Two weeks ago I enjoyed an Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill — a new arrival to my preferred smoke shop, Grand River Cigar. These sticks came highly recommended; in fact, this cigar earned the coveted No. 1 ranking for 2011 from Cigar Aficianado. With a Honduran wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Honduran/Nicaraguan filler blend, these 7×48 cigars presented well. The lightly box-pressed product enticed with its dark, slightly oily glow and elegant band.
Cigar Aficianado scored these cigars at a 96, stressing their overall flavor as a key part of the ranking — the raters detected “chocolate, leather and spice notes.” Perhaps. Although I thought the A.B. Prensado Churchill was a highly enjoyable smoke, I didn’t find it as complex and flavorful as CA did. The cigar seemed “strong” in a nicotine sense, although not at all harsh on the tongue. I didn’t detect any significant notes that I could clearly identify. It wasn’t a bland cigar, but no matter how hard you pressed me I couldn’t associate specific notes to it.
The Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill presented well, burned evenly, tasted fine and featured a moderate price point. For the money, I’ll certainly include it in my ordinary lineup when I head to the smoke shop. But a 96 rating? Color me skeptical.
Listen to this coming week’s podcast for an audio review of this cigar, as well as some commentary between Jason and Tony about some of the criticisms of CA’s rating standards that we’ve encountered.