|Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2012|
The Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2012 is probably one of the most anticipated cigars for 2012. It marks the second release for Alec Bradley in its popular “Fine and Rare” series. For the Fine and Rare 2012, there comes a blend changes – and an increase in production. Despite the fact that there will be more Fine and Rare cigars this year, this is still a cigar being sought out by many cigar enthusiasts. One can argue this rivals the annual Tatuaje Monster Series release as one of the most difficult cigars to obtain. Last year, we were very impressed with the initial Fine and Rare offering. The Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2012 actually takes things to the next level – and certainly makes this one one of the best cigars to be released by Alec Bradley.
With the Fine and Rare 2011, the primary cigar that was released was a toro. However, there were some torpedos and perfectos that were also produced in extremely limited quantities. For the Fine and Rare 2012, it appears that a torpedo will be the main vitola. Production for all of the 2011 Fine and Rare cigars totaled 1,111 boxes across the toros, perfectos, and vitolas. For the 2012 release, production nearly doubled to 2,000 boxes of 10. From my observations, many retailers are limiting quantities to consumer, and many have already been sold out. The Fine and Rare 2012 has a slightly higher SRP of $16.50 (compared to an SRP of $14.00 for the Fine and Rare 2011). We mention pricing for informational purposes and this does not factor into our assessment rating or score.
|Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2011 Toro|
While the word on the street was that the Fine and Rare 2012 would be a torpedo, Alec Bradley did keep the Fine and Rare under wraps – only displaying the wooden box that would house ten cigars. Each cigar is individually held in the box to prevent damage when shipping.
|Wooden box that packages the Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2012
(Cigar Coop photo from the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show)
Let’s break down the Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2012 and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The concept behind the Alec Bradley Fine and Rare series is that it incorporates ten tobaccos in the blend. The Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2012 is known as the BR1213 blend. This is a tweaked version of the Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2011 (known as the HJ10-i blend).
Wrapper: Honduras Trojes
Filler: Honduras, Nicraragua
As mentioned above, the Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2012 is only available in a torpedo vitola. This cigar measures 6 x 52.
The Honduran wrapper to the Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2012 has a medium brown color with some colorado red to it. The wrapper itself also has some dark spots. There is some oil to the wrapper and it also has a bumpy feel. There are also visible veins and visible wrapper seams on the wrapper. From the aroma, there is a nice cedary aroma.
The band looks like a wine label. It contains information about the origins of the cigar and the people involved. While there is a lot of information on the band, it does give the band some charm. Here are some highlights of information included on the band.
First Issue: 2000 boxes/2012
|Band of the Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2012|
When comparing the Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2012, while one can definitely draw some parallels to the original Fine and Rare 2011. Overall, I still would say each cigar’s flavor profile stands on its own.
The start to the Fine and Rare 2012 yielded a nice shot of spice to start. Originally the spice was a combination of cedar and pepper. It soon transitioned to a more traditional black pepper spice. This spice would quickly be joined by some coffee notes.
Around the five percent mark, the coffee flavors took over as the primary flavor. The pepper spice would become more of a secondary note and was joined by some notes of cream. The subsiding of the pepper proved to be short-term as by the ten percent mark, the pepper returned to the forefront with the coffee. Later in the first third, the flavor profile continued to evolve as some natural tobacco sweetness joined the cream in the background.
By the midway point of the cigar, the coffee notes became more of a chocolate flavor. This along with the pepper continued to be the primary notes. The cream and natural tobacco sweetness continued to provide some nice balance. By the last third of the cigar, the pepper became the dominant flavor. The end of the cigar was spicy, but not harsh. The resulting nub was outstanding – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2011 scored very well when it came to burn and draw. While the Fine and Rare 2012 had excellent construction, I was a little concerned. This is because I feel parejos (which the Fine and Rare 2011 was) score better than torpedoes. However, in the case of the Fine and Rare 2012, I was proven wrong. This cigar scores equally well to its predecessor.
The burn line of the Fine and Rare 2012 proved to be sharp throughout the smoking experience and required minimal touch-ups. The cigar produced a tight, white ash. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal. As for the draw, this was as good as you can get on a torpedo. The Fine and Rare 2012 was an enjoyable cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
In the attributes of strength and body, I did notice some differences between the Fine and Rare 2011 and the Fine and Rare 2012. I had assessed the Fine and Rare 2011 to be a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar. For me, the blend tweak with the Fine and Rare 2012 seemed to take the strength up a notch. The strength to the Fine and Rare 2012 starts out medium to full and later in the second half it kicks up to a full strength cigar. As for the body, it also was taken up a notch. Like the strength, the Fine and Rare 2012 starts out medium to full-bodied. By the second half, the cigar transitions to a full-bodied smoke. Throughout the smoking experience the strength and body countered each other nicely.
When I first smoked the Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2011, it was a very good cigar experience. The only thing was I was expecting a little more complexity from a cigar with ten tobaccos. The Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2012 does take further strides in terms of providing more complexity. I also feel the Fine and Rare 2012 has an even better flavor profile than the original. Folks who read my assessments know I am not a fan of torpedo vitals. While I still would have preferred this to be a parejo, I really have no complaints about this torpedo. I mentioned at the start of this assessment that this is one of the best releases by Alec Bradley to date and I stand by that statement. This is a cigar I certainly would recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast. As for a novice enthusiast, I would recommend this if they are looking to move to a more fuller cigar in terms of strength and body. As for myself, this is a cigar I certainly buy and smoke again (that is if I can still find any).
Strength: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outman Cigars in Greenville, South Carolina.