Cigar Rights and Some Alec Bradley Cigars

I usually present the cigars I’ve smoked over the last few days, but I had a weird experience this week, and I’m going to hold off on talking about those cigars until I give them some more humidor time and revisit them. All I’ll say is I smoked two cigars that had a really odd finish, and while they were from the same company,  they were made in completely different factories. Unless they had a common component that had a flavor that just didn’t play well with my chemistry,  I’m going to give them a do-over in a couple weeks. It was weird and had me second guessing myself! In other news, Cigar Rights of America has published a response to the FDA’s deeming document with excellent recommendations on how to respond, and we MUST respond in numbers, or life will change negatively for many thousands of people. Glynn Loope, the director of the CRA made a comment that no cigar related anything should be published without including a link to http://cigarrights.org/fda-response.php. I created a simple animated 125×125 graphic and included it at the top of the right-hand column on this site (scroll down for mobile users), I don’t think my advertisers will mind being bumped down a spot for this. Anyone who wants to use it is free to to so, and if someone with talent in creating graphics (I have none) wants to improve upon it, please do. We need to make an intelligent and unified response to the FDA’s proposed destruction of cigars as we know them.

 

JMs_AB_JLYesterday was Saturday, and I had received an email earlier in the week that one of my long time favorite local shops was having an Alec Bradley event. I’ve been begging to get email notices about JM Cigars events for years, and finally got on the list! I figured it would be rude if I didn’t stop in. Jonathan “The Player” Lipson, the local Alec Bradley rep, is a good guy and I like Alec Bradley cigars. I smoked a Nica Puro robusto, of course, one of my go-tos, mostly to see if that odd taste I was getting was me or not. It wasn’t, as the cigar was excellent as usual. The event was well attended for a spring Saturday afternoon. I’m not sure if it’s just that Jonathan does a lot of events or what, but I find myself going whenever I see one pop up, and, as a result, I seem to have quite a few Alec Bradley cigars in my humidors. I picked up a few American Sungrown torpedos too, for five bucks these are impossible to pass up!

 
AB_Maxx_RoboloAfter a blustery storm blew through,  I decided to keep with the Alec Bradley theme, and took a walk with an Alec Bradley MAXX Connecticut Robolo, which is a BestCigarPrices.com exclusive (the size, not the blend It turns out the Maxx Connecticut line is a BCP exclusive, thanks to Jason there for the update).  Something about the 4½x60 size appeals to me, not sure why that is.  This cigar has fillers from Nicaraguan, Colombian, Mexican, and Honduras, with a Connecticut wrapper, which I assume is Ecuador Connecticut judging by the flavor and the price point, however both BestCigarPrices and Alec Bradley’s sites just say Connecticut, so I could well be wrong. These can be had in the five dollar range. I found this to be a really nice, milder smoke with great flavors. The burn and draw were very good, and I burned my fingers a little finishing it up. It probably smoked for over an hour, not bad for a four and a half inch cigar. In the Maxx range, I’ve only had the Brazilian wrapped version, which is exclusive to another retailer, and I really liked that cigar. This one was tasty, perhaps a better choice for earlier in the day than I smoked it, but a very nice cigar. Thanks to Jason at BCP for providing this sample.

 

That’s all for now.  It’s Mother’s Day, so if you have one in your life, try to do something a little special for her today.  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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7 Responses to Cigar Rights and Some Alec Bradley Cigars

  1. Dan Colley

    I, too, enjoy many of the cigars in the Alec Bradley line. I note that you have a go-to: the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown torpedo. I have a couple of boxes of what is called the “Alec Bradley Sun Grown” … period. I recently learned that they are made especially for FSS as one of their house brands. I’m told that FSS is the only place where I can get them. I find them to be EXCELLENT cigars.

    That experience also taught me a lesson about “cigar snobbery” that goes something like this: “You can’t judge a book by looking at its cover.” I suspect that there is very little difference between this particular vitola and the sun-grown cigar that is found in the American series. That is pure speculation, though, but they do have a near-identical flavor profile to me. Since you are acquainted with the AB representative, maybe you could pose a question to him that would draw a response. Are the FSS AB Sun Grown cigars the same as the AB American Series Sun-Grown or are they different? If different, how so?

    As always, I enjoy reading your reviews each Sunday. It’s a perfect time to enjoy a cigar and get caught up.

    • Hi Dan! I’m Travis, and I work in marketing at Famous Smoke Shop, Craig was nice enough to let me know you had a question about these cigars, and so I wanted to stop by and offer up some clarification for you. For starters, you are correct – the Alec Bradley Sun Grown is a brand that is made by Alec Bradley only for us here at Famous. The Alec Bradley American Sun Grown line is distributed nationally. The two brands do have a similar profile because of many similarities in the tobacco blend, but they are different tobacco blends and there are differences to be found.

      The Alec Bradley Sun Grown was actually released first, it hit the market approximately 2 years before the American Sun Grown. It utilizes a filler blend from 2 different regions in Nicaragua (Esteli & Jalapa) as well as a little bit of Colombian tobacco. The binder is Honduran, and in this case, the sun grown wrapper in question is Brazilian Mata Fina.

