Alec Bradley Sanctum | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
Binder: Costa Rican
Filler: Colombian, Honduran, Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 52 “Robusto”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $7.25

absanctumbox

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Today we take a look at the yet to be released Alec Bradley Sanctum.
Thanks to the folks at Alec Bradley for the samples.

BACKGROUND:
I could not find a lick of info on this cigar. I do know that it made its debut at the 2015 IPCPR trade show.
And that the Sanctum was blended by Alec Bradley Executive Vice President; Ralph Montero.

DESCRIPTION:
The Alec Bradley Sanctum is a nice looking stick. It is a light russet brown with loads of oil and very smooth to the touch.
Seams are invisible. Veins are minimal. It has a perfectly applied triple cap. And it is solidly packed. No soft spots.
The cigar band is gorgeous in the fashion of the Raices Cubanas 1941 cigar. I hadn’t noticed this earlier but as I prepped the cigar to take photos, the cigar has a double band. There is a plain black billboard sized band underneath the main band.
raices

SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto 5 x 52 $7.25
Toro 6 x 52 $7.75
Gordo 6 x 60 $8.50
Double Gordo 8.5 x 60 $9.99
Cigars are sold in boxes of 20.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
The shaft smells of cream, spice, chocolate, coffee, and earthy tobacco.
The clipped cap and foot smell of rich tobacco, cocoa, sweetness, barnyard, and cream.
The cold draw brings raisins, chocolate, spice, cream, hay, and something very sweet.

FIRST THIRD:
Very smoky with a great draw. And then an apple cart full of red pepper.
Flavors are: wood, cream, coffee, cocoa, sweetness, fruit, and leather.
That’s a quick pile up of flavors.

The strength explodes out of the gate at a strong medium+ body.
The sun starts to come out and I snag a photo showing how oily the wrapper is.
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Smokiness is present. A gooey caramel element shows up next. Actually, it reminds me of Butter Rum Life Savers. My gramps would visit 2-3 times a year from Pittsburgh to California and the first thing he would present me with was a Butter Rum Lifesaver. Over the years, I always looked forward to our little loving give and take routine.
The point being is I can taste a bit of rum. Slight but enough to attract my attention.

At this point, I can’t think of another A/B cigar blend the Sanctum tastes like. It is in unchartered waters. I think it is because the cigar blend has gone boutique style. A rich, and complex, set of subtleties and nuance.

The fruit defines itself as a bit of raisin and black cherry. I can also taste a bit of steak sauce. Nice combo of sweet and savory.

An inch in, flavors go bonkers. I take a sip of water and my palate is inundated with bold flavors of pepper, cream, coffee, chocolate, fruit, leather, and the savory element.
The char line is dead nuts perfect.
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I’m anxious to remove the main cigar band to see if there is something written on the black band underneath. Maybe I will need a decoder ring?

Transitions. The magic quality of a great cigar is happening in the perfect increments of time.
Flavors juxtapose themselves in different on a rotating scale in the flavor profile.

I have to be honest. I’m a big fan of A/B cigar blends. I’ve reviewed 18 blends right here. Too many to list. But if you are interested, type in Alec Bradley in the Search Window.

SECOND THIRD:
5third
The Alec Bradley Sanctum is rich and earthy.
I removed the main cigar band and expose the black billboard underneath.
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No decoder ring required. Although, under the scrutiny of ultra violet, I can read code that is not decrypted but says it is from Mossad.
I just knew it. Alan Rubin is a spy. Thankfully, he is a spy for the good guys.

The sweet spot just landed, Houston.
Wow. What a major transition. Flavors are bozo crazy.

Here they are: Spice, creaminess, steak sauce, chocolate, coffee, leather, earthiness, fruit, herbal notes, molasses, wood, and nuts with a toasty element.
Very nice. I’m impressed.

Construction is dead nuts. Perfect. No burn issues. No wrapper issues. And a perfect draw. I can’t wait to spew my opinion in the Price Point part of the review.

