Alec Bradley Prensado Robusto

The Trojes revolution that started with the Tempus blend in 2008 is still going strong. Not long after the Tempus was released, Alec Bradley unleashed the Trojes-wrapped SCR (Select Cabinet Reserve) and about a year later the Prensado appeared on the shelves. Since then, leaf from this small Honduran village has almost become synonymous with Alec Bradley.

Las Trojes is a tiny border town about 40 miles east of Danli, the heart of cigar making operations in Honduras. The Jalapa valley is just across the border in Nicaragua, and Esteli is a few more miles down the road, or what passes for a road in this part of the country. This is solid tobacco country, and Alec Bradley seems pretty happy with it. They’ve gone so far as to trademark the name Trojes, so it seems certain that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of this fine leaf.

For the Prensado the blenders have chosen an aged 2006 Corojo wrapper from Trojes, a binder from Jalapa, and a Nicaraguan-Honduran filler combination. The cigar is pressed, which is nothing new for the company (remember the Trilogy?) but this fact is emphasized by the name — prensado means pressed in Spanish.

The cigar is made in the Raices Cubanas factory in Danli, where the Tempus is also made (along with many other cigars for various manufacturers.) Five sizes are in production:

Churchill – 7 x 48
Torpedo – 8 1/8 x 52
Gran Toro – 6 x 54
Corona Gorda – 5 5/8 x 46
Robusto – 5 x 50

Construction Notes

The Prensado Robusto is clearly pressed, but it’s not a severe press — a little more than box-pressed, but not a lot more. The wrapper is a dark colorado maduro with some inconspicuous veins. The head of the cigar is somewhat flat with classic Raices Cubanas finishing, including a smoothly executed triple cap. The draw is excellent and the burn is slow and mostly even. The ash is dirty gray, striated with black, and holds well.

Overall construction: Excellent.

Tasting Notes

The pungency of the pre-light tobacco comes through almost immediately as leather, and the smoke has a lengthy finish from the start. There is a peppery edge to it, which is supplemented by a sweet, nearly fruity accent. It is full-bodied, but smooth.  The combination of flavors here is impressively complex, which is unusual for the first inch of a cigar.

Flavors of cocoa or chocolate emerge after an inch or so into the cigar. The leather remains in the background while the pepper fades a bit. The fruity accent seems to evolve into a minty, cameroon-like flavor. Taken as a whole, the combination of flavors here is really interesting.

The Prensado sails into band territory balanced and smooth, but it still hasn’t completed its voyage. The cocoa takes on a caramel-like tone, over which is laced a touch of vanilla. The cigar gets a bit sharp at the very end, but this is after an hour long journey with some gorgeous vistas.


The Alec Bradley Prensado is a fantastic cigar with a rare combination of complexity, smoothness, and body.  What is even rarer is that it wastes no time in getting to work — from first puff to last there is something to savor here. We’ve all had the “sweet spot” experience, but the Prensado seem to be all sweet spot.  The combination of leather, cocoa, sweetness and spice is extremely well balanced, and the construction is just about perfect.

The robustos are in the 7 to 8 USD range, and I’d say they’re worth the expense. It isn’t often that I enjoy a cigar from beginning to end, so I feel like I definitely got my dollar’s worth out of this one. The only thing I didn’t like about the Prensado is how long it took me to discover it.

Final Score: 93

Other Reviews of Note

The Toasted Foot examines the Robusto

Barry checks out the Robusto for A Cigar Smoker’s Journal

CigarChoice gives the Gran Toro a thumbs up

The Stogie Guys are a little underwhelmed by the Robusto

Ed and Tom award the Torpedo the Stogie Review Seal of Approval™

Alec Bradley Select Cabinet Reserve (SCR)


The Trojes region of Honduras came to attention last year when Alec Bradley released the long-awaited Tempus cigar. Alan Rubin has gone back to Trojes again for the Select Cabinet Reserve, but this time for a more balanced and less powerful blend.

