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Staff Reviews

Alec Bradley Kintsugi Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

I’m smoking an Alec Bradley cigar called the Kintsugi in a 6-by-52 Toro. The Kintsugi line is named for the ancient Japanese art of repairing shattered pottery with gold lacquer that accentuates the cracks. I can’t say I’ve got any Kintsugi on display in my home, but I do have small children and a few tubes of superglue in the kitchen.

Brand founder Alan Rubin named Alec Bradley Cigars after his sons, Alec and Bradley, and in recent years, the two have been taking on more responsibility in the company, including blending and producing their own cigar lines. Kintsugi debuted in 2020 and is their latest work, following Gatekeeper and Blind Faith. The Rubin brothers consider cigars to be a bonding agent – like the lacquer that bonds Kintsugi pottery, hence the name. Kintsugi cigars are handmade at the Raices Cubanas factory in Danlí, Honduras, where several other Alec Bradley cigars are crafted.

The first thing you’ll notice about Kintsugi is the packaging. Stark white boxes are adorned with Kintsugi pottery patterns in cobalt-blue and gold colors. Japanese characters flank the Alec Bradley logo in gold type on the top and front of the boxes, and oversized bands on the cigars are rendered in the same colors.

Kintsugi is blended from a Honduran wrapper, grown in the Trojes region, and a hearty interior of Nicaraguan and Honduran long-fillers underneath. When I slide a fresh Toro out of its cellophane, woody aromas of baking spices and nuts greet the nose. The wrapper shows a few slight veins, but the cigar is firmly assembled, and the head is finished in a triple cap.

After clipping the cap, hints of nuts and anise deliver sweet flavor when I take a few cold puffs. The construction is firm and the draw of the Kintsugi Toro is unobstructed. I gently toast the foot with my torch for a minute, and when I start puffing, silky streams of sweet and spicy smoke permeate my palate.  

Throughout the first ten minutes, notes of milk chocolate, cedar, and leather mingle with a nutty sweetness that adds a lot to the overall profile. I’m somewhat surprised by Kintsugi. Other Alec Bradley cigars I’ve reviewed, like Black Market, lean in a spicier, earthier direction, but Kintsugi maintains a sweet foundation that brings the flavors together nicely.

As I pass the halfway point, about thirty minutes are off the clock, and I’ve tapped the ash off three times. Notes of cinnamon, espresso, and pepper meld with traces of honey. The pepper is more pronounced when I push the smoke out through my nose, but it doesn’t register as intensely on the palate. You can’t smoke the second half of the cigar without removing the band due to its exaggerated size. Even though large cigar bands can be cumbersome, they get your attention on a store shelf.

A chewy finish of hazelnut and cashew meshes with underlying notes of graham cracker and nutmeg after smoking for the Toro for close to an hour. This is an ideal cigar to smoke with a bourbon. For around $10 a cigar, Kintsugi is worth exploring, but, if you like it, I recommend splurging on a box during one of recurring Alec Bradley deals. Alec Bradley is one of those brands with something for everyone, from top-rated cigars, like Prensado and Family Blend, to inexpensive yard ‘gars like White Gold.  Decide if Kintsugi lands on your list of the best Alec Bradley cigars after you buy a few singles.


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