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If You Think Cutting a Cigar is Simple, I Challenge You to Reconsider. Seriously.
The simple answer is that clipping a cigar isn’t very difficult at all, so does it really require much consideration? You whack off the head of the cigar so you can draw, and light up, right? For the truly cutter-challenged, most cheap short-filler cigars come with a pre-punctured head, but let’s not go there.
Sure, you can use one of those cheap (or free) plastic guillotine cutters, and they might work adequately in an emergency. If you’re happy with that cut, drop me a line because I have dozens of unused ones floating around my house in various boxes of junk. You’re welcome to them. I just hate throwing this kind of stuff away, and most have attractive cigar brand logos on them.
You can build a brand any number of ways. Lots of advertising and/or promotion is one way to get name recognition. So is product presentation, like flashy packaging. You could develop a “rock star” image for yourself or your company to be a bit more edgy. But, for long term growth and success, the best way is to make a quality product at a fair price, and that seems to be the approach that Alan Rubin has taken in building the Alec Bradley brand (named for his sons).
I remember the first couple of cigars that we carried from AB, the Occidental Reserve bundles (still in production), and the Trilogy triangularly pressed cigars. I was pleased with both, and looked forward to future products. I became a fan of the Maxx cigars which offer a lot of flavor, larger sizes and a reasonable price. Since then, there has been a string of solid entries from them, and one notable example is the Family Blend.
Gregory L. Pease, Associate Editor
I’ve been smoking through quite a few of my vintage cigars lately, some, now reaching their prime, the last few from boxes I’ve savoured over the years, others, from fuller boxes that are just starting to hit their stride, and that will offer me some fabulous smokes over the years to come. This, I cannot lie, is not a bad thing. What may be a bad thing is that in the three decades I’ve been smoking and aging cigars, I’ve seen a lot of things come, and a lot more go, and one thing that has always been in the back of my mind is the overworked cliché that all things change. Therein lies my gripe, and a guarantee of at least some small degree of future sorrow. Not all change is good, or welcome.
I generally don’t smoke Connecticut Shade-Grown wrapped cigars, as I find them to be a bit light for my tastes, but every so often I’ll try one that has an unusual binder/filler combination that promises to make it particularly satisfying. I just found one of those— the Alec Bradley Maxx Connecticut.
The particular stick I tested was The Culture, a 6.5 by 54 toro gorda. The wrapper was typical of top-quality Connecticut; thin, a light golden color and few noticeable veins. The aroma of the unlit cigar was hay-like with a little earthiness. I used a double guillotine to shave the top of the cap as I don’t like punches for larger ring gauges. The pre-light draw was free and easy, almost a bit too easy, but the cigar was uniformly firm, so my concerns were somewhat assuaged. The same notes I detected in the unlit aroma returned; hay and earth, with an additional grassy element creeping in. I toasted the foot and lit up.
In Part III and the conclusion of our interview with Alan Rubin, the President of Alec Bradley Cigars, we talked about industry challenges, such as the FDA threat and taxation.
We discussed the challenges that Alec Bradley faces as a company, and we learn about some of the real people, families and lives that are touched by this fast growing, popular boutique cigar company.
Alan describes an fascinating method on how to determine the amount of flavor a wrapper contributes to a cigar. It’s a trick question, but he got it right. You’ll hear some interesting information on the Maxx cigar, and find out what Alan’s favorite cigars is. Sort of. He had a great answer to the question, so watch for it near the end.
I try not to be a coffee snob, I really do. However, sometimes it isn’t easy. Pairing cigars and coffee has now become a professional endeavor, at least one of them, and something I take rather seriously. For this inaugural column, I browsed through both this forum and its sister site, PipesMagazine.com, to get a feel for what coffee blends were popular with the members who’d weighed in on the subject. I settled on Dunkin Donuts’ Original Blend as a mass-market coffee with good tobacco-world appeal that was apparently America’s favorite, pound for pound (according to the company’s advertising, anyway); certainly many members enjoyed it, as have I when those donut cravings strike. So it was that my editor Avi and I struck out to find suitable cigar accompaniment for this coffee a couple weekends ago. Unfortunately, we’d chosen the Sunday of the NFL championship games for taste testing, a day when most people are drinking beer instead of coffee. We should have done the same.