The SCR cigar is made in the same factory as the Tempus — Raices Cubanas in Honduras — and that is a very good thing. And of course the tobaccos themselves are very similar, relying heavily on leaf from Trojes but also employing an Indonesian binder and some filler from Nicaragua.

SCRFootNow, keeping in mind that this area is still in the rich area of Central America that includes both the Jalapa Valley of Nicaragua and the Jamastran of Honduras, the Nicaragua-Honduras distinction might be a little academic. Trojes is equidistant from both Esteli, the capital of Nicaraguan cigar production, and Danli, it’s Honduran equivalent. (More importantly, I wonder if people from Trojes call themselves “Trojens.” Try yelling that when USC comes to play.)

An odd thing about the SCR is its use of two binders: the expected one from Trojes, but also a leaf called “Indonesia Embetunada.” Embetunar means “to polish” or according to my somewhat wonky Diccionario, “to cover with gum-resin or bitumen.” Betún is a common word for shoe polish. What on earth are they doing to this binder?


I haven’t been able to uncover an explanation, but in the cigar world betún is a sweet fermented concoction created from the immersion of tobacco stems and scraps in water or rum or god-knows-what-else to create a sticky black casing. This is then used to treat tobacco leaves for cigars. Sometimes this is a way to artificially darken or flavor maduro wrappers, but in this case it appears to serve a different purpose. Maybe it’s the secret ingredient?

The SCR was released earlier this year in five sizes:

  • Churchill – 7 x 48
  • Robusto – 5 x 50
  • Corona – 5 1/2 x 42
  • Gran Robusto – 5 1/2 x 60
  • Torpedo – 6 1/8 x 52

I smoked the corona and the robusto for this review and was surprised to find that these taste like radically different cigars.

Construction Notes

SCRFootbandsThe huge band on this cigar, accompanied by its smaller foot band, might lead one to believe that this cigar has something to hide. And while it’s true that the dusky colorado maduro wrapper is a bit rough and veiny, it’s not so unattractive that it must be veiled from sight. Sometimes the foot band would slip off easily; other times I had to peel it, and as usual this meant chipping the wrapper at the foot. That is why I hate foot bands.

The roll tended to be inconsistent, but in all cases fair enough with no draw problems. The SCR is topped with a nice triple-cap, which seems to be standard procedure at Raices Cubanas. They’re not the museum quality specimens that roll off Don Pepin’s tables, but they’re attractive nevertheless. Most of these burned a little off-kilter but never needed correction.

Overall very good construction.

Tasting Notes

Frequently a single blend will exhibit distinctive characteristics depending on the size of the cigar, but in this case the difference was extreme. Smaller ring gauges tend to highlight the wrapper, which is usually the most flavorful part of the cigar, and this proved to the corona’s advantage here.


The corona starts up with a spicy sharp flavor that slowly gives rise to smoked meat with a paprika sting on the nose. There is a serious sneeze factor. Eventually the meaty notes mellow a little and turn to leather. The robusto by contrast is much mellower, focusing on wood and leather with none of the zing of the corona.

The mid-section of the corona continues to showcase sweet spicy pepper notes that really rock the sinuses. On the lower end of the scale there is leather and a touch of cinnamon. The spices kick in for the robusto at this point, but are subdued when compared to the corona. Some of the cinnamon shows up in the robusto, but it is dominated by soft woody flavors with a maple syrup-like top note.

The last third of the corona is biting with a long peppery finish and a noticeable nicotine kick. The robusto gets a little more serious, picking up some of the pepper and sneeziness of the corona, but stays pretty mellow for the most part.


I really enjoyed both of these cigars, but to me they seemed almost unrelated to each other. The SCR corona smokes a lot like the Tempus — it’s an expressive and fiery little guy with a lot of spice. The robusto, on the other hand, is more reticent. A little wood, a little leather, and its job is done. The corona shows up with a shot of tequila. The robusto brings a microbrew.

Both are great smokes. I just can’t believe how different they are. I probably liked the robusto a little more because it lives up to the SCR billing: a smoother and more balanced Tempus. And while the corona is a fine smoke as well, you could just as well pick up a Tempus Genesis if this is what you’re after.

