“What’s old is new” is not a radical new concept with the premium cigar industry. Over the years, we have seen brands discontinued only to later make a comeback with a lot of fanfare. Such was the case when Alec Bradley Cigar Company brought back the Alec Bradley Trilogy line. Trilogy gets its name from not only the fact that there were three blends, but the cigar themselves have a (near) triangular shape. The Alec Bradley Trilogy line would originally hit the market in 2002, but before the decade was finished, it would be discontinued. Bradley Rubin, son of Alec Bradley founder Alan Rubin, later became interested in bringing back this line. Things would be put in motion in 2019, when Alan was a guest on Smoke Inn proprietor Abe Dababneh’s KMA Talk Radio. Abe convinced Alan to put the wheels in motion to bring back Trilogy, and in 2021 Trilogy would make its return. All three blends: Authentic Corojo, Native Cameroon, and Exotic Maduro would make a return. The cigars would be re-released in two sizes: an exclusive Robusto size for Smoke Inn; and a Toro size for national release. Today we take a look at the 2021 rendition of the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon in the exclusive Robusto size for Smoke Inn.
At the time the relaunch was announced. The story of the Trilogy was described in a press release by Alec Bradley:
Alec Bradley’s founder Alan Rubin dreamt up Trilogy during a fishing trip with some other cigar manufacturers. At one point, the conversation moved to cigar shapes, and one of the manufacturers turned to Rubin, tell him that he just cannot come out with another round cigar. Challenged by the statement, Rubin started drawing up plans and made his way to a South Florida Home Depot, where he created his unique triangular mold. In 2002, the Alec Bradley Trilogy series was introduced in three distinct blends: Authentic Corojo, Exotic Maduro and Native Cameroon. Trilogy had many years of success, and some may still be found in market, but the line was eventually discontinued as Alec Bradley’s cigar portfolio grew. Overall demand for the line lingered.
The way the launch went was the Smoke Inn received the exclusive Robusto sizes first. The Toro sizes would follow later in 2021. The exclusive Robusto sizes of the Alec Bradley Trilogy were packaged in a unique, triangular-shaped package consisting of six cigars of each of the three blends.
The Toro sizes were packaged in boxes that resembled the special triangular-shaped molds that were needed for this project. Unlike the Robusto, each box is dedicated to one of the specific blends.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Alec Bradley Trilogy was re-blended to capture the profile of the original release. As the name indicates, the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon features a genuine African Cameroon wrapper. Honduran tobaccos are used for the binder and filler. There is also Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler.
Wrapper: African Cameroon
Binder: Honduran Connecticut Seed
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: Tabacos De Oriente
As mentioned, the Alec Bradley Trilogy was offered in two sizes – an exclusive Robusto for Smoke Inn and a Toro size for national release. The Robusto sizes are packaged in an 18-count sampler consisting of six of each of the three blends. A total of 300 samplers were produced. The Toros are separated and sold by blend and are sold in the ten-count triangular mold boxes. A total of 2,000 boxes per blend were released for the Toro.
Robusto: 5 x 50 (Smoke Inn Exclusive)
Toro: 6 x 52
The Cameroon wrapper of the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon had a medium brown color to it. The wrapper itself had a slight amount of toothiness to it. There wasn’t much in the way of oil on the wrapper. At the same time, there was some subtle mottling on the wrapper. There were also some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The cigar itself doesn’t have a perfect triangle shape, but once the cigar comes out of the molds, it’s not unusual for the shape to decompress a bit.
The band for the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon has a mostly red background. At the top of the band is the text “TRILOGY” in a red font with some accents. That text sits on a dull-yellow field with a gold frame surrounding it. The top of the frame has the Alec Bradley red badge. The middle of the band has a dull-yellow stripe with the text “NATIVE CAMEROON” in a red font with some accents. Three medallions flank each side of the text. The lower part of the band has the text “Alec Bradley” in a dull-yellow font. The remainder of the band has gold and dull-yellow accents.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon Robusto. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw was straightforward and simple – notes of sweet tobacco and wood. It wasn’t an overly complex pre-light draw, but it did enough to satisfy me. At this point, it was time to light up the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon Robusto and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start of the smoking experience of the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon Robusto picked up where the pre-light draw left off. There were more notes of sweet tobacco and wood. These notes were joined by notes of black pepper, baker’s spice, and earth. The sweet natural tobacco notes moved into the forefront. The black pepper, wood, earth, and baker’s spice settled in the background with the black pepper the most prominent of the secondary notes. On the retro-hale was an additional layer of pepper and baker’s spice.
During the second third of the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon Robusto, there was an increase in the wood notes. By the midway point, the wood notes joined the natural tobacco notes in the forefront. The black pepper, earth, and baker’s spice remained in the background with the black pepper remaining the most prominent of the secondary notes.
There was not much change in the final third. The natural tobacco and wood remained primary. The black pepper notes were now closer than ever to being a primary note, but still not quite there. The earth and baker’s spice helped round out the flavor profile. This is the way the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon Robusto came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon Robusto (2021) was prone to a meandering burn from time to time. Touch-ups to the cigar did the trick, but this did happen several times on each sample. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm, but not loose nor flaky either. This was an ash that was mostly light gray in color. The burn temperature was ideal, but the cigar did burn at a slightly faster rate. This was a cigar that took an average of 48.5 minutes to smoke.
Overall the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon Robusto (2021) had an open draw, which probably contributed to the quicker burn. Other than the quicker burn, there were no other adverse effects.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength, the Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon Robusto was a solid medium from start to finish. At the same time, there was some boldness to the flavors. These flavors came in a medium to full. There was not much in the way of variance or the strength and body. The body maintained an edge from start to finish.
Much like when I smoked the Alec Bradley Trilogy Authentic Corojo Robusto, the Alec Bradley Native Cameroon delivered a satisfactory experience. While this was a nice cigar, it was one that lacked a wow factor. The triangular-shaped vitola was an interesting shade to smoke, but I don’t think this adds anything to the overall smoking experience. When you consider this cigar on its own, it’s hard to go above “Try a Sample” in our value ratings. Like I said when I assessed the Authentic Corojo Robusto, the good news is I would say, go try the Toro size (which is not far off from the Robusto) and if you like it then by all means get this sampler.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Wood, Earth, Baker’s Spice, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted