Alec Bradley got started in 1996 at the tail end of the cigar boom, but it’s only been since 2000 that cigar connoisseurs worldwide have recognized the great talent of this manufacturer at crafting excellent mild, medium, and strong cigars. A couple of years ago Alec Bradley released the “New York” cigar—a homage to one of the biggest, boldest, most exciting and unique cities in the world. The cigar was released in five formats, Six Two (Robusto), Empire (Toro), Liberty (Churchill), Gotham (Torpedo) and Declaration (Gran Toro).
I had a chance to try the Empire format of the New York Cigar and was impressed right from the off. The label is stylish and sophisticated with an evocative, art deco image of the Empire State Building. The binder and filler are from Nicaragua and Honduras and the Criollo ’98 wrapper is a rich deep brown with some significant but attractive veins. There seem to be no soft spots. The draw on lighting is smooth, though the burn is a tad ragged, but never gets too far out of hand, and only minor adjustments are needed.
In terms of flavors, the smoke starts out with wood, nuts and spices which are very well blended. The spices are prominent throughout the experience, coming to the forte in the middle third as nutmeg and cinnamon. Notes of caramel come and go during the first and middle thirds, but return for the finale. The last third also has some leathery undertones. The flavors change a lot, but they remain well balanced and integrated at all points of the smoke. At $11.00 a stick, this isn’t an inexpensive cigar, but it’s worth the price for a nice treat. Like New York City itself, the Alec Bradley New York Empire is one of a kind.