Cigar 101: BCP Exclusives Part II
It’s kind of mind blowing to me that we have enough exclusive brands to fill up two blog posts. When I started here just over a year ago, we only had five—Bella Torres, Revolucion, Oba Oba!, Medici, and Kensington. Since then we’ve introduced San Marco, Prodigy, Star Insignia, the Tempus Robolo®, and Bella Torres Nicaraguan Selection, and the Kensington blends were completely redone.
As you might guess from the fact that they make about half of our exclusive brands, Alec Bradley is one of our most trusted collaborators. These guys have come through on project after project, with each seeming to surpass the one before it. So with that, here is a rundown of the remainder of our exclusive brands, all of which are made for us by Alec Bradley:
Originally released back in 2008, Kensington was created as a mild, affordable, anytime smoke. The first batch of Connecticut-wrapped Kensingtons was so well-received that we went back to Alec Bradley for a maduro-wrapped version. What we got was a spiced-up version with a Mexican maduro wrapper leaf that was equally popular.
In 2011, however, we were given the unfortunate news that some of the tobaccos in the original Kensington cigars had become unavailable. That left us with a difficult choice—wait for the tobaccos to become available, or re-blend the cigars. We chose the latter, resulting in today’s incarnation of the Kensington brand: Kensington Connecticut Reserve and Connecticut Reserve Maduro.
Kensington Connecticut Reserve is mild-to-medium bodied, featuring a Connecticut wrapper, Indonesian binder and Honduran and Nicaraguan filler. These feature flavors of cream, caramel, toast, and black pepper, along with the best construction from the brand so far. Kensington Reserve Maduro, its darker-wrapped, medium-bodied counterpart, now features a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and binder and filler from Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. These are spicier and chocolatier with notes of coffee, leather, and red pepper.
Medici by Alec Bradley was originally conceived as an answer to the recent influx of big-ring cigars. The cigars are all named in honor of prominent players in the Medici family and the Italian Renaissance, and rightfully so—this is one of our most artfully crafted cigars yet. These start out with an oily Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, followed by a Costa Rican binder and four-country filler blend from Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru. They’re medium-to-full bodied and incredibly complex, boasting aromas of nuts, coffee, cocoa, baking spice, red pepper, leather, and more, all for around $4 a stick. This is one that I have personally gone back to again and again, and I’ve been just as impressed with every new batch.
We probably spent more time on Star Insignia by Alec Bradley than we did with any other exclusive cigar. This was the result of two years of careful planning and painstaking blend testing, and it paid off beautifully. On the outside of each Star Insignia is an extra-dark Nicaraguan wrapper, followed by an Indonesian Sumatra binder and filler leaves from Honduras, Nicaragua, and one secret country. This was our very first box-pressed exclusive, so we were a bit nervous about draw problems before the final test batch came in. But when we got them, a sigh of relief practically echoed through the entire building—Star Insignia boasts one of the best draws I’ve personally ever had from any cigar.
As I mentioned in my recent Top 5 post, the inspiration for Star Insignia at least partially came from a few other cigars. Since smoking Star Insignia, I’ve gone back to many of those cigars and I’m always shocked and impressed by how much better ours is. The flavor base is that of baking cocoa and pepper, but underneath that are a ton of subtleties—leather, cedar, and cinnamon, just to name a few. Compare these to your favorite dark-wrapped super premium; this could very well become one of your favorites, just as it did mine.
I’m going to take this as an opportunity not only to talk about the Tempus Robolo®, but also to talk about the Robolo® size in general. The Robolo® is a 4 ½ inches by 60 ring gauge, and is essentially our chunkier answer to the Nub. This size packs the same amount of tobacco in a Churchill into a smaller, squatter cigar. We carry almost all of our exclusives in this size, including Medici, Star Insignia, Prodigy, Bella Torres, and both Kensingtons. To get a feel for this hulking vitola, check out our Look Out Robolo® sampler.
Most recently, we asked Alec Bradley to apply their legendary Tempus blend to this stocky size—the result is the Tempus Robolo®. The Robolo® size allows magnifies the complexities of the Tempus blend tenfold while providing a cool and easy draw, along with a extraordinarily even burn. Expect bold flavors of roasted nuts, leather, rich cocoa, chili pepper, and a little bit of dry sweetness on the finish, along with a nicotine buzz that will give any powerhouse stogie a run for its money. Judging from how many we’ve sold just a few short weeks after receiving our first shipment, this stogie is guaranteed to make an impression.
So there you have it—a complete, two-part primer on all of our exclusive smokes. We’re constantly running specials on our brands, so there’s always an opportunity to try them at a low price. We also have several samplers—Full House, BCP Exclusive Free Shipping Special, and Look Out Robolo®—which feature stogies from most, if not all of these brands, in case you don’t want to commit to a full box or a 5-pack. If you have any questions about any of them, feel free to post them in a comment or give us a call at 888-41-CIGAR (888-412-4427).