A couple months ago I was bidding on boxes of Toraño 1916 Cameroons and having no luck at all. The 1916 is probably my favorite Cameroon, but being the frugal and wise consumer that I am (i.e. cheap bastard) I started looking around for alternatives. I read somewhere that Toraño makes the Trilogy Cameroon for Alec Bradley, so I thought it might come close to the 1916. I've liked all the other AB cigars I've tried, so why not give the Trilogy Cam a shot? The price was right –not cheap, but reasonable.
The Alec Bradley company is named after the sons of Alan Rubin, the chief of the Alec Bradley company. Rubin started the company at the height of the cigar boom, in 1996, and when the boom went bust he somehow survived a market flooded with cigars. (Perhaps the secret to his success is that many of these cigars were garbage and he was simply offering a superior brand.) One of those brands was the Occidental Reserve, blended by Henke Kelner of Davidoff, which helped to establish the company.
The Trilogy is named such because from 2002 to 2004 it was "tri-pressed," meaning it was three-sided. An interesting gimmick that some smokers appreciated for the way the cigar fit in the hand. The roll was changed in 2005 and is now round.
An interesting blend is used for the Trilogy Cameroon:
- Wrapper from Cameroon (Native Cameroon, as opposed to Central African?)
- Binder from Honduras
- Filler from Italy and Nicaragua
It's a nice looking cigar with a mildly toothy wrapper that is nearly maduro in color.
The initial burn is even and soon I have an inch of solid light gray ash to admire. The spice from the cameroon is an accent flavor, the way I like it. It's a nice complement to a medium bodied blend that has a woody, slightly leathery base. No particular flavor jumps out at me, just a well blended tobacco flavor that results in a nice smooth smoke.
The Trilogy is not as earthy or distinctive as my benchmark Cameroon, the 1916. The last third of the Trilogy is a little finicky– it burns hot, and pulling too often results in a bitter taste. Aside from that, it's a well made, balanced cigar with great spicy cameroon overtones that don't overpower the rest of the cigar.
And they're available for just under 3 USD. Close, but not quite a "bargain cigar."