Jaysalti and Chris1360 have graciously invited me to try my hand at a cigar review contest, since this is my first review (ever), constructive criticism is invited, so here it goes:
Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill
Ring gauge: 48
Country of origin: Honduras
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
Rolled by: Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas S. de R.L. I will start off this review by revealing my bias, I enjoy a LOT of the Alec Bradley Cigar Company's offerings - especially the Family Blend, Tempus, and Prensado lines, so with my first review, I went with something with which I am very familiar.
Looking at the wrapper of this box pressed cigar, I notice an evenly brown shade (much the shade of mahogany) with thin, sparse veins travelling the length. Checking the body, I don't notice any particularly hard, nor soft spots - seems like it should be a consistent smoke, with no fast burns nor stuck draws. At least from what I can tell at this point, this cigar encompasses good to great overall construction. The bouquet of the cigar seems to me to be a mix of leather and nuts - if I had to point to a specific type of nut, I would say Brazil (kind of robust, almost coffee bean-like). All seems promising to this point! Looking forward to some good smoke time forthwith.
I should take a moment here to quickly describe my tipple of choice, for I have always been a fan of pairing a great smoke with a complimentary beverage. I have been a home brewer for many (17) years, turned pro at one point, then back to a hobby, so today I had some of my own - Fiery Lass, a Scotch Ale with wonderful caramel/toffee/smokey with a slight roast flavor and a beautiful brown head. It really is hard to tell that it is 9.6% by volume. For those of you wondering just what this brew looks like (and the cigar to go with it), I submit exhibit A:
Now on to the light. The head cut well and true, quick wipe of and detritus, and test for draw, all seems well - not too quick, not too firm. Roast the foot, slowly, slowly, then a slight blow out followed by a little sip, and we are on our way. [taste beverage to make sure everything is working there too - aah, yes it is!]. Mark the time nurse - 12:30 pm.
Onto the initial flavors - I get some French roast coffee (in tasting terms, this is coffee that has a more robust roasted flavor than I would find in usual coffee bean), with some wood nuances - best described as hickory. The flavors are well balanced, without any harshness or a single overpowering flavor coming to the fore. The draw, as promised, is just right, no too firm, and not like pulling through a straw.
About 1/3 way through, I am finding that this little number settles into some wonderful cappuccino/french oak (and just a touch of cedar) notes. An even burn is consistently delivered, and plenty of smoke was enjoyed by all (OK, just me). The draw also has stayed consistent, which is always a pleasure (I hate it when the stick that I am smoking throws me a change-up in this department).
At 1/2 way in I am getting slightly more intense leathery and hickory flavors again with some roasted almond thrown in, the burn is still dead even, draw is still where it should be. Once again, the smoke is plentiful and now wrapping around my head, coaxing me to relax just a little bit more - or that could be the Fiery Lass talkin'. I now submit two pics - Laki enjoying his smoke, and Laki enjoying his tasty beverage.
Getting to the last 1/3, the flavors intensify with dark roasted hazelnuts and leather prevailing, still not overbalanced in any way. I should say here that the ash holds consistently well - I am not a guy who tries for the longest ash award, but I do like it to hold on until I tap it loose, and not have it in my lap every 5 minutes. This cigar is able to easily hold 3/4 - 1" of ash, which is just where I like it.
Finally, I get down to the nub - I usually smoke my cigars (if it is an enjoyable stick) down until my fingers get too hot to hold it, just not a nubber guy. This one got down there, delivering satisfaction the entire way - once again the Alec Bradley Prensado has delivered. Final pic - putting the nub to bed. The Dr. calls the time - 3:10 pm.
Here are a couple final notes. Along with a beverage, I also enjoy reading, either a novel or magazine (usually CA). This time I was reading Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I came across a great passage with which I wanted to sign off.There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own. - Herman Melville - Moby Dick of The Whale, chapter 49Bear in mind, I don't know how the picture uploader will work for this post, so please excuse any technical difficulties there.
Also, if there are anyone interested, I will share my recipe for my Fiery Lass Scotch Ale drop me a PM.
I really had fun writing this up, thank you Jaysalti and Chris1360 for giving me the opportunity and for running these contests, they are appreciated by both the reviewers and the readers.