Alan Rubin, the owner of Alec Bradley has to be incredibly proud of his two boys, you know, Alec and Bradley. They both joined the company two years ago then launched their first cigar, Blind Faith, which sold out immediately. Then with the help of the EP Carrillo company, they’ve launched the Gatekeeper, a cigar whose toro and robusto sizes got 90 and 91 scores respectively from Cigar Aficionado.
The Bradley boys feel that Ernesto Perez Carrillo is the Gatekeeper of new opportunities for them and thought it was the perfect name for their newest premium cigar offering which is produced in the Dominican Republic at the Tabacalera Ailanza S.A. factory.
I’ve smoked a box of the toro size and I’m actually in awe of how good these sticks really are. While they’re medium bodied with medium strength, they are incredibly complex with flavor that is off the charts. The wrapper is a gorgeous, dark golden brown, Ecuadorian Habano, the binder is Nicaraguan, and the filler is Nicaraguan and Dominican. It’s also available in four sizes, corona, robusto, toro, and gordo.
Now, this isn’t just a beautiful cigar, but the artwork is gorgeous as well. Inspired by ancient art, the band features the head of Medusa being held up in defiance on a black background. Even the look of this gem is different than anything Alec Bradley has done before.
Upon first lighting you’ll get a cedar and nuttiness that’s pretty damned flavorful right off the bat. The draw and construction are flawless, and that aroma is like that of an extremely well-aged cigar with a nearly white ash. Now I talked about it having complexity and it shows off its prowess a quarter of the way in with earth and a pleasant sweetness. But at the one-third mark the natural sweetness really ramps up as the flavor begins to come alive.
Taking its complex nature to an even further notch, a wonderful spiciness comes in to the mix with even greater sweetness at around the halfway mark, including a hint of black pepper. Man, oh man this cigar is just loaded with intense flavor on the palate while still remaining very smooth and medium in body. That’s an amazing attribute for a cigar, but not surprising coming from a master like Ernesto Carrillo.
The final quarter of this one finishes sweet and spicy and I swear I smoked all twenty of them down to the final inch. This truly is one hell of a well-made smoke and I’d say it’s in the top five of my rotation as we speak. And I’m really interested in smoking the corona size, which is the size that Cuban cigar masters use to blend. There’s just something about that smaller size that really brings out the flavor in a hand rolled classic.
I’m telling you guys, Alec and Bradley have outdone themselves with their first two offerings, as we now await blend number three from the Floridian brothers. Kintsugi is based in Japanese culture dating back to the 15th century with the bands and inside box labels taking styling cues from classic Japanese artwork. This one should be out in the coming months and I cannot wait!