|Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan|
The Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan marks Alec Bradley’s first foray into the world of candela cigars. For this release, the company chose to work with its popular Black Market blend, but use a candela wrapper. It has become a recent trend in the cigar industry to time candela releases close to the St. Patrick’s Day holiday and the Filthy Hooligan is no exception. Alec Bradley has intended this to be a limited edition release – with only 2000 boxes of the a toro size vitola produced. We recently have had an opportunity to smoke the Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan. Overall, this was an outstanding candela release – and one that should please many candela enthusiasts.
When Alec Bradley announced this release, it was originally called the Alec Bradley Black Market Dirty Hooligan. However, a few days after this announcement, the name was changed from Dirty Hooligan to Filthy Hooligan. The decision for the change was made by Alec Bradley president Alan Rubin following a conversation with Drew Estate Chairman Jonathan Drew who viewed the name “Dirty” a key component to Drew Estate’s brands.
Let’s take a closer look at the Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The Filthy Hooligan is based off the Alec Bradley Black Market blend, but uses a candela wrapper.
Binder: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Filler: Panamanian, Honduran, Nicaraguan
As mentioned above, the Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan is available in one size – a toro. This toro is the same size as the core line Alec Bradley Black Market toro – a 6 x 50. The cigars are packaged 22 per box.
The Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan doesn’t quite have that “Kermit the Frog” green color to its candela wrapper. I would describe the Filthy Hooligan’s wrapper as more of a creamy colored, slightly faded green wrapper. The wrapper itself has a silky complexion. It also has some visible wrapper seams and visible veins. From the foot of the Filthy Hooligan, I could detect a cedar, barnyard aroma.
The banding to the Filthy Hooligan is similar to the core Black Market line. There is a wrapping going from the foot covering slightly more than 50 percent of the cigar. The wrap is designed to look like “confidential” paper. It is highlighted by the text “BLACK MARKET” in large black “confidential typewriter” font. There is also a black “Alec Bradley badge” logo on the wrap. There is one main difference in this outer wrap from the core line in that there is a a green Filthy Hooligan logo – complete with a shamrock that is “stamped” on the paper.
The inner band is positioned toward the center of the Filthy Hooligan cigar. The inner band features two stripes. The top stripe is black in color and has the text “ALEC BRADLEY” on it. The lower stripe has a “confidential paper” background color similar to the outer wrap. It has the text “BLACK MARKET” – in a “confidential typewriter style” font. There is also a white shamrock on a green circular background that sits in between the two stripes. As for the outer wrap, it covers the lower stripe of the inner band- leaving the top (black) stripe exposed as well as half of the shamrock.
|Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan – Inner band|
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my cigar experience of the Filthy Hooligan, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. Once I removed the cap, I moved on to the pre-light draw experience. The dry draw notes of wood and cream were typical of many candela-wrapped pre-light draw experiences. I also detected an interesting mint-floral combination – which gave some identity to the Filthy Hooligan’s pre-light draw. Overall I considered this a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this time, I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the cigar experience would deliver.
The start to the Filthy Hooligan provided notes of pepper and cream to start. There also was a grassy-like hay flavor that was present in the background. The retro-hale did produce pepper from start to finish, but in the early stages of the smoke, I also picked up some mesquite flavors.
In the middle of the first third, the cream notes moved into the forefront and the pepper notes receded into the background. A citrus sweetness would replace the grassy/hay notes in the background. The citrus notes slowly increased and by the end of the first third, the citrus notes are on-par with the cream notes that are in the forefront.
In the second third, there is an increase in the pepper spice. By the second half, the pepper became the primary flavor with the cream and citrus taking on a secondary role.
In the last third, the pepper continued to hold. The citrus notes significantly diminished and did not become much of a factor toward the end. There definitely was a spicy finish to the Filthy Hooligan. The spice was not harsh. The resulting nub was on the warmer side and soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The burn to the Filthy Hooligan did require some touch-ups along the way to keep the burn line straight. The touch-ups with my butane lighter seemed to do the trick. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color with some flaking along the way. The burn rate was ideal.
I’ve observed that candela-wrapper cigars tend to burn a little on the warmer side. This seemed to apply to the Filthy Hooligan and was more noticeable in the second half. I was careful not to over-draw on the Filthy Hooligan, but sometimes with candela I find it more difficult to control draw vs. temperature. While the Filthy Hooligan did finish on the warmer side, there was never any resulting harshness.
The draw didn’t seem overly loose or overly tight. While there were no issues with the draw itself, I still had to be careful not to over-draw. Overall, there was no loss of points here.
Strength and Body
The Strength and Body is really where I saw the Filthy Hooligan differentiate itself from other candelas. While candelas tend to be milder in strength, the Filthy Hooligan had more pop than I was used to from this type of wrapped cigar. I assessed the this cigar to be a medium strength cigar.
As for the flavors, there also was more depth than I am used to from a candela wrapped cigar. While the flavors start out medium-bodied, later in the first third, they progress to medium to full-bodied – and this remained the case right until the end of the cigar.
In terms of how the strength and body balance each other, this is definitely a cigar where the body has an edge over the strength.
Overall, I found a lot to like about the Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan. I liked how this cigar had more citrus and pepper in its flavor profile as opposed to just wood and cream. I also liked how this cigar offered more in terms of strength and body than many other candela releases. Finally, I really liked the toro format for this blend. I felt the 50 ring gauge had a nice sweet spot. If you are a candela fan, this is a cigar you definitely want to check out. It’s a great cigar for a novice enthusiast to experience a candela-wrapped cigar. Experienced cigar enthusiasts will appreciate how this cigar offers more in terms of strength and body. Overall, I really enjoyed this cigar. I look forward to smoking it again.
Body: Medium to Full (Medium to start)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Smoke Inn Cigars in West Palm Beach, Florida.