The Alec Bradley – Select Cabinet Reserve (SCR), released earlier in 2009, is a slightly mellower compliment to their Tempus. Alan Rubin, President of Alec Bradley Cigars, describes the SCR as having fewer spikes and peaks in the flavor profile, and having more balance than the Tempus. Made in Honduras at Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas S. de R.L., the SCR is being released in five vitollas: Robusto (5 x 50), Gran Robusto (5 ½ x 60), Corona (5 ½ x 42), Torpedo (6 1/8 x 52), and Churchill (7 x 48) in boxes of twenty cigars each. They are made with a Trojes, Honduran wrapper; Trojes, Honduran and Indonesia Embetunada binders; and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. They are reasonably priced, varying approximately in the $6 - $12 range depending on the taxes and other penalties in your area. For this review, I smoked the Robusto.
The SCR had a good-looking wrapper that I place around Colorado Rosado in color without mentionable flaws and a slightly toothy texture. The body was firm and didn’t have any soft spots or knots. It had a sweet and mild tobacco pre-light aroma with what I thought was a distinct cedar note, which I originally attributed to marrying in my humidor. I made a straight-cut with scissors and tested the pre-light draw and taste, which was smooth with slightly sweet and woody notes, respectively.
The SCR lit easily and produced an attractive blue smoke, which was very smooth during retro-exhalation. It burned with remarkable evenness and left behind a medium-grey ash, which was crisp and held on for over two inches before dropping off on its own. As I smoked the first one-third, I detected a woody flavor and the slightest spicy tingle on top of the tongue about ½ inch from the tip. As it approached the end of the first third, a subtle spice emerged which enveloped the tongue and the inside of the lips. Right around 1 ½ inches in I thought I began to detect subtle leathery notes as well but was not able to be certain.
Throughout the middle third the SCR maintained its excellent balance and woody flavor, which seemed to take on a more distinctly cedar quality. This made me wonder about the pre-light cedar aroma, which I had originally attributed to the humidor, but was now thinking may have been more a characteristic of the cigar itself. A little past half-way, the burn became a bit uneven and required some touching up; however, at the time it was pouring rain so the humidity was maxed-out and in all likelyhood was the culprit. Especially when you consider how even it had been up to that point. Once into the final third the spice became more pronounced but never the least bit overwhelming, and the aforementioned woodiness and overall balance continued to dominate through the slightly spicy finish.
In my opinion, the Alec Bradley – SCR is an excellent, medium bodied smoke, which is best defined by its balance and somewhat mellow character. It is a good cigar for mid-day but still has all the qualities to make it just right for later in the evening and even after-dinner or with a beverage of choice. George Sosa, National Sales Director, told me that Alec Bradley is an, “up and comer.” I have to not only agree, but say they are defining their place in the world of premium cigars.