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Staff Reviews

Alec Bradley Black Market Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

When it’s time to fire up a cigar and I have a craving for a medium-bodied blend in mind, one of my top picks is Alec Bradley Black Market. I have found that Alec Bradley cigars deliver a consistent, well-made smoke that can be incredibly enjoyable in almost any setting and situation. Alan Rubin, the founder of Alec Bradley Cigar Company, has stated that the main reason he was getting started in the cigar game over 20 years ago was to “give you, the cigar smoker, an unforgettable experience.” Well, I believe he has been successful in that regard. Alec Bradley has won the “#1 Cigar of the Year” from Cigar Aficionado for the 96-rated Alec Bradley Prensado. The brand has made appearances in the Top 25 seven times in the past 11 years, not to mention they’ve scored over one hundred 90+ ratings. The majority of Alec Bradley cigars originate at the Raices Cubanas factory in Danli, Honduras, while a smaller group of blends is rolled at the Plasencia factory in Nicaragua.


Launched back in 2011, Alec Bradley Black Market has been a staple to the brand’s portfolio due to its reliable construction, flavor, draw, and aroma. The dark-brown Nicaraguan wrapper has a smooth, oily appearance with an average vein structure and no noticeable flaws. Some pre-light notes that stuck out were espresso and hay, while a cold draw produced a sweet but slightly spicy combination of rose petals and cloves. With a clean pinch of the cap my 6 x 50 Toro was ready to go. The first few draws formed thick clouds and a rich room note with an earthy cocoa-like scent. While the first third progressed, a clean, cool burn kept it steady. By then, a few other flavors took control, most noticeably the espresso. The flavors remained even as the first third burned down. A unique herbal sweetness stepped up. A combination of tangy lemongrass and an earthy, honey-like taste found in saffron is the best way to describe it.

At the halfway point, the cigar exhibited perfect construction and an even burn, with no need for touch-ups or relighting. The flavors were dependable and the overall smoking experience was a pleasurable one to say the least. All things considered, my Black Market was just as good as I remembered them from back in the day. During the final third, the closing draws revealed tasting notes I came across in the beginning. The cigar’s consistent and balanced recipe of a Sumatra binder and Panamanian and Honduran fillers develop with a unique character. After taking it down to a nub, I have to recommend the Black Market, especially if you haven’t had it. I would assume that anyone who has smoked this would have a hard time disagreeing with me.

As a side note, I have to add a few kind thoughts on Alan Rubin. Having spent some time hanging out with him over the years, his cigars are great representation of his philosophy as a brand owner. He is a straight shooter, a gentleman, and a guy who loves his family and his customers. He has mentioned before that his commitment to his business is deeper than blood, that his company is devoted to its employees and everyone who makes the Alec Bradley name succeed. His entire team and family is a cohesive unit and they all share a passion for great cigars. Check out our Alec Bradley page and browse Alan’s many blends. He has an impressive selection for every smoker, including Black Market. Enjoy!


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