In total transparency, I haven’t smoked an Alec Bradley cigar in quite a while. Actually, the last one I had was the Post Embargo for a Video Review you can watch HERE.
I say that only because a few years back, you couldn’t mention cigars without mentioning Alec Bradley…specifically the Prensado. Cigar Aficionado’s 2011 Cigar of the Year, the Prensado Churchill was at the top of everyone’s wish list. Due to the sudden demand and some production issues, the cigar struggled to meet manufacturer and client expectations for quite some time afterwards. According to founder Alan Rubin, it took almost 2 years before the cigars truly began meeting his standard, but some damage had been done to the company’s reputation and many of their other lines.
Fast forward to 2017. Alec Bradley is still here…maybe not with the buzz and fanfare it once had some 6 years ago, but still producing quality cigars nonetheless. In an effort to build on the successes it once had with line like the Prensado and the Black Market, Alec Bradley introduced line extensions at the 2017 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) trade show in Las Vegas, NV. The Prensado Lost Art and the Black Market Esteli hit retailer’s shelves Fall of 2017, hoping to rekindle some of the fire and loyalty that these lines had just a few years ago.
Prensado Lost Art
Binder: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Vitola for Review:
The original Prensado, which Alec Bradley touts as a “true Cuban tradition” consisted of a Honduran Trojes Corojo wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers.
In typical box-pressed fashion, the lighting of the Lost Art caused concerned for me. What started off a little wavy quickly evened out due to the free-flow of air I was able to draw from the cigar. The burn line was fast to correct itself and my concerns of canoeing when away pretty fast. My first flavor thought was of a vegetal, green pepper spice that hit and lingered in the back of my nose.
Transitioning to the second third of the Lost Art the spice died down and the flavors resembled more of a leathery cream. There were still hints of that green pepper taste I had in the beginning, not entirely sure if it was still coating my tongue from earlier or if it was still being produced from the cigar.
The smoke output was light and thin yet plentiful; which increase my confidence in the construction of the cigar. Burning well through the very end. Clean burn all the way through, the Lost Art ended on a final third that was much like the 2nd. Vegetal, spicy, cool to the touch with a nice burn to boot.
Black Market Esteli
Binder: Nicaraguan, Honduran
Vitola for Review:
The original Black Market was constructed with a Nicaraguan wrapper, Sumatra binder and fillers from Panama and Honduras.
The Esteli was noticeably packed tight with tobacco. While it wasn’t overly firm to the touch, the reason for its sturdiness became apparent after the cut. The dry draw offered no obvious notes and was a bit tight, but it was manageable. After giving the cigar a thorough look over I sparked it on up to see what this attractive cigar was made of.
Present in the first third of the Black Market Esteli was a sweet, currant-like flavor. There was an oaky transition midway through the cigar while still maintaining the slight sweetness. The final third was much of the same with no noticeable changes to note.
From a construction standpoint the Black Market Esteli burned well with no relights necessary and maintained a strong, layered ash. I attribute its cool feel to the abundance of filler. Despite the limited amount of air I was able to draw through the cigar, it still produced a great amount of smoke. Overall the Esteli was medium to full in body, medium in strength and a pleasant, non-spicy remix to the Black Market.
Both the Prensado Lost Art and the Black Market Esteli were purchased at UPtown’s Smoke Shop in Nashville, TN.