Wrapper: Honduran Trojes Corojo (Proprietary)
Binder: Nicaraguan (Esteli), Honduran Trojes
Filler: Nicaraguan (Esteli, Jalapa), Honduran (Trojes) A total of 7 different leaves
Size: 6 x 52
Price: $16.00 MSRP (Still available at select online stores and B &M’s)
Today we take a look at the Alec Bradley Fine & Rare HJ10-I 2016.
Only 20,000 cigars were produced. So finding one is a real treasure hunt. I’ve been hanging on to this single for a while now thanks to my friend, Bryan Kinnaman.
I found a couple online stores that are selling singles. Google it.
From Cigar Aficionado web site:
“The most complicated cigar in the Alec Bradley portfolio is now on its way to cigar shops across the United States. Fine & Rare, a limited-edition cigar containing 10 different tobaccos that the company says were aged from three to six years, officially began shipping today.
“Since 2011, the Florida-based company has released a version of Fine & Rare each year, housed in attractive wooden boxes. The 2016 incarnation, once again rolled at the Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas S. de R.L. factory in Honduras, is actually the third issue of the original blend that was released in 2011, known as HJ10-I. The blend scored well enough in tastings to crack the Top 25 Cigars of 2012 list at No. 21. (Alec Bradley also released the HJ10-I blend in 2013.)
“The 2016 Fine & Rare will come in one size only, a 6 inch by 52 ring gauge parejo. It is said to contain seven different types of filler tobaccos hailing from the Trojes region of Honduras as well as Estelí and Jalapa in Nicaragua. The two binders were cultivated in Estelí and Trojes, and the cigar is covered a corojo wrapper from Trojes that is proprietary to Alec Bradley.
“After critical acclaim and popular demand, we felt that 2016 was the year to reintroduce the Alec Bradley Fine & Rare HJ10-I,” said company owner Alan Rubin.
“Like in past years, the 2016 Fine & Rare comes packaged in ornately detailed wooden boxes that contain 10 cigars, with each stick resting in its own slot. Only 2,000 boxes were produced. Additionally, the cigar, which will have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $16, bears a large band with the name of the rollers, supervisor and principals of the Alec Bradley Cigar Co. on it.”
I love the look of this cigar. The color of the wrapper is hickory/chocolate/pecan. The wrapper is oily with a fine grain of tooth.
My stick is perfectly round…a rarity these days after handling and shipping.
The stick is extremely solid. Packed like a bratwurst. I’m concerned about the draw…we shall see.
Seams are very tight. Veins are minimal. The triple cap is a true work of art with an almost seamless appearance.
And lastly, the cigar band. The star of the presentation. I have only one stick so at the right moment, I will remove it and get an entire photo of this document. Meanwhile, the photo below tells a lot.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell dark cocoa, light floral notes, malt, espresso, mixed nuts, caramel, spice, cedar, fresh fruit, and sweet cream.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell barnyard, espresso, dark chocolate, red pepper, floral notes, malts, almonds, licorice, cedar, and sweet cream.
The cold draw presents flavors of red hot peppers, dark chocolate, malt, cream, cedar, nuts, black coffee, peanut crunch, and licorice.
The draw is a bit tight. I use my cigar awl and the draw is now wide open….flavors gang up on my palate like marsupials on a croissant.
The red pepper is strong and incredible. Followed by malt, creaminess, chocolate, espresso, salted nuts, caramel, cedar, peanut crunch, and coconut.
Within moments of lighting up, complexity begins. Transitions are on their way. The finish is immediately long and exhilarating. Smacking my lips wakes the cat.
Strength is medium/full right out of the gate.
The char line is muy perfecto. Or in Yiddish, Shleymesdik! (Say that three times fast). Or say it to your shiksa wife and be prepared to be slapped.
We all complain about high prices that seemed to have risen from the Black Lagoon over the last 2-3 years. I haven’t heard from a single person that said they wouldn’t pay the asking price for a shot at the Alec Bradley’s Fine & Rare HJ10-I 2016.
The cigar is packed so full of tobacco, that I deem this a long haul for a live review. So instead of making this a 16,000 word review, I will take naps now and again instead of rambling incoherently…like telling you about the one and only time, at 12, I stuck a big firecracker into a hobo’s poop in the L.A. Riverbed and then slipped trying to get away. I walked right through El Dorado Golf Course to get my poop-covered body home. Yes, my mother screamed when she saw me.
There is an unexpected intensity. I can feel it in the back of my throat. It is a sub-layer of flavors consisting of charred meat, savory spices, paprika, black pepper, a variety of malts, and black grapes.
