|Fine & Rare Band|
Last year we saw the release of the limited edition smoke by Alec Bradley, the Fine & Rare. The cigar was probably the fastest selling cigar Alec Bradley had released to date, and following that release they were given the award of Number 1 Cigar of the Year by Cigar Aficionado for the Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill. Looking at those two items, Alec Bradley had a great finish to the 2011 year and a great beginning to the 2012 year. The release of the Fine & Rare was an interesting release as well because they coordinated it for November 11th, 2011 (11/11/11) as the release date, and releases 1,111 boxes. Because of its success Alec Bradley decided to release the Fine & Rare a second time. This would be the 2012 release, and I am not sure if this will be an annual deal.
Like its predecessor, the cigar features 10 different types of tobacco and this years releases was offered in a single vitola, a 6″ by 52 Torpedo. The cigar is still made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas, and the tobacco used in this cigar is impressive. The blend has remained a secret with the only tobacco revealed being the wrapper which is Honduran Trojes. The band is very similar to the original band, but shows the release date being in July of 2012, and the rolling date for November 2010. The color of the wrapper is a nice light marbled Colorado coloring, and it showcases a few veins here and there. It is a firm cigar in hand, the aroma of the cigar is that of spices, caramel, rich earth (manure like) and damp wood.
|Honduran Trojes wrapper|
Upon lighting the cigar I am getting a great amount of rich earth/manure flavors to the cigar. It sounds bad, but it is actually a great flavor profile. With that I am picking up some cedar and caramel notes, and there is a nice bit of spices with that; showing some great cinnamon and nutmeg flavors. There is a nice richness to that, cocoa and coffee flavors, and it is very flavorful. The construction of the cigar is very solid and it is showing a fairly even burn line with a lovely charcoal gray ash. It is holding on to the cigar firmly, and it actually went all the way to the very large band. The strength of the cigar is at a solid medium body level and it is a cigar I could enjoy anytime of day. When I get into the second third of the cigar I am finding that the flavors are remaining very similar to that of the first third, but given its complexity in the first third there is really no need for a transition in flavors for an increase flavor complexity. The cocoa, coffee and damp wood notes are really in the background of this cigar, and it it showing those rich earth and spicy notes on the forefront. The cigar was still producing a solid burn line in this third, for a brief second it was wavy, but the ash was still that solid charcoal gray color and holding on to the cigar well. In terms of strength the cigar is remaining at that medium body level from which it was at before, and it is really a solid medium body flavorful cigar.
I am in the final third of the cigar now, and the cigar is finishing richer than it has been. There has been a great cocoa flavor profile in this third, and the caramel notes are really popping out as well. I am getting a lovely Asian spice flavor profile with that, and there is some wood and earthy notes with that. The burn line was remaining solid in this third as it has been throughout, and it is producing that lovely charcoal ash that holds on to the cigar firmly. The strength of the cigar is still at that medium body level as well, and it has been consistently solid and enjoyable from beginning to end. The finish to the cigar is flavorful and even at the tapered nub it is smoking cool.
I briefly remember my smoking experience from the first Fine & Rare, and from my notes I can say that I prefer this offering to the original. The blend has been tweaked for this version, and I like the tweaking I know some have said that they had burn issues with this cigar, but I did not come across that. From beginning to end it produced a solid burn line, and with that a solid charcoal ash. The flavor profile was fairly consistent from beginning to end, but it was complex in that sense and very enjoyable. With a solid medium body throughout this is a cigar that can be enjoyed any time for me, but is really a special occasion cigar. If these are still available at retailers I do encourage smokers to pick at least one up to enjoy a wonderful blend and limited edition smoke. I give the smoke a solid 92, and hope to see another release next year.
|Fine & Rare|