Photo provided by Luke of aspiringgentleman.com
Alan Ruben has come a long way from where he started in the cigar industry. From his first two unsuccessful entries, he’s turned around and created some solid cigars that are known by many aficionados and enthusiasts as solidly crafted cigars in terms of construction and blending. The Alec Bradley cigar company is considered his greatest success, with entries such as the Maxx and Trilogy being very successful. His crowning achievement is in creating the Tempus line, which uses select tobacco from the Trojes region of Honduras and Jalapa region of Nicaragua. The blend offers a powerhouse smoke with bold flavors and excellent quality.
This particular vitola is the Genesis, measuring 5.5 x 42, and uses Cuban seed Honduran tobacco for its binder and filler and a blend of Cuban seed Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco for its filler. The wrapper is a wonderful dark brown, dark as tanned leather or dark stained oak. It’s smooth to the touch, having an almost velvety texture. There is a medium amount of veins, though the veins themselves are fairly small and don’t detract from the appearance of the cigar overall. A closer look shows very mild tooth along the wrapper, and no blemishes, sunspots, or other imperfections. Gentle squeezes along the length of the cigar as I turn it over in my fingers shows that it’s as dense as it looks, packed and rolled well with no soft spots at all. The scent reminds me strongly of cedar with a hint of a sweet floral note. Grandma would describe it as a Lebanese forest.
Cutting and lighting is very easy with a single torch lighter and a Xikar cutter, and produces a sweet earthy and woody smoke. The initial puffs draw lots of spicy red and black pepper, almost overpowering the other flavors. The spices quickly mellow out some after a few more puffs, however, and let the other flavors start to show through. I pick up notes of oak, roasted almonds and walnuts, and coffee, which flow from one to the other nicely. After half an inch the flavors develop and build into a full bodied smoke. Spices and peppers greet me and grab my attention immediately, leading into the core flavors of wood and nuts. The wood and nuts lasts as long as there is smoke in my mouth, and finishes with a rich bold coffee flavor.
The flavors don’t change much as the cigar progresses in terms of new ones coming or current ones going. The intensity to those flavors, however, does shift as I continue on. The spices and peppers mellow out gradually, but never lose their boldness. Rather, they simply become more civil, but still speaking with a firm and loud voice. The core flavors of wood and nuts starts to intensify and reaches a crescendo at the halfway mark, then start to gradually back down, their say being chimed in. The coffee notes keep a steady tone throughout the cigar, always bold and chiming in at the end, and finally speaking up above the others in the final couple inches.
Alec Bradley cigars have been hit and miss with me. There are some that I enjoy, and there are others that I don’t. The Tempus line falls in with the ones that I enjoy, and enjoy thoroughly. These cigars have a wonderful and bold flavor profile that fit in perfectly with my mood for something strong and powerful. Despite being a smaller corona size, it lasted two hours, a testament to how much tobacco was rolled into this small package, and how well it was rolled that the draw was so smooth. The burn was near flawless, and required me to touch it up only once due to my own negligence when I stopped to talk to a neighbor. It didn’t go out completely, which amazed me, and only needed a minor touch up and purge to get back on track without any bitterness or harshness coming through from it. At between $6-8 each, this is an excellent price for what you get: a well constructed, long lasting, well blended, and bold cigar.