Alec Bradley Black Market Robusto
So I am still feeling a little under the weather, but almost back to 100%. But nothing will keep us from getting our reviews up for you guys! This week I am bringing you a cigar that I have smoked quite a bit as of late, Alec Bradley’s Black Market.
The Good Stuff: Black Market as one of the few releases Alan Rubin over at Alec Bradley kicked out last year. The Black market is composed of a Nicaraguan Wrapper, a Sumatran binder and Panamanian & Honduran fillers. This cigar was actually manufactured by Nestor Plasencia at the Tabacos de Oriente factory in Honduras. The black market comes in 5 sizes (The Gordo 6×60, The Churchill 7×50, the Robusto 5 1/4×52, the Toro 6×60 and the Torpedo 6 1/8 x 54) and are contained in these crazy “Black Market” looking, weapon boxes that hold 22 cigars each and run between $6.75 and $8.00.
Size: 5 1/4 x 52 - Wrapper: Nicaraguan - Binder: Sumatran - Filler: Panamanian/Honduran Body: Medium/Full
Prelight: First things first, let’s take this ginormous band off this Alec Bradley Black Market. Before I do, let me just take a minute to tell you how awesome I think this band is. I love it when companies do things a bit different. I know, this isn’t the first time that I have seen a ¾ length foot band, but I like it. It’s got this neat, recycled paper texture with black stencil ink with the Alec Bradley Name, the “AB” crest, along with the words “Black Market”. This definitely resembles the kind of artwork one would see at a Black Market. Anyways, not that the band is gone I am exposed to a nice added touch with a smaller band with an identically designed appearance. Under that is this just awesome looking, mean, meaty, toothy, webby wrapper. The wrapper itself is a very dark brown with patches of lighter brown along with a few oranges mixed in. There really isn’t any larger veins at all, only a ton of smaller ones making the cigar look as if it is wrapped in spider web. The wrapper feels really tough and durable, while the body of the cigar contains no soft spots all the way up to it’s round double cap.
The wrapper of this Black Market pumps out a very welcoming cedar, leather, and spice aroma while the foot is all spice and tobacco. The cap gave me a little trouble clipping using my double bladed Palio cutter, but once I pressed hard enough it came right off. The cold draw produces a really deep, dark chocolate, spice, and almost curry flavor each time I take a puff. It feels a bit tight, but I am hoping it opens up a bit once I actually fire the cigar up.
First Smoke: Alec Bradley’s Black Market starts out with some rich cedar, chocolate, leather, nutmeg, and just enough pepper to tease my tongue. The draw isn’t nearly as tight as it was before I lit it up, producing nice clouds of brown smoke with each puff. It does take a few to get to the desired limit, but it’s not plugged by any means. The burnline is pretty thick, but dead even. The ash left behind is very compacted (even with the winds I’m experiencing right now), and a bright white with lighter grey spots. The ash actually held on for well over an inch before giving way.
Halfway There: The pepper is now completely gone in this Black Market and in fact, most of the flavors seemed to have taken a nose dive. I am now left with a smooth chocolate, slight cedar, and a lot of just natural, earthy tobacco. The retrohale is still really potent though, priming with a very deep cedar. I am not feeling any nicotine and all at this point, in fact the only thing I am feeling is a little bit of dry mouth from the cigar. Luckily I have some juice to moisten that up.
Finish: Into the final third of this Alec Bradley Black Market and not much has changed. It’s still an all around smooth cigar, but the dampening of the flavors has really started to rain on this parade. The flavors have remained a slight cedar, slight spice, with lots of strong, natural tobacco flavors. There isn’t much body in this cigar either as even after an hour, which is how long it took me to take this cigar down to the nub, there isn’t any sign of a nicotine kick. The burn however, stayed dead even the entire time without any touch ups or relights. There was no harshness built up what so ever.
Overview: The Alec Bradley Black Market starts out with a ton of potential. Lots of upfront flavor, great construction and appearance, and a perfect burn. It was later in the experience that I realized just how one dimensional this cigar is. Nothing really changed from the start of the smoke through the end, except the smoothing out of the flavors. I would say this is a solid stick, but if you are looking for something that has more depth, this isn’t the cigar for you. There is nothing really wrong with this cigar, but at the same time nothing really stands out either. For the price the Black Market is perfect for the novice cigar smoker for the novice looking for a straight forward, enjoyable experience however, if you are looking for a cigar with some good switchups, and a lot of character, this isn’t for you.
Pairing: Well, as I stated last review I haven’t been feeling well. I have a kidney infection which I think, has pretty much passed at this point. I am still on meds so no alcohol until next weekend, so I paired with the next best thing. Some 100% Cranberry juice. I mention in my reviews a lot that I would pair certain cigars with juice, tea, or coffee outside of the normal libations but I think this is the first time I have actually done it in a posted review. The Cranberry juice added some nice fruity depth to the Black market while pairing in perfectly with some nice tart flavors. If you haven’t paired a cigar with apple, or cranberry juice then I highly suggest you do so.