Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan Cigar Review
It’s Candela time! It’s not very often that I reach for a green cigar. It’s not that they are terrible, or even bad cigars, they are just usually a bit too far on the mild side for me. But, I cannot think of a better time of the year to smoke on other than St. Patrick’s day. This year, I take on Alec Bradley’s Black Market Filthy Hooligan.
The Good Stuff: Making it’s debut during St. Patrick’s day 2013, Alec Bradley’s Filthy hooligan is the follow up to the well-received Black Market blend. Keeping with the St. Patrick’s day theme Alec Bradley decided to wrap the Filthy Hooligan with a Nicaraguan Candela wrapper giving it a bright green allure. These limited edition cigars are the exact same blend as last year’s only with one extra year of age on them. The Filthy Hooligan comes packed with Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Panamanian tobaccos and Nicaraguan and Honduran binders. The Filthy Hooligan only comes in one size, a 6 x 50 toro and is priced around $8.00 a stick. I picked these up at my local El Paso cigar lounge, La Casa Del Puro. He’s been rotating his stock a lot lately so check in which him if you haven’t lately.
Size: 6 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Candela
Pairing: Magner’s Irish Cider (Hard Cider 4.5% ABV)
Prelight: The Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan starts off with the obvious, a candela wrapper. Instead of the standard shades of brown we are all used to the Filthy Hooligan carries a very light, almost pastel/mint green wrapper. The wrapped if very webby and sports some darker green areas especially around the cap as well some brown areas scattered throughout the leaf. The wrapper is very smooth and oily. Light just shines off this thing. There are a few larger veins, but nothing too concerning. The cigar is polished of with a very round, double cap. This cigar feels incredibly dense and it’s heavy as hell. It almost feels as if it was filled with hard rubber. Like all the Black Market series the Filthy Hooligan has a brown, recycled cardboard band that runs from the center of the cigar down to the foot. It has the standard Black Market logo as well as the Alec Bradley crest with the addition of a green clover and the Filthy Hooligan banners. When you slide that huge band off there is a smaller one underneath with similar markings.
The wrapper of the Black Market Filthy Hooligan gives off a very slight aroma of tobacco and moss while the foot of the cigar carries much stronger notes of tobacco mixed with some soft spice. The cold draw produces some mild woodsy/earthy notes along with a lot of natural tobacco. I also got a lot of saltiness from the wrapper on my lips.
First Smoke: Alec Bradley’s Black Market Filthy Hooligan started out rather on the mild side with lots of natural tobacco and grassy notes backed my a bit of moss and cedar with just a splash of sweetness. I was surprised that there wasn’t any pepper or spice off the initial light up. I did however, continue to pull some saltiness from the wrapper onto my lips. The draw was a bit snug, but nothing too annoying. The burnline was all sorts of crazy with two really large waves forming right off the bat. I thought they may had been due to poor lighting techniques, but they continued to burn at a much faster rate than the rest of the burnline. The ash was pretty flaky mixed with both medium and dark gray which held on for about an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Halfway There: Not quite keeping with the theme a very nice floral flavor has began to introduce itself into the flavor experience of the Filthy Hooligan. The rest of the flavors remained pretty consistent with the soft cedar and moss, natural tobacco, and grassiness. The sweetness has completely dropped out. On the plus side, not only has the draw really opened up in the second third but after my first ash dropped the burnline has somehow corrected itself. It’s still not perfect, but I didn’t think anything short of my lighter would be able to fix that thing. The retrohale is really mild and coats my nasal passage with cedar and earthiness. It actually adds quite a bit to the flavor profile making it a bit bolder. I am feeling zero in the nicotine department as I close out the second third.
Finish: The finish of the Filthy Hooligan was identical to the second third. Lots of mild cedar and moss, earthiness and natural tobacco with some floral sprinkled over it. The flavor profile really didn’t change up much at all. The draw has been perfect and was great all the way through the cigar minus the tightness at the beginning. The burnline was solid after that point as well and astonishingly enough never required any extra attention from my lighter. The Filthy Hooligan burns at an incredibly slow rate. It took me over 2 hours to take this entire toro down. There was only a tiny bit of harshness in the final inch or so of the cigar.
Overview: I wasn’t really impressed with the Filthy Hooligan, but that’s not to say that it was a bad cigar. I think the main reason I didn’t enjoy this cigar more was the lack of flavors. It’s a pretty damn mild cigar and I knew that going into the experience being that it carried a candela wrapper. Outside of the first inch or so the burn actually preformed really well and the draw really opened up after the first half. The floral flavor really helped bring the body up a bit while the rest of the flavors remained mild and consistent. Now, in comparison to a lot of other candela wrapper cigars I have smoked in my short time on this planet, and the Filthy Hooligan is actually ranked pretty far up there. It was a lot more finished than other candela wrappers I have had and was actually a decent experience. If you are looking for something different or if you enjoy mild cigars and shy away from more complex experiences I think the Filthy Hooligan is perfect for you. If you are like me and like a little more body, or some body at all in your experience then this probably won’t do much for you. Stick with the standard Black Market.
Pairing: So yeah, I wanted to do something a bit different here. I decided to stick with the Irish theme and pair this Filthy Hooligan with a 4.5% ABV hard cider straight out of Ireland. Magner’s is different than most ciders I have had. First of all, it’s not very sweet. It taste’s much closer to natural apple juice than most ciders. Secondly, it’s pretty bitter. Most ciders are smooth and lead with sugar while this one has a strong apple front and a rather salty, bitter finish. This may sound bad, but when you string it all together it actually makes for a pretty smooth drink. Now, normally I would have went straight for a good Irish beer. I’m not a cider guy. I’ll try them, but not more than once usually. But being as it’s St. Patrick’s day I wanted to make sure this pairing was a bit different. I’ve only had Magner’s a handful of times and it’s pretty hard to find in these parts. But Shamrock’s Irish pub in El Paso on Ft. Bliss carries it in bottles and on tap. In fact, they even have a pear version (which I have yet to try) and are the only bar in El Paso at this point that carries either of them. If you’re in the area, hit them up. They are in a badass little area called “Freedom Crossing”, have an awesome patio, and some really kick ass bratwursts along with some Irish eats.