25 responses

  1. Mike
    July 24, 2012

    I am in complete agreeance with DrFever. I had a 5er of these about a month or two before the cigar of the year issue and I actually gave the last 2 away because I could not get over the bitter taste. I think the black market is by far the better cigar by AB. This is another example of you can’t always go by the ‘best’.

  2. TriMarkC
    July 24, 2012

    WOW! Not only are you Canadians hosed with your higher cigar taxes, but your doubley hosed with the box purchase! Sorry to hear that brother.
    And you’ve just given me another reason I’m glad to be an American!

  3. DrFever
    July 24, 2012

    TriMarkC …

    Yes, Canada is not a very cigar friendly country. Our “SIN” taxes are some of the hightest in the world. This is why you don’t see a lot of brick and morter shops as many smokers choose to order online for the best deals. It’s been brutal since they also clamped down on the lounges, at least in Ontario.

    However, there is a saving grace. For less than $700 I can fly on a week long all inclusive trip to beautiful Cuba and am able to bring back 50 sticks (and thanks to my wife, make that 100). When I travel with another couple that doesn’t smoke, I am able to bring back 200 and the prices in Cuba are a fraction of what we pay here.

    As for American sticks, there isn’t a lot of demand up north here because we can readily smoke Cuban cigars however, I do live about an hour away from the border and we cross border shop a lot and I use those opportunities to pick up some sticks. Also, I have many friends and family that fly down to Florida often and I always give them a list so, thankfully, I rarely if ever pay Canadian retail for my cigars.

    Cigar taxes aside, I am just as proud to say that I am Canadian as you are proud of your nationality. Cheers brother.

  4. Sinisa
    July 24, 2012

    To leave my 2 cents regarding AB Prensado. Just like you I was very curious about this cigar. Since I live in Vancouver, one quick trip to Washington and I picked up box of Prensados. When I tried one in Vancouver my experience was much like yours, I was constantly fighting this cigar and I could not relax and enjoy it (burn especially). I was stuck with the box of unpleasant surprise.

    I brought rest of cigars with me to vacation (Serbia), did not have humidor with me, just a box and miricle happened. Extremely worm weather over there dried out cigars just a bit and my friend and I was in for a treat. Cigar still needed to be smoked a bit faster than usually but burn was flawless, aromas opened up and cigar started to grow on me.

    Now I was little bit puzzled, this cigar might be very good one, however it might not be perfect one for Vancouver weather conditions (something along these lines, in winter low atmosphere pressure, high humidity and you cannot light your barbecue properly and in the summer time you have no trouble firing up barbecue).

    And to summarize already long mail, even though I thoroughly enjoyed this cigar in Serbia I will most likely not be picking up this stick to smoke in Vancouver again

  5. DrFever
    July 24, 2012


    Thank you for the description of your experience with this cigar. I don’t think humidity had anything to do with my paricular sample but in your case, the fresh box may have had a few “wet” cigars. Mine had a chance to stabilize in my humidor for a few months before lighting it up.

    Like I said, I may have simply had a bad sample. I am travelling to the southern U.S. in August and I might just get the urge to try another (to be fair, a second stab at one might give me a different experience)

    I will certainly follow up if I decide to try another but for now, there are other smokes I’m meaning to sample first.

    Thank you for your feedback.

  6. Aaron
    July 25, 2012

    AB Prensado was especially surprising as number 1. It never even came close to hitting my radar when i came out with my Top 10 for this website last year nor did it make any other reviewers list last year. I think many online reviewers don’t put much stock in CA’s list since they revealed they only smoke the first inch of every cigar for their reviews. The serious cigar geeks seem to read publications like this one instead to get a better grasp of what a cigar is like. Most independent online reviewers can more objectively (if there is such a thing) review a cigar because most sites don’t depend on ad revenue from said cigar companies. Usually about $10k-$15k in ad money to just get a review with CA. So think about why a cigar like this snuck up the list, or how many of those sticks got on there at all.

  7. DrFever
    July 25, 2012

    Aaron, I think another reason why sites like this and other independent reviewers put more effort into their reviews is because unlike the high gloss publications, most of us pay for our own cigars, mostly reviewing cigars that we spent our hard earned money on. As a result, it is imperative that the cigar be smoked as far as possible in order to adequately rate its complexity and more importantly to determine whether it is worthy of more of our hard earned money. Let’s face it, this is not a cheap passion.

    Many a cigar I thought was horrible 1cm in turned out to be a gem and likewise, many awesome starting smokes turned into slugs.