The Alec Bradley Fine & Rare HJ10-I 2016 is a manly cigar. This is a blend for the experienced smoker with a fine palate. So much going on…that it is imperative for the cigar to be your first of the day. So much nuance and subtlety that if smoked with a crispy palate, you will miss out on some great influences.
All of the above has occurred in just the first inch of the cigar. I cannot imagine what awaits. The blend is just getting warmed up and I’m already bowled over.
This is a heavy cigar; both in weight and attack.
I should note that if you missed it above, you can still buy singles. You just have to look around online; but I guarantee you will find them.
No reviews that I could find of this blend yet. I’ve had it a couple months. And Bryan had it for a bit before sending it to me.
Even at this early stage, I’m not going to rant and rave as I usually do about expensive cigars. Unless the ship goes down on me, I can taste the $16. A very rare occurrence.
Malts begin to define themselves: Vienna malt, Special B malt, Rye malt, Mild Ale malt, Coffee malt, and Chocolate Wheat malt. (See Malt Chart). I do believe I broke the Katman record for most malt delineations of all time.
The Alec Bradley Fine & Rare HJ10-I 2016 has something most other blends don’t…the impact of the 47 different leaves in the blend are an entire catalog of flavors having nothing to do with the ancillary elements we taste in superb cigars.
We have two things at play here…the flavor profile and the incredible taste of tobaccos.
Remember those carousels that allowed you to pull a ring every time you went around? They got rid of those years ago because of liability issues. But this blend is similar in its approach. Every 12 seconds, the variable transitional quality of this blend gives you a shot in the palate with something new…though, winning a teddy bear is not in the cards.
I’m half an inch away from the start of the second third and there is an explosion of complexity and a cornucopia of intense flavors. I have hit the first sweet spot.
Caramel moves up the list. Followed by an assortment of dried fruit and black licorice. Molasses, strong espresso, more variety of salted nuts, the red pepper is now black pepper, paprika, blackberries, and a deep, smoky, meaty component.
Smoke time is 40 minutes. A long time for a Toro.
I just noticed I caused a crack in the wrapper; just below the cap from using my cigar awl. I worry about this each and every time I open an airway.
The black grapes supplant the blackberries. The malts are full speed ahead.
The tobacco elements are screaming laughter. How many times have you smoked a blend with a laundry list of leaves and said to yourself: “Yeah, so? I don’t taste it.”
Not with this baby. The 112 different leaves are blasting away and stealing the show from the flavor profile.
Strength is full now and making my yarmulke twirl.
Sweet Spot 2.0. Jesus Cristo! Shock and Awe.
Nicotine is settling in. Oh lawdy, lawdy, Miss Clawdy. I still have 4” to go. I put 911 on speed dial. I suppose if I had ever smoked a cigarette, nicotine wouldn’t bother me so much.
In keeping with the Yiddish theme of this review, I have an old story at the end of the review that will enlighten and entertain. And not a single curse word.
Damn. It is -8° outside and I have a couple windows cracked for the smoke to escape. In layman’s terms, my testicles are in revolt. I can hear them screaming at me, in their tiny voices, to “Shut the damn windows”
The char line is doing great.
The depth of character is outstanding. The long finish does me a solid while I type.
I found a few adjectives that describe this blend (In alphabetical order): Ambrosial, appetizing, delectable, delish, flavorsome, luscious, lush, mouthwatering, savory, scrumptious, succulent, tasteful, tasty, and toothsome.
The halfway point is here. Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
The nicotine has settled down so I remove my crash helmet.
The Alec Bradley Fine & Rare HJ10-I 2016 is going Bozo crazy on me. It’s like being covered by a warm blanket…with a naked woman beside you. Unless you’re gay…which I’m not…although this week finds my 33rd wedding anniversary so I could be gay by now. I’d need a full exam and a big dose of lithium to really figure this out.
It’s also my (redacted) birthday two days later.
The components of the myriad list of tobaccos; along with the multi-faceted flavor profile is a killer instrument of war. Drop thousands of these on a battlefield…and you have created a truce.
The Alec Bradley Fine & Rare HJ10-I 2016 is a brilliant creation. Since first coming out in different incarnations since 2011, it has received a variety of ratings from reviewers. I have only reviewed the 2012 version.
Impressed does not begin to describe the 2016.
I’ve put off listing flavors because I’m just not that smart. It is so complex that I want to rip off all of my clothes, run through the sub-arctic weather into the streets, and be run over by a school bus. Name another cigar that provides that cause and effect.
The fusion of flavors is like a patchwork quilt…with plenty of overlaps.
Words escape me. Describing this work of art is difficult. And I’m struggling.
