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With the recent news of the Prensado being named Cigar Aficionado’s #1 cigar of 2011, we thought it would be fitting to light one up as a celebratory smoke for today’s review. While I’m certainly no stranger to Alec Bradley’s cigars, I had actually never smoked the Prensado, and I was definitely interested in seeing what the #1 cigar would taste like.
The sample sticks I acquired were the Robusto size (5×50), and looked well-constructed, in what I would call a “soft box-press” shape. The roll was definitely solid, with some curvature to the edges of the box-press, as opposed to the usual sharply defined edges found on most box-pressed cigars. The wrapper on the cigar was dark brown, leathery, and silky with a nice oily sheen. It looked mighty tasty. I clipped the cap and got vivid pre-light notes of grass, cocoa, coffee and some spice.
After a quick toast of the foot, the cigar lit up easily and evenly. The draw was firm, but not enough to hinder smoking. Initial flavors were a creamy cocoa, cedar, and a light black pepper note in the background. As I burned my way through the first 3rd of the cigar, notes of a smooth woody sweetness trickled in, filling out the mix nicely.
A little further in, the pepper disappeared and notes of unsweetened dark chocolate, cedar and coffee, coupled with a supreme creaminess, took over. At this point in the cigar I was impressed with the overall smoothness it took on; its flavors were working together seamlessly, and it was still burning straight and cool. I noticed that because of the unique shape of this cigar, the ash appeared to be round while the stogie itself was more squared, which was an interesting look.
Somewhere around the start of the final 3rd of the cigar it hit what I would consider to be its “sweet spot”. During this portion of the smoke a nice bit of black pepper came back, along with pronounced notes of nuts, cedar, and dried fruit sweetness. Despite the bolder tastes that were now coming through, the cigar remained smooth as all get out, offering thick plumes of lush and flavorful smoke. Towards the end I detected a little bit of anise on the finish, adding to the complexity of the stick.
I have to say that this was, hands down, one of the smoothest smokes I have tried. The smoke was rich, full and super-creamy throughout the length of the cigar. A couple minor burn issues worked themselves out, and required no touch-ups. I suspect that the distinguished-looking Trojes wrapper had a lot to do with the flavor nuances I came across while smoking, particularly the interesting sweet and woody notes that came through in the later parts of the cigar. The Prensado by Alec Bradley definitely embodied the immaculate smoothness, rich character, and complexity you would expect from a “top-shelf” cigar. I must say, this was a fine smoke. I give this stogie an A grade, and I direct a nod of approval in the general direction of the guys at Cigar Aficionado for giving this great cigar its day in the spotlight.
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