  8. CaliKF
    July 25, 2012

    I am glad I read this review because I thought I got a bad batch. I let them sit for two months and even “dry boxed” my last two but found the exact same things as dr fever. I hate when my cigars are uneven, I am always careful to light them correctly and rotate while smoking but these ALWAYS burned uneven. They all went out at the soft spot in the middle and I HATE than when my cigar goes out! Again I take great care to keep my sticks lit.
    So thank you for confirming that I did not have a bad batch but only had a bad cigar!

  9. Cyber-Speculator
    July 26, 2012

    I’ve tried smoking 4 of these cigars (2 Churchill’s + 2 Robusto’s from a sampler pack) so far and my experience is more or less the same as the reviewer’s. The cigars simply would not smoke and kept going out due to ‘tunneling’

  10. Jmorena
    July 27, 2012

    I hope the Hennessey XO eased your pain.

  11. Jer
    July 28, 2012

    I agree with DrFever! Good to know theres other Canadians in Ontario enjoying the good life. As per your purchasing strategy it’s quite familiar as mine and I find it to be quite beneficial if you know what I’m saying. If your close to the NF U.S.A border Smokin Joes is a great spot for Tax free cigar shopping and if you want to relax and have a cigar with a no corking fee service in a nice comfortable lounge visit Virgil Ave Tobbaconist in Buffalo. Enjoy, keep up the good work.

  12. DrFever
    July 28, 2012

    Thank you Jer … And yes, I am very familiar with all 3 NF bridges to the border ;-) Thank goodness I live close enough to allow me to purchase some quality non-Cuban sticks at non-Canadian pricing.

  13. Wizz15
    July 29, 2012

    I’ve had a box of these and the Torpedoes in my humidor for some months now. My experience w/ the Churchills is exactly like DrFever’s, but I find that the Torpedoes smoke wonderfully and deliver a much more enjoyable flavor profile with much less overwhelming “heat” as described, and I find it a go-to cigar with some scotch. Maybe the Torpedo should have been closer to the top spot instead?

    Great review DrFever, thanks, and keep ’em coming!

  14. Crazyjorge
    August 17, 2012

    I live in FL. and I have been smokng these churchills for 3 months. I experiance the opposite. Even burn with a nice ash, amazing 3 different flavors thru out the stick. I think the trick is you have to rotate these sticks around in your humidor, so it can burn evenly. I did have 1 get out of control, but overall this is 1 of my favorite cigars. Beside my all around favorite the Montecristo Media Noche #2. Excellent. On cigarbid.com I wait for the Free Fall to get them for 4.50 a sick. The ash can last about 3″ long before you have to knock it off yourself. At 6.1 x 54, this cigar last about 1 1/2 long. But the Prensado Churchill, I will always pick them up too. That’s just my opinion. And of course everyone has a different opinion on every stogie. Try a Montecristo Media Noche # 2 once. You will be amazed!

  15. sullystone
    September 17, 2012

    I am quite relieved to find out I am not the only one baffled by these cigars. I bought two boxes when the review came out, and was given a third as a gift. They are a disaster. CA should be ashamed of the rating given. They just won’t burn correctly , and the flavor is odd at best. I let them sit in my humidor for months, tried one again just yesterday, same result. A struggle , then it went out as usual, and I said No Mas. I am done . Stuck with an expensive pile of useless sticks!!

  16. Juno
    October 2, 2012

    I just had one of these in Robusto and I have to say I couldn’t finish it. The flavor was at best tolerable, nothing to write home about. I found the flavor profile conflicting and jumbled between roated peanuts, burnt coffee, and white pepper.

    The construction is this sticks worst flaw. Inconsistent draw, starting rather firm, then opening up, then getting very tight before I put it down aorund the half way point. It simply would not burn evenly, the wrapper acted like it was treated with fire retardant. It tunneled so bad that I had to cut off the cherry and re-light it. I felt like this stick just kicked and screamed the whole time. I finally just put it down halfway into the 2nd third as it was making me angry.

  17. Walter
    October 25, 2012

    I’m smoking my second presado churchill. While its not better than any of the padron line it is a good cigar. I let mine rest for two months. That seemed to get the humidity right for a decent burn. I didn’t get the harshness others mentioned. The flavors, for me, became richer, deeper and better from third to third. Either I got lucky or it’s a damn fine cigar. Either way I’m okay. Padron 7000 is still much better and 1926 and 1964 speak for themselves.

  18. wozzer
    April 1, 2013

    I must say ,you’re right about this Cigar, I’m smoking one now ,and it will be the 1st and last one I do,

  19. MiningJunkie
    July 7, 2013

    Great review that pretty much sums up my thoughts about this stick. I’ve never been an Alec Bradley fan. Ever since I tried their Trilogy cigar on the advice of a friend I have looked to avoid this brand.

