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Cigar Review – Alec Bradley Black Market Robusto

Will: I love reviewing cigars as much as the next guy, but sometimes it’s good to get a second opinion. After all, cigar smoking is highly subjective, so you never know what someone else is going to pick up in a stogie. We’ve done a couple of joint reviews in the past, but it’s been over 9 months since our last one. That’s why I asked Jason, savvy customer service rep and likely soon-to-be blogger, to leave his post for a while to light up a couple of Alec Bradley Black Market Robustos with yours truly. Anyway, right off the bat, I thought that at the very least, these were some great looking smokes.

We're not as mean as we look

Jason: I would say so. At first glance, the wrapper had a nice oily sheen, a solid triple cap, and a few thick veins. The stogie was solid throughout with no soft spots, and after cutting the cap, the draw was nice and easy. This appeared to be a result of what looked like channels running through the cigar—I’m not sure if those channels were intentional, but they definitely did the trick. On the pre-light, I tasted rich tobacco flavor with a hint of pepper that intensified into more of a red pepper with each draw.

Will: I actually found it pretty difficult to figure out which rolling method was used in these cigars. The middle of the foot looked like it may have been booked, but there was a cool division sign-style pattern at the foot. Regardless, though, the draw was great.

Jason: Once we lit up, this cigar stayed true to its pre-light impressions. I got rich tobacco and more of the aforementioned pepper. It definitely seems like Alec Bradley was trying to showcase the quality of the tobacco, rather than bombard you with excessive complexity. These flavors stayed pretty consistent until further into the smoke, when I started to detect a little bit of subtle chocolate and cedar.

Will: I also picked up on that—the chocolate wasn’t really a major flavor, but it really came through on the retrohale. I also got a little bit of malt or caramel, which complemented the earlier flavors.

Jason: I definitely got the caramel sweetness on the retrohale. It was also very smooth—I didn’t get that crazy strong retrohale that you’d find in a lot of Alec Bradley’s other cigars, like the Tempus.

About halfway through the second third, I noticed two things. First of all, the cedar morphed into more of a hay note. Secondly, I suddenly realized that I was significantly lightheaded. This came as a surprise to me, as I am no stranger to full-bodied stogies. This one was definitely a creeper.

Will: I agree—I don’t think I’ve ever gone through a quart of water as fast as I did while smoking this cigar. I definitely wish I had eaten something a little more substantial before lighting up, but in retrospect, nothing bad came of it. This was a very unique smoke in that the flavors were fairly easygoing, but the buzz was very intense.

Jason: I think it was at this point that we both slowed down a bit. This gave us a chance to appreciate how good the burn was, as well as the inch-plus ash that had been accumulating on the cigar, a testament to the quality of the construction.

Will: Absolutely. I didn’t have to touch this one up once from the moment we lit up until we put down the nubs and staggered back into the building. On the final third, I started to get a little more of a malty flavor with a bit of dried fruit sweetness. I also noticed a little bit of butter, which may have been from the Sumatra binder.

Jason: In the last third, the cigar stayed smooth, and even through my nicotine haze, I could detect that the sweetness was ramping up a bit. The flavors stayed clean, unlike many cigars as you approach the nub. In addition to being smooth all the way through the smoke, I’d definitely say that the Alec Bradley Black Market Robusto had A+ construction, and I’d recommend pairing it with a strong coffee. Also, you’ll want to smoke this one on a full stomach, because in terms of nicotine, it was deceptively full-bodied. Otherwise, it was a solid smoke from start to finish, and I would definitely smoke it again, maybe just a little bit slower and after eating a steak.

Will: I think after a meal, this wouldn’t have snuck up on both of us as much as it did. I don’t want to give anybody the wrong idea about this smoke—don’t be scared of it, because as long as you don’t go into it hungry like we did, it won’t give you any problems. All in all, I definitely think this stick is worth every penny of its $6 and change price point.

Anyway, thanks very much to Jason for joining me for this smoke, and with any luck, we’ll be hearing from him again very soon!