Cigar Review- Alec Bradley American Sun Grown Blend

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun-Grown Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Esteli and Condega)
Size: 6 x 50 Toro
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $5.00


I’ve reviewed this cigar but not here. I was at my local B & M scratching up some sticks while I wait for Cbid to deliver my order which is today. And I came across these cigars and bought a couple. For a few dollars more than online pricing, of course. But as I smoked one last night, I was reminded what a good cigar this is. So I thought I’d lay it down for posterity one more time.

And since I have no relationship with the good folks at Alec Bradley, not for trying mind you, I think I am overdue for another true to life raunchy rock n roll story from my younger days as a rock star. But first.

This Nic puro is made at the Nestor Plasencia factory in Nicaragua, or Honduras. Couldn’t find which. It is the second in line to the A/B American series and I think it is a big improvement over the first. It is a value priced cigar which just floors me considering the flavor profile. And ranges in price from $4.50-$6.00 each depending on size and where you buy it. It can be had for less on Cbid.

The stick comes in six sizes:
Corona: 5.5 x 42
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 50
Churchill: 7 x 48
Torpedo: 6.125 x 52
Gordo: 6 x 60

The blend is the same as the original American with the only exception of the wrapper. I read some dumb reviews of this cigar saying it is basically a zero. I guess people are entitled to having no palate.

Here is a quote from Cigar Aficionado: “The Alec Bradley American Sun Grown Blend will have a Nicaraguan core of Estelí and Condega filler tobaccos and a Jalapa binder, the same as found on the Alec Bradley American Classic. But instead of a Honduran Connecticut seed wrapper, American Sun Grown will wear a sun-grown Habano leaf from the Jalapa region of Nicaragua, making them Nicaraguan puros. The Sun Grown cigars are being rolled at Plasencia Cigars in Estelí, Nicaragua.”
The cigar was released at the 2012 trade show. I remember reviewing it then for an online store.

Enough foo foo. On to the cigar. The wrapper belies it is only a Sun Grown Habano. It is incredibly dark and could easily pass as a maduro. This is solely because of the region it was grown in. Known for this rich, dark leaf.

Construction is excellent. It’s firm. Very oily. Only a few veins. A very well done cap. And a snazzy cigar band. I should flatten it out for photos so you can get the full picture, so to speak.

I clip the band and find aromas of spice, cocoa, leather, cedar, cinnamon, baking spices, and sweet raisin. Pretty much the expected aromas of a Nicaraguan cigar.
Time to light up.

The cigar explodes with flavor. Everything mentioned above in the list of aromas comes to fruition in flavor. The draw is spot on. And the char line is exceedingly clean at this early point.

This is what I continually bitch about. If Alec Bradley can make a good, solid, flavorful cigar and sell it in the $5 range, why do the Tatuajes and Liga Privadas charge so much. I don’t care that there are 16 different leaves in the cigar or that they were especially grown on the planet Venus to achieve the spectacular taste. I want a well-made, flavor bomb of a cigar in the medium/full range that I can afford.

I reviewed the Tatuaje 10th Anniversary yesterday and while it was a very good cigar, the $11 price tag really put me off.
At the moment, I am getting an onslaught of flavor, from the start that the Tatuaje didn’t deliver until the last third. And I think I can speak for most cigar smokers when I say we want flavor and character; not breeding and marketing.

I make it through the first inch and the cigar speaks to me in the language of creaminess, cocoa, leather, wood, cinnamon, and sweetness. I am surprised that the pepper level is moderate, at best. Just lying in the background like a flounder; or my first wife. While the flavors are exuberant, they have not hit the complex note that they will later. Character and nuance are building slowly.

The first third ends wonderfully with loads of flavor. The second begins with a resurgence of spicy red pepper. I welcome it back. The complexity begins to show itself. The sweetness of the raisin is really pumping out flavor while the cocoa stands next to it. I am getting a bit of light coffee. And the cedar and leather make wonderful counterpoints. A citrusy element joins the fray offsetting the sweetness a bit.

Then flavors explode. The cocoa and creaminess are like eating fine pie. Everything is just expanding at the speed of 3.14 x 10 to the 14th power. The body has remained a classic medium from the start. But I know what the last third has in store for me.

I hit the halfway point and the flavors are now slightly muted. The balance is great and has a very long finish. Houston, we have complexity.

The char line started out pretty good but from early on, it became wavy and has decided to stay there. No touch ups have been who cares. The cap gets a little funky with some loose bits of tobacco but nothing requiring a trim.

The last third begins with more of the same. Since the cigar started out so powerfully with all those flavors, there isn’t much room for it to travel. It reached the complex point at the halfway mark. And now it is on cruise control. The strength is now building to full. My vision does actually blur when the nicotine kicks in. Most probably because I have never smoked a single cigarette. So it really kicks my ass.

I stumble into the kitchen to grab some scissors. The cap is a real mess and I trim it so it doesn’t look so bedraggled for the photos.

