Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Candela
Binder: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Panamanian
Size: 6 x 50 “Toro”
Body: Mild/Medium
Price: $8.00 MSRP


The cigar was released in March, 2013. Only 2000 boxes of 22 were produced. And this is the first and only candela from Alec Bradley.

The cigar was originally named A/B Black Market Dirty Hooligan but they ran into legal problems with Drew Estate who had the Dirty Rat.
They worked things out and the Dirty became Filthy.

The giant cigar band is a pain to get off in one piece but the KohnBone does it.

Construction is great with invisible seams. Some honkin veins showing off because of the candela green. A beautiful triple cap. The wrapper is the color or newly mowed grass and feels sandy to the touch. The wrapper has a small amount of oiliness.
I clip the cap and find the green wrapper surrounding the dark tobacco surreal.

Aromas of spice, sweetness, earthiness, and only the smallest bit of grass.
Time to light up.

I get a big blast of red pepper. And then some wood and leather and cedar. There is also a strong sweetness to the stick. Nothing like I expected based on other candelas I’ve smoked. Normally, there is a high level of a grassy taste. But I taste none here.

Unfortunately, the light green wrapper really highlights where my big chompers wrapped around the cap. Looks less than appealing. Now it looks like wet grass.

The draw is excellent. A taste of vanilla enters. Subtle. The char line is too wavy and needs correction.

Damn. I retrohale the stick and the bloody pepper causes a sneezing fit. Wow. Won’t do that again. Strong pepper.

The strength hits dead center medium body from the start. I’m getting one of those V buns on one side I hate. Once more, I correct the burn line. This can really screw up the flavor profile.

But all in all, this is a nice tasting cigar. Normally, I don’t like candelas. Too much emphasis from the wrapper on the flavor profile but this one is so subtle that it is just perfect.

The flavors of spice, sweetness, earthiness, vanilla, wood, and grass are on cruise control halfway through the first third. The cigar is jam packed and burns slowly.

The second third begins without any change.

Nearing the halfway point, some creaminess appears. The spice has all but disappeared. The sweetness is gone. And the earthiness is not as appealing as it was early on.

The cigar started out so promising. Now it is just boring. For $8, I expected more. Now it is beginning to feel like a gimmick.

The strength has moved backwards from medium to mild.

I hit the halfway mark. I am tapping my foot hoping the cigar either blossoms or burns faster.
The char line needs another correction.

Wow. This stick is a real bore. I can stomach a mild cigar as long as it is full flavored. But this isn’t.
Maybe another example of a cigar that needs a year of humidor time. I don’t know.

The last third begins and once more, no change. In fact, it gets a little bitter and harsh.
I don’t want to finish it. The bitterness tastes like bile in my mouth.
Such a promising start.

And now for something completely different:

A Cocky Young Bassist…

I was 18. I had played the bass for 3 years and thought I was hot shit. And without a single lesson.

My cousin, Fred Selden, is a world renowned reed player. A savant. He has become a millionaire doing nothing but session work; TV, albums, movies, and commercials. Fred is about 3-4 years older than me. And I always looked up to him.
Fred Selden

He told me one story about the time he did two tours with Elvis running the horn section. At some point in every show, he had to play “Dixie” on the flute. After a while he got bored with playing it straight. Fred was a jazz master.
So he jazzed it up.

After the show, the band leader took him aside and told him if he ever did that again, he was fired. From that point forward, Fred always played it straight.

He also told me that when they traveled, Colonel Parker was in one plane, Elvis in another, and the band in another plane. So Fred didn’t even meet Elvis until the end of the second tour. He saw him on stage and that’s it.

At the end of that second tour, he was invited to Elvis’ suite and Elvis shook his hand and told him he was doing a good job….and invited to stay and hang.

OK. Back to the point of the story.

I asked Fred to get me some session work. He asked how well I read music. I told him I didn’t. He laughed.

He wrote down a phone number. Carole Kaye. The pre-eminent session bassist in L.A. Part of the infamous L.A. Wrecking Crew.

Her list of top 10 songs is endless. “Sloop John B” by the Beach Boys. That was her on bass. “The Beat Goes On” by Sonny and Cher. That was her on bass. Plus a gazillion other tunes. Click on her name to see her history: Carol Kaye. An impressive woman who still does sessions even today. She must be in her 70’s.

Fred called Carol and told her to expect a call from me. What I didn’t know was what a big shot she was. I had no idea who she was. And Fred was sending me to a chick?

She gave lessons from her Hollywood Hills home in the dining room. Lessons were $25 an hour. A lot of dough in 1968.

I took my beloved Hofner bass. We sat and talked. She asked me to play her something. I did and was smug about it.

Then she played.

I shrunk to the size of a pea and hid behind the roller on the chair I sat on. Holy shit!

She must have done that to everyone to put them in their place.

She played strictly using a pick; which I also did back then. It was the style.

She brought out her own music books. “Bass by Carol Kaye.”

Here is where it got really tricky. I obviously had to learn to read music. But the notes had either a ^ or a v over each note.

The ^ meant that you hit the string with your pick in an upward motion. The v meant you hit the string in a downward motion.
This was very important and if you were to continue as a student, you had to learn this method. It was maddening.

I would play the riff perfectly but if my pick was in the wrong direction, I got smacked on the hand with a ruler…like a nun.

It drove me fucking crazy learning that method. I lasted about 9 months. But the drive and the $25 began to be too much.

Later, in my early 30’s when I owned my studio, I remember guys bragging how they took lessons from a Carol Kaye student. Not Carol, but a student of Carol’s.

I used to blow their minds when I told them I actually took lessons from the Master.

I wish I had stayed a student with Carol a lot longer. She told me she often gives sessions she can’t do to some of her best students. But you can’t go back. Things might have been very different in my life if I toughed it out.

I stopped using a pick and went R & B in 1980.







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2 replies

  1. Funny the things we we do not see thru the contemptuous goggles of our youth.
    I was also a bass player in my younger days. Looking back,what I wouldn’t have given to have had someone of Carole’s ability teaching me,ruler slaps and all. Wish I still had that ’77 Fender Precision with the solid rock maple neck. Strung with a quality set of round wounds,the sustain seemed to go on forever.
    Love the honest reviews on your blog by the way,and the anecdotes of your drug addled,rock god days always bring a smile.

    • D
      It’s smokers like you that make it all worthwhile. Any time a smoker says he experienced what I experienced makes it all worth while.
      And of course, you are a brother musician like several others who comment regularly really adds that pinch of spice.
      I decided to add photos of my precious at the end of that story. It is a 1980 Schecter fretless made of Brazilian rosewood I bought new for $1000. The years have been very kind to its sound. Sort of like thunder.