August 8, 2013
Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Gordo
Size : 6.2 x 60
Wrapper : Nicaraguan Habano
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Price : ~$8.50 each
The new Alec Bradley Nica Puro cigars are the first Nicaraguan puros launched by the company. For the more novice smoker, as the name suggests, they are comprised completely of tobacco gown in Nicaragua.
Readers of my reviews might recall that I have not been a fan of Alec Bradley cigars. I wasn’t particularly fond of the Prensado where I completely disagreed with the “Cigar of the Year” distinction it had received from Cigar Aficionado magazine and I was just as unimpressed with the Black Market that I also reviewed for this site.
However, as a lover of cigars and always willing to try the latest product I decided to pick up a couple of the firm’s newest release, the Nica Puro. I decided to give it a whirl because as of late I have enjoyed the tobacco coming out of Nicaragua.
Appearance : [rating:4.5/5]
The Gordo is a BIG cigar. With a hefty 60 ring gauge, it barely fit in my guillotine cutter and boasting a length of 6.2 inches, it felt really heavy in my hand. The band was stylish and as seen in the photos, the wrapper had a very toothy appearance with visible veining and tight seams. The wrapper had a nice sheen to its dark brown color with some visible reddish spots.
Construction : [rating:4.5/5]
As you can see in the photos, the cap looks a tad sloppy in its application. The cigar was firm to the touch with a few lumpy, harder sections noticeable. However, the burn of the cigar was unaffected by the considerable veins and the lumpy areas. It remained extremely even and razor sharp. The Nica Puro needed no touch-ups or re-lights.
The cigar took a few double puffs to keep it going at the beginning, with smoke output quite muted. However, as I approached the 2nd third, these issues were gone with the draw becoming much easier and with no double puffing needed to get a good mouthful of smoke. The smoke at this point was nice and thick and remained that way for the rest of the smoke.
The band is huge and it was difficult finding the seam. Thankfully with a little wiggle I was able to loosen it and slide it off quite easily without damaging the wrapper.
The ash was very firm with no flaking. In fact it held firm on the cigar for over 2 inches before I tapped it off, not wanting it to accidentally fall off onto my clothes.
Flavor : [rating:4.25/5] (4.25)
The pre-light aroma was barnyard mixed with rich natural tobacco, sweet cedar and a hint of some citrus. The pre-light draw provided hints of leather, coffee, sweetness and slight spice with a mild hint of citrus.
Because of the cigar’s size, I made sure to give the foot a nice toast before putting my flame to it to ensure that the cigar was evenly lit. It gave off a very pleasing rich tobacco scent. The first few draws were more about getting the cigar going than anything else. However, after a few double puffs, I was able to get some decent smoke output.
The first third had some nice spice on the finish. The front of the palate had some toasted nuttiness, hints of sweet oak, leather and some pleasing creaminess. The smoke’s texture was nice. Not too creamy or oily but just enough residue to be able to taste a hint of caramel and get some of that creamy sweetness from smoke that I personally enjoy.
The cigar did not change much for the first and second thirds but it did have a good blend of flavors that came in and out of the cigar. It continued to give off hints of sweet woodsy flavors, occasional hints of dried fruit, leather and nuttiness with some roasted coffee on the front of the palate with a touch of salt on the lips. There were occasional chocolate notes ranging from semi-sweet to more cocoa like. It seemed every couple of puffs gave me something different. I must say, not being a fan of the Alec Bradley cigars, this one had me intrigued.
As I approached the halfway point, much of the spice had subsided but was still there at the back of the palate in a much more subdued amount. The cigar took on a more chocolaty essence but the underlying earthiness and nuttiness of the cigar was ever present. The smoke was considerably thicker and hints of leather and sweet wood continued to come through in the profile. By this point the draw had opened up nicely with thick plumes of smoke that continued to have a slightly sweet residue on my palate. The tobacco left a slight hint of salt on my lips. Overall up to this point the cigar was extremely well balanced.
Jut past the halfway mark I got some dark chocolate, roasted coffee, slight hints of toasted caramel and the smoke output actually took on a creamier ‘chewy’ texture. There was a slight increase in the woodsy notes, going from a fruity oak to a sweet cedar.
At the halfway point the cigar continued to impress with subtle but noticeable changes in flavors. Some nuttiness, unsweetened espresso, roasted coffee bean and leather.
The spice was all but gone and it never did return. The finish became slightly shorter and a tad bitter, like an unsweetened espresso. Admittedly, the final third lacked much of the sweetness previously present.
The cigar ended with more muted flavors, remaining earthy, leathery and woodsy with subtle unsweetened chocolate and unsweetened espresso notes.
I was admittedly tired after smoking this cigar for 90 minutes but I never felt any nicotine effects. I would rate the strength as medium and the cigar itself was medium to full bodied with much of the bold flavors in the first half transforming into a more medium bodied cigar in the second half with the flavors becoming more subtle.
I gave the flavor a rating of 4.25. I felt the spice that helped compliment the sweeter notes of the cigar faded far too early. Also, I did not particularly enjoy the bitter notes of dark chocolate and unsweetened espresso later on in the cigar. I felt that they took away from the sweeter tone of the cigar. They didn’t last long but they were noticeable nonetheless. Also, the flavors subsided in the final third to such a degree that the cigar became a tad musty and too woodsy and grassy compared to what I had smoked up to that point. Overall though, given the newness of this cigar, some humidor time would certainly help it. I would definitely smoke one again but not in this size. I will touch on this later.
Value : [rating:4/5]
I paid $8.50 for this cigar. For a 90 minute smoke it was, in my opinion, worth the money but still, I believe that this company can pass on some savings to the consumer by doing away with a lot of the glitzy packaging and advertising that always gets factored into the pricing.
Overall Rating : [rating:4.3/5] (4.30)
I despised the Prensado and the Black Market and I really didn’t expect much from the Nica Puro but they hit the mark on this cigar and made a very enjoyable stogie with great complexity and enjoyable flavors. I probably won’t smoke the Gordo again though as it is just too big for my liking but thankfully I did buy a couple of the Robustos at the same time and am eager to see if the smaller vitola offers the same pleasurable experience.
[sz]alec bradley nica puro[/sz]
October 2, 2015
Very good cigar to my taste. In my top 10.
January 23, 2015
Way to bitter for my taste, didn’t like it at all.
August 18, 2013
Awesome cigar, one of my favorites
August 12, 2013
Excellent point on pulling back on glitzy packaging. In the end, we all want a great tasting and performing cigar. Adding all that cost is ridiculous. I understand some of the strategy behind it, but no word spreads faster than that about a great cigar. Too many great breands out there that are very simply packed, and which sell like gangbusters.
August 9, 2013
Nice review. I’ll have to try it, especially since it’s a Nicaraguan puro. I do no like the Prensado or Black Market either. The Black Market in particular was bad. Must be the Panamanian tobacco …
August 8, 2013
Although I respect your reviews, I feel compelled to point out one factual error you made: Nicaragua is not an island.
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