The malts are heavy duty now. The creaminess complements them beautifully. The smoky savory quality is inexplicable. Spice hangs in the background, ever present, but not overwhelming. Chocolate is gone. The espresso is downright earth shattering.
The strength of the blend is no joke. I don’t eat breakfast before a review so I’m subject to any, and all, of the elements that a strong cigar brings to the table. I can feel the cigar in my gut.
I know I’m rambling.
Smoke time is one hour 35 minutes.
I want to be buried with an Alec Bradley Fine & Rare HJ10-I 2016…not now…later.
Your Grandpa Katman directs you to find this cigar and buy as many as your wife allows. If she complains, hand her your Costco credit card and wish her well.
Truly, this is a stunning blend.
I haven’t had this much fun since I got a fellow student to steal my first Playboy for me when I was 13.
I’ve expounded about the “cigar experience” more times than I can count. The Alec Bradley Fine & Rare HJ10-I 2016 is the definition of that phrase.
Sweet Spot 3.0. Absolutely no letup in the blitzkrieg. Flavor has resorted to bitch slapping me with each puff.
The blend has reached the smooth apex of the cigar’s impact. Nicotine is at bay. The strength is melting my sideburns. My palate tries to escape my mouth so it can lick the cigar and make hot monkey love to it.
The Alec Bradley Fine & Rare HJ10-I 2016 is an extraordinary blend…a giant among dwarves.
Even with my wildly descriptive interpretations, I haven’t touched the surface. A better writer might.
I now wish I had smoked this cigar in 2016. It would have upset the apple cart of my top 25 list.
Final smoke time is one hour 55 minutes.
And now for something long ago and far away:
It was 1982.
I have published this story a couple times but a reader reminded me he loved this story so I dug it up from a review back from April, 2014. I hope you enjoy it. And it is all true. You couldn’t make this shit up.
I love music. I love playing bass. And my body of reviews has presented that to you.
Since the height of being in the big time music industry lasted between the ages of 24-34, it is becoming harder and harder to remember all the stories. Plus I’ve written hundreds of them so my puny brain has run out of new fodder.
It was Passover day and I was stuck in the studio with drummer Hal Blaine and a full orchestra. Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood.
Hal got me on board to do a Barbra Streisand album. It paid better than scale and it lasted two weeks…because we didn’t layer. It was done live.
On my last night, Passover, Streisand showed up in the booth. I could see her and was blown away. I never thought I would see her, let alone, possibly meet her. I didn’t know if she would have a phalanx of body guards to keep the lowly musicians away from her. From my vantage point, this didn’t seem to be the case.
The session broke around 7pm. I was packing up when Streisand approached Hal. Hal had played on many of her albums and they were old friends. Hal was courteous and introduced me. My knees were knocking.
When she heard my last name, she asked if I had any family? I nodded yes as the ability for speech eluded me.
She looked at both Hal and me and asked why we weren’t at home for Passover Seder?
We both shrugged our shoulders. Passover was at my dad’s that year.
I told her that. She was in the studio to begin doing her vocals, so she would totally miss out on the Seder.
I began packing my gear into my 1971 Datsun station wagon. She followed me out.
“Screw it. I’m coming home with you.”
Before I could say anything, she got into the front passenger seat. Her manager came running out and asked what the hell did she think she was doing? Back in 1983, Sunset Gower charged $250 per hour.
She told him that she was going to a Passover Seder at my dad’s house in Long Beach.
The manager flew off the handle and started screaming at her. I didn’t say a thing. I just watched as they argued. The manager leaned into my window. Streisand leaned over me to yell back. I was sandwiched with no way to escape.
She told him he had no right to make her work on Passover and she would do what she damn well pleased.
I was pissing my pants.
A moment later, she got out of my Datsun. She leaned in and gave me a hug and winked at me as she walked back into the studio. She had never really intended to come home with me. She was just pranking her manager.
I was relieved. What could I have possibly talked to her about? Not to mention that if she did come home with me, the scene would be right out of the movie, “My Favorite Year.”
When I got to my dad’s, I told everyone what happened and my evil step mother went bananas.
She was from the same neighborhood as Streisand in Brooklyn. She was on Cloud 9 at the thought that maybe Streisand would have attended our Passover Seder.
For years after that, she told everyone who would listen about this story. The near miss. I never had the heart to tell her that it was never going to happen.
A couple weeks later, I got a nice letter from Barbra. Hal gave her my address.
Sometimes, you just never know where life will take a strange turn.
The next bass session I did, with Hal’s endorsement, was a national Chevy commercial. No celebrities or stars attended.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS