Alec Bradley has a lot to be proud of right now. Their Prensado Churchill was named Cigar Aficionado’s cigar of the year for 2011, and they produce many popular lines such as Family Blend, Black Market, and their new Connecticut. One of the things they can boast about is their American series of cigars. Last year they introduced the American Classic, and earlier this year the American Sun Grown hit the market as well. I looked forward to this release since I’ve found many of Alec Bradley’s brands to be enjoyable, and because the new Sun Grown comes in at a very reasonable price point so I could enjoy it regularly. So without further ado, here is my assessment of the American Sun Grown by Alec Bradley.
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun-Grown Habano
Strength: Medium to Full
Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
Construction and Appearance: The wrapper on the American Sun Grown is a very dark brown, especially for a sun grown, nearly oscuro in color, with a very deep red tint to it. It has plenty of oil, moderate veins, and a nice tight cap. The band on the American Sun Grown is very similar to the American Classic band, it is very bright with silver, red, and yellow coloring. The only difference between the two bands is this one says Sun Grown Blend on the bottom.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the American Sun Grown has notes of cedar, molasses, and sun dried tomatoes. The foot has a scent which is a blend of hay, berry, spice, and molasses. To prepare smoking the American Sun Grown, I use a straight cut and on the cold draw there is a flavor of spice, berry, molasses, grass, and earth.
Smoking Characteristics: The American Sun Grown kicks off with a nice easy draw providing a decent body of smoke. The first draw provides some nice spices along with flavors of espresso, grass, berry, and some roasted, almost charred, tones. The draw improves quickly, becoming tight enough to provide just the right amount of resistance and the body of smoke becomes much fuller. The smoke is cool, rich, smooth, and causes some salvation between draws. The finish is very pleasant with a nice rich blend of wood, berry, and espresso lingering on the palate between draws. The ash holds fairly well to the inch point, but the first ash did break off on its own around the inch mark.
Into the second third of the American Sun Grown, it is still pumping out tons of flavor. The notes of berry, grass, espresso, wood, and charred tones all remain, but now a nice dark chocolate and sun dried tomato flavor join the blend. The new bitter dark chocolate flavor pairs very will with the deep charred tones and the deep berry tones in the blend. Overall the flavors are a little muddled (enough so that I wouldn’t call the American Sun Grown complex), but they do blend together very well. The draw remains excellent, still easily providing a full body of the rich, cool, smooth smoke. The strength is in the medium to full range at this point, increasing a little from the start of the stick. The ash is now holding much better, still to the inch point, but without flaking off on its own, and the burn is fairly sharp.
During the final third of the American Sun Grown, the flavors experience a very nice evolution. The charred flavors transition more of an earthy flavor, and a nice leathery flavor starts to join the blend as well. The spice now really ramps up in the blend as well, and the dark chocolate flavor moves more into the foreground. The notes of sun dried tomatoes, espresso, and wood all remain, but are now more subdued by the aforementioned flavors. The ash still holds very well, easily to the inch point, and the burn remains quite sharp. The strength also steps up a bit during the final third, becoming full near the nub. The American Sun Grown smokes well to the nub without pulling any heat or souring.
Conclusion: The American Sun Grown should be a pretty big hit for Alec Bradley, it has a nice cross appeal to the blend. At the price point it is the sort of thing people can smoke daily, yet it offers quite a few things that give it a bang for its buck. First off, its strength comes in at the medium to full range, finishing nearly full, so for the smoker who desires power it does pack a nice punch. Second, while the flavors were a bit too muddled to be called complex, it certainly offered a nice range of flavors at a nice full intensity. Finally, aside from the issue with the first ash breaking off on its own the construction stood up very well with a nice draw, ash, and burn. All of this at a MSRP of $4.99, my recommendation is try one first and make sure its for you, then don’t hesitate to grab the box.