One of the more talked about cigars of the 2011 IPCPR show in Las Vegas was the Alec Bradley Fine & Rare. It employed ten different types of tobacco, including seven different fillers, which the company boasted as being the only cigar on the market to do that. It was also the company’s first attempt at a true limited edition, with just 1,000 boxes of 10 being offered for sale and 111 boxes being held back for charity.
Before we go any further, this isn’t a bad cigar. I find it to be average and perhaps most concerning for me, to be quite similar to the typical Alec Bradley profile. The flavor could have been more exciting, the cigar could have burned a bit quicker, but ultimately neither was problematic. Independent of price, I honestly don’t see myself picking Fine & Rare over Black Market, Family Blend or Prensado, because quite frankly, I find Fine & Rare just another Alec Bradley. For me, the term overhyped seems best applicable. The Fine & Rare started as something that was being promoted as something special, priced as something special and received as something special; for me, it’s everything but.
Those comments received mixed praise with a few readers echoing those thoughts, and someone from an Alec Bradley IP address posting this. Now, almost eight months after I smoked my first Fine & Rare and with the upcoming release of the 2012 edition, I decided to revisit one of the Toros I have left.
- Cigar Reviewed: Alec Bradley Fine & Rare Toro
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Honduran Trojes
- Binder: Honduras & Nicaragua
- Filler: n/a
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $14.00 (Boxes of 10, $140.00)
- Date Released: November 11, 2011
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,111 Boxes of Various Quantities (12,330 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
I can’t say the appearance looks much different, although this one is not as red as I recall others being. Aroma of the Honduran wrapper presents some really interesting aged leather, grapefruit and sweet breads, much more mature than when I first smoked it, although lacking some of the signature peanut. From the foot, the Fine & Rare presents bread, cocoa and lots of pepper. The cold draw sees the grapefruit return alongside earth, leather, cedar and peanuts.
The Fine & Rare begins promising. There’s a blast of root beer quickly followed by grapefruit, cedar and nuts. While the flavors are both unique and intense, they are far from being lengthy. Unfortunately, by the time the first inch of ash has formed, which mind you is around 30 minutes in, the flavor profile has become far less interesting. There’s cedar, some pepper, earths and a syrupy sweetness. Smooth and medium-full, but a far cry from the beginning. Much like eight months ago, the earth and cedar continue to be the dominant forces through the second and final thirds with pepper remaining consistent alongside grapefruit, a hint of the aforementioned root beer and a generic fruit.
Back again is the overwhelming smoke production of the Fine & Rare and fortunately this time, it was here to stay. Unlike my times with the cigar prior, this example had a draw that was near perfect throughout, although the Fine & Rare Toro delivered punishing blows when I tried to smoke above an average pace. Strength-wise, the levels were quite similar, although it seemed reverse from my prior experience with this one starting quite strong and mellowing out to south of medium-full by the final third.
Any complaints about the construction of the Fine & Rare were not present in the redux, unfortunately, that was only a minor point in my thoughts on the cigar a few months ago. While the flavors are noticeably better, for the vast majority of the some two and a half hours it took to smoke the cigar, I never once thought, "I would like this over a Black Market, Family Blend or Prensado." While the presentation and construction are unique and by-in-large exemplary, the flavor is still simply too generic for me to understand the hype.