Ahead of this year’s trade show, Alec Bradley announced one new cigar and indicated it had one more cigar coming, though it wasn’t going to release details about it before the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
That’s normal. What’s not normal is that the company decided to issue a press release about not announcing the details about a cigar.
Alan Rubin, the company’s founder, said in a press release that he wanted people to get “excited” about the release, but that he wanted people to come and visit the company’s booth and learn about the cigar in person. His quote in the press release ended with, “I want to bring that magic back to the show.”
As it turns out, that was a bit foreshadowing as the cigar is called Magic Toast.
The story is that Rubin and Ralph Montero, a partner in Alec Bradley, went to visit a tobacco field in the middle of the night. While there, they toasted to the company’s future. Rubin recalls the event as magical, hence the name Magic Toast.
Some of the tobacco used in the blend is from that very field. The rest comes from Nicaragua.
Magic Toast is offered in three sizes.
- Alec Bradley Magic Toast Robusto (5 x 52) — $8.95 (Boxes of 20, $179)
- Alec Bradley Magic Toast Toro (6 x 52) — $9.50 (Boxes of 20, $190)
- Alec Bradley Magic Toast Gordo (6 x 60) — $10.25 (Boxes of 20, $205)
- Cigar Reviewed: Alec Bradley Magic Toast Robusto
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
- Wrapper: Honduras
- Binder: Honduras & Nicaragua
- Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $8.95 (Boxes of 20, $179)
- Release Date: September 2018
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the darkest wrapper you will ever see on a cigar, this is a solid 8.5. The Honduran wrapper seems to absorb all the light around it. It’s not too often purple is used on cigar bands, but it really stands out in a paint scheme that reminds me of Halloween. Aroma from the wrapper smells like I’m walking through a room full of resting tobacco with barnyard, acidity and a bit of graham cracker. The foot is fuller and sweeter with oatmeal cookie and some vanilla ice cream over the barnyard flavors. The first thing that stands out about the cold draw is the amount of resistance: the draw is excellent. Flavor-wise it’s medium-full with some sweet meaty flavors—almost like cheap beef jerky—some fruitiness and some sweet oranges and berries.
Despite the near jet black wrapper, the Magic Toast begins with some floral flavors that remind me of a Cuban cigar. It sits above some woodiness, leather and a milder pepper. For the first 10 minutes or so, the cigar is quite floral and delicate, which seems quite odd given the color of the wrapper. Eventually, the floral flavors are overwhelmed with some roasted flavors and potato chips. There’s some sharpness, but no real pepper. Through the nose, I pick up apple cider and then a very sweet barbecue sauce. Flavor is medium-full, body is full and strength is nearly full. While the draw is pretty good, the burn is awful. Even faster puff rates won’t keep the cigar lit. Eventually, I resign myself to the fact that my lighter will be called upon every 10 minutes or so and there’s no point fighting it.
Some earthiness begins to counteract the sweetness that was prevalent for much of the first third of the Magic Toast. In addition, there’s generic creaminess, oak and some burnt bread. Retrohales deliver damp earthiness, an olor-like mushroom flavor, some leather and a touch of a fading floral. Flavor is full, body is full and strength is medium-full. The burn is still bad and there’s no sign of it getting better.
While the burn had never been great, it slows down dramatically in the final third. I still find myself using the lighter every 10 minutes or so, but now the burn line isn’t moving down the cigar. The good news is the flavor is pretty enjoyable for the opening parts of the final third: earthiness, orange peel, some generic toastiness and creaminess. The potato chip flavors from earlier come and go, though it’s not consistent. Retrohales deliver sharp pepper and some barbecue flavors before leaving behind sugar on the finish. Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. At some point the flavors hit a bit of a wall and toastiness just overwhelms the cigar. Intensity-wise, flavor and body finish full, while strength is just slightly below that.
- While the score won’t show it, this was one of the better tasting cigars I’ve smoked all year. The problem was the burn, which was awful and inevitably will cost the cigar a handful of points.
- I feel pretty confident saying the cigars I smoked were over humidified. The most obvious sign was that they were all challenging to remove from cellophane. Secondly, the constant relights could certainly be a result of over humidification.
- As for how that happened, my guess is that it was well before the cigars got to me. The cigars were purchased over a month ago from a vendor we buy a lot of cigars from and rarely have an issue. They arrived at our office with a Boveda. Photographs were taken within 24 hours—and it’s not like the ambient relative humidity is high right now given the cold—and then transported that night to the humidor where I keep all my review cigars.
- The extreme floral flavors at the beginning tasted Cuban, while the olor-like mushroom flavors in the middle of the cigar are reminiscent of Dominican tobacco. Certainly not what I was expecting given the dark wrapper.
- Strength got close to being full multiple times but never crossed the threshold.
- Like a lot of Alec Bradley cigars, Magic Toast was actually shipped to shops prior to the Aug. 8, 2016 FDA deadline. The packaging has since changed.
- Final smoking time was a lengthy two hours, almost half of which was spent in the last 40 percent of the cigar. This is something else that I imagine would be improved with a drier cigar.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigars.com, Famous Smoke Shop, JR Cigar and Serious Cigars all carry the Alec Bradley Magic Toast Robusto.
At its best, the Alec Bradley Magic Toast tasted fantastic. One sample was noticeably worse than the other two, but all three had issues. While the flavor was great, the burn was not. I'd be curious to try the cigar without the obvious signs of over-humidification. It could be better, it could be worse, but I think the construction portion of the score would be a lot better. This is the best tasting cigar I've smoked from Alec Bradley in quite some time, unfortunately, it's far from the finished package at the moment.