    I often disagree with Cigar Aficionado’s ratings. Then again, taste is so subjective, however I always make it a point to sample their highest rated cigar. I sometimes wonder if they take a considerable fee to rate a cigar so highly knowing it will greatly impact sales. Regardelss, I can’t believe they got it so wrong with this cigar.

    The cigar has all the “looks” and smell of a cigar waiting to be lit bit for me that is where the fun and excitement ended. I was waiting for something to emerge to wow me but it never came. In fact, the cigar was quite tasteless and lacked any real complexity. I had no major burn issues … It was all about taste or shall I say, “lack of”.

    The entire cigar tasted like a lump of damp hay. I felt like I was smoking sod. No eye opening spice, pallete pleasing flavor or change in overall taste throughout the entire smoke. Not once did I take a puff and say “wow that was tasty”. I don’t like wasting my money so I forced myself to smoke it down but I was never really finding anything that would ever make me want to touch another Alec Bradley again. I was definitely reminded of the Trilogy Authentic Corojo Churchill and often wondered if they just didn’t re-package that dud as the Prensado.

    Save your money …. I can only scratch my head as to how this garnered CA’s cigar of the year. Someone at CA was obviously “smoking something” rather that the Prensado. One of the more forgetable “cigar of the year” I’ve ever tried.

  20. cord1930
    October 5, 2013

    I just finished my first Prensado Robusto. And like so many others I was disappointed. A few weeks ago when I picked the current copy of CA I purchased a AlecBradly Black Market. As i enjoyed this smoke, I thought it safe to purchase a half box of the Presando cigars as it was the CA #1 cigar for 2011. Right from the start there was a problem, as a layer of the leaf immediately pealed off from the punch I gave it. The cigar lit fine and the draw was good. The first 3 to 4 draws were very hot. The burn throughout the cigar was uneven and the ash dropped at less than 1 inch of burn. I also, like others, needed to relight it several times. This is a cigar that must be puffed on frequently to keep it going. The flavors were slightly peppery (which I enjoy) but too much leather. The final 1/4 of the cigar started to give me a headache so I finally put it down. I still have 9 of these cigars to get through, and I will, but I will not be buying these again. Sorry Mr. Rubin and CA,but this is not a great cigar. I find the Oliva O and the Oliva V much better cigars. Tomorrow I will try the CA 2012 #1 cigar, Flor de las Antillas, and hope it restores my faith in CA ratings.

  21. Nightfly
    October 14, 2013

    Yes to two points CA reviews and rating are sometime out of whack and sin tax is Canada is ridiculous. Yet I was able to find and was recommended Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill for $12.50 a stick in Canada. I have yet to smoke it. Once I smoke I let you know the result and if it was worth the money.

  22. ProvoGuy
    February 12, 2014

    Agreed, this is an overrated stick (double-T). It was a bit spongy, required a lot of babysitting and touching up, and my stick was very, very mellow, especially for a full-bodied cigar.

    I was not sure the stick would get past the first third’s blooming effect–how does a cigar receive accolades and fail miserably at its most basic of functions? Anyhow, halfway through and the burn issues resided, but the flavor profiles were very mild and limited.

    Hoping that the four others in my humi provide a better experience, but something tells me I am in for more of the same.

  23. JonathanE
    June 22, 2014

    I think what we have here is inconsistency. I just smoked a Robusto and your description of the last half of your Churchill matches my experience as a whole but somewhat better. Double all the goods you mentioned, stay on top of the burn and it really is a great smoke. Worth the gamble? If you can get one at CBid’s price I recommend taking the chance..

  24. Dave
    July 15, 2015

    Spot on review. Picked one of these up as part of a low priced bundle introductory offer from Cigars dot com … So I can’t complain too much as I paid $30 for 10 sticks + a terrible humidor. (Including a Cohiba, Macaduno, Ghurka, Rocky Patel). I was shocked when I learned that this was the CA cigar of the year. It burned terribly uneven with a jagged ash. I needed to relight it less than a quarter of the way through. The taste was harsh. I am admittedly not a fan of Maduro, preferring a medium body like Macanudo or Punch. Still, I do appreciate a good smoke and was let down. I probably wouldn’t buy this again even if it wasn’t the CA cigar of the year. The price was right for me but still … It looked very beautiful and that’s about as far as it went. This worries me as I recently bought a Partagas 160 (a foolish impulse buy at $150 per stick). I dread another overrated rating cigar experience. Tolerable at $10.50 but at $150 … It would be very defeating to have the same experience with the 160 as with this. Seems like a consensus that the Alec Bradley was uneven and hard to keep going.

  25. Mike R
    July 16, 2015

    My last two boxes of Prensado Churchills have been stunning, but it is three years on since the cigar won COTY (and also since your review). Production may well have become more consistent now AB are no longer under pressure to cope with a dramatic leap in sales.

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