October 20, 2017

Cigar Review: Alec Bradley Black Market (Toro)

Alec Bradley Black Market Toro
Alan Rubin really got Alec Bradley Cigars on the map when he released the Tempus years ago, and since then he has been rolling out great cigars right after another. This year he launched two new lines, and the first to be released is The Black Market. To begin with the cigar comes packaged in a box that looks like a weapon crate you would find in any war torn country, and it fits the name perfectly. Alec Bradley Cigars changed their logo this year, and it now features a crown on top of the letters AB. Along with a logo change they took a new spin with their advertisement and other marketing aspects, and I find that they are now in the middle between the conservative manufacturers and the new and young manufacturers. Recently Alec Bradley has been having Casa Fernandez make most of their cigars at their Honduran factory of Raices Cubanas, but Alan Rubin went back to an old partnership with this cigar and has it being made by Nestor Plasencia in his Danli, Honduras factory, Tabacos de Oriente.

The cigar is composed of tobacco from four different counties, and given the locations it sounds great. The filler has Panamanian and Honduran tobacco. The tobacco from Honduras comes from the Jamastran Valley, which I love, and it is also one of the regions in Central America that is almost exactly similar in climate and altitude to that of the Pinar del Rio region of Cuba. Alec Bradley has used Honduran tobacco before, but this is the first time he has specified that it comes from this region. If you have ever smoked a cigar by Camacho you have enjoyed tobacco from the Jamastran Valley, and you will know how great it can be. The binder to the cigar is a Sumatra seed, and it was grown in Ecuador I believe. To top it off, the cigar is then finished with a semi-sweet wrapper grown in Jalapa, Nicaragua that is cured to a dark maduro.

For this review I sampled the toro vitola which measures 6" with a 50 ring gauge. I will say the cigar looked like it was closer to a 49 ring than a 50, possibly even 48, but that was no big concern. It said toro on the box so I know they say it is 50. Holding the cigar in hand you can see how dark the wrapper is. It is between a Colorado Maduro and Maduro, and reminds me of a dark chocolate bar. The wrapper is very oily to touch and veins are definitely present in the cigar. Despite all the veins, the wrapper is still smooth, and when I hold the foot and wrapper to my nose I get tons of coffee, rich earth, anise and chocolate notes. I light up the cigar and immediately is giving off tons of thick smoke.  
Beautiful Jalapa Wrapper
The first third opens up very well and the flavors are very present and up front. I am seeing a lot of cocoa and coffee up front, with hints of stone fruit present in that. The finish has a bit of earth on it, and it is accompanied by a semi sweet spice finish. The burn is a little wavy in the first third of the cigar, but it slowly works on correcting itself. Though it is wavy the burn is producing a beautiful ash that is very firm on the cigar. It has a color of light gray and as I said earlier the smoke is very dense and great for smoke rings. I would say the cigar is at solid medium in terms of strength, but the flavors are definitely full and in your face.

When I get into the second third of the cigar the burn has perfected itself and it is now razor sharp. The ash from the first third is still holding on to the cigar, and it still has that great light gray color to it. The flavors are still as strong as they were in the first third, and it was in this third that more flavors really began to pop out. I am really picking up a good amount of espresso beans, dark cherries and plums in this third. The sweetness from the stone fruit flavors gets checked by the espresso beans, leaving it very balanced. I also am noticing a lot of dark chocolate notes that are paired well with a sweet spice on the finish giving it a very rich finish. The cigar is still showing medium strengths to it, and this cigar is really great.  

I am now in the final third of the cigar, and the strength is staying the same at a solid medium. The burn is still perfect and even though I have ashed the cigar from earlier the ash was still staying strong on the cigar. The flavors are still pretty similar to that of the second third and that is fine with me. The cigar is finishing showing wonderful stone fruit flavors, espresso beans, dark chocolate and wonderful spice notes. I smoke the cigar down to what is left of the nub, and I have to say that this is a great cigar to have back to back. I wouldn't make it an everyday cigar for me because it is a little rich to have all the time, but this is definitely a cigar that you can go back to back with if you are in the mood for something along those lines. Very nice cigar.

This was a wonderful cigar and very enjoyable. You know, a couple weeks ago I was talking with a cigar rep. and we were talking about how cigars tend to have that certain characters given the factory they come from. Well, I can point out cigars from certain factories very well, and I can definitely pull out unique flavors and qualities to cigars from Nestor's factories. There is something about cigars from Nestor's factories, and this cigar shows those unique characteristics. I would say this cigar is a solid 91, and it is really packed with wonderful flavors. The cigar burned very well once I got into the second third, and it was giving off a great amount of smoke as well. I do find that these cigars do better if they are a little bit on the dryer side, so I would dry box them for a little while before smoking, but once they have been dry boxed I would get some others ready to be smoked, because once you smoke them you will be hooked on them. I am looking forward to the next production from Alec Bradley Cigars in November and the Alec Bradley Event tonight at Havana Phil's!
Black Market

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