|Alec Bradley American Sun Grown|
The Alec Bradley American Sun Grown was a cigar that was released mid-year. The American Sun Grown is the second cigar in Alec Bradley’s “American” series. In 2011, Alec Bradley released the Alec Bradley American Classic. The American Classic was an excellent Honduran Connecticut-Shade wrapper and it proved to surprise me in terms of its strength and body. Earlier this year, some buzz came out that Alec Bradley was planning a second cigar to this line. Originally, word was this cigar was going to be called the American Heritage, but eventually the name became the American Sun Grown for the wrapper that was selected. I’ve had an opportunity to sample this cigar – and I’ve found this to be a fine addition to the Alec Bradley American line.
Like the original Alec Bradley American Classic, the American Sun Grown is a value-priced cigar. The SRP for the cigar is $4.20 to $5.75 – depending on the size of the cigar. Let’s break down the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The name “American” might be a little confusing to the consumer. The cigar doesn’t have (United States) American tobacco, but it does have Central American tobacco. While earlier this year, Alec Bradley announced its upcoming Alec Bradley Nica Puro as a Nicaraguan puro, the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown is already fulfilling this role.
The American Sun Grown uses the same composition for its binder and filler as the American Classic. The difference is the Nicaraguan Habano Sun Grown wrapper.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Sun-Grown
Binder: Nicaraguan Jalapa
Filler: Nicaraguan (Esteli and Condega)
The Alec Bradley American Sun Grown is available in the same six sizes as the American Classic.
Corona: 5 1/2 x 42
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 50
Churchill: 7 x 48
Torpedo: 6 1/8 x 52
Gordo: 6 x 60
For this cigar experience, I smoked the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown Toro vitola. The Habano Sun-Grown wrapper is a dark colored wrapper with a silky complexion. The coffee bean color gives the wrapper some maduro-esque qualities to it. There also is a slight amount of colorado red in the dark color as well as some dark spots. There are some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
The American Sun Grown has a similar band to the American Classic in terms of design, but it is not an identical band. Highlights on the band include the Alec Bradley Red Badge in the center. To the left is the text “LIBERTAS” in white font on a red ribbon to the left of the badge. On the right side of the badge is the text “AEQUITAS”- also in white font on a red ribbon. (The text LIBERTAS AEQUITAS literally translates from Latin to English as FREEDOM EQUITY – or possibly Freedom for all).
Some additional highlights on the band include a large gold “A” in the center. Below that it says “SUN GROWN BLEND” in thin black font on a gold ribbon. Below that text is “ALEC BRADLEY” in gold font. There is also some silver trim around the band. On the lower right is the text “LIVE FREE”.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown toro, I placed my usual straight cut into the cap. Once the cap was clipped, I proceeded to begin the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes yielded a combination of chocolate and leather flavors. There was also a touch of spice I could detect. Overall, I considered this a satisfactory pre-light experience. It was now time to toast the foot of my American Sun Grown and see what the cigar experience would deliver.
The start to American Sun Grown yielded a combination of chocolate, coffee, leather, and red pepper notes. I wouldn’t categorize the chocolate and coffee flavors as being “mocha” as I could easily separate the two flavors. These two flavors were not overly sweet either. There was no dominant flavor in the early stages, but as the cigar experience moved through the first third, the chocolate, coffee, and leather went to the forefront and the pepper receded to the background. The background flavors were also joined by some citrus sweetness.
In the second third, I saw the coffee and chocolate notes diminish significantly and it was the leather notes were still in the forefront. The red pepper spice moved into the forefront and joined the leather flavors. The citrus sweetness was still in the background.
In the last third, the American Sun Grown got mostly leathery and peppery and the citrus faded. I found the American Sun Grown to start out very flavorful, but toward the end it had lost many of the flavors I enjoyed earlier on. There was some spice, but no harshness as the smoking experience came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
From a burn perspective, I would assess the American Sun Grown had a good burn, but not a great burn. This cigar required a little more effort than I preferred to keep the burn line straight. The cigar produced a firm, grayish ash with minimal flaking. While the color of the ash was gray, I would not categorize it as a “black ash”. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
As for the draw, I felt the American Sun Grown scored very well here. This was a nice easy draw and it made the American Sun Grown a joy to smoke.
Strength and Body
When I smoked the American Classic, I found that the Honduran Connecticut Shade wrapper gave the cigar a classic “medium/medium” (medium strength, medium-bodied) profile. With the wrapper change to the Nicaraguan Habano Sun-Grown, I was expecting both attributes to be fuller – and this is exactly what the American Sun Grown delivered.
The American Sun Grown has what I would term a “little bit of pop” to it. I classified this as a medium to full strength smoke. The flavor notes had some nice depth to them. I assessed the American Sun Grown flavors as being deep enough to make the cigar a full-bodied smoke. Overall, I gave the body a slight edge over the strength during the smoking experience.
Overall, I found this to be a very nice cigar by Alec Bradley. The combination of the Alec Bradley American Classic and the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown actually provides a nice “Breakfast – Lunch” cigar combination. This cigar is a prime example on the impact a wrapper can have on a blend as the American Sun Grown has a completely different profile than the American Classic. I probably would steer the American Sun Grown to a more experienced cigar enthusiast. At the same time, if a novice enjoyed the Alec Bradley American Classic, I would recommend a Sun Grown to graduate to something stronger – and to demonstrate the effect a wrapper can have. Overall, this a cigar I would definitely smoke again.
Strength: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Casa de Montecristo in Countryside, Illinois.