Back in 2018, Alec and Bradley Rubin, the sons of Alec Bradley founder Alan Rubin launched their own label as a part of the Alec Bradley portfolio appropriately titled Alec & Bradley. When the Rubin brothers informed Alan they wanted to take the next step in developing a brand, Alan agreed to do it. There was one caveat – the Rubin brothers were going to have to do this as a business venture. This meant, they would have to do everything on their own – from the blend, to the packaging, to funding the project as a subsidiary under Alec Bradley. The first Alec & Bradley cigar, Blind Faith would hit the stores in 2018 – and became a hit for the new second-generation cigar makers. Fast forward to 2019, and Alec & Bradley would launch its second cigar, the Gatekeeper. Today we take a closer look at the Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper in the Corona size.
For Blind Faith, Alec & Bradley worked in the familiar confines of the Raices Cubana factory, Alec Bradley’s long-time factory partner. With Gatekeeper, the Rubin brothers went in a completely different direction. They set their sights on the Dominican Republic and turned to family friend Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. Making a cigar in the Dominican Republic was not something new for Alec Bradley as the Occidental Reserve is the one best known to come out of the country. At the same time, this was still something very different than we have seen from Alec Bradley.
As for the name, Gatekeeper, Alec Rubin explained this when the cigar was announced, “Ernesto is a gatekeeper to new opportunities and experiences for us – thus the name Gatekeeper.”
Without further ado, let’s break down the Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper consists of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over Nicaragua binder and fillers. The Ecuadorian wrapper is not something commonly used by Alec Bradley, but it is something seen out of Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza factory where the Gatekeeper is made.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza
The Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper is available in our regular production sizes – each presented in a 20-count box.
Corona: 5 1/8 X 42
Robusto: 5 X 50
Toro: 6 X 52
Gordo: 6 X 60
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper of the Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Corona had a medium to dark brown mixed with a dark cinnamon hue. There was some mottling on the surface. The surface did not have any significant oils on it. There were some thin visible veins and thin visible wrapper seams present.
There are two bands on the Gatekeeper. The primary band is black with gray trim. On the center of the band is an image of the Head of Medusa surrounded with additional gold adornments. On the left side of the band is the text “GATEKEEPER” in gray font while the right side of the band had the text “ALEC & BRADLEY”.
There is a secondary band that rests below the lower portion of the upper band. This band is black with metallic gold trim near the lower portion. The upper band covers the center of this secondary band. On the right side of the band is the text “GATEKEEPER” in metallic gold font.
The cigar experience of the Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Corona commenced with a straight cut being used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered a mix of natural tobacco, musk, anise, and black pepper. Overall the pre-light draw experience was a satisfactory one. At this point, it was time to light up the Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Corona and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper picked up where the pre-light draw left off with more notes of natural tobacco, musk, anise, and black pepper. There were also some earth notes mixed in. There was no dominant note early on, but eventually the natural tobacco and anise settled in the forefront with the musk, black pepper, and earth settling in the background. There was also an additional layer of black pepper on the retro-hale.
By the end of the first third, the natural tobacco notes became the main primary note. The anise settled in the background with the musk, black pepper, and earth notes. During the second third, the musk and anise alternated as to the more prominent secondary note. Just past the midway point, the anise notes regressed leaving the musk note as the the most prominent of the complementary flavors in the background. Later in the second third, there was a slight increase in the pepper.
The last third saw the natural tobacco remain the primary note. There were still some close secondary notes of musk and black pepper. The anise and earth notes were more distant. This is the way the Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Corona came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
While the Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Corona maintained a relatively straight burn path, the burn line was jagged and did require some touch-ups. There also was some minor flaking at times. The ash had a light charcoal gray color. The ash wasn’t overly firm, but it wasn’t loose either. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw of the Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Corona was on the open side. It wasn’t a loose draw, but at the same time, I prefer a little resistance on the draw.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Corona came in at a solid medium. There was a slight increase in the intensity level of both attributes, but the Gatekeeper Corona stayed in the medium range. Both the strength and body balanced each other with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
There is no sophomore jinx when it comes to the Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Corona. This is a cigar that performs in the most important category – flavor. This is a cigar that is unique to both Alec Bradley and to Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza. On top of it, this is a unique cigar in general. Alec Bradley isn’t known for its Corona sized cigars, but the Gatekeeper Corona is one that stands out. This is a cigar that I would recommend to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again and get multiples to keep in my humidor.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Musk, Anise, Black Pepper, Earth
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted