Saturday, December 31, 2011

Alec Bradley Tempus Medius 6

Alec Bradley Tempus (Medius 6)

Fatal Halo Rating

Price: $10.00
Burn Time: 1.5 hrs.
Indonesian Binder
Honduran & Nicaraguan Filler
Honduran-Grown Habano Wrapper

I was drawn to this cigar after reading some decent reviews on it in a few magazines and saw that it paired up well with some choice beverages.  Cigar Aficionado gave this one a "94" rating, so I was expecting a lot from it.  There were a number of different styles and sizes of this line when I found it in the shop, but I settled on the Medius 6 as I felt it would offer a fairly long smoke so that I could really take my time enjoying the flavors as it burned.

Pre-Smoke Analysis

The cigar seemed to be of excellent construction.  I had to dig through a few sticks before I found one where the wrapper wasn’t starting to unravel – but I’ll attribute that to vendor responsibility instead of to cigar construction.  The stick I did find seemed to be seamless with very few leaf veins throughout.  It had a smooth texture – almost as if it had a thin, invisible powder coating the wrapper.  There were no noticeable soft spots and it appeared to be double or triple-capped at the top.  The foot gave off a nice aroma and the appearance of the cigar as a whole was very enticing.

The First Third

I was a little disappointed when I trimmed the cap because it frayed a bit.  It seemed to kind of pop off as I clipped and tobacco remnants spilled out all over the counter.  I assumed this may be because the wrapper was a little dry (which may explain why I had trouble selecting a decent stick in the humidor), but the rest of the cigar seemed to keep its form pretty well.  One of my pet peeves with cigars is always feeling a piece of a frayed cap on my lips when I take a draw off of it, so I did the best I could to repair the fray and continued on with my smoke.

From the first draw, I could immediately taste a potent spice and pepper blend that really woke me up.  Not overpowering, but definitely a statement by the cigar that lets you know it’s got legs to stand on.  The initial pop of flavor quickly mellows out though and some more subtle flavors started taking their turns on my palate.  Leather, chocolate and earthy spices dominated with occasional hints of incense.  Drawing from the cigar was extremely cool and smooth and it produced a rich, creamy smoke.  Solid and strong white ash held its form nicely and it burned evenly.

The Second Third

As I approached the second third of the cigar, it began to canoe a little.  I corrected it with a couple matches, but it definitely wasn’t keeping burn as uniformly as it did at first.  The thickness of the smoke was starting to diminish a little and it settled into a solid medium-body cigar.  The flavor became sweeter and more pronounced with woody, cedar tones starting to take over and plateaued to a very smooth taste.

Burning Out

As I finished out the cigar a lot of the initial flavor resurfaced at the end – maintaining its medium-body, but delivering a very solid reminder of what impressed me at the start.  I was still continuing to have problems with the cigar canoeing and spent more time correcting it than I would have liked and the cigar did eventually burn out before I smoked it down as far as I would have if it had not.  It just wasn’t keeping a flame past a certain point, but I did get a decent experience out of it first.  The flavors were pretty consistent throughout – and while there weren’t any notable changes in aroma or flavor after the initial burn, it was an enjoyable smoke for the most part.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I did enjoy this cigar and have nothing really bad to say about it – however, that is not to say that there were not a few issues that kept me from giving this an “A” rating.  My first concern was how dry the wrapper seemed to be when I clipped the cap.  It kind of seemed to explode off the stick and the dusty remnants of tobacco all over the place made me feel that it was going to burn quickly and unevenly.  That didn’t really tend to be the case, but the frayed cap the clipping left behind was a little disappointing.  The burn itself seemed to start off well, but it really detracts from the enjoyment of the cigar if you’re constantly checking and correcting the burn like I had to do toward the middle of the stick.  It didn’t seem to detract from the aroma or the taste at all and so I’m not knocking it for that – but I can’t ignore that it detracted from the overall experience.  Was it cigar construction, vendor storage or operator error?  Who knows.  Maybe a combination of all three.

The fact that it became harder to keep lit toward the end of the smoke and that it eventually extinguished itself was disappointing as well.  The taste was becoming just a little bit bitter, but the cigar seemed to retain its physical strength of construction right to the end.  For every issue I had with it, there was something rewarding stepping up as compensation and so I had very mixed feelings about this cigar upon finishing it.  I think I have to give it the benefit of the doubt that it is a great cigar – and I think I’ll have to try another one from another shop sometime to see if maybe that makes a difference.  Until then, the best rating I can give it is a “B” – only for what seems attributable to condition that were beyond noticeable control.

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