For over two decades in the industry, Alec Bradley has long proven its credibility beyond doubt. The reputation it has built over the years has been nothing short of remarkable, and there’s no better testament to this than its top-rated smokes that aficionados have come to love. These remarkable achievements, however, had dilemmas to overcome before reaching the peak of unwavering success. Alec Bradley, founded by Alan Rubin in 1996, began by marketing cigars on golf courses. It failed to succeed. Failure after failure, Alan Rubin struggled to make progress. However, after years of patience and perseverance, the Alec Bradley cigar company, named after his two sons, finally became a household name. Now, Alec Bradley cigars are seen in cigar shops around the world and in the humidors of cigar smokers everywhere.
Its inspiring story is always incorporated into every cigar the company crafts. Hence, when my most awaited package of Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill came, I couldn’t be more thrilled. One thing you’ll notice right away about this 7 × 48 tobacco is its stunning wrapper that seems to invite you into a great smoke. A closer inspection gives a glimpse of how it was constructed—thorough and well thought out. After a couple of months of beautifully resting it in my humidor, the Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill is now ready to be savored. For the charm it flaunts, a tempted cigar enthusiast, such as myself, won’t dare to muster any courage to resist.
Amidst the innovative and interesting cigar world of today, would a former “Best Cigar” titleholder keep up and impress the most discerning palates? Fellow cigar folks, join me as I revisit the 2011 cigar of the year by the Cigar Aficionado magazine—Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill!
|Wrapper Origin: Honduras||Shape: Churchill|
|Length: 7||Ring: 50|
|Wrapper: Corojo||List Price: $225 (Box of 20)|
|Origin: Honduras||Strength: Full|
Pull of Cigar
How a cigar draws determines how enjoyable your smoking experience will be. As for this Honduran tobacco, there’s no need to worry about that. The Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill draws smoothly without any trace of restraint. Although unlit, the pungent aroma of black pepper managed to escape and tingle the nose. Just like the old times, its pre-lit flavors are still hearty. The first note I recognized was the earth resembling the taste of freshly harvested mushrooms. There was also incredibly inviting spice, warm notes of leather, and a bitter, salty flavor of the coffee.
Apart from the draw, the surface of the stogie itself is also splendid. A dark Trojes Corojo wrapper, hand-grown in the southern part of Honduras, graces the outer layer of this box-pressed cigar. Its buttery sheen and non-protruding veins guaranteed a velvety soft feel. Embossed with Alec Bradley’s logo, the band added a touch of elegance to the stick. It was adorned with a lovely color scheme and gold lettering.
The core was enriched by a Nicaraguan Jalapa binder and a mix of two-nation long-filler tobaccos to provide a captivating blend. Pinching the body, my Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill came out properly filled without any unwanted soft points. Thanks to the superb quality control at Raices Cubana factory, all of these things were made possible.
When the foot collided with the blazing fire of my torch, my Alec Bradley cigar immediately showcased medium-bodied flavors. Starting off, a very slight tingling sensation brought by the pepper travels on the back of the tongue. Compared to my past Prensado experiences, the spice from my lit stogie became more potent than I recall. As I sip through my black coffee, a well-balanced wood note invaded the profile. The sweetness from the chocolate-brown wrapper paired with a hint of almond flavor in the background gives a rich mouthfeel that leaves me completely addicted.
After smoking one-third of its length, the cigar reveals an excellent construction. The ember gradually consumed the stick resulting in a perfect burn and mesmerizing white ash. Although the intensity decreased a little, the flavor profile matured as favored to my preference. Other flavors have overshadowed the black pepper from the outset. A nuance of toasted almonds took the lead, and the woody undertone exposed itself as cedar. At the same time, earthiness and floral notes also joined the feast. During this phase, the flavors are somewhat subdued but were absolutely well-balanced.
Midway through, the fire had tapered unevenly; however, with a little quick maneuvering with my lighter, it straightened out. The cigar built an impressive tower of ash, which fell off the grip after. Similar to the earlier phase, I can still pick out the same blend, but it has gotten medium to full-bodied now. Tables have also turned for some flavors. The sweetness of the wrapper came to the forefront while the roasted almonds took the back seat. After another puff, more wood and floral notes emerged, providing a smoother flavor experience.
Just when I assumed the final chapter to be harsh and bitter, the cigar proved otherwise. Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill seems to have returned to the initial phase—medium intensity and wonderfully balanced. Never losing its generosity, the cigar provided a great smoke output and delicious flavors. In addition, the draw was consistently smooth from beginning up until this point. A few more whiffs and the smoke supplied a punchy zest that accentuates the spicy notes of cayenne pepper, lending the cigar a bold finish.
