Team Cigar Review: Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Robusto

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Cigar Details: Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Robusto

  • Vitola: Robusto
  • Length: 5″
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua and Honduras
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Raíces Cubanas
  • Blender: Undisclosed
  • Price: $7.55
  • Release Date: October 2017
  • Source: Alec Bradley

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

 John Reiner

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The first thing you notice about the cigar is the band, or sleeve, which takes up the bottom two-thirds of the cigar. There is a simple black band right around where a traditional band would be and then attached to the bottom is a sleeve that runs to the foot that is meant to look like rustic paper and has the brand and line name on it. After shedding the lower band, the wrapper reveals a medium brown color that looks fairly rustic with a few darker spots and a network of veins. The seams are smooth but visible due to the color variations and the head is finished off with a neatly applied triple cap. The aroma from the wrapper is just a light hay while the foot gives hay, some tobacco sweetness and a very light white pepper. The pre-light draw brings hay and some marzipan that is slightly sweet.

Pre-light Experience

As with the original Black Market, the cigar is adorned by a massive Alec Bradley band that covers three quarters of the cigar, with another regular band underneath it. Nosing the Black Market Esteli, I’m able to detect a significant amount of cedar, sweet tobacco, hay and light barnyard in the foot.

Pre-light Experience

The Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Robusto has a Colorado red wrapper shade. A slight lumpiness is felt within the extent of the cigar. Major veins are well pressed, seams tight and the head has a well applied triple cap. Aromas from the wrapper tell campfire, cedar and subtle white pepper. Aromas from the foot give rich cedar and white pepper. Cold draw tells spicy cedar and white pepper.

First Third

The cigar begins with some pine and black pepper. At a quarter inch in, cream joins the profile as the black pepper increases some. At a half inch in, the pine note becomes a slight metallic note while the pepper has settled down a bit and the cream is at the same level. At three quarters of an inch, the metallic note is gone, replaced by a general wood note with a slight bitterness. The retrohale is carrying a little heat to it and is woody with some dry earthiness. At an inch and a half, the dry earthiness makes it’s way into the mouth draws, pairing up with the wood and pushing out the cream. The strength in this third was slightly above medium.

First Third

My initial few draws are rewarded with a satisfying amount of smoke production. Unlike the original Black Market, the Esteli has light pepper, that continues at the light level into the post draw. There are some spices and coffee notes on the retrohale that mix in with the pepper well. As the first third settles in, some sweet tobacco starts to develop, along with post draw leather and cedar. At the twenty minute mark, the various flavors start to harmonize well. As the Black Market Esteli transitions into the middle third, the already light pepper starts to fade.

First Third

The initial inch or so of the first third creates a flavor profile that is centered around black pepper and cardboard/paper. Past that mark, minerals and dry nuts are introduced. Retrohaling creates more intense black pepper and dry nuts. The finish is pretty thin with namely a lingering cardboard/paper note. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the profile consists of the wood with some bitterness and the dry earthiness. At a quarter inch in, a fair amount of char takes over the bitterness that’s paired up with the wood. At an inch in, nothing really much has changed as the charred wood and dry earthiness continue on. The retrohale is primarily the dry earthiness and has a very mellow sweetness. The strength in this third remained at slightly above medium.

Second Third

Transitioning into the second third, there are no sharp flavor transitions to remark on. Once the second third starts to establish itself, the cedar notes from the first third come up in intensity to a light plus level, as the leather flavors start to dominate the profile. At the halfway point of the cigar, some cocoa starts to develop. At this point, the coffee notes on the retrohale have faded away, with the cedar being pushed to the post draw.

Second Third

The second third’s flavor profile improves as it’s less cardboard/paper focused but more minerals, black pepper and dry nuts focused. Retrohaling gives a nice citrus note, working well with the increased black pepper and dry nuts. The finish however is still fairly thin with the same lingering cardboard/paper note. Strength and body is unchanged at medium.

Final Third

As the final third begins, some bitterness joins in with the charred wood and dry earthiness. At a half inch in, the bitterness drops out to bring things back to the charred wood and dry earthiness. The retrohale is now a creamy wood with a slight dry earthiness. At an inch in, the cigar begins to heat up which brings some mintiness to the profile. This is how the cigar finished out. The strength in this third bumped up to medium-full.

Final Third

Starting out the final third, the cedar and pepper are both faint at a light minus strength level. The spices on the retrohale increase to a light plus intensity, with the dominant leather from the middle third falling back to a light plus. As the final third on the Black Market Esteli settles in, the leather returns, and brings a pepper chaser with it, as the two flavors take over the entire profile. At the halfway point of the final third, some earthy notes come into the mix.

Final Third

The last third finally hits its stride as the profile develops into a tasty mixture of baking spices, black pepper, dry nuts and minerals with no traces of burning cardboard/paper. The finish also lengthens such that it is now a lingering soft dry nuts. Strength is creeping towards medium-full, but body maintains medium.

Burn

The burn line was a bit wavy in a few sections but never needed any attention. The ash held on in inch and half increments.

Burn

The burn on the Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli was good. The ash held on nicely throughout the smoking experience, but there were some uneven burn points that required correction.

Burn

Overall, a very good burn performance. Slight flaky ash, fairly sharp burn line, cool and steady burn.

Draw

The draw had just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.

Overall

I was interested to try this variation of the Black Market. I didn’t get the cocoa note that I recall was so prevalent in the original and the profile was primarily wood and dry earthiness. Things started off with a pine note and a little metallic component but quickly moved to the core flavors that were presented for the majority of the experience. Construction was fantastic, so no attention was needed there. The price point is attractive, so fans of this flavor profile or of the Black Market in general will probably like this. For me, I was looking for a bit more complexity as the flavor profile was quite linear. I’d smoke another one if handed to me, but probably wouldn’t seek more out.

Draw

The draw started out quite tight, even with a v-cut. As the cigar progressed, the draw opened up and settled towards slightly resistant.

Overall

I’m a big fan of the original Alec Bradley Black Market, and it’s one of those cigars that has regular rotation in my humidor. I found the Black Market Esteli to be an average overall experience. The Black Market Esteli lacked the character of the original release, with all of the flavors being quite subdued, where the Black Market was big and in your face. If you found the original Black Market to be too intense, or too peppery, you may find the Black Market Esteli to be quite appealing.

Draw

The ideal draw, so good I never paid attention to it.

Overall

The cigar was an overall average experience for me. The burning paper/cardboard note was too prevalent until the last third where the cigar finally hit it’s stride. Coming off from such a great experience from AB’s Prensado Lost Art Robusto, I’m let down by this release. Different cigars yes, but nonetheless new releases from Alec Bradley. This is a cigar I will not be reaching for more of.

Aaron
John
Jiunn
Very GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
Good
AverageFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
Average
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
Average
AverageFinal
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AverageFinal
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Good
Very GoodBurnGoodBurnVery Good
AmazingDrawGoodDrawAmazing
AverageOverallAverageOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.65

Cost/Point

$1.34

Scoring System

John Reiner

SCORE

5.25

Cost/Point

$1.44

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.00

Cost/Point

$1.26

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Robusto
Aaron LoomisTeam Cigar Review: Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Robusto

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1 comment

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  • Jimmy Showtime - July 9, 2018 reply

    Just stumbled onto your site and your review is pretty on the money. Beautiful smoke but lacked bold flavor and intensity.

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