In January of 2013, Alec Bradley announced a new release for St. Patrick’s Day, the Dirty Hooligan. Based on the popular Black Market blend, it uses a Candela wrapper from Nicaragua and limited to only 2,000 boxes of 22 cigars.
Alec Bradley has informed retailers of the newest edition of its Black Market series, the Black Market Dirty Hooligan, a Candela cigar created for St. Patrick’s Day. The cigar, which retails for $8.00 or $176.00 for a box of 22 cigars. While certain details remain unknown, the Dirty Hooligan will be a limited edition Toro that will arrive in stores a week before St. Patrick’s Day 2013, March 17.
George Sosa, vp of sales for Alec Bradley, said on Facebook that 50 retailers would have events for a launch of a “one and done” cigar the week of March 11-17. An email sent to retailers obtained by halfwheel used similar “one and done” language to describe the Dirty Hooligan.
Black Market was introduced at IPCPR 2011. The Dirty Hooligan is made at Tabacos de Oriente, a departure from the rest of the line which is produced at Raíces Cubanas in Danlí, Honduras and the regular line includes a 6 x 50 Toro. It is believed this will be the first Candela for Alan Rubin’s company.
Viaje, which also produces cigars out of the Raíces Cubanas factory, has an annual Candela release for the March holiday, the WLP St. Patrick’s.
Shortly thereafter, Alec Bradley announced that the company had changed the cigar’s name to Filthy Hooligan after a conversation between company founder Alan Rubin and Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate.
The recently announced Alec Bradley Black Market Dirty Hooligan cigar is getting a new name just weeks before its March 5th release date, as the original name used a word that has become increasingly pre-empted by another manufacturer.
Now known as the Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan, the name was changed as a “gesture from Alec Bradley owner Alan Rubin to longtime friend Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate,” according to this article by G. Clay Whitaker.
It’s the second time in recent memory that the word “dirty” has required a name change for a cigar, as Eddie Ortega’s “Dirty Dozen” project was renamed the Wild Bunch for similar reasons. Specifics on that name change can be found in this review of the Ortega Wild Bunch Big Bad John Jackhammer cigar, the first in the series to debut and that just recently hit retailers’ humidors.
Alec Bradley’s parent company, Fairmont Holdings, Inc., filed the name Dirty Hooligan with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on January 15, 2013. The article cites a text message sent from Drew to Rubin on Saturday, January 19 that became the impetus for the name change. Drew Estate has a cigar in their Natural line named the Dirt, and the Dirty Rat was the first in their Liga Privada Único Serie, released in August 2010.
The name change was decided on Monday, January 21, with Alec Bradley changing the imagery on their Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon to the renamed Filthy Hooligan.
Besides the name, no changes are being made to the cigar, which is a single-vitola 6 x 50 Toro that will come in 22-count boxes. Production is being capped at 2,000 boxes for a total of 44,000 cigars. The Filthy Hooligan is a candela cigar based on the Alec Bradley Black Market blend that used a Nicaraguan wrapper leaf cured by the Plasencia family in Nicaragua. Like the regular Black Market, it uses a double binder of one Honduran leaf and one Nicaraguan leaf and a filler blend of tobacco from Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Sam Phillips, vice president of marketing for Alec Bradley, told Whittaker that there is “a bit of extra Panama” in the Filthy Hooligan.
The article mentions that numerous promotional items including plates, boxes and t-shirts had already been printed with the Dirty Hooligan name and that the boxes and labels were in the early stages of production. The name change means that those existing products won’t be usable and will require fervent work to prepare for the upcoming March 5 launch date, but according to Phillips, it’s absolutely worth it. “The respect level between the two companies is almost abnormal,” he said, adding that “we really didn’t think that a word would make or break this project in any way.”
The boxes of the Filthy Hooligan look like this:
- Cigar Reviewed: Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Tabacos de Oriente
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Candela
- Binder: Honduras & Nicaragua
- Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua & Panama
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $8.00 (Boxes of 22, $176.00)
- Date Released: March 5, 2013
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Boxes of 22 Cigars (44,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
As most Candelas are, the Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan is visually striking with a vibrant green wrapper that is extremely dry, yet papery smooth to the touch. There is a bit of oil present and the aroma off of the wrapper is strong hay, wood and slight pepper. Cold draw notes include a very strong grass and wood.
The first third of the Filthy Hooligan starts out with very strong grass, oak, leather and earth. There is a very interesting combination of what reminds me of vanilla and nutmeg, but it is relegated to the retrohale. There is no spice on the lips or tongue to be had, but there is plenty of pepper on the retrohale and it remains constant through the first third. Smoke production is well above average and the overall strength starts and ends the first third firmly on the mild side of medium. The draw is a bit open and the burn is a bit wonky so far, but I am hoping they both do better as the cigar progresses.
Coming into the second third of the Alec Bradley and the flavors just have not changed all that much. Still strong notes of grass, hay, oak and earth, and the interesting sweetness has actually increased a bit—although I don’t expect it to continue that way. In fact, the main difference is that the profile has become noticeably more creamy overall. The pepper on the retrohale remains and the smoke production remains above average. As I hoped, the burn has evened up nicely, and the draw has tightened up a bit as well. The strength has increased, but is still just in the solid medium range by the end of the second third.
The final third of the Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan features a change from the previous two, in that the sweetness has died down quite a bit and actually disappears totally by the middle of the third. A peppery woody note replaces the sweetness on the retrohale and the profile suffers as a result. The other notes of earth, grass and leather remain, but they just don’t compliment each other as well without the sweetness that was present. As the burn and draw continue to give me no problems, the strength ends the cigar firmly in the medium range. The nub does start to get hot and bitter with about an inch left, which is where I stop smoking.
- Interestingly, the historical St. Patrick was not actually born in Ireland and did not actually rid the country of snakes.
- I was pleasantly surprised to find that the grassy/hay note that is so prevalent in Candela releases does not overwhelm the rest of the flavors in the Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan. This seems to be partly due to the inherent sweetness in the blend.
- In both of my samples, the vanilla/nutmeg sweetness was quite noticeable in the first and second thirds and was strongest around the halfway point before dying down to almost nothing by the middle of the final third. I really wish it had stuck around, as it really made the profile more enjoyable.
- As seen above, the boxes are an almost neon green, and evey one of the three I checked smell very strongly of paint. I would NOT store the cigars in the box for any length of time until you air them out.
- I do wonder how a blend like this will age and I am going to keep a couple of them on hand for a redux review down the line.
- While handling and smoking these cigars, I noticed that the wrapper is not as fragile as some other Candela releases I have smoked in the past. I was very easily able to enjoy the cigar without having to worry about it falling apart on me.
- Having said the above, I have read multiple reports of the wrappers falling off of these cigars from other smokers online, but for the record, I did not have a problem with either one of my samples.
- The bands on the Filthy Hooligan are the exact same as the Black Market, with the addition of a white shamrock in a circle of green in the exact center of the smaller band and a green stamp like symbol that says, “Filthy Hooligan” added to the secondary band. In addition, the boxes of the Filthy Hooligan are identical to the Black Market other than the green coloring and
- The finish is a little odd, a strong mixture of grass and pepper. Basically, not the best feature of this cigar.
- The final smoking time for both samples averaged a fairly quick one hour and 15 minutes.
- If you would like to purchase any of the Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligans, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar and Cigar King have them in stock at this very moment.
Whenever I see or smoke a Candela wrapped cigar, I can't help but think it is nothing more then a gimmick to draw in people who are only interested in smoking something green on St. Patricks Day while drunk on green beer. While there have been exceptions—both the Illusione ~hl~ Candela and the 2012 Viaje WLP St. Patrick’s come to mind—most of the Candelas I have smoked over the years have seemed to been most worried about the color of the wrapper with the actual blend a distant second consideration. I have to say, the Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan is actually one of the former as opposed to the latter. The vanilla like sweetness that was present in the first two thirds was a very nice contrast to the wood, grass and creamy notes that permeate these type of blends; and not something I have tasted in many Candelas. While still not a cigar I would pick up more than a few of—it is a blend that is actually somewhat enjoyable—and could perhaps even be used as a change of pace cigar.