I hope the Alec Bradley folks can excuse me for the usual rock n roll story I’ve added to the end of the review. I get tons of emails and comments about how they are enjoyed so much. But don’t worry, it’s not my usual R rated story. More PG13.

Because the cigar is packed so solid, it smokes slowly and I’m getting to really savor the cigar experience. This is no ordinary A/B cigar blend. It is really special. And dear readers, you know that if I don’t like a cigar I’m not afraid to say so. But the Alec Bradley Sanctum is going to be a big hit.
Smoke time has been over 30 minutes.

HALFWAY POINT:
Well, it is for certain that I’m going to snag some of these when they come out.
Strength has settled down a bit and is now classic medium body.
7half

I’ve been on a roll recently with some great cigars for review. My detractors make fun of me for raving and fawning over a cigar; but I don’t care. I have a boat load of passion for cigars. And when I am confronted with a brilliant blend, I gotta be me.

Flavors, in the order I have previously listed, have not changed. But they are very potent and bold now. The subtleties are mostly gone now as the Alec Bradley Sanctum goes for the gold. Big smile.

If the blend tastes this good at this early stage, I can only imagine how months of humidor time will enhance the experience.

Like a light switch, nicotine shows itself. Uh oh. Crash helmet time.
I get my dog to lie down next to me so when I swoon and pass out, I fall on something soft. Don’t contact PETA. Ebba is used to this. Good dog. When this happens, I give her a treat of lox and bagels. She loves lox.
The ash is hanging tough at 1-1/2”.
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The sun goes away. We are due for some strong thunderstorms over the next few days. So my lighting equipment will have to do.
I know, I know. But I have to say it: The Alec Bradley Sanctum is a flavor bomb.

I read on a cigar forum that one gentleman said that the Katman says every cigar is a flavor bomb. Clearly, he hasn’t read the thousands of reviews I’ve written but that’s OK. I’ve heard worse criticisms. LOL.

The cable TV radio station is playing “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan. Did you know that Led Zep bass player John Paul Jones played on most of Donovan’s songs?
You can use that tidbit at parties when people begin to think you are not holding up your part of the conversation.

The Alec Bradley Sanctum hits a strong medium/full body now. The nicotine is strong and I’m losing motor skills. See, that’s the nice thing about reviewers who smoke their cigars and take notes and then put it into writing; unlike me who reviews in real time.

I tried that method in the beginning many years ago but found my reviews to be lacking in passion.
Clearly, the Alec Bradley folks had a lot of passion when they blended this cigar. Kudos Ralph Montero. Job well done.

The Alec Bradley Sanctum is so complex that it is difficult to describe the ever changing flavor profile. Balance is spot on. And the finish is long and chewy. I’m smacking my lips.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time has been 50 minutes. And yet it seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye.
Here they are one last time: Creaminess, fruit, spice, chocolate, herbal notes, steak sauce, nuts, toasty, leather, graham cracker, wood, cedar, and a very rich earthy tobacco element.
Quite impressive.
9third

I’m ruined for the rest of the day.

The char line remains perfect. Not a single touch up was required.

I’ve noticed that I could only find one online store selling them. Hiland’s Cigars. They are selling them at the MSRP price point.
Some online stores are allowing you to pre-order.

The sweetness factors take the lead.

The graham cracker has really surged. Along with the strong creaminess, it is almost like a slice of cheesecake.

The chocolate and coffee flavors are on the wane.
But the spiciness has returned with a vengeance. I like that.
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The Alec Bradley Sanctum is now full bodied.

I’ve donned my crash helmet and goggles because of the nicotine. Yes, I am a wuss.
The Alec Bradley Sanctum was a marvelous experience.
It finishes without a hint of heat or harshness.
I highly recommend this cigar.