There are so many flavors at play here but it is the cocoa and creaminess that are the constant. Little bits of sweetness, cedar, leather, raisin, nuttiness and cinnamon dart past my palate keeping the cigar interesting.

I am really impressed that the A/b folks could make such a good cigar for such a low price point. I’ve bought several boxes over the last year. A couple months go by and I get a 5 pack on Cbid and it all comes rushing back. I need to buy a box. My preference is a robusto at less than $90 or $4.50 each.

The stick finds itself with just a couple inches to go. The body is full and so is the flavor profile.

There is too much glue on the band and I have to cut it off. The cigar starts to canoe on me so I touch it up.

As I finish the cigar, it is decided that it was one helluva’ ride. A flavor bomb from the beginning. A complex and well balanced cigar with a very long finish. What more can you want from your cigar?
My only criticism is that the construction of the cigar is not consistent. There were burn issues and wrapper issues.
I absolutely recommend this cigar. The price is right. It is a quality stick. And there you have it. Go get some.

And now for something completely different:

We always started our European tours in Amsterdam. And we always played the Paradiso Club; a spectacular club owned by the government that legally sold small portions of hashish to its patrons. It was a 4 or 5 story building with music on every floor and the dope sold in the basement bar. A man sat in a big, overstuffed ratty chair with a black board behind him showing what was for sale that night.

Needless to say, this was party central.

Since our tours usually lasted 6-8 weeks, we stocked up at the Paradiso for the trip. I don’t think we ever went to bed the night we got there. And we usually played the next night so we got some shut eye during the day while the roadies set up a semi full of gear. And then around 6pm, we did our sound check and got that early hour because we always headlined.

We had just finished mixing the 1974 Live Album and I was considered the star of the album which did not go down well with the original members of the band who were all classically trained musicians. It was a long fall from that point on for me.

Management got us our own rooms to celebrate the opening of the tour. Normally, Miles Copeland was so cheap he made us bunk in twos. Except for the band leader Darryl. Who would never think of sharing a room. Which was fine with me because this boy stank!! All of them stank. They literally only took showers on Saturday night like hillbillies or something. They made fun of me for showering every day. I remember seeing the chick singer’s panties standing on their own in the corner of the room once.

Management had prepared a surprise and told no one. Not the band, no one.

I opened the door to my room in a very nice hotel and there were two gorgeous young women. Of age, of course.
As a musician, I had a pretty active social life, but two chicks? At once? Oh thank you baby Jesus!

Both girls were Dutch and spoke perfect English. For some reason, the Dutch have virtually no accent when it comes to English. Anyway, they introduced themselves and handed me a hand written card from Miles telling me to enjoy myself.

It took no time to strip down. There was a nice big walk in shower and all three of us got down. I got soaped down like never before in my life. And then, OOOPS! I had one girl behind me and one on her knees in front of me. What’s a guy supposed to do?

We spritzed off and got out. And then the rest of the afternoon had no sleep on the menu. I have never been totally immortalized in sex acts like I did that day. We didn’t do coke in those days, just hash or pot. So I really got worn out. But the hash kept me on the straight and narrow; if you know what I mean.

At one point, I had to beg them to stop. I was as raw as a peeled turnip. My groin was glowing like a flashing red light.
Room service arrives with champagne and strawberries. OMG! First, I don’t drink. Never have. And champagne goes right to my head before I throw up.

I encouraged the ladies to partake in the champagne which made them even wilder; if that was possible. I told them I didn’t drink and they didn’t try to force it on me. Classy for hookers.

But they did dunk the strawberries in the bubbly liquid and then rub the fruit on my body and lick it off. Thank God I was young. At my age now, this would have killed me.

We spent a healthy three hours together and finished up with another group shower. I was toast by the time they kissed me goodbye.

Moments after they left, I got a call from Miles. All I could hear was laughing. He asked how my afternoon went and all I could do was huff and puff. He laughed some more. And then he told me that these chicks weren’t hookers. Just good friends of his that he always met while in Holland. They had regular day jobs and didn’t screw for money. One worked in a dress shop and the other was a nurse. I just about shat myself. These were nice girls.

It was 4pm and I had two hours before being expected to show up for sound check. I quickly fell asleep and woke up at 5:45pm. I hurriedly dressed in my civvies and off to the sound check I went. The band and the roadies laughed at me when they saw me. My fro took a lot of maintenance and I totally forgot about it as I hurried to get to the Paradiso so I looked like something the cat dragged in.

I never told the band what happened. I figured they would all be jealous and angry at Miles. Including the bi-chick singer.
That was the only time in my life that anything like that ever happened. Fond memories.


4 replies

  1. Your AB must have been cooking for a while. Like Viaje, have never had one good enough to smoke right away.

  2. Good Lord, after the R&R story I completely forgot about the cigar…I’m certain it was a good review, because AB makes a reasonably good stick…I think I know those girls…Smokin !

  3. Enjoyable read. You are funny as hell dude. Keep the stories and reviews coming.