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Staff Reviews

Alec Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

Alan Rubin, founder of Alec Bradley Cigars, has earned his share of 90+ ratings as well as a prestigious ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ ranking in Cigar Aficionado. One of the brand’s more recent releases, Alec Bradley Gatekeeper, however, isn’t the brainchild of Alan Rubin. It is actually the handiwork of Rubin’s two sons, Alec and Bradley, for whom the company is named. The most interesting fact about Alec Bradley Gatekeeper is that the Rubin brothers teamed up with cigar-making legend Ernesto Perez-Carrillo for this release. Today, I am trying out the Gatekeeper in a 5 x 50 Robusto. The blend is the first collaboration between these two celebrated cigar families.

Alec Bradley Gatekeeper is handcrafted at Tabacalera La Alianza in Santiago, Dominican Republic, the factory where Perez-Carrillo produces his E.P. Carrillo brand. The cigar’s name is inspired by gothic works of art like the depiction of a Medusa head on the band. A reddish-hued Ecuador Habano wrapper smoothly covers an aged selection of Dominican and Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos.

The Gatekeeper is very firm. Cigars produced at Perez-Carrillo’s factory are known for being rolled with a thick cap. I cut just a hair deeper than I normally would and the draw is outstanding. Pre-light aromas of cinnamon, leather, and steak sauce are easily noticeable, while the cold draw is much sweeter with hints of citrus and graham cracker.

As soon as the cigar is lit, I pick up bold notes of wood with a bit of pepper lingering on the back end. Notes of leather become prominent as the tobaccos warm up. The blend reveals a spice that is so pronounced on the retrohale that it stings. I also pick up an odd flavor, almost like chalk dust, about an inch into the Gatekeeper. Thankfully it doesn’t last long and is quickly replaced with a smoky peat-like quality.

By halfway, the pepper notes are absent on the palate but dominate the retrohale. The overall profile becomes sweeter and meatier. Tinges of sweet red wine and smoked brisket swirl around. It isn’t until the last inch that I notice hints of mixed roasted nuts. The cigar remains complex yet nicely balanced throughout its long finish.

Every cigar I have smoked from the E.P. Carrillo factory has been outstanding. Alec Bradley Gatekeeper is no different. Although the burn started out a bit uneven, it quickly corrected itself and stayed straight for the remainder of the cigar. Several nuances of the cigar’s flavor contribute to its aroma. I recommend smoking it indoors to fully appreciate its room note.

Alec and Bradley did a fantastic job working with Perez-Carrillo to create a solid medium-bodied smoke you can enjoy any time of the day. I look forward to seeing what comes next from Alec and Bradley Rubin. If the Gatekeeper is an indication of their potential, they have a bright future as collaborators in the cigar world.


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