Cigar Review – Alec Bradley American Sun Grown Corona
New to our shelves this week is the Sun-Grown-wrapped follow-up to Alec Bradley’s American Classic blend, aptly named the American Sun Grown. These Nicaraguan puros feature a Jalapa Valley Sun-Grown Habano wrapper and are blended with the same Estelí & Condega-grown long-fillers and Jalapa binder used in the American Classic Blend. On what was turning out to be a rather beautiful and sunny day here in Northeast PA, I decided to take out the Corona size (5 ½ x 42) for my customary test-smoke.
The American Sun Grown wore a thick and veiny wrapper with a dark reddish-brown hue to it. Construction appeared to be solid throughout the cigar, and cold draws gave off a pleasantly sweet and woody taste.
After lighting up, the cigar opened with a bold taste of cocoa and spicy black pepper, similar to the Alec Bradley Black Market blend, but with an added dimension of syrupy sweetness on the finish. The flavors in this portion were very robust, more so than I had expected, and thick, chewy white smoke was flowing in abundance. During this third the pepper intensified, building up to a fiery red pepper taste before chilling out a bit, and leaving the flavor to a crisp profile of slightly-sweet cedar, mellow cocoa, and nuts.
The second 3rd was far less intense and also less sweet, with a creamy and well-balanced taste instead of the “in-your-face” flavor I got from the first couple of inches. The pepper was still present, but here it was more of a backdrop to the more pronounced notes of baking spice, dark roast coffee, and graham. The ashes were hanging on for about an inch at a time, and the cigar was burning straight with no complications.
As I burned into the final third, the strength of the cigar became apparent, the spice dropped out almost completely, and the flavor profile turned to a smoky, nutty taste. I also got a bit of the anise flavor that I would usually associate with Panamanian tobaccos, though to my knowledge, none are used in this blend. This last third was appropriately mellow in flavor, and even as I approached the end of the cigar it was still burning cool and clean. With about an inch left, the stick finally went out on its own (due to my negligence), and I took it as a sign that my session with the American Sun Grown had come to a close.
The American Sun Grown Corona took me by surprise in a few different ways. For one, this cigar was waaay spicier than I thought it would be, particularly in the first 3rd. Secondly, for a cigar that’s billed as medium-bodied, this one had quite a kick to it. I would call it medium-to-full. And third, compared to the American Classic, this stick was much more complex, with many vivid flavor transitions. Seriously, in a blind taste test between the first and last thirds I would have thought I was smoking an entirely different cigar, the range in flavor was that drastic. Put all this together with the fact that the American Sun Grown burned straight and drew perfectly, and you’ve got a championship stogie on your hands. I have smoked a lot of Alec Bradley creations in my day, and I can honestly say this was among the best, and it’s definitely deserving of the A grade that I’m giving it today.