Alec Bradley (@alecbradley) introduced the Black Market at the 2011 IPCPR. The Alec Bradley motto is Live True, and U B U, or you be you. Alan Rubin, the owner, named the company after his two sons Alec ad Bradley. He uses references to family often, including the Family Blend cigar line that has sizes dedicated to people close to him. When I first heard of the Black Market, it of course conjured up the image of having to search far and wide for something rare which one cannot buy legally. Ironically, this could be the future of cigars if restrictive regulations keep passing, which is why everyone should sign up for the Cigar Rights of America. The Black Market does a lot to foster this image, coming packaged in a box which could pass for a crate of grenades. The Black Market is manufactured by Nestor Plasencia in his Danli, Honduras factory, Tabacos de Oriente. You can follow Alan Rubin (@AlanRubin)on Twitter as well as George Sosa (@georgesosa), VP of Sales.
Size: 7 x 50
Filler: Panamanian and Honduran
Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Construction and Appearance: The wrapper of the Black Market is a dark brown, almost the color of dark chocolate. The Jalapa valley tobacco is beautiful, almost no veins, and cured to perfection. There is a very large band of sorts, more than just a wrapper, which goes from the foot to about 3/4 of the way up on the cigar. It has the Alec Bradley logo as well as the words, “Black Market” on it. Once your remove this, there is a second band which is very small and only says “Alec Bradley” and below it “Black Market”.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the Black Market has a scent of cocoa, coffee, mineral, and some hay. The foot has the same cocoa and coffee notes, but much richer. On the cold draw there are flavors of espresso, cocoa, and hay.
Smoking Experience: The Alec Bradley Black Market opens up with some rich cocoa, and coffee flavors off the first draw. The draw is excellent, easy, but full, with very rich flavors, and the burn starts off razor sharp. During this third of the cigar the flavor is slightly sweet with notes of coffee, cocoa, spice, and a slight bit of fruity flavors. the ash holds tight, but only to about 3/4 of an inch at this point.
During the second third the espresso flavors really amp up a lot and pair wonderfully with a light berry fruity undertone. There are also notes of cocoa, spice, and a light mineral undertone as well. The burn remains razor sharp, and the draw improves to a nice full body. The strength sits right around medium with a light buzz setting in early on, but certainly nothing you would need a meal with.
Into the final third the espresso is still building up, and the cocoa flavors shift to dark chocolate. There is a wonderful light bitter flavor from these two notes, which combines wonderfully. There is still the note of fruit, mostly berry, but now a light cherry. The flavor is rich and delicious. The ash starts to hold better at this point, to just over the inch mark. The cigar smokes cool to the nub with the same flavors.
Conclusion: The Black Market ties with the Prensado as my favorite offering from Alec Bradley. It is an excellent offering, delicious, with a great body to it. I was honestly surprised that I hadn’t reviewed this yet. I’ve smoked a few of the Black Market sizes. In fact, the toro is one of my go to cigars. This is great stick which any smoker could appreciate.