|Alec Bradley Connecticut|
The Alec Bradley Connecticut was launched at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show by Alec Bradley Cigars. It was a surprise release for a couple of reasons. First up, while many cigar manufacturers announced what was being launched at the trade show prior to the actual trade show, Alec Bradley chose to keep some level of mystery and just surprise everyone with some new offerings. Secondly, the launch of a Connecticut Shade wrapper cigar by Alec Bradley was a surprise itself. The Alec Bradley Connecticut adds a third core-line Connecticut Shade offering into the Alec Bradley portfolio. In fact, it marks the third consecutive year that a Connecticut Shade cigar has been released by Alec Bradley. The big question would be – would there be room for another Connecticut Shade wrapper in not just the market, but in the Alec Bradley portfolio? In my opinion, the answer is yes. I found the Alec Bradley Connecticut to offer a cross of traditional and contemporary characteristics in terms of what have come to expect from a Connecticut Shade wrapper cigar.
In 2010, Alec Bradley released the Alec Bradley Maxx Connecticut which added a Connecticut Shade wrapper offering to its popular Maxx cigar blend. In 2011, Alec Bradley followed this up with the launch of the new American Classic line. In the case of the Maxx Connecticut, American Classic, and now Alec Bradley Connecticut – all three offer different blends.
Let’s take a closer look at the Alec Bradley Connecticut and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Alec Bradley Maxx Connecticut featured a five country multi-national blend highlighted by a Connecticut Shade wrapper.. The Alec Bradley American Classic featured a Honduran-grown Connecticut Shade wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The Alec Bradley Connecticut uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper over a Honduran/Nicaraguan blend.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
The Alec Bradley Connecticut will be available in five sizes:
Nano: 4 1/4 x 46
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 50
Torpedo: 6 1/8 x 52
Churchill: 7 x 50
For this cigar experience, I smoked the Toro vitola. The Alec Bradley Connecticut Toro features a classic light brown wrapper. The wrapper itself has a bit of oil to it, but it definitely has more of a silky complexion. While there are a few visible wrapper seams, the wrapper itself is void of any visible veins.
The design of the band of the Alec Bradley Connecticut is very intricate. At the center of the band is the Alec Bradley “AB” red badge logo. The red badge is surrounded by red, gold, and black oval rings. The remainder of the band is adorned with red, white, gold, and silver design. Above the oval rings is the text “ALEC BRADLEY” in white font arranged in a curved fashion on a black background. Below the oval ring is the text “CONNECTICUT” arranged on an angle on a white ribbon background. The band also features gold trim across the top and bottom. There is also a smaller Alec Bradley “AB” red badge on the back. To the far right of the band it says “LIVE TRUE” in white font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoking experience with the Alec Bradley Connecticut, I went with my usual straight cut into the cap of the cigar. When I commenced with the pre-light draw, I was treated to primarily woody notes. There was a hint of spice, but the really was nothing flashy about these dry draw notes. While this pre-light draw experience didn’t excite me a lot, it is worth noting we do not factor the pre-light experience into our scores or ratings, so no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to fire up the Alec Bradley Connecticut and see what this cigar experience would bring to the table.
The start to the Alec Bradley Connecticut treated me to good dose of black pepper with background notes of cream and wood. The black pepper would be the theme of this Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade cigar. Around the five percent point, the wood notes joined the black pepper in the forefront with the cream notes remaining in the background.
Later in the first half, a citrus sweetness joined the cream notes in the background. At the same time, the wood and pepper notes remained primary. Toward the last third of the smoke, the pepper kicked back in and became the main primary note. I found the last part of the Alec Bradley Connecticut to on the spicy side. Recently, we assessed the My Father Commemorative 911 Limited Edition 2012 Connecticut Ecuador and while the Alec Bradley Connecticut’s notes are not as deep, the spice being thrown from this cigar did parallel some of the experience I had with the 911 cigar.
The close to the cigar experience was spicy. The resulting nub was outstanding – cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
From a close examination of the Alec Bradley Connecticut, there is no doubt this is a well-made cigar. This was reflected in the construction attributes of burn and draw. I found the burn of the Alec Bradley Connecticut to be outstanding. It remained very sharp from start to finish requiring minimal touch-ups with my butane lighter. The resulting ash was a tight, white-colored ash that had little flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
Meanwhile the draw scored equally high. I found the Alec Bradley Connecticut to be a very enjoyable cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
The attributes of strength and body are what I always pay particularly close attention to when it comes to Ecuadorian-Connecticut Shade cigars. This is because historically these have been milder smokes – although in recent years, there has been a lot of movement to move the profile of these smokes out of that range. From a strength perspective, the Alec Bradley Connecticut is going to be traditional for most of the cigar experience. This is going to provide a classic mild to medium strength cigar, but towards the end of the cigar – there is a kick. In fact the kick happens pretty fast and the cigar has a nice boost of strength – moving into the medium strength range.
From a depth of flavors standpoint, I assessed the Alec Bradley Connecticut to to qualify it as a medium-bodied smoke for most of the smoking experience. Like the strength, the body does pick up at the end – therefore, it does make it into medium to full-bodied range at the very end. The strength and body do an outstanding job at balancing each other throughout the smoking experience.
I mentioned at the start of this assessment that the Alec Bradley Connecticut has a mix of classic and contemporary. From a classic standpoint, the flavors are traditional. There isn’t going to be anything flashy about the flavors. From a contemporary standpoint, the pepper spice thrown from this cigar is something that definitely is not common. Earlier this year, when we looked at wrapper trends, we discussed the buzz around Ecuadorian Connecticut wrappers and how manufacturers have a little “mad scientist” in them to move away from mild, creamy flavor profiles. No doubt, the Alec Bradley Connecticut does this. This is a cigar I would recommend to both a novice and experienced cigar enthusiast looking for something not too powerful, yet spicy. I can see a lot of fans of Dominican puros liking this smoke – even though it doesn’t leverage any Dominican tobacco. As for myself, this was a nice smoke and one I would smoke again.
Strength: Mild to Medium (Medium at very end)
Body: Medium (Medium to Full at the very end)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outman Cigars in Greenville, SC.