I picked up the coronas for around 5 USD per stick. The robustos might run a dollar higher. In either case it’s money well spent.


Final Scores:

Corona: 88

Robusto: 89

Tempus Genesis by Alec Bradley


What initially lured me to the Tempus line of cigars was not the company behind the smoke — Alec Bradley — even though AB rolls out some really nice affordable blends. Nor was it the flashy yet tasteful band. What got me was the factory — Raices Cubanas in Honduras, where they also roll Illusione and Cruzado cigars for Dion Giolito.

So needless to say I was pretty excited to get my hands on a few of these a couple months ago.  By the time I finally acquired them I’d read many favorable reviews and my appetite was whetted. I ripped open the five-pack, put four in the humidor, and reached for my cutter. But wouldn’t you know it. After all that pent up anticipation the first cigar I try is plugged. GAHR!

I tried to smoke it anyway, but after half an hour of fruitless struggle I gave up. With one down and four to go I decided to let the new arrivals unwind for a bit in the humidor. Fast forward a couple months and their performance is either very much improved, or that tight one was an anomaly.

The Genesis is the corona entry in the Tempus lineup. They were originally released (to much acclaim) in May of 2008, along with the standard robusto, torpedo and churchill formats, in addition to a lancero. Recently a large perfecto has been added. In line with the Latin theme (tempus is Latin for time) the vitolas have very Roman sounding frontmarks:

  • Centuria (7 x 49 churchill)
  • Imperator (6.1 x 52 torpedo)
  • Terra Nova (5 x 50 robusto)
  • Creo (7.5 x 41 lancero)
  • Magistri (6.5 x 53 perfecto)
  • Genesis (5.5 x 42 corona)

Alan Rubin, the man behind Alec Bradley, says that the Tempus has been in development since 2001. It has taken that long to work the blend, hence the name Tempus (I presume.) The cigar was built around the wrapper leaf — a rich and bold Honduran Criollo 98.  Beneath the hood there is an Indonesian binder and a blend of corojo and criollo tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua.

The rough and veiny wrapper is lacking in aesthetic appeal, but the complexity of flavor and aroma of the cigar proves once again that looks can be deceiving. The caps on some of these sticks are bumpy and irregular, but they are nicely mounted, some with triple and others quadruple seams.tempus2

I would classify this as a fairly aggressive medium-full bodied cigar. It starts up with a zingy sweet char and a leathery aroma. The flavor is earthy with a good dash of pepper. There is a mild bite on the tongue, but it mellows after about half an inch. At this point the smoke takes on a somewhat musky quality.

Two thirds of the way in and I’m picking up more woody notes — that sweet char remains, but it is augmented by a sweeter, woodier aroma.  The burn is very good, but the ash has a tendency to crack and fall off.  The draw problems I had with that first Genesis are all but a distant memory — the rest of them were just about perfect in that department.

Forty five minutes later and I’m entering the last leg of this corona — the woody core is still beating strong, accompanied now by a return of that initial peppery spice. The aroma retains that musky element that cropped up early on, but now there’s a sweet corojo-like caramel edge to it.

This cigar is best approached slowly — smoking it quickly, or pulling on it too forcefully, results in a smoke that is both more aggressive and less complex than it should be. There’s a decent kick to this smoke as well, but nothing that warrants concern. My only complaint was that it wasn’t quite as smooth as I had hoped, but smoking slowly helped to minimize the bite.

Overall I’d say the Tempus Genesis offers a lot of complexity in a small package, but it lacks gentility, and there may be some consistency issues in construction.

And who knows? Maybe the rough edges on this cigar will be tempered by time… so to speak. In any case, with its very reasonable price (in the 6 to 10 USD range) and fantastic aroma I will most definitely be trying some other sizes in the line.


Final score: 87


Other Reviews of Note:

Her Humidor reviews the Genesis

Brian’s take on the Terra Nova for the Stogie Review

Jamie endangers his designer cut-off t-shirt with the Genesis

Cigar Bastard objects and Cigar Monkey sustains.