|Alec Bradley New York|
It was in late 2010 where Alec Bradley cigars launched a project called the Alec Bradley New York. The concept behind this project was to create a cigar specifically for brick and mortar retailers in the State of New York. Given New York has been hit by some very high tobacco taxes, the idea of the Alec Bradley New York would give these retailers a special cigar to attract consumers. Last year (2012), a decision was quietly made to make the Alec Bradley New York a national core line release. Recently, I re-visited this cigar for the first time since its national release. Overall, this is an excellent addition into Alec Bradley’s regular cigar portfolio as I found this to be an enjoyable smoking experience.
The Alec Bradley New York was launched toward the end of 2010. The cigar would set off a trend in New York only releases over the next 12 months. This was followed by releases by La Aurora (Broadway and Broadway Maduro), Gurkha (Para La Gente), and the Montecristo New York Connoisseur Edition.
Without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at the Alec Bradley New York and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The blend consists of a large dose of Honduran tobacco – including Criollo ’98 for the wrapper and binder.
Wrapper: Honduran Criollo ’98 (Trojes)
Binder: Honduran Criollo ’98 (Trojes)
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
The Alec Bradley New York is currently available in five sizes:
Liberty (Churchill): 7 x 50
Six Two (Robusto): 5 1/4 x 52
Empire (Toro): 6 x 54
Gotham (Torpedo): 6 1/8 x 54
Declaration (Gran Toro) 6 x 58
Cigar Aficionado reported a sixth size of this cigar was originally made available as a retail exclusive to Cigar Inn in New York, NY. The sixth size was a 6 x 52 toro.
For this cigar experience, I smoked the Empire (toro) vitola. The Alec Bradley New York Empire is highlighted by what I would call a cinnamon-colored wrapper. The wrapper itself was on the thick side. There didn’t seem to be any oily presence on this wrapper. The surface of the wrapper was bumpy and there were both visible wrapper seams and veins.
Alec Bradley’s band designs quietly fly under the radar, but they feature some of the best art work in the industry. The band is highlighted by a silver drawing of the Empire State Building surrounded by a bronze-colored sunburst. Surrounding the sunburst is gold trim. At the top of the band it says “AB NY” in gold font on a small brown background. Below the sunburst is a bronze-like gradient background. On the background it says “ALEC BRADLEY” in silver font. Just below that text is the text “NEW YORK” in a slightly smaller font. The remainder of the band features burnt orange, silver, black, and gold design.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoking experience of the Alec Bradley New York, I defaulted to my usual choice of a straight cut. Once the cap was clipped, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. There was actually quite a bit going on with the dry draw. I got a mix of cedar notes that were both on the sweet and spicy side. I also detected some baker’s spice and floral notes. Overall, I considered this pre-light draw to be positive. At this point, I was ready to fire up my Alec Bradley New York and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
The start to the Alec Bradley New York yielded flavors of red pepper and toast. As the cigar experience progressed through the first five percent, a sweetness emerged that seemed to be a combination of caramel and cherry notes. This sweetness moved into the forefront of the flavor profile. The red pepper and toast notes receded to the background and were joined by earth notes.
The retro-hale was developing in the early stages too. The retro-hale seemed to be a combination of hickory and cedar spice.
As the Alec Bradley New York moved toward the ten percent point, the sweetness receded to the background and was replaced by some nut flavors. The sweetness joined the earth and pepper in the background. By this point, the toast notes from early on had dissipated.
The flavor profile held throughout most of the cigar experience. As the Alec Bradley New York moved into the last third, the spice joined the nut flavors in the forefront. The sweetness and earth remained in the background. The flavor profile held until the end. There was no harshness at the end. The resulting nub was a true finger-burner – cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The burn to the Alec Bradley New York produced a salt and pepper ash that was more on the grayish side. The ash itself was firm and wasn’t prone to flaking or flowering. The burn line did meander a bit from time to time. It did require some touch-up to keep it burning straight, but I wouldn’t categorize this as a burn that was uncontrollable. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Alec Bradley New York had a touch of resistance to it. In my opinion, that makes for an excellent cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, the Alec Bradley New York starts out in the medium range. The strength does build up somewhat and by the second half, it crosses into the medium to full range. As for the flavors, there is some nice depth to them. Overall, I assessed the Alec Bradley New York being a tad below full-bodied – falling into the medium to full-bodied range. As for the balance between the strength and body, I give a slight edge to the body – although the gap does close in the second half of the cigar experience.
I can see a lot of the logic in the Alec Bradley New York becoming a national release. This is an excellent cigar and it is great to add it to the core line offerings that are regularly offered by Alec Bradley. While New York retailers did lose a regional exclusive, the good news that the cigar is still sold in New York retailers. I found the flavor profile to the Alec Bradley to be very good – and this is a cigar best enjoyed if you like to retro-hale. Overall, I found this to be an excellent cigar for a novice cigar enthusiast looking to graduate to something on the medium / medium to full side. Experienced cigar enthusiasts will also appreciate the total package this cigar brings to the table. Overall, this is definitely a cigar I’d smoke again – and one that I would definitely like to have in a regular cigar smoking rotation.
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.