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Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill Review & Rating

Cigar Review & Rating | 4 March 2013 | 

Posted by Jeandré Hartman of Cigar Affection  



Alec Bradley is a cigar brand that I greatly admire for different reasons and one of them is that they manufacture beautiful cigars. I am utterly intrigued by cigars that look like works of art.


It is well known that the Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill was Cigar Aficionado's cigar of the year for 2011.  This cigar features a wrapper leaf called Trojes from Honduras with a Nicaraguan binder and the filler is a blend of Honduras and Nicaraguan tobacco. The cigar is completely made from Central American tobaccos.



I could hardly believe my eyes when I walked into a tobacconist in a well known shopping centre in Pretoria and saw that he had 2 Prensado Churchills in stock.  I have only seen it in pictures before and needless to say, I bought both.


I took me a while to do the review since I had to wait for the right occasion. This is not just a cigar you can light up and go, no, for a cigar like the Prensado and especially the Churchill vitola you need time, and preferably an occasion too. If you don't have an occasion worthy of an Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill then create one!


When the moment came and I held it in my hand to light it up excitement came over me. I did not know what to expect - how will it taste? Will I like it? It goes without saying that I had very high hopes!


I had a look at her and got infatuated all over again. The label screams style and class with it's gold embossing with different swirls. There is also some turquoise and burgundy colour motives as well as a shield and on the top Alec Bradley proudly stands on black written in gold letters. A work of art all by itself.


The cigar is long as Churchills are and the leafy wrapper is dark, oily and rich.


Well I made the cut across that beautiful head and the pre-light draw was hayish... nothing... again... only hay? I was worried... In hindsight I now realise that my expectations was so high that I somehow expected magic pre-light smoke or something...


Then I lit her.... Got her going and made the first draw and then again nothing... It was just smoke... I thought what is going on? All this hype and I am experiencing none of that? Another draw... nothing...


I waited her out and after about half a centimetre in she became alive. Suddenly the smoke started talking to my taste buds... At long last, I felt relieved!


What I expected was full-body bomb blast and attack of complex flavours but there are none of these. The Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill pulls you in and as time goes by the cigar bestows new flavours over your palate. Take this as a warning from me again - make sure you have enough time to smoke the Churchill. You will lose out on the experience if you try and rush this cigar.


1/3 As I already pointed out, nothing much happened in the first half centimetre. Right after that the 1/3 came alive. Salty leather, though very delicate, became recognisable. With every second draw there would be a hint of something that carries the essence of sweetness, but it is not a chocolate kind of sweet - no, this is only the essence of something sweet.


I tasted again, the leather and vague salt now gone... the sweetness is there... it's coming on... GOT IT! Coffee bean! The most delicate sweet essence of coffee bean. That flavour that you get when you walk pass a great coffee shop - remember that sweet smell of coffee? Now that is the sweet essence coffee bean taste I'm talking about.


It is so subtle but such an experience when you discover it. I personally have never tasted this variant of coffee bean in a cigar. In my mind I can actually see the coffee beans in the cigar. You taste it as if it is there... Hard to explain but that is really how it is.


The coffee bean is pretty much what you are going to get but as the end of 1/3 approach there is strong toast present... You could really taste the toasty tobacco with the coffee bean below it and then the toast went away, never to return.


2/3 During this part of this cigar that is now coming alive I sensed that the taste is now becoming saltier, although I can't say that it was leather. Just a subtle saltiness. That tastes so good. The coffee bean is ever present and this combination works. So far only essence of the coffee bean is present with no real sweetness but there is no bitterness either.


All of a sudden I sense spice. Then it is gone... then it comes back. Now this time it stays. Wow, it tingles my mouth and leaves a soft, cool cayenne pepper burn in my mouth. I have smoked cigars that burn way more with spice but here the Prensado manages to not give those with a sensitive palate a fright. This cool cayenne pepper is now a permanent experience and I am smiling whilst smoking this cigar!


3/3 Here the cayenne pepper fades and turns into leather - and I adore a salty, leather taste in a cigar. The coffee bean is now gone, it is just salty leather. This is so good that I wish it could have been like this for the whole cigar, but then I would have lost the first part of discovering the coffee bean and spice I so enjoyed!


About halfway through 3/3 the cayenne pepper comes back but this time is really talks to me. After about 3 draws the pepper is gone and I smoke the cigar until my fingers burn - that's how close the coal was up to where I could hold it.


Even at this final stage the smoke was not burning me and there was no bitterness of tar that you sometimes get when some of the cigars start growing fangs near the end.


I had to let go of her because I had to choose between burning my fingers off or typing this review.


From 2/3 up until the end of 3/3 the cigar took me places. It was a real journey and what a taste adventure.


My only gripe will be that the cigar takes a while to get going for the flavours to be released but if I look back now, I think that was the plan. To take you through a maze of exiting and unexpected beautiful flavours.


I can say with an open heart and a humbled spirit that this was one of the greatest cigars I have ever smoked. It is a true gentleman’s cigar. There is no blowing-up-in-your-face-strength but just the beauty of a mildly complex cigar that change flavours that gets better with every 3rd draw. 


It ends with a climax and it leaves you sated.


My compliments to Alec Bradley and to the blenders. This is truly a superb smoke. I had no burn issue problem and it worked like a winning cigar should.


Another promise is that my humidor will never be without another Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill and for that reason this cigar also received Cigar Affection's Humdor Premium Select stamp of approval.


Humidor Premium Select


I will review the shorter Prensado Gran Toro at a later stage to see how it stacks up against the Churchill. For those of you that don't know, the Gran Toro was no.20 in Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 of 2010. So this line of cigars, the Alec Bradley Prensado, was a winner from the start!


But for now, I am a very happy man!


Get your hands on one as soon as you can!!!



Featuring Cigar: Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill

Country of origin: Honduras

Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas S. de R.L.

Wrapper: Honduras

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua

Size: 178mm / 7 Inches

Ring Gauge: 48

Vitola: Churchill (Julieta No.2)

Price: R250.00 - R300.00 

Release Date: 2009

Availability: Full Production


Cigars are reviewed on appearance (20 points), quality of construction (20 points), 

flavour/taste (30 points) and an overall satisfaction rating (30 points). 

Total points: 100 Maximum.


Review & Rating by Jeandré Hartman


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