|Alec Bradley Prensado|
On January 6th, 2012, Alec Bradley Cigars achieved one of the highest honors that can be given to a cigar when their Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill was awarded 2011 Cigar of the Year by Cigar Aficionado magazine. Given this cigar will be on a lot of people’s minds over the next few weeks, I felt it would be appropriate and newsworthy to provide an assessment of the blend. For this particular assessment of the Alec Bradley Prensado, I’ve opted to discuss what I feel is the best vitola of the Prensado line – the Alec Bradley Prensado Robusto.
The Alec Bradley Prensado line is not a new cigar blend. It actually has been around for a couple of years. This is one reason why you didn’t see it as a 2011 Cigar of the Year on this web-site as we focus that list on new blends for the 2011 cigar year. The name Prensado is Spanish for “pressing” and this is indicative of the cigar’s box-press shape.
In the end, it’s all going to come down to how good the cigar is. While I will emphasize again that we are assessing a different vitola than the Churchill. All vitolas can impart different flavors, but in this case I felt there still were a lot of similarities. In the end, i still felt the robusto was the best vitola of the lot.
While it’s fair to say the Prensado is not a new cigar blend for 2011, it does carry out a theme that emerged with cigars for 2011 – the renaissance of Honduran tobacco. While I said Honduran tobacco was not dead in cigars, I had felt 2010 was a down year. The Alec Bradley Prensado is made in the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras and utilizes a good proportion of Honduran tobacco from Trojes. The Trojes region is located in the Southern part of the Honduras.
Wrapper: Trojes, Honduras
Filler Trojes, Honduras, Nicaragua
The line now consists of six vitolas. Each vitola is box-pressed. The Robusto and Churchill were part of the original release. The Double T was a line extension for 2011.
Corona Gorda: 5 5/8 x 46
Robusto: 5 x 50
Churchill: 7 x 48
Gran Toro: 6 x 54
Torpedo: 6 1/8 x52
Double T: 6 x 62
Visually speaking the Alec Bradley Prensado is as good a piece of cigar art as there is. The wrapper has a coffee look to it. The wrapper is somewhat oily and smooth with virtually no veins visible. It is a well-packed box-press with no soft spots. The old Alec Bradley logo is on the band. It has gold lettering on a black background. There are also additional colors of white, gold, copper, and turquoise on the band. The aroma on the foot is combination of cedar and coffee.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my Alec Bradley Prensado Robusto, I placed a straight cut into the cap. I went on to commence with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided me notes of leather, coffee, and chocolate. Overall I considered the pre-light flavors to be satisfactory. It was now on to firing up the Alec Bradley Prensado and see what was in store.
The initial draws of Alec Bradley Prensado provided me with a quick shot of pepper. The pepper would settle quickly and join with notes of leather and coffee. The leather and coffee would quickly surface as the primary flavors early on. By the end of the first third of the smoking experience, I detected some notes of nut in the background.
Early in the second third of the Prensado, I detected a sour citrus in the background for a little bit. Eventually that citrus note was replaced by some cedar spices. The cedar spices fused with the pepper notes. For the remainder of the cigar experience, the Prensado was highlighted by notes of leather, coffee, nut, and spice. There wasn’t a point where I one of these notes would overshadow the other notes. The finish was smooth and there were not harsh notes. The resulting nub was cool and soft. In the end, not the most complex flavor profile, but some good flavors.
Burn and Draw
One area where I have had an issue with the Prensados has been the burn. The burn has not been terrible, but it was not at a level I would expect. I’ve found the Prensado a cigar that needs many touch-ups. This was true when I smoked the latest cigar from this blend that I am using for this assessment. At times, the ash would flake – providing a decent ash. As for the draw, it was outstanding – so no issues there.
|Burn of the Alec Bradley Prensado|
Strength and Body
From a nicotine standpoint, I thought the Alec Bradley Prensado provided a decent dose of it. Overall I would still say it falls short of being full-strength, but remains in the medium to full range of the spectrum. As for the depth of the flavor notes, the Prensado starts out as medium. As the cigar moves into the second half, the flavor graduates to medium to full. While I thought the strength had a slight advantage over flavor early on, I did not think it overwhelmed the flavor. For the most part, the Prensado had good balance between strength and body – especially in the second half when the body pick up.
2009 was the year of the first Cigar Coop Cigar of the Year list. That list was created before this web-site was founded. Even though it was eligible that year, the Alec Bradley Prensado did not make that list. Overall, I thought this was a good cigar. If it had a more consistent burn and some more complexity from a flavor standpoint, it would be better cigar. In the end this web site’s criteria for assessing, scoring, and ranking a cigar is different than Cigar Aficionado’s criteria. This is probably a cigar I’d recommend to a more seasoned enthusiast. I would smoke it again, but it probably wouldn’t be in my regular rotation.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium (1st half); Medium to Full (2nd half)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment was purchased sometime ago from Outland Cigars.