The Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan has once again hit the shelves this year in time for St. Patrick’s Day. This is the second iteration of the Filthy Hooligan. Not much has changed (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?), although the wrapper is purported to have seen more age this time around.
Cigar: Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan 2014
Size: Toro 6×50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Candella
Binder: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Panamanian
Appearance and Pre-light Aroma:
Every time I look at the Black Market Filthy Hooligan (or any candella for that matter), I immediately think of the green-skinned cartoon portrayals of Frankenstein from my childhood. Here I go getting all nostalgic again… Anyway, the wrapper is also another analogous characteristic this cigar shares with Frankenstein, as it isn’t the most refined, and might even be described as brutish. It’s dry, very finely toothed, and has large pronounced veins that run down the length of the cigar. Additionally, the veins are elevated, and almost looks as if they are white stitches.
The foot has a very peculiar smell to it, and one that I am having extraordinary difficulty articulating. The usual suspects are all there; earthy barnyard notes, grass, hay, and general tobacco aroma. However, there is a bold and dominant aroma right in the center I can’t get past. The only real descriptor that comes to mind is funk. It smells downright funky.
The Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan lights up effortlessly after a nice toasting, and begins to coat the palate with flavors. The first draw of your attention is to a blunted saltiness, that is delivered by way of a silky smooth smoke. Underneath lies a layer of bold earthy soil and a touch of grass. A few hints of nuttiness vary from puff to puff. The Black Market Filthy Hooligan retains largely a similar profile to the regular Black Market line, but it sees a bit of the bite in the forefront diminished, making for a much more relaxed smoking experience. Strength, body, and flavor all hover right around the medium mark.
Into the second third you begin to see a moderate but noticeable increase in strength from the Black Market Filthy Hooligan, as well as a much dirtier finish. There is one particular flavor that I get across the board from the Black Market line, which is that of pickles. Not so much in the sense that it tastes exactly like a pickle, but more so in the sense that it has a similar bite and pungency in the way it interacts with your palate. While still present, I find these pickle characteristics to be more subtle in the Black Market Filthy Hooligan than the regular line. I’d be curious to know which leaf is responsible for these characteristics. Notes of charred woods have emerged, and are particularly present in the finish.
Into the final third the Alex Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan sees the aforementioned blunted saltiness becoming sharpened, making it more akin to that of sea salt. The earthy soil flavors have picked up more brunt, and have developed into something along the lines of muted roasted coffee. The Black Market Filthy Hooligan is still wonderfully creamy, and now provides a smooth dose of leather through nose and the back of the palate. There isn’t much in the way of traditional sweetness, but there is a very generalized malty flavor to it. The Black Market Filthy Hooligan will make an excellent pairing with a nice Irish stout or lager.
Burn and Construction:
This section will be very brief, as there isn’t really too much to say. The Alex Bradley had absolutely zero problems in the way of either burn or construction, and from a physical stand point it was an absolute pleasure to smoke. The draw was right at the elusive sweet spot between firm and smooth, and smoke production was full and plentiful. Smoking at an average pace required virtually nothing in the way of babysitting the burn, and the flavor never became bitter.
The Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan isn’t going to blow your doors off, but that’s by no means a bad thing. The Black Market Filthy Hooligan isn’t overly complex, but it has enough going on to hold your interest. The balance is fantastic, and the malted taste and texture is a real highlight. I generally am a bit skeptical in regards to holiday/themed cigars, as I often find that they can be more of a gimmick than anything else. I wasn’t able to smoke one of last years Black Market Filthy Hooligans before they shot back out the door, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this years iteration was a well blended and flavorful cigar. For a day-to-day smoke that offers above average flavor at an affordable price point look no further. Alec Bradley fans will certainly be satisfied. I’ll be smoking a few on St. Patrick’s Day for sure, alongside a pint or ten.
3.5 out of 5