Robusto, 5.2" x 52 ring gauge / $7.99, Maxamar's
Today I'll be reviewing Alec Bradley's latest release to the market called the Black Market. It is comprised of Panamanian and Honduran fillers, a Sumatra binder, and a Nicaraugan wrapper, that I've seen in some places called maduro. It looks like a maduro to me, but the website doesn't say either way. They come packed in boxes that are made to look like old shipping crates. This was the third one I smoked.
First thing I noticed about the cigar is the wrapper, even though you can only see half of it. It is a very nice chestnut brown with a lot of oils to it. There is also a good amount of tooth to it. The veins were fine to medium and didn't detract at all from the looks of the cigar. When I gave the cigar a squeeze I wasn't able to detect any soft spots and there was a slight amount of give. Once I put my nose to the wrapper I got notes of cedar and barnyard with hay coming from the foot. The one thing that was slightly negative about the prelight in my opinion is the paper cover over the bottom half of the cigar. While I like the looks of it, the glue they used must be 2 part epoxy because it didn't want to release and the paper came off in little pieces. It was a pain to get off. I really think they should just use the vegetable glue like they used on the band to keep it on and it will make it a lot easier to get off. After clipping it and taking a cold draw on it I got notes of maple and leather with an ok draw.
The cigar starts off with notes of leather, sweetness and red pepper spice. There was also a good amount of spice on the retrohale. After a few puffs I got notes of maple and wood added in. The draw however was a little tighter than I like and a little tighter than the previous two I had smoked. The burn was slightly wavy but that was more than likely do to the uneven lighting job I did at the beginning. The grey-black ash held on for about half an inch before needing to be tapped off.
As I moved into the second third the spice went almost down to nothing. The flavors in this third were dominated by leather, wood, molasses, cinnamon and herbal spice. The draw opened up a bit as I moved into this third, but it still wasn't where I liked it. The strength of the cigar moved into the upper end of medium during this third.
In the final third the cigar continued on strong. The spice started to come back an the sweetness went away. The flavors of earth, leather and wood, with a hint on cinnamon and copper thrown in, were the main flavors in the final third. I did start getting a slight nicotine hit as I was almost through with the cigar.
Overall I did enjoy this cigar. I will say it is different than the other Alec Bradley cigars I've tried, but I can't put my finger on why. I would have preferred the draw to be closer to the other two samples I tried and I would have liked the paper wrapper to be easier to remove. In spite of those two things I think that if you enjoy medium to full bodied and strength cigars you should check this one out. With it's great flavors and reasonable price I don't think you'll be disappointed.