Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill
Most of you know about or have seen all the press that the Alec Bradley Prensado received this last year. Cigar Aficionado rated it the #1 cigar on their list and it has won countless other awards since it’s release. I had seen this cigar around in the humidor for quite awhile and when I finally got around to buying one the only vitola left was the Churchill.
I’ve previously never smoked a Churchill. I’m not exactly sure why I had never chosen this size before, but I figured what better time than now!
I decided to smoke this giant stick to celebrate a successful surgery that my mother had. I had been worrying about it and I got the call saying everything was ok and she was expecting to go home the next day, when the doctors had previously thought she was going to have stay in the hospital for 5-6 days. I thought what better way to celebrate than by smoking the #1 rated cigar from 2011. So here we go!
Long and slender the Alec Bradley Prensado resembles absolutely nothing of the infamous British leader Winston Churchill. However, something about this stick ignites a sense of novelty and the thoughts of dominance. The band on the stogie is gorgeous, gleaming gold intertwined with tranquil teal backed by a resounding red, all combined impeccably to make this Prensado band a stamp of dignity. Ok that might have gotten a little high brow, but lets just say this band looks pretty freaking awesome.
The length of this cigar is the first thing I noticed measuring approximately 7″ it’s hard not to notice the long flattened veins that run the length of this wrapper. When looking at the foot of the cigar you notice an interesting detail in how the filler leaves are combined together. The pattern is reminiscent of a marble. Light colored leaves woven in and around dark colored leaves to let you know this cigar is going to bring something very interesting to the table.
The Alec Bradley Prensado has a beautiful triple-cap at the head of the cigar that crowns it and completes a virtually flawless looking stick. It’s box pressed with a flat top and bottom completed by rounded edges keeps the cigar edgy and comparable to cigars of past generations. While box pressed cigars used to be looked down upon, they are now considered unique and a precious commodity.
Looking at this cigar’s flawless wrapper I was hoping that I wouldn’t find any imperfections. However, I did find a couple soft spongy spots in the filler towards the foot of the cigar. I was a little disappointed with this finding and I hoped that it wouldn’t affect the smoke.
I was ready to take the beautiful triple-cap off this Alec Bradley Prensado to test the dry draw. After a long day at work I couldn’t wait to taste that first bit of tobacco pulling into my mouth. The dry draw was a little stiff but after a couple of puffs I began to really pull in some air through the barrel. Enough waiting, let’s light this big boy up!
At first the foot didn’t want to take to my matches. One side caught and the other side struggled like I used to trying to climb the gym rope in 4th grade PE. Unlike me, the other side caught and started burning, I caught fire when I slid back down the rope. From the beginning this cigar had trouble burning evenly. I don’t if it had to do with me using matches or if the wrapper just happened to burn unevenly on this particular stick.
I feel like I have somewhat of a curse when it comes to smoking Alec Bradley cigars, in case you forgot I had significant trouble with the Black Market as well. I haven’t had any problems with other smokes recently so I know it’s not my humidor, I honestly just think I’m cursed with Alec Bradley smokes. They get so much hype and appreciation from other smokers that I want them to be perfect and I always seem to have issues with them. Its gotta be the operator and not the manufacturer.
The first third of Alec Bradley Prensado was very difficult for me to get through. I hit that soft spongy spot in the barrel and had to power through it and that caused the wrapper to burn even more uneven. At least three seperate times I had to touch up the burn to try and get it going straight again.
Towards the end of the 2nd third and into the home stretch this thing finally started burning semi straight and I was really able to figure out what all the hype was about. I just wish I wasn’t smoking the Churchill because it took me so damn long to get to that point. Next time I think I’ll opt for a smaller size, maybe the torpedo or robusto and see how well it burns. If I can find them that is!
Well I must say, after working so hard to get this cigar burning correctly it made it difficult to pull out all the intricate flavors of the Alec Bradley Prensado. On the dry draw I could pull out some mild coffee and cedar notes. I’m assuming this from the combined filler leaves that were marbled together so well.
Once I lit up and about half way through the 1st third I was able to pull in stronger cedar notes and some spice on the back end of my tongue. Nothing overbearing though which I’m happy about. I think if I hadn’t been working so hard to smoke this thing I would have picked up even more flavors.
I finally got into the final third of the cigar and the burn mellowed out and I actually got to enjoy the flavor of the cigar. At this point I began picking up more of a leather taste with a strong pepper finish to it. The Alec Bradley Prensado is definitely a full bodied cigar and I didn’t realize it until I stood up and began to feel light headed. Thankfully I didn’t fall down the stairs on my stoop and I was able to write this review, which I know you’re all very thankful for as well!
It’s hard to give this cigar a great rating on flavor because it showed flashes of greatness, and also valleys of darkness. I think because of the size of the Churchill it just for too much of an inconsistent smoke for me to be able to pull out consistent flavors.
Would I Buy It Again?
Yes I would, just in a different vitola. The Churchill was difficult for me personally to smoke.
Is It an Every Day Smoke?
I think it could be. Even though it was a full bodied smoke, you could enjoy this everyday just in a smaller size than the Churchill.
Would I Buy a Box?
If the price is right. At $175 for a box I might consider picking up 20 of these and aging them.
Again I think I’m just cursed when it comes to Alec Bradley cigars. I love the packaging, I love their marketing, but other than the Family Blend I haven’t had a consistent smoke that blew me away. I know they have a great product or else thousands of people online wouldn’t be talking about them. I just seem to get the duds out of the cigars that I pick. I’ll definitely pick up another Black Market and another Prensado soon, hopefully this time around I’ll get better sizes and better sticks!