      The American Sun Grown was released in late summer 2012 as an extension to the popular American Classic Blend. The American Sun Grown is a 100% Nicaraguan puro and uses the exact same filler/binder tobaccos as the American Classic Blend with a different wrapper. That blend uses Nicaraguan tobacco from Esteli and Condega for filler, Nicaraguan Jalapa binder, and this time the sun grown wrapper is made from Jalapa Habano.

      As you can tell, the cigars do utilize some similar tobaccos within the blends, and despite having different wrapper tobaccos, the wrappers are both made using sun grown tobacco, so it’s not a surprise that you’d end up with a similar flavor profile. I’ve smoked a lot more AB Sun Growns than American Sun Growns, but I too notice many similarities. I do notice differences as well, for me, the AB Sun Grown has a little more strength, and I get some chocolate notes that I don’t find in the American Sun Grown. I find the American Sun Grown to have a little more spice/pepper while still staying relatively mild overall.

      Lumping in the American Classic Blend, I find the profiles of these 3 cigars to be quite interesting. Despite sharing more in common blend-wise with the American Classic Blend, I actually find the American Sun Grown to be more similar flavor-wise to the AB Sun Grown. Just goes to show the drastic effect the wrapper can have on the flavor of a cigar, and how even two wrappers from different countries created using the same techniques can elicit similar flavors. Each does have their own unique characteristics, and in my opinion they all deliver a terrific value given their high quality and relatively low price points.

      Glad you’re enjoying these smokes, and I hope this note answers your question and clears things up a little about the components. Thanks for reading Craig’s awesome blog and you can always let me know if you have more questions!

  2. I’ll ask the folks at Famous about that, or maybe someone will leave a reply here answering your question. I’ll try to get my hands on some too. To clarify, the Nica Puro is on my go to list, but the American Sungrown is certainly right up there! They cant be beat in their price point, as with the American Classic on the mild side. Thanks for reading along!

  3. Dan Colley

    Wow !!! This is the first time that I’ve attracted so much attention from one of my posts !!! My thanks to you, Craig, and to you, Travis for taking the time to humor an old man.

    Travis, I lost track you when you discussed the blend (filler/binder/wrapper) differences and the subtle differences likely don’t make a real impression on my aged palate. I do know that I seem to gravitate to cigars that use Brazilian tobacco for whatever reason. All I know for certain is that the AB Sun Grown is one that I will never hesitate to purchase and will keep in my humidor as a “go-to” smoke.. I’ve NEVER had any issues with them. They have a nice pre-light aroma, they are well constructed, they burn well and they have the flavor that I prefer. Being a natural-born cheapskate, I was initially attracted to it because of it’s price (a helluva bargain) but it was the cigar itself that kept me coming back. The only thing that could possibly be icing on this cake would be a free box of robustos !!! (Just joking !!!)

    This has also been a valuable object lesson for me. If one does not try different house blends and vendor-specific cigars, he/she will miss out of many, many very good cigars simply because of the level that they are priced. I suspect that in some instances, the only difference between name branded cigars and house brands is the band around the cigar, but that is purely speculative.

    I stumbled onto the FSS/AB sun-grown cigar purely by accident. I was gifted one by a friend in the General Cigar forum who recommended that I give it a try. I knew nothing about the cigar at the time, so I came in with my eyes wide open. When I told him how much I liked them, he told me that they were “house blend” cigars and FSS would be the ONLY place that I could get them and that they were a bargain. On-line research seemed to bear that out. Now it is confirmed by the people who know.

    The bottom line (IMHO) is that FSS/AB has hit upon a winner. The FSS house-blended cigar is a great stick. I haven’t smoked enough of the American series to identify those subtle differences you mention, but I can tell that the house blend does carry a bit more pepper while not being overpowering. It seems to hold at about a medium to full rating in the strength category.

    Craig, thanks again, and if you get the chance, you may want to include these two cigars in a future column as something aimed at the bargain hunters in your audience. I believe you will find the house-series cigars to be a pleasant surprise with the added bonus of being a bargain when it comes time to head to the cash register and also an interesting comparison.

    I want to thank you both for being so gracious and giving me some information that was purely incidental. I know that it was not critical to either of you and it took time from your respective schedules. That means a lot to me. Again, it’s nice to know that someone out there is reading my comments and, more importantly to me, that someone is reacting to them !!!

    • Dan – Without speaking too much for Craig, we’re never to busy to chat with a BOTL or SOTL who is interested in learning more! The day I’m too busy to talk about cigars is the day I hang it up and put a suit on for a “regular” job! Glad you’ve found a winner in the AB Sun Grown, you’re not alone, it’s been a very popular line for us since it’s release and still going strong.

      There are a huge number of terrific cigars available at very competitive prices, both nationally distributed brands and retailer exclusives. A lot of the fun is in the chase and satisfaction of finding that cigar that really does it for you personally at a price your wallet can easily handle. Happy bargain hunting, and thanks much for being a Famous customer, we appreciate it!

      • Travis can speak for me, I agree 100%. The reason I do this is to connect with like minded individuals and help provide information about a product I love. Unlike Travis, when this becomes too much like a real job, it’ll be time for me to hang it up!

  4. It’s really a great help, thanks for this. This is an unbelievable help to construct it easier for people to think about it.

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