6T4, 5" x 64 ring gauge, $7.85
The Alec Bradley company has been nothing if not prolific in the last few months. Since the IPCPR, they have introduced four new lines, including today's featured stick: the Vice Press. The company's website describes this as a "medium-bodied blend using tobacco from the finest growing regions of Central America." It features filler from Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico, a Costa Rican binder, and a Nicaraguan wrapper.
This was a fairly rustic box-pressed stick. The wrapper was quite dark and mottled with black in places; the cap was applied a little haphazardly; and the box press shape was anything but even and squared--the top two edges seemed square but the bottom two were quite rounded. The wrapper was smooth and velvety to the touch and had a bit of a barnyard aroma, while the aroma from the foot had more cocoa. The cold draw seemed just a little tight, but not tight enough to cause problems--we'll see. In prelight there were flavors of chocolate and...well, little else that I could identify. It was a good flavor but not very distinct.
The initial puffs produced plenty of smoke and flavors of sweet tobacco and a little autumn spice. Not much else was detectable for a few minutes. During the rest of the first third, I got a little coffee, a little nuttiness, and an overall "pleasant" flavor, but it just did not do much for me. The experience reminded me of something a friends once said about Old Spice cologne: cheap and inoffensive. Except that this was not exactly a cheap cigar: for nearly $8 I expected more. The burn line started going crooked soon after initial torching and I had to touch it up in a big way before the first third was over.
And touch it up again just as the second third was starting. The burnt ash on the end of the stick was bumpy, misshapen, and downright ugly. All of which would not matter a bit if the flavor was good. There were some spice hints--nutmeg and cinnamon, I think--and more coffee and nuts, but nothing else. So far the body is strictly in the medium range.
By the middle of the last third, I was ready to just give up because the flavor was still just not making me happy. The only thing I can think of to say after it's all said and done is that the flavor just seemed "flat." It had some nice flavor note possibilities but they just seemed dead and never got very pronounced. The ash flaked all over the place near the end, leaving me wearing much of the cigar, and the burn line never did go straight, even after multiple "helping hands." I found this offering from Alec Bradley to be quite bland and disappointing. Of the 4 new sticks (Family Blend, SCR, Prensado and Vice Press), only the SCR and Family Blend will be ones I revisit.