PRICE POINT:
Ridiculous. $7.25 for a cigar this fantastic. Brava Alec Bradley Cigars.
They could have gone for the greed factor like so many other new cigars but they didn’t.
This cigar is so wallet friendly, that your wife will only give you a partial stink eye for buying more cigars when you have already squandered your monthly budget.
If I didn’t know the price going into this review, I would have guessed it was a double digit price point. It’s nice that there are still manufacturers out there who aren’t out to gouge the consumer.

SUMMATION:
I believe that the Alec Bradley Sanctum is a quantum leap for the A/B folks. It has all the qualities of a small batch boutique blend. And the price of a knock around cigar.
This is now my favorite Alec Bradley blend.
While, I can’t really afford a box because I’m poor; It’s first on my list on July 3 when I get my social security.
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And now for something completely different:
I’ve told this story before so if you’ve read me for a while, go back to sleep.
1974
PIC1

Island Studios is in the Jamaican section of London. We had just finished recording our studio album to follow the “Live” album. All new songs. They even pulled a George Harrison and allowed me one song on the album.
It was called: “I Broke My Leg in Yucca Valley, but My Heart Lies in Palm Springs.”
Those were the entire lyrics. It was a jazzy scat type song in which the bass took a Stanley Clarke type lead line.

Rhythm tracks are always done first and then everything is layered on top. So my job was done in a week. But we still had 4-5 weeks of studio time left. I preferred to hang in the booth than sit at home and watch BBC1. Plus, there was money to always feed us and I learned to love Jamaican food.

Jose Feliciano was touring Europe and had never been to England. England was all abuzz.
PIC2

Our press agent was a friend of Feliciano and got him to stop by the studio one night. I was pretty excited.
He brought a then unknown percussionist named Paulhino de Costa. He went on to be a big deal in the years to follow.
PIC3

Feliciano had a big mouth and you couldn’t get a word in edge wise. Man, he could talk.
He listened to our tunes and jumped up and got his assistant to help him into the studio. He pulled out his guitar and started laying down tracks on our tunes. After a while, it got weird. It wasn’t the Curved Air + Jose Feliciano album
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He took a break and sat on the couch in the booth. Our chick singer had a vocal coach who was currently a big star in “Jesus Christ Superstar” in London. His name was Derek.
PIC4

Now Derek was as gay as a $3 bill. No offense but he was a raging queen. He was a really good guy. And he was very funny. He loved being gay and would flaunt it til we couldn’t breathe from laughing; we enjoyed his company.
Derek was there the first night Feliciano was there.

Feliciano showed up the next night as well.

Before the proceedings began, Jose took the floor. Word had spread and the booth was jammed with people.
He sat on the couch. I sat next to him. And Derek sat on his other side. Feliciano is blind. But you knew that.

You’d think he would take that into consideration when talking about people because he lit into Derek.
“Did you hear that queer last night?” And then he went on to imitate him. Everyone in the booth froze in horror.

Derek just sat there and said nothing. Finally, he had enough and leaned into Feliciano’s ear, with his hand on Feliciano’s thigh, and said, “Lissssssten Ssssssweetheart.”
For a moment, we all thought Feliciano got his sight back by the way his eyes opened and his glasses flew off.

There was an uproar of laughter in that booth that night. All the time, Feliciano tried back pedaling saying stuff like: “I don’t care about how people live their lives, blah, blah, blah.”

Apparently, Feliciano had no sense of humor when it came to himself.

He stood up, made his excuses and shuffled off into the darkness of the Jamaican section never to be seen again by Curved Air.

BTW- He liked my tune the best and even Paulhino played on it. This really pissed off our ego maniac band leader. I never got a copy of that no matter how I begged.

During the official play back and Release Party at RCA headquarters in London, I remember that when my song was first heard by everyone, they did a double take.
“What the hell is this?”

They hated my song. It was too progressive for a progressive rock band?
I took a lot of crap and they dropped the song from the album. I was not happy.
It was the only truly original song on the album but it was just too much for them.

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1 reply

  1. Sounds like the nic will keep me away from this one…BUT really nice to hear the the AB folks are pushing new and interesting blends in a wallet-friendly price range. Nice work!