Wrapper : Honduran Corojo 2006
Filler : Honduras, Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaraguan Jalapa
From The Alec Bradley web site:
"Alec Bradley Prensado was built around a new wrapper, the Corojo dos mil seis (Corojo 2006). The wrapper was grown in late 2006 on the farm in Trojes, Honduras and was in fermentation and aging through mid 2008. We started smoking and learning about the nuances of this wrapper in July 2008 and worked on this blend for over six months. Alec Bradley Prensado possesses an abundance of strength and natural sweetness as well as a tremendous amount of complexity. In addition, Prensado has a beautiful reddish brown cubanesque look and feel to it. Prensado is Alec Bradley’s first traditional pressed line of cigars and our most full bodied blend to date."
Alan Rubin named the company for his two sons, Alec and Bradley. Clearly, he has taken that to heart. The careful attention to detail on all his blends has a familial air about it. The thread of superb quality is apparent in all his products.
I ate like a pig before doing this review. The Prensado is his strongest cigar. Although, I think that the Tempus Maduro is a close second.
It has an oily wrapper that had very few veins. The wrapper is very toothy with a nice sheen to it.
The body had a hint of sweetness that is even more pronounced at the foot. The triple cap is nicely constructed. The Prensado Robusto is pressed, but it’s not a traditional box press.
The blend is made at the Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras, the same plantation that furnishes cigars for Illusione, Casa Fernandez, & Padilla.
The very first puff is spicy, cocoa and leather all at once. The smoke is medium/full bodied with a ton of flavor from that first puff. Huge billows of smoke fill the area above my head. Right away, I like this stick. I'm a sucker for peppery. I've read that its the soil that can make a cigar spicy. The supposed sweet spot in a cigar that usually shows up halfway through...smacks me right in the face within the first half inch. A buttery, creaminess tames the pepper.
My Aunt Rhoda was a gun moll. Back in the late 40's and 50's, she dated nothing but gangsters because my mother's side of the family were all Jewish Mafia that migrated west to Southern California. She would bring them to our house in Long Beach. They were all named Shorty, Mo, Slick, Fingers, and Lips. But never anatomically correct. They would tousle my hair as they came in the door. Drove me nuts. Rhoda was the wild child of the family and I was her favorite. Every single one of them would give me a present: a switch blade or a stiletto. I was 7. They took me aside and said, "Don't tell youse ma and pa, OK?" I nodded yes. And then I would rush to my room and cut myself.
I would spend the rest of their visit in the bathroom using toilet paper trying to stop the bleeding. We only had one bathroom so I caused a real problem. I refused to come out. The one time I did come out, my mother fainted when she saw all the blood and me smiling. "Look what Uncle Lips gave me!" From that point, Rhoda was banned from bringing anyone over whose name was a body part.
The stick has a warm sweet rich tobacco flavor mixing with the other flavors. I also get some coffee, cedar, and cashews out of this cigar. There was also a hint of coffee. As the cigar hits the second third, the cocoa takes on a caramel/vanilla note.
Because the stick is so flavorful from the beginning, there are no great changes as it burns down. The complexity begins immediately. I'm halfway through it and it's still only medium body. I put the cigar down and put on my son in law's bike helmet. In case I get the spins and fall off the bar stool.
Once, Rhoda brought a guy named Sticky (?) over. He was alone in the den with me when he rolled up the daily newspaper really tight. "Youse want to know what you can use for defense if someone wants ta' fight ya'?" And with that, he rammed the tigthly rolled newspaper into my midsection. As I began to fall to my knees, he got one more shot in dropping me like a fly in my mother's kitchen.
I lay there, out of breath, when Rhoda looked in on us. "Are you two playing? That's nice." I removed one arm from my stomach and reached out for help because I could not speak. Rhoda smiled and left the room.
Sticky smiled and helped me up. "Here. Youse try it on me, OK?" As he began to hand me the newspaper, he thrust once again and I dropped like a knocked out fighter. Tears welled in my eyes as I saw Sticky's eyes full of satisfaction. I'm 7 and I'm going to walk like a cripple...all hunched over the rest of my life because he pushed my insides into the back of my spine.
I lay there and refused Sticky's offer to help me up. I finally got a whoosh of air back in my lungs. I croaked, "Stay away." Wrong thing to say.
Sticky then started bashing me over the head with the newspaper. I was on my knees and didn't have the strength to get up while being pile driven. I saw my chance. On the coffee table next to me was a big bowl of blue jello with blueberries and sour cream. I thought that this would be my only chance at escaping so I'd better do it right.
The cigar is ramping up during the last third. I'm thinking of tying my bath robe ties to the underside of the bar top. This way, the helmet will be unnecessary. The cocoa and cream completely dominate the flavor profile now. The spiciness has mellowed out dramatically. It appears that eating like a pig at a trough has saved me from passing out in the middle of the smoke. I can still focus. And my breathing is normal. No heart palpitations. You can't tell this but I have a huge smile on my puss.
I grabbed the big bowl of goop and flung it at him. It literally stunned him while I ran into the living room with the adults and sat down next to my dad. Sticky staggered out and the women screamed. Sticky looked at me sitting next to my dad and I was smiling. He didn't dare say what happened because he knew I'd rat on him for beating me up. He never came back.
Rhoda married 6 times. All mobsters. And divorced 6 times. She spent the rest of her life living in Las Vegas. She worked at Caesar's Palace right to the end. I visited her once in my twenties. She was an executive secretary. She introduced me around. "This is Tony, this is Anthony, this is Paulie, this is Tony, this is Arthur (?), this is Paul, this is Aldo, this is Fabio, this is Big Tony, and this is Lorenzo.
The end of the cigar is all creamy, cocoa, and caramel sweetness. While this is a great cigar, it is certainly not for the weak of heart. I can only imagine the time it took to blend this vitola. The Prensado Gran Toro got #20 cigar of 2010 in Cigar Aficionado magazine. It was also given the eye popping rating of 93!
As I close this out, I hope that Aunt Rhoda found a nice Jewish man in heaven, named Bugsy.