Alec Bradley Project 40 Experimental Series Maduro: Can cigars make you feel better?
We have all heard the anecdotal evidence that smoking cigars can lower blood pressure, improve your mood and reduce stress. I know that for me, lighting up and smoking a cigar focuses my mind and puts everything that has vexed me over the day into place. When a cigar such as the Alec Bradley Project 40 Experimental Series comes to market with the express promise “to find a deeper understanding as to why cigars have a positive cognitive impact on the mind and body” my interest was well and truly piqued.
I was lucky enough to smoke the Project 40 Natural Blue band back in January 2021 and still remember how its subtle flavour entranced me and I felt the world slow down for me. When I was offered the opportunity to smoke the new Project 40 Maduro, I couldn’t say no.
Over the years, when given the choice of wrappers I have erred more towards the darker coloured maduro ones. Something about the balance of subtle sweetness and strength that they can bring to cigar is very appealing to me. It was with some excitement that I slipped the Alec Bradley Project 40 Experimental Series Maduro from its cellophane.
Handling the cigar left a lovely moisturising oil on my fingers and the dark chocolate wrapper looked even and appetising. It felt beautifully packed from head to foot and aromas of cocoa and honey further enticed me to cut and light the cigar. The cold draw was medium tight and revealed some cocoa notes leaving the familiar maduro sweetness on my lips.
My first draws brought forth a wonderous amount creamy aromatic smoke and dried fruit, warm spices and hints of nuttiness danced over my tongue. Slowly smoking my way through the first third, an undertone of mild coffee joined the mix with subtle notes of fresh green herbs like tarragon and parsley peeking in from time to time. With such a strong opening salvo I had high hopes for rest of the cigar.
More often than not, I pair my cigars with a cocktail or neat spirit. I thought about mixing myself an Elderflower Gin and Tonic or an English Garden Martini, but neither of them appealed to me this time. Instead, I brewed myself a cup of camomile tea to go with my Alec Bradley Project 40 Experimental Series Maduro. Perhaps this was the ethos behind the cigar kicking in, but the pairing worked really well.
The middle third continued the delicious, albeit subtle flavours. Sweet mixed spice did an intricate dance with mocha choca coffee cake. The fluffy, creamy smoke filled the air with aromas of floral incense and the ash was a perfect snow white with a burn line that was as straight as a die.
A little over an hour into the Project 40 as I was getting to the final third the flavour changed dramatically. What had been subtle and nuanced within a couple of draws became strong and in my face. The spices became more savoury and hotter and the coffee changed from a gentle Sunday morning latte, to a full on, dark roast double espresso. The sweetness remained for a while in the form of bonfire toffee, but an intense bitterness started to take over.
Having given the cigar a good blow through, and seeing an impressive amount of red, yellow and orange flames appear from the foot, the flavour did clean up again. With my enjoyment of the cigar renewed, I daggered it and continued to savour the flavours. Alas this enjoyment didn’t last very long as the bitterness returned and with nearly an inch of the Project 40 left, I laid it to rest in my ashtray.
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Alec Bradley Project 40 Experimental Series Maduro Cigar Details
Alec Bradley Project 40 Experimental Series Maduro Review Summary
This was a beautiful cigar up until the last 2cm. Unfortunately an unpleasant bitterness started to develop that didn’t subside despite a good blow through which was a disappointing end to a cigar that had started out so strongly.
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