Brand: Alec Bradley Harvest Selection 1997
Ring Gauge: 50
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Mexican
The Harvest Selection 1997 appears to be an exclusive blend only available from Cigars International. As a result, we are only provided with the information given to us from their retailer page. Referencing that material, I found that this cigar is made up of a variety of tobaccos. This stick sports a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and three county filler made up of 1997 Piloto Cubano from the Dominican Republic, 1997 Ligero from Mexico, and 1998 Criollo from Nicaragua. The binder is not currently listed.
This stick is available in four sizes including; Churchill (50 x 7.00 @ $69.95), Corona (42 x 5.50 @ $49.95), Double Toro (54 x 6.00 @ $69.95), Robusto (50 x 5.00 @ $54.95), Toro (50 x 6.00 @ $59.95). Cigars come packaged in boxes of twenty.
After pulling my Alec Bradley Harvest Selection 1997 from the original ziplock bag Cigars International pre-packed it in, I removed the cellophane and gave it a once over. My first impression was that the wrapper seemed a touch on the light side, but was very attractive. The color varied slightly towards the cap but was otherwise consistent.
There were a couple of small veins that ran the length of the cigar which did not protrude and create a rough texture. When pinched, the cigar felt overly hard. My first thought was that it was overfilled and may be prone to draw problems. After opening the head of the cigar up with a guillotine cutter, I was surprised to find the draw to be free, with a little resistance. The initial flavor on the cold draw reminded me of black licorice.
The body of this stick kicks off in the medium realm and doesn’t seem to build much throughout the first third. The finish is mildly creamy while applying a touch of spice to the very tip of my tongue. This sensation, along with the mild creaminess, lasts for a minute, or so, before fading away.
The flavor combination was loaded with character from the start. Normally I find a cigar to have one dominant flavor with several underlying ones, in the case of this stick things were reversed. There were a medley of flavors that seemed to be dominant; which included wood, nuts, and leather. As the medley faded, I was left with an underlying flavor that reminded me of a cup of coffee that was overloaded with creamer.
The ash was pale gray in color and was tightly compacted. Looking closely I found the ash to be visually appealing with its, sort-of, sandy texture. The burn line was a little heavy at times but remained straight throughout. The burn rate was slow, as expected, while the draw was free and produced plenty of dense smoke.
After roughly forty-minutes of smoking, I reached the second third of my Alec Bradley Harvest Selection 1997. The body progressed slightly but never came close to exiting the medium range. The finish seemed to get a little longer on the palate as the cigar burned. It also remained mildly creamy and continued to zing the very tip of my tongue.
The medley of main flavors remained consistent while becoming a little richer as I smoked along. The only notable change was in the way the wood flavor danced across the palate, which seemed to be refined into more of an oak flavor rather than the generic taste from the previous third.
The burn line remained a little heavy while producing a light resting smoke. The room aroma was fairly mild and pleasant. The burn rate seemed a little slower than average while providing lots of dense smoke with each puff.
After a little more than ninety-minutes, I was well into the final third of my Alec Bradley Harvest Selection 1997. Just like in the previous third, the body climbed slightly but never pulled out of the medium designation. The finish remained mildly creamy while zinging the very tip of my tongue.
Just like in the second-third, the flavors were more or less the same, with slight variation. The medley of oak, nuts, and leather remained dominant. The only significant change was the introduction of a peppery taste. When this new flavor entered the scene it hit the ground running and came across the palate strong. As the medley of flavors subsided, I was embraced by the same over-creamed coffee flavor from the previous third.
The burn line seemed to thin out a bit as the cigar grew shorter, all the while producing an appealing room aroma and light resting smoke. The ash remained pale gray and was strong and compacted, holding on for more than an inch. The draw was free, with some resistance, and produced loads of dense smoke which was easily passed through the sinuses.
Once this cigar was finished, I looked back at the smoke time and was surprised at just how long it lasted. The firmly packed cigar provided me with plenty of smoke, for a long duration of time, as well as an ample supply of smoke. The flavors were interesting to start and managed to become more complex as it burned along.
Had I smoked this cigar without a band, I would have assumed it to be a cigar with a much higher MSRP. At roughly $2.50 per single, I think this is a steal, just as long as you prefer a smooth medium body cigar. While this is no Alec Bradley Tempus in terms of robust flavors, I think it is an awesome replacement if you are looking something a step or two down the body and flavor scale.