Team Cigar Review: Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto

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Cigar Details: Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto

  • Vitola: Robusto
  • Length: 5″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua and Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza
  • Blender: Alec Rubin, Bradley Rubin and Ernesto Perez Carrillo
  • Price: $10.50
  • Release Date: September 2019
  • Source: Alec & Bradley

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper on the Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto is medium brown but has a fair amount of color variation throughout. There is a network of fine veins present and while the seams are smooth, they are easily visible due to the color variation of the wrapper. The head is finished off with a well applied triple cap. There are two bands with the primary being black, gray and gold with the head of a statue on the front and the brand on the back. The secondary band is interesting as it is tucked under the primary, but when you turn the cigar around, you actually see it’s another band and it denotes the line on the back in gold. The aroma from the wrapper is pretty light and consists of wood and damp earth while the foot brings damp wood and tobacco sweetness. The pre-light draw brings a mix of graham cracker and tobacco sweetness.

Pre-light Experience

The Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto has a nice dark marbled brown wrapper and it sports a number of veins throughout. The cap is applied well and it has a nice firmness throughout. The aroma on the cigar is of milk chocolate, wood, tobacco, earth and stone fruit, and that is present on the wrapper and foot.

Pre-light Experience

The Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto has a chocolate brown wrapper and is double banded. Initially I couldn’t determine whether it was in fact double banded. The band style has a face of the statue of David in white or gray with gold accents, on black. The secondary band has gold lettering for ‘Gatekeeper’ on a black background. Nosing the wrapper, I pick up aged cedar, barnyard and leather. In the foot, there is stewed prune and raisin, both at a very light level.

Pre-light Experience

The Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto has a gorgeous Colorado Red wrapper shade. The wrapper shade contrasting the black band makes both pop really well. Veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and the cap is well wrapped. Aromas from the wrapper give a mix of dry barnyard and cedar. Aromas from the foot give a good amount of white pepper and cedar. Cold draw tells cedar, hay and a hint of dried cherries.

First Third

The cigar begins with dark wood, black pepper and some light notes of cream and baking spice. At a half inch in, the black pepper has increased and is fairly aggressive as it is felt in the back of my throat while the baking spice has left the profile. At an inch in, the pepper has mellowed and is even with the wood which now doesn’t show as dark, along with a creamy/musty combo. The retrohale is a mix of wood and black pepper. As the third comes to a close, the wood, pepper and creamy/mustiness are well balanced. The strength in this third was medium-full.

First Third

The first third begins with a nice rich earth profile and is followed with some baking spices, black pepper and leather. I would classify the body and strength as being full, and the flavors are around the medium-full level.

First Third

The first few puffs bring flavors of sweet, spicy cedar, with lingering spices post draw at medium strength. Some leather joins the post draw as the first third settles in. Bread notes move into the middle of the profile as the first progresses, with a biscuity mouthfeel. Spice backs off as cedar and a creaminess fill the void. The flavors strike a nice balance settling into a similar strength in the bottom half of the first third.

First Third

The first third has a hefty delivery of deep flavors. Red pepper spice, meat, cedar and sharp minerals. Retrohaling has a sharp red pepper spice followed by meat, nuts and a hint of tart cherries. The finish is namely earth derived with a semi-gritty soil and lingering red pepper. Strength is medium-full and body medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the fullness of the flavors mellows slightly, but all components remain even. At a quarter inch in, the wood takes the lead over the black pepper and creamy/mustiness. At a half inch in, some coffee joins the profile. At an inch in, the cream is gone and the mustiness is by itself in the background while the wood and black pepper are now even up front. The retrohale is now young wood with a slight bitterness and mustiness. As the third comes to a close, some wood bitterness joins the profile as the wood takes on a slightly younger profile. The strength in this third remained at medium-full.

Second Third

When I get into the second third of the cigar, I come across an emergence of metallic and espresso notes. There are some baking spices with that and the finish is of leather and earth. Like before, the cigar is full in body, and medium-full in strength and flavors.

Second Third

Only creamy cedar moving into the second third. Cedar and hay mix together as the second finally settles in. Halfway through, tannins join the cedar, with earth on the post draw, pushing into the middle of the profile.

Second Third

The second third is very similar to the first third. Still a powerful delivery of red pepper spice, meat, cedar and sharp minerals. The one change is the faint tart cherry note off the retrohale being realized on the mouth draws as well. Strength and body is unchanged at medium plus and medium.

