This week I’m taking a look at the Alec Bradley Maxx Connecticut line’s largest vitola named “The Freak”. According to the press release, it was created to address consumer demand for a Connecticut-wrapped cigars in the larger Maxx formats and started hitting the shops in August of 2010. We saw a lot of manufacturers adding Connecticut-wrapped lines (and line extensions) to their portfolios a few years ago. Alec Bradly was a little behind the curve on this trend, but Alan Rubin explains that it wasn’t because they were slow to act, rather it was the result of a lengthy blending process.
“Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight either. We have spent a number of years developing the new line. Now, after many more months of tweaking and aging, it will be available to ship… Some minor tobacco percentage changes were made to accommodate for the milder Connecticut wrapper. The result is a silky smooth, rich tasting cigar that produces copious amounts of creamy smoke.”
By now, you should have no trouble finding these cigars in shops and online. They’re available in four sizes, The Fix (5 x 58), The Culture (6 1/2 x 54), The Freak (6 3/8 x 60) and a torpedo named The Curve (7 x 58). If price ordinarily figures into the size of cigar you select, it won’t with the Maxx Connecticut. All vitolas have an MSRP of $6.95.
But before we get into it, I thought I’d come clean with a few biases that may influence this review. To begin with, I didn’t buy these cigars, they were won at the recent Atlanta Cigar Marathon hosted by Cigar Snob Magazine. On the other hand, I did pay to attend the event, so they weren’t exactly free either. Also, I’m not a fan of large ring gauges. Though the Art Deco Gran Toro has done a lot to warm me up to the popular 6 x 60 size, in reality I still find it’s more of an obstacle than an asset.
You have been warned. Now let’s get freaky.
Size: 6 3/8 x 60
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Connecticut
Binder: Costa Rica
Filler: Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Columbia
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Source: Won at an paid event.
Price: MSRP $6.95
I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to 60 ring gauge smokes, the first thing I thought every time I picked up The Freak was, “Wow, this thing is huge.” But it’s also a nice looking Connecticut. In the majority of cases, the wrapper leaf was without flaws, and sported finer veins than you might expect. (There was the one black sheep of the bunch that had both green discolorations along its thicker veins, and strange wrapper damage peeking out from under the band. See picture below.) Another minor cosmetic observation, the band seems well suited to the size. Meaning, it didn’t look like a fat guy wearing a kid’s clip-on tie.
The cigars were a tad on the softer side of firm, but I didn’t notice any inconsistencies in the sticks I burned for this review. The wrapper had a sweet hay aroma, the cold draw seem right on, and hand a candy-like sweetness to it.
The burn varied from one Freak to the next, but was generally very good. Solid, light gray ash, good draw, and a mostly even burn. In some cases, I did need to touch up a cigar, but rarely happened more than once per cigar.
The Maxx Connecticut begins with a surprising amount of butterscotch-like sweetness and a light touch of cedar. There isn’t much in the way of flavor variation in the first third, it remains consistently sweet, a little creamy, and picks up a little bready ashiness just before the second third begins.
The bready sweet flavors carried through into the second third, though the sweetness gradually evolved, becoming more like raisins and light cinnamon.
As expected, the body picked up a little in the final third, but otherwise, not much changed. The flavors of the preceding third continued in this one with just a touch of spice.
You won’t hear complaints about the price from me. An acre of tobacco for seven bucks? Yes please.
The Maxx Connecticut “The Freak” is a pleasant but uneventful stick. As Alan Rubin stated in the press release, this line is an answer to customer requests “…for larger ring gauge cigars in a smooth Connecticut wrapper… This is an ‘Everyday Cigar.'” And he absolutely nailed it, it’s exactly those things. I’m not the target audience, but I can appreciate this stick is exactly what some cigar smokers are looking for. (As I write this, I can think of few people I’d recommend it to.) If you’re looking for a hefty, budget-friendly, smooth and sweet Connecticut stick, this cigar is for you.
Liked It: It was pretty good.
Buy It Again: Unlikely, at least in this size.
Recommend It: Yes, to lovers of large, smooth smokes.
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.