By Russ Ouellette
As a rule, I dislike the proclamation of any product as "Best Something of the Year". It’s especially annoying when it regards something that has to be judged as subjectively as a cigar. If I have any knowledge of the subject, I usually find fault in these kinds of selections. Well, Cigar Aficionado just picked the Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill as Cigar of the Year for 2011, so it’s my duty to take another look at this award-winner.
This box-pressed 7 by 48 Churchill makes a very nice presentation with its silky, rich chocolate brown, long-fermented Corojo 2006 wrapper from Honduras’s Trojes region, and an elaborate but still elegant band. The cigar is firm and even, and the visual cues present a feeling of overall quality – small veins, almost seamless wrapping and a solid cap. The aroma of the unlit cigar is somewhat sweet and very rich.
I cut the cigar with a Palio, shaving the top third of the cap off. The pre-light draw was slightly firm but free, and had a nice aged tobacco note. I toasted the foot and lit the cigar, taking pleasure in the dense blue-white smoke.