Final Third

As the final third begins, the slightly young wood and mustiness are up front while the black pepper is in the background. At three quarters of an inch in, a light char joins the wood. The retrohale is now lightly charred wood and mustiness. The cigar closes out with this same profile. The strength in this third dropped down to slightly above medium.

Final Third

When I get in the final third of the cigar, I see a decline in the complexities and depth of the cigar and I am getting smoky, espresso and black coffee bean notes. The flavors and strength are still at that medium-full level, and the body remains at full as well.

Final Third

The earth from the second third drives the profile with some sweetness offsetting it. The earth intensity fades as the final third settles in. Some light breadiness returns to add complexity.

Final Third

The last third’s flavor profile softens up. There’s less spice in the mix giving way to more of the meatiness, cedar and minerals. Strength and body finishes medium plus and medium.

Burn

The burn was slightly wavy but always kept up with itself. The cigar did go out once in the final third and required a re-light. The ash held on in inch and a half increments.

Burn

The Gatekeeper is decent in the burn department, but not great. It is far from even with some wavy aspects present throughout that need touching up.

Burn

The Gatekeeper struggled to stay lit through the smoking experience. A re-light was necessary at the end of the first third, again at the end of the second third, and a third time in the last third.

Burn

The burn had its fair share of issues. Essentially, 1/4 of the cigar did not burn, requiring a few major touch-ups. The cigar did however have solid ash marks and burn temperature was cool.

Draw

The draw was perfect with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.

Overall

The cigar began with dark wood, black pepper, baking spice and a creamy/musty combination. As it progressed, the baking spice left and the mustiness took over the creaminess. Later, some bitterness joined for a little bit and the wood took on a slightly young note and things finished with slightly charred wood, mustiness and light black pepper. The strength was medium-full most of the way. While the Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto started well, it became average by the second third, losing out on some complexity. This is a nice second offering from Alec and Bradley, but I think I prefer their initial release a bit more. If you’re a fan of a slightly darker profile and like what comes from EPC, then this is a cigar to try to see what you think.

Draw

Draw was solid on the cigar. It had a nice level of resistance which made for an enjoyable smoking experience.

Overall

I don’t know what the head of Medusa has to do with Gatekeeper, but it’s a cool band. The head on the band is the same head that is found on the Perseus with the Head of Medusa statue in Florence. Overall, the Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto is an average cigar. It is not my favorite Alec Bradley blend, and doesn’t compare with some of the current blends they are producing in Honduras, but it is better than a lot of the E.P. Carrillo blends that the company is making for themselves. The cigar had a nice start with some dark flavors, but it slowly went downhill in the second and final third. I liked the flavors with the strength and body, but the complexity, depth and transitioning lacked throughout. Construction and burn was not a major issue to me, and I would care even less if it smoked like it did in the first third and parts of the second third. Solid cigar, but nothing to write home about.

Draw

The draw leaned towards slightly resistant, about 1 to 1-1/2 notches. Overall, the draw was still very good.

Overall

The Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto had a promising start in the first third with sweet and spicy cedar, bready notes, biscuit and some creaminess. That complexity didn’t carry through the second and final third, leaving me with a fairly average experience overall. The cigar struggled to stay lit with three re-lights required through the review. Total smoking time was 1 hour and 58 minutes.

Draw

The draw was slightly loose but none the less considered very good (just not flawless).

Overall

One question I had coming into this review was, can the Rubin boys can keep up with having another successful release after Blind Faith? I believe so. Upon initial draw of the Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto, you know what you’re in for. It’s a bold and hefty delivery of flavors centered around red pepper spice, meatiness, cedar and sharp minerals with a medium plus strength to match. I actually prefer this blend over the Blind Faith. The only let down was the rather poor burn performance. Although it didn’t effect the flavor profile a significant amount, the cigar would have tasted better. But all in all, solid sophomore release by Alec and Bradley.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
GoodPre
Light
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Good
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
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GoodFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond
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AverageSecond
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Good
AverageFinal
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GoodBurnAverageBurnSubparBurnSubpar
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Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.90

Cost/Point

$1.78

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.50

Cost/Point

$1.91

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.55

Cost/Point

$1.89

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.62

Cost/Point

$1.59

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto
Jiunn LiuTeam Cigar Review: Alec and Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto

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