After reuniting with my beloved stick from the Prensado line, I noticed a few changes that pose no threat to my indulgence. The flavors are well-rounded, slightly nutty, and have the right amount of spiciness. In terms of strength, the cigar did justice and delivered a real medium to full-bodied smoking experience. The thrill that Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill builds up for every phase was incomparable. Construction-wise, an avid smoker will be amazed by its free-flowing draw and consistent plenty of smoke output.
Considering that it was a cigar from a decade ago, it would have been nice to see some touch of innovation. On the other hand, my expectations were met since it still delivers the same fine smoke that I used to enjoy. Indeed, it was the 2011 Cigar Aficionado’s best stick for a reason, and I can’t wait to have another. Overall, Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill was a bomb, worthy of 90 score points.
Other Cigars Reviews
Other Alec Bradley Cigar Reviews
Alec Bradley Medalist
Cigar enthusiasts often seek out the finest smoking experiences, and the Alec Bradley cigar company has made a significant mark in this realm with its commitment to quality and detail. Among their offerings, the Alec Bradley Medalist is a premium handcrafted cigar featuring a flawless Honduran wrapper. From the elegant band design that showcases the brand’s signature logo and a harmonious blend of colors to its consistent burn and flavorful draw, it offers a balanced experience. As the cigar is smoked, its flavors transition from a dominant creaminess, with hints of cedar and nuts, gradually building up in strength while remaining smooth. While its light-bodied flavors might not cater to everyone’s palate, its impeccable construction ensures an even burn, ample smoke, and sturdy ash. Given its attributes, it’s recommended for seasoned fans, although beginners might find its strength overwhelming. Ideal for morning enjoyment with a cup of coffee, the Alec Bradley Medalist certainly deserves a spot in any fan’s collection.
Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli
The Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli, a full-bodied cigar, garners praise for its complexity and rich tapestry of flavors, encompassing mocha, chocolate, and earthy tones, highlighted by spicy accents. Despite initial burn issues and a tight draw, smokers are rewarded with an evolving palate of intensifying flavors, especially notable in the cigar’s final third. Its visual charm is marked by a distinctive off-white band, setting it apart within the brand’s acclaimed Black Market line. This cigar, achieving a prestigious 93 rating from Cigar Aficionado, is not for those preferring lighter notes but rather entices enthusiasts of robust profiles, as indicated in this review of Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli.
Other Honduran Cigar Reviews
Camacho Criollo Robusto
In 2013, Camacho Cigars rebranded, aiming for a ‘bold standard’ and revamped its cigar line, including the Criollo, once part of the Havana line. The new Camacho Criollo features a Criollo ’98 wrapper and a blend change incorporating Dominican Piloto Cubano tobacco, intending to enhance its rich, earthy flavor. This cigar, notable for its robust, medium strength, and diverse flavor profile – ranging from earthy to nutty with notes of creaminess, cedar, leather, and pepper – offers a comprehensive smoking experience. Its appearance is marked by a distinctive yellow theme, complementing the sheen of the brown wrapper, while the smoking experience reveals a well-constructed, compact cigar with a smooth draw, evolving flavors, and a consistent burn rate. This review of Camacho Criollo Robusto concludes with a high recommendation, especially when paired with dark chocolate, and an impressive rating of 90.
Romeo y Julieta Reserve Toro
Cigar smoking is more than just a pastime; it’s a passion that involves exploring a vast variety of sizes, shapes, blends, and origins. One particular cigar that stands out is the Romeo y Julieta Reserve Toro. Originating from the renowned Romeo y Julieta brand, this cigar has a deep-brown Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and a medium to full-bodied blend crafted in Honduras. Historically, the brand traces its roots back to Cuba in the 1800s, but it has since spread to other tobacco-producing countries like Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. Contrary to popular belief, non-Cuban Romeo y Julieta cigars often rival their Cuban counterparts in quality and consistency. The Reserve Toro boasts scents of leather, black pepper, and hickory before lighting and reveals a rich flavor profile once smoked, including cedar, cinnamon, leather, and creamy textures. It’s a well-constructed cigar that offers a myriad of flavors, especially after a hearty meal, complemented by scotch. This review of Romeo y Julieta Reserve Toro attests to its standing as one of the finest in the Romeo y Julieta range.