Jerry’s mystery cigar challenge (Alec Bradley Prensado Gran Toro)

When I started to get interested in the online cigar communities I had no idea about the level of  camaraderie BOTLs can show. A while back my mate Jerry (Jdawg from the UK Cigar forums) came up with an idea challenge: he’d send me an unbanded cigar of his choice to try and write about on the blog together with a small sealed envelope containing the original band. I know the guys over at Dogwatch Cigar Radio do this on their show, so while this is maybe not 100% original, it is something I just couldn’t resist. For the first time I’ll be posting (almost) live while I smoke, updating this post every 20 minutes or so. Here we go!

23:15 Time to start, a bit later than expected after late dinner and a Skype session with my brother, but ready to go. The cigar is approximately toro sized, with a marked box pressed shape. It has a dark, almost maduro, reddish wrapper, slightly oily, with almost no veins and a decent double cap. At first look it reminds me of a RP Decade, but comparing them side by side this is a lot more reddish and not as dark. Once cut the draw is slightly tight and the aroma is cocoa, almost like in a maduro, but with marked cloves notes. From the shape cap and pre-draw I am pretty sure this isn’t a Cuban.

23:35 This is one slow burning smoke! 20 minutes in and I am just past the first inch. The burn is perfectly sharp, but I am still having a few issues with the draw: need to puff 3-4 times to get a good amount of smoke, which on the other hand is nice and rich. The flavour opened on cocoa and cloves, just like pre-light, but is turning richer, with toasted nuts notes some sweetness and a bit of spicy zing on the middle of my tongue. I would bet there is some Nicaraguan in there, though the amount of spice is not that much, which makes me think this is either a blend with some other tobacco, or a mild Nicaraguan.

00:00 OK, forget what I just wrote about this possibly being a mild smoke; there’s a decent amount of Ligero tobacco in here and I can feel it. The body is definitely going towards full body more and more and the taste is changing too: the cocoa is there, but it’s more cocoa beans then cocoa drink, there’s more sweetness and in the background there is an almost meaty taste. The spice is still there but it isn’t too strong and it remains more zingy than pepper, if that makes sense. The draw still is a bit tight and there is a small crack that just opened 2 inches from the cap; hopefully it won’t create any issues.

00:25 Not too much change from 20 minutes ago, still burning slow (getting close to the last thirdnow), the draw is a little bit freer and the smoke is still abundant and chewy, even slightly tannic. The taste is on the same notes as before but has gained a touch of coffee and that almost musty note that long aged tobacco seems to have. The sweetness is also more intense and defined, with clear honey-like aroma. The small crack I mentioned before is starting to expand slightly and I just hope I’ll be able to burn through it without to many issues.

00:40 Still another 2 inches to go but the crack I mentioned is expanding more and more and making both burn and draw a bit of an issue. I’ll probably stop here, which is a pity, as this could have gone on well past the 90 minutes mark. On the flavour front not too much change; as before it is a complex mix of cocoa, some spice, honey, aged tobacco and that meaty aroma which is the predominant note now.

I really have no clue what this is, apart the fact that I think it might be a blend with Nicaraguan tobacco and quite a lot of aged Ligero in there. It is certainly a quality smoke, well constructed and with a complex taste that shows a very well assembled blend. For my taste the aromas could evolve more throughout the smoke, but they are rich and complex and certainly will keep almost any smoker intrigued. This cigar is maybe not something I would smoke regularly, being more  full bodied  than I like, but there is little to criticize objectively. The crack is something that might depend on the cigar, but more properly has to do with transport so I won’t hold it against this stick. (P.S. noticed that my fingers are stained light brown from the cigar… is the wrapper slightly dyed?)

And now off to see what this is, back in 5!

And the cigar is:

the Alec Bradley Prensado.

The company’s website describes these as:

Alec Bradley Prensado was built around a new wrapper, the Corojo dos mil seis (Corojo 2006). The wrapper was grown in late 2006 on the farm in Trojes, Honduras and was in fermentation and aging through mid 2008. […] Alec Bradley Prensado possesses an abundance of strength and natural sweetness as well as a tremendous amount of complexity. In addition, Prensado has a beautiful reddish brown cubanesque look and feel to it. Prensado is Alec Bradley’s first traditional pressed line of cigars and our most full bodied blend to date.

It is made with an Honduran wrapper (Trojes), Nicaraguan Binder and mixed Nicaraguan and Honduran filler. The Prensdao is getting quite a bit of press after Cigar Aficionado rated the Gran Toro 93 and the rest of the brand over 90 points. From the size I think what I smoked was either the Gran Toro or the Corona Gorda.

Looking back at the tasting notes I wrote I am quite surprised that I managed to recognize a few things: the body, sweetness and the fact that this is a blend containing some Nicaraguan. On the other hand I completley missed that this has a Corojo wrapper, or that it contains Honduran tobacco. Still, I expected worst from myself.

Thanks to Jerry for organizing this and sending this impressive cigar; it was great fun!


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3 responses to “Jerry’s mystery cigar challenge (Alec Bradley Prensado Gran Toro)

  1. Great review!

    I really liked the updated posts as you smoked!

    I am glad that you enjoyed the Prensado.

  2. btw, it was Gran Toro.

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