Alec Bradley Raices Cubanas 1941

The Raices Cubanas 1941 is an eponymous cigar for the famed cigar factory in Danli, Honduras.  The cigar is a collaboration with Alec Bradley Cigars and was one of the two showcase releases by Alec Bradley at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show.  Since Alec Bradley has a long working relationship with the Raices Cubanas factory, it made sense to the two parties to collaborate on such a project.  The 1941 comes from the year that Romay Endemaño, the person who runs Raices Cubanas was born.  Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Raices Cubanas 1941.  Overall, I found this to be a very different cigar than what has been produced from this factory before.  Overall, I found this showcases the versatility of the blends that come out of this factory.

The Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas S. de R.L factory (full name) has made many popular cigars. In addition to Alec Bradley blends from Illusione, Viaje, La Palina, Ocean State Cigars, Table 36,  7-20-4, Padilla, Casa Fernandez, and 262 have all made cigars at this factory at one point or another.

Without further ado, let’s break down the Raices Cubanas 1941 and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

The Raices Cubanas is a mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco:

Wrapper: Honduran
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The Raices Cubanas is being launched in four sizes – each packaged in boxes of 20:

Robusto: 5 1/4 x 52
Toro: 6 x 54
Churchill: 7 x 50
Gordo: 6 x 60

Appearance

For this cigar experience, I smoked the Robsusto vitola.  The Raices Cubanas 1941 Robusto has a cross between medium brown and red clay coloring to it.  Upon closer examination there is some darker marbling that can be seen on the surface.  The wrapper has a slight oily sheen to it.  There are some visible veins, but the wrapper seams are decently hidden.

The band features an oval-like design – similar to many recent Alec Bradley releases.  There are several concentric ovals that make up this design.  Inside the inner oval it says “RAICES” in a large white font with black trim over a red background.  Below that is a the text “CUBANAS” in a smaller white font over a red background.  The top half of the oval is white with gold adonrments.  Above the top half of the inner oval is gold trim with the text “FABRICAS DE TABACOS” in small white font.  The bottom half of the inner oval’s trim has red and gold striping on the trim.  The remainder of the upper part of the band has various red, gold, and silver adornments.  The bottom part of the band has a black stripe with gold pin striping and gold trim.  On that stripe is the text “1941” in white font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to starting the smoking experience, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the Raices Cubanas 1941.  Once the cap was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw.  The dry draw already provided a mix of cedar sweet spice and earth.  I also detected some cream notes which seemed atypical for a Raices Cubanas cigar.  Overall the pre-light draw to the Raices Cubanas 1941 was very good.  At this point, I was ready to light up this cigar and see what it had in store.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Raices Cubanas 1941 provided a mix of black pepper, earth, and natural tobacco sweetness.  The natural tobacco sweetness took control very early on – providing a bold sweetness on the pallet.  The pepper and earth notes settled in the background.   There was some pepper on the retro-hale, but I didn’t think it was a very sharp spice.

As the Raices Cubanas 1941 moved through the first third, some cherry notes joined the natural tobacco sweetness in the forefront.  I now also detected some cream notes in the background along with the earth and pepper.  The pepper was also more present on the after-draw providing a lingering effect on the tongue.

By the time the cigar moved into the second third, the sweetness changed up to more of a caramel sweetness mixed with natural tobacco notes.  The pepper and earth remained more of a secondary note, but the pepper continued to have the lingering effect on the tongue.  The cream notes had now pretty  much dissipated.

The last third saw the pepper join the caramel and natural tobacco on the forefront.  The pepper still had the lingering effect on the tongue. The earth notes were still somewhat present in the background.  This is the way the flavor profile held until the end.  The resulting nub was somewhat lukewarm and soft to the touch.

Burn and Draw

The burn to the Raices Cubanas 1941 had some minor issues, but overall still performed good.  The burn remained relatively straight.  There were a couple of points of minor unevenness, but some quick touch-ups kept things on track.  In this case, this was not a burn that was problematic or high maintenance.  The resulting ash was mostly gray in color with some darker and lighter streaks in it.   There were a few points of flaking in the second half.  The burn rate remained ideal, but the burn temperature did get a little warmer at the very end.

Burn of the Alec Bradley Raices Cubanas 1941

The draw performed quite well.  It was not too loose and not too tight.  This made the Raices Cubanas 1941 an easy cigar to puff on.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, I found the Raices Cubanas was mostly medium in strength.  Toward the latter third, the strength picked up and did rapidly progress to medium to full.  Meanwhile, as I mentioned the flavors were bold – particularly the sweetness.  You can feel to weight of these flavors on the pallet, making this a full-bodied smoke.  In terms of strength versus body, I gave the edge to the body.

Final Thoughts

The sweetness of the Raices Cubanas 1941 is why I said at the start that I felt this was a very different from than any cigar I had smoked from Raices Cubanas.  While the sweetness was a dominant flavor, I did like the way it changed up from in the middle.  I originally smoked this cigar at the 2013 IPCPR and since then I’ve seen this flavor profile mature.  While this is a cigar that is now ready for prime time, my gut tells me the aging potential is huge on this cigar.  This is a cigar that will probably be appreciated more by an experienced cigar enthusiast, although I still would not discourage a newbie from trying this.  As for myself, it’s one I would smoke again.  It’s worthy of a five pack in my humidor now, and it my bet on the aging potential is correct, it could progress to box split.

Summary

Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last third)
Body: Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
Score: 90

Source: The cigars for this assessment were provided by an authorized representative of Alec Bradley.  Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.