Back in March of 2017, Alec Bradley Cigars announced the release of the Black Market Illicit cigar. This cigar was released in the summer of 2017 as part of the Tobacconists’ Association of America’s (TAA) 2017 exclusive series.
In the press release the company Alan Rubin, owner of Alec Bradley Cigar Company, stated:
“This is the first exclusive series cigar Alec Bradley has developed for TAA retailers since we introduced the Prensado Figurado in 2013.
We like to describe this iteration of our number one-selling cigar as Black Market ‘on steroids.’ True to its name, Black Market Illicit embodies the characteristics that have earned its namesake consistent ratings of 90 among cigar enthusiasts around the world. This iteration was specially designed to cater to TAA’s exclusive network of retailers.”
For those that are not familiar with the TAA, it is a trade organization established in 1968 by seven visionary retail tobacconists. The TAA has three primary objectives:
- To establish a forum where members can exchange information and share solutions to mutual problems.
- To be represented by experienced tobacconists who promote professionalism in the industry through training and exercising fiscal responsibility. The representatives are full-line tobacco retailers who wholeheartedly comply with applicable state and local laws, are well established in the industry and the community.
- To function as a buying group that takes advantage of industry close-outs and passes huge savings to members, and provides high-quality cigars and pipes manufactured by TAA associate members.
Each year the TAA works with select cigar manufacturers to produce “TAA Exclusive Cigars” that are available only through TAA member retailers.
One of those TAA member retailers is Smoke Inn and at their 2018 Great Smoke event, is where I came upon the Alec Bradley Black Market Illicit which is a 2017 TAA exclusive cigar.
The Black Market Illicit is available in a single 6 x 50 Toro and retails for $8.75 USD.
The blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Nicaragua
- Dual Binder – Honduras & Nicaragua
- Filler – Nicaragua
For those that like the Alec Bradley Black Market line this is one you should get your hands on.
The Alec Bradley Black Market Illicit is certainly a gorgeous cigar to examine. It has a rich and oily dark brown marbled wrapper finished with double cap. There are minimal veins and closer examination shows terrific vein network through the leaf. The cigar is packed well and has the right weight in the hand for its size. This is truly a beautiful looking cigar that’s for sure!
The cigar is adorned with large TAA exclusive outer sleeve that was a bit difficult to remove. Once removed, there was band hiding under the sleeve 3/4 of the way down the shaft. That was interesting. I wanted to slide it up but it was applied to tight and I did not want to harm the wrapper. The band itself uses a black, red, and white motif with the white words Alec Bradley printed over a black background and what I would describe as a rubber stamped “ILLICIT” printed in white over a red background.
Besides the awesome look of the cigar the pre-light aromas were to die for. The foot exuded rich mocha aromas that were sweet and deliciously enticing. There was not much aroma along the barrel. Let me go back and sniff the foot again, wow I want to eat this it smells that good.
I sliced the cap with ease and the cold draw was tightly restricted but delivered a fun mix of pepper, chocolate, nut, and fruit. The pepper found a way to increase on the palate as I rolled it about.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial light brought less pepper than I was expecting through a tighter than normal draw
- Oils on the wrapper are just flowing as if hitting a well head
- The burn is slow and even with a well-formed salt and pepper ash
- Smooth coffee and cocoa notes really start the journey
- Removing the primary band I notice a small tear in the wrapper – did not impact the smoking experience
- Draw starts to open up after an inch and a half
- Ash is still solid and the burn remains even with a medium thick char line
- Gentle spice laces the profile
- Ash gently fell after a decent burn
- Perfectly centered and slightly pointed burn cone
- Flavor maintains into the second third
- Oils are gushing at this point
- Spicy nut aroma
- Smoke volume has increased
- Slight bitter coffee bean enters end of second third
- Vanilla blends in toning down the bitterness
- Sweetness joins the mix
- Spice has subsided
- Slight off burn entering final third
- Cedar notes enter
- The final third is really opening with flavors
- Burn fixed itself
- Nut aroma is maintained
- Sour cherry notes greet the palate
- Earthy and savory notes complete the final inch
- Strength was medium to full
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 45 minutes
Overall, the Alec Bradley Black Market Illicit gave me a long and pleasurable smoke. The flavors were full and the burn was excellent. The early restriction did not impact the experience and eventually the smoke volume was to my liking. My only complaint was how long it took for the flavor bank to open up but then again patience is a virtue even if you are an Illicit cigar smoker.