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Cigar Review: Alec Bradley Select Cabinet Reserve Gran Robusto

29 Jun 2011

I was browsing my local tobacconist in Chicago the other day when I came across a display of Select Cabinet Reserve cigars. Alec Bradley introduced this line back in 2009, but I couldn’t remember trying any of the five vitolas.

I decided to purchase three Gran Robustos (5.5 x 60) for $7.50 apiece. I can’t say I was particularly drawn to this thick size—I’m usually not a fan of cigars wider than 52 ring gauge—but, for one reason or another, I gravitated to it over the line’s more traditional formats: Robusto (5 x 50), Corona (5.5 x 42), Torpedo (6.1 x 52), and Churchill (7 x 48).

Alec Bradley, maker of such other blends as Tempus, Maxx, Vice Press, Family Blend, and Prensado, intends Select Cabinet Reserve to deliver “smooth, bold flavors…from the fertile soils of family-run farms in Honduras and Nicaragua.” The line is made at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras with dual binders from Indonesia and the Trojes region of Honduras.

If you buy Select Cabinet Reserve by the box, you’ll get un-cellophaned cigars in a lacquered box. If, like me, you purchase singles, you’ll get cellophaned cigars that emit potent notes of caramel and sweet cocoa right out of the packaging.

The Gran Robusto is a strikingly oily specimen with a Colorado-colored exterior leaf and a few soft spots here and there. The foot band slides off without incident and the cap, once cut, reveals a draw that’s a bit tighter than you’d expect from such a thick smoke.

Now I’ve read that the various Select Cabinet Reserve vitolas taste very different from one another, specifically that the bigger, wider cigars are much milder than their thinner brethren. While I can neither verify nor refute this claim because I only smoked one size for this review, I can say that the Gran Robusto is fairly subdued.

The base is creamy and sweet with flavors of cream, milk chocolate, and oak. Instead of taking center stage (as they often do), leather and coffee are relegated to the background. This interplay creates a unique balance that persists from beginning to end. As far as its physical properties go, the medium-bodied smoke is graced with a solid gray ash and a straight burn, both impressive on a 60-gauge stick.

While there’s a lot to like about this size of the Select Cabinet Reserve, I can’t give the Gran Robusto a wholeheartedly enthusiastic recommendation for two reasons. One, the taste is a bit too monotonous for a cigar that takes such a long time to smoke. Two, the price is a bit too high. Ultimately, convinced that it makes a fine golf course companion, I award it three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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