Leaf Speak

MAY 2020

After scouring my third humidor of the day looking for a new cigar, I am coming up frustratingly empty handed. I grab a couple of go-to sticks, and make my way to the counter, content on spending the night with one of my regulars. 

 

The salesperson must have noticed my slight frustration, or watched me circle the humidor several times, and takes the opportunity to lead me over to a corner of the humidor where he introduces me to the Alec Bradley Project 40 Experimental Series.

 

The Salesperson assures me that this is a cigar worth trying.  In a sea of $15-20 cigars, the fact that the salesperson is pushing me towards a $6 cigar has me intrigued, I immediately add a couple to my purchase.

 

Alec Bradley Project 40

Size: 5 x 50

Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Brazil
Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa
Vitola:  Robusto 

Average Price: 6.00 USD

Needless to say, this cigar is an experience all its own. The "experimental" label below the band is an appropriate label, it feels almost chaotic with the flavor profile in a completely wonderful way.

Visual / Pre-light Draw

At first look, this cigar is unassuming. The pale band with a thin blue line below it almost seems to fade into the background among a humidor full of colorful labels and gimmicky cigars, which would explain why I glanced over it several times. The natural wrapper washes out the band slightly but has a very consistent hue throughout. After sitting down for closer inspection, the Project 40 has a nice spring to the construction, just as you would expect from a well-built cigar. The smell offers up a heavy tobacco with a bit of vanilla.  I cut the head and take a cold draw.  It is lighter than expected, almost creamy and fruity.       

First Third

Once lit, the draw on this cigar is effortless.  The ash of the first third is almost pure white.  In between puffs the smoke coming off the cigar is deceiving. I thought the cigar had gone out several times, but with a single puff my mouth was filled with plumes of smoke. This part of the cigar is very light, almost floral with hints of toffee and vanilla dotted throughout.  Hints of pepper come and go, but I wouldn’t consider it spicy.

Second / Final Third

The rest of the cigar gets much more earthy and herbal.  The flavors meld together at this point, bold, but in no way overpowering as some cigars can get on the back end.  Towards the end of the cigar it begins to pick up little bits of cedar and almond.

Needless to say, this cigar is an experience all its own. The "experimental" label below the band is an appropriate label, it feels almost chaotic with the flavor profile in a completely wonderful way.

The Pairing:

I chose to pair this cigar with Russel’s 10 Year Reserve Bourbon.  I knew this would be an odd choice as the bourbon is a little heavy for this cigar, however, I was curious to see how the lighter cigar would bring more flavor out of this usually vanilla heavy expression. 

The heavy flavors in the bourbon almost served as a palate cleanser for this cigar, each sip of the bourbon washes the nuances of the cigar out and creates a new flavor experience with the following puff.  While the pairing of the bourbon was initially a little rough, I almost think a Hibiki Whiskey or Lagavulin would be much better with the lighter nuances in the cigar. 

 

The pairing really starts to shine as the cigar gets more earthy towards the end with the oak notes of the bourbon really accenting the flavor well, but in the end, I recommend a lighter whiskey or scotch for a smoother pairing.

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