enthusiasts will embrace the tradition and come together for a common cause.”
Alec & Bradley ‘Kintsugi’ is being presented in 24 count boxes that mimic the legendary Shogun’s vase by adorning them with a gold–filled-in crack pattern, while the bands and the inner box labels take similar cues from traditional Japanese themes and artwork.
‘Kintsugi’ is handcrafted at the highly-acclaimed Raices Cubanas Factory in Danli, Honduras and offered in four sizes:
How well is the cigar made?
Damn good. The rolling is excellent and affixed with a three-seam cap. The wrapper is oily with an attractive reddish hue. The fine veins that run through the leaf also symbolize the repaired fractures of a Kintsugi piece. There were no soft spots and once clipped, the prelight offered a strong flavor of fig plus some interesting herbal notes. Once lit, I tasted notes of brown sugar, cinnamon, and some remnant fig. For that matter, the cigar is off to a great start and it’s yet to be lit.
So far, my Kintsugi Robusto is a great example of what you can do when you have really good tobacco to work with. Beyond that, the early flavor is very unique. I’m really enjoying the brown sugar and cinnamon, and at about the one-inch mark, a citrusy tartness enters the frame for a nice change-up. Some fig continues to linger.
(Smoking outside in dry, sub-40-degree weather can be brutal on the hands.)
The burn is also excellent, revealing a granular grey dark grey marbled ash. You don’t get much wiggle room before you have to remove the larger of the two bands. And when you do you can see the clever flair that came with the double-band design. (Watch the video to see what I mean.)
Moving on, I haven’t tasted a cigar this unique in a long time. This smoke stands out offering tart and sweet at the same time; but there’s also an herbal thing going on that’s just as impressive. The smoke volume is also very dense and chewy.
(Since I had acquired a kooky fondness for this band, I kept pushing the secondary band back as far as I could.) Pretty much the same as act one but more spices are present. Not peppery spice, but cinnamon, brown sugar, and lemon grass. Body-wise, the cigar rides mainly in the medium plus body range. The cigar continues to burn very well, the balance is excellent, and the flavors remain consistent in this section. If you’re looking for some pepper, give it a retrohale or two.
At this point, the flavor profile intensified, and I also tasted a lick of black coffee. As to the strength, it remained in the medium-plus range. I nubbed it, and even in the final inch, the cigar didn’t sour, one sign of good tobacco.
What can I pair with this cigar besides coffee?
It seemed natured to pair the Kintsugi with Japanese whiskey like the Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony, or one of the other fine Suntory whiskies. Bourbon fans might want to opt for Basil Hayden’s.
(Find more cigar and drink pairing combinations here.)
Final Thoughts. . . After smoking two Kintsugi Robustos I began thinking: Could this cigar be more complex than it appears? Not unlike the art of Kintsugi, maybe this cigar is an assemblage of flavor notes neatly patched together, resulting in a new object of beauty and affection. They certainly have created a blend that’s very unique. It seems to pull from earthy tones, herbs, spices, and fruit. And that’s what really stood out for me on this cigar. It doesn’t have sweet molasses or chocolatey notes. The sweetness is actually more muted due to the tart flavors.
The Alec & Bradley Kintsugi Robusto should be right in the pocket for cigar smokers at every level. Plus, they made it affordable. So, kudos go out to the Rubin brothers and Raices Cubanas for doing a great job on Kintsugi. It’s very special, and with a top-10 cigar from their previous release already in the books, I predict they will see more top-rated cigar scores as cigar smokers discover the entire Kintsugi line.
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