July 4, 2012

Review: Alec Bradley American Sun Grown Blend

Happy forth of July everyone. I'm sorry content has been a little slow coming out of the site recently but my life has been very busy with summer travel. Excuses excuses I know. Anyway, the cigar up for review today is a fitting one given it's Independence day, the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown Blend. (That's a mouthful). I was given this stick from the infamous @AB_therockstar Barry Blonder while hanging out at Governor's Smoke Shop last week. That was my first time talking to Barry for more than five seconds and what a down to earth great guy he is.

Anyway, I little about the cigar taken from the Alec Bradley Website: On the heels of last year’s “American Classic Blend” release, Alec Bradley Cigars has announced the release of “American Sungrown Blend,” a fuller-bodied, all-Nicaraguan leaf blend. Priced affordably, the “American Sungrown Blend” offers an extension to the American Classic selection with a little more spice. The cigars will retail between $4.20 to $5.75, and scheduled to arrive at retail cigar stores by [July 4th. 2012].

The price point on these cigars is a great relief to the wallet, and I'm sure that played into the popularity of the American Classic Blend. For me that blend was a little underwhelming, but the description of the Sun Grown sounds right to my liking. On to the review.

Vitola: Robusto
Length: 5
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun-Grown Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $4.75
Smoking Location: My back deck
Beverage: water (it's hot as hell out)


The first thing I noticed when holding my American Sun Grown (SG from now on) was how oily the wrapper was. The color of the leaf is dark brown with a few medium sized veins, but again what really stands out is sheen visible when light hits the cigar. Let's talk band. Alec Bradley tends to do a lot of big detail oriented bands. The America is just that. The design is busy, but not so much that it's turns into a mess of color and embossing. Nicely done. The pre-lit aroma was sweet with a lot of cedar scents to it, pretty common. What was far from common was the cold draw which had a fruity concord grape, or even blueberry compote taste. That sounds crazy but it's what I was picking up. And picking up strongly.

First Third
My American SG lit up easily and produced a lot of smoke right away. The draw was perfect with a slight resistance but easy to puff on. The initial flavors were a mild tingly spice (felt and tasted mostly on the sides of my tongue) on the front with some light espresso on the finish to round out the profile. The flavors were nice but somewhat muted. About an inch into the cigar I started to get some leather flavor on the front also mixing in with the mild spice. The burn was spot on. I'd put the nicotine strength level as a solid medium. 

Second Third
In the second third of my American SG had the spice on the front dissipate and the leather flavor take over. The finish also changed up completely and tasted now of bitter baking chocolate. Just like the first third the flavors were not super pronounced but were still enjoyable. The draw and burn continued to be excellent and I never had to reach for my lighter to do a touch up. Even with smoking in the extremely humid weather we are having here I had a straight burn line. The nicotine strength was again a consistent medium. 

Final Third and Final Thoughts 
The final third of my American SG is where the muted flavors from the first two thirds really stepped up. The front was a much more pronounced leather taste, and the finish was very very long with a strong baking chocolate flavor. I'd say this was the most interesting part of the cigar for sure. The nicotine level also ramped up a bit and was now in the medium-full range. Just like the first two thirds to construction was spot on, and it was very easy to nub the stick.

Final thoughts on the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown Blend? This cigar was very easy to smoke which is what I was looking for on such a hot day. The final third is really where it shined for me so if you give this one a shot don't put it down early or you will miss out. A solid release for Alec Bradley.

Would I buy it again? Yes, and the price point is fantastic

Would I buy a box? For my full box purchases I like a bit more of a spicy cigar, but I would do a split with someone.



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