With there being some slowing to the amount of new product hitting the shelves for the next couple of weeks, this review is going to be on something released last year. The Alec Bradley Black Market hit store shelves with quite a bit of fanfare in August of last year. 1 of 2 new releases from Alec Bradley debuted at the 2011 IPCPR, the Black Market came to our shelves and made an instant splash. A deep, rich blend of tobacco’s originating in 4 different countries, the Alec Bradley Black Market ended up being overshadowed by its older brother, the Prensado, when Cigar Aficionado named it the 2011 Cigar of the Year. But don’t pass over the Black Market, it is a shining star in the Alec Bradley portfolio and should be on your list of must try’s. This blend comes in 5 sizes: robusto, toro, torpedo, gordo, and Churchill, which will be the subject of the review today.
Size: Churchill 7 x 48
Filler: Panama and Honduras
Cost: $7.75/stick or $150.95/box of 22
Appearance: The Nicaraguan wrapper on the Alec Bradley Black Market is a deep brown color with some slight oils. The construction looks impeccable, like most product coming out of the Raices-Cubanas factory in Honduras, where Alec Bradley has their products rolled. The wrapper has a nice mottled look to it with some slight veins. I wouldn’t normally comment on the packaging but this particular product bears mentioning, the box is one of the most creative and just flat out cool boxes on the market today. Looking like an old shipping crate with Black Market stamped across the lid, it really does stand out from others on the market today. Alec Bradley also uses a band across the entire lower half of the cigar over the regular Black Market band centered on the cigar, with the lower foot band sometimes being difficult to remove. I’ve never damaged the cigar removing it but it is still a bit much in my opinion.
Pre-light Aroma: The wrapper on the Alec Bradley Black Market doesn’t have a strong aroma, with just a very small hint of earth coming from it. The foot is a different story, with a very sweet earth smell coming from it and a wonderful smell of tea mixed in. The dry-draw also brings the sweet tea flavor to the palate and the draw is very open and easy. The wrapper also leaves a very light cocoa flavor on the lips.
The initial puffs on the Alec Bradley Black Market start off very earthy with a bit of spice through the nose. Medium bodied to start, I expected a little more strength right off the bat. The sweetness from the dry-draw seems like it is trying to come through but remains overshadowed by the earth flavors. The burn line wavers throughout the first third but never canoe’s or needs a touch-up. By the end of the first third the burn line has come back around and the strength has started to creep into the medium-plus area. The earth flavor is so apparent in the first third that it really doesn’t show a lot of other flavors right away.
The 2nd third transitions away from the earthiness quite abruptly and you start to get a nice almond and tea sweetness. The earth that was so abundant throughout the first third of the Alec Bradley Black Market is nowhere to be found underneath the newest flavors which was quite striking to me. The spice still comes through the nose and has even picked up a bit along with the strength moving to a definite medium-full. The 2nd third was a very nice change from the initial third, though the earthiness was wonderful tasting, it was nice to get some change moving through the thirds.
The final third settles back into a medium bodied profile and ends with a nice sweet cocoa flavor. The spice stayed consistent through the nose throughout. I loved the way this cigar started more medium then picked up midway through and came back down on the finish. Overall this may be my favorite Alec Bradley offering which is big considering the company it keeps with Prensado and Tempus. Alec Bradley has been on a roll as of late and in some ways it can be said that the Black Market got the ball rolling.
Cigar King Staff Quotes:
Josh- “Tempus and Prensado may be the cornerstones of Alec Bradley but Black Market is the foundation that will keep them going for years to come.”
Paul- “The Panamanian tobacco is so different, you can really taste it in this blend. Beautiful.”
A.G.- “Alec Bradley has a great product here. The packaging, the labels, and the blend came together for a real winner!”