Cigar Review: Sanctum by Alec Bradley

Sanctum by Alec Bradley


The Alec Bradley Sanctum Robusto (5 x 52) was acquired while I visited the Alec Bradley booth at the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show in New Orleans, LA. It was blended by Alec Bradley Cigar Company’s Executive Vice-President, Ralph Montero. The word “Sanctum” is defined as “a sacred place, especially a shrine within a temple or church” or “a private place from which most people are excluded.” The Alec Bradley Sanctum is a very special cigar to the company. Perhaps it is perceived that wherever the cigar is smoked it will bring peace and serenity to its smoker. It could be that the cigar is a personal sentiment towards the company’s owner, Alan Rubin.
Alan Rubin started Alec Bradley Cigar Company, named after his two children, Alec and Bradley, after his father sold the family business importing hardware supplies and hurricane shutters in Florida in the mid-1990’s. He began manufacturing his first cigars in 1997 in Honduras with a small company he acquainted himself with at a trade show in 1996. After two years, the resulting outcome proved to be less than satisfying leaving Mr. Rubin $60,000 in debt.
At the turn of the century, Mr. Rubin met Ralph Montero, who had become a cigar industry professional throughout his own path in life. Mr. Montero helped Mr. Rubin start new lines of cigars such as “Occidental Reserve” and “Trilogy.” They received some help from Davidoff’s Henke Kelner with the launch of the “Occidental Reserve” line.
In 2005, Alec Bradley Cigar Company released a new blend called “Maxx.” This creation, along with the interesting triangular-shaped “Trilogy,” helped to boost profits for the struggling company. Consumers began to recognize the Alec Bradley name in cigars.
In 2007, they released their greatest cigar line, “Tempus,” which caused Alec Bradley to gain much popularity amongst cigar connoisseurs and enthusiasts.
Since then, although based out of Dania Beach, FL, Alec Bradley has manufactured other new blends using manufacturers from Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.
The company achieved Cigar Aficionado’s #1 rating in 2011 with their Prensado line skyrocketing the brand to world-renowned popularity.
It isn’t known why the name “Sanctum” was chosen for this blend. There are many reasons behind it. The Alec Bradley Sanctum may very well become the next top-rated sanctum cigar, or in hopes of. Let’s take a look at what makes this four-country cigar so special: it consists of a Honduran Corojo wrapper with a Costa Rican binder followed by fillers from Columbia, Honduras, and Nicaragua. They are manufactured in four sizes: Robusto (5 x 52), Toro (6 x 52), Gordo (6 x 60), and Double Gordo (8 1/2 x 60.) They are packaged in beautiful boxes of 20 cigars.

The Review

Today, we’ll be reviewing the Robusto size. After 5 months of humidor time it’s ready to come out and play. The wrapper has a nice light brown/tan color with no veins. The seams are very tight. It is silky smooth to the touch as my fingers graze across the wrapper leaf. Upon squeezing, the cigar is hard with very minimal softness to it. I don’t want to squeeze too hard and cause the wrapper to crack. The wrapper smells of wood and leather. The open foot has an aroma of tobacco and wood. The straight cutter was used and went straight through without a hitch. The cold draw is bringing sweet tobacco, leather, and pepper to the palate. It includes a double band. The top band is very intricate with designs in gold, white, black, and red. The front displays “Alec Bradley” in white lettering in a black strip of background on the top of the band while the bottom is something similar. The bottom has the word “Sanctum” in white lettering in a black strip of background. In the center is a red oval containing the white letters “AB” and a white 4-point crown above the “AB” in the center of the red oval. The red oval is surrounded by intricate designs in white and gold coloring. Above the “Alec Bradley” inscription are the Roman Numerals “XCVI” in white lettering inside of a small black background design. There are identical structures appearing to be castles flanking either side of the front portrait of the band. Where the ends of the band meet there are designs of birds standing on tree limbs with wings out. Back to the front of the band, there are words in each of the four corners spelling out “Created For Those Special Moments.” Underneath the presenting band is a single pure black shiny secondary band with no design on it. Let’s light up!

The toasting/lighting of the Alec Bradley Sanctum went nicely and easily. There are flavors of slight pepper, wood, and nuts on the initial few puffs. After the first half-inch, there are notes of coffee entering the profile. Once the first inch had been burned, there is leather and tobacco added to the palette. The ash is a nice tight white hue all the way around the circumference at the 1 1/2 inch mark. As the first third draws to a close, the slight pepper has left the scene leaving the wood, nuts, and coffee. The leather and tobacco are lying in the background. The burn time for this first portion has been 25 minutes.

The start of the middle part of the smoke still has the ash playing in the game. It’s holding on to its white color. About midway through this piece of the stick the ash finally fell with a good thump on the ground. The coffee flavor has subsided itself leaving the wood, nuts, and leather as the top flavors in the profile. The tobacco still lingers in the backdrop. There is some slight pepper on the lips. So far, this smoke has been a medium-bodied stick with medium flavor. It’s putting out ample amounts of smoke. I think 5 months in the humidor has done this cigar some good. It’s a very tasty and smooth cigar to smoke with nice flavors coming out of it. The burn line has been ok with one side burning slightly quicker than the other, but without disturbing the integrity of the smoke. Closing in on the last of the second third, the flavors have weakened, but there are still notes of nuts, leather, tobacco, and wood. The wood and tobacco have traded places with the wood now being a background player and the tobacco being towards the front with the nuts and leather. The second ash is now more of a gray color and holding at about an inch in length. The burn line still a little bit off. The middle section of the smoke has taken another 25 minutes to burn through.
The last third is bringing a slight caramel taste to the cigar experience along with the other flavors in the stick. There is still some slight pepper on the lips at this point. The flavors have come back slightly stronger. The burn line is evening itself out without any of my assistance. The gray ash is still holding strong at nearly two inches long. The nuts have fallen to a background flavor and the wood, leather, tobacco, and caramel are the front tastes on the palate. The second ash has grounded itself at nearly the end of the last third of this cigar. Although still a little jagged, the burn line has evened itself out completely by the last few puffs of the cigar. When the stick was put down, there were flavors of wood, leather, tobacco, caramel, and slight nuts in the profile. The burn time was another 25 minutes for this last third.


The Alec Bradley Sanctum was a wonderful cigar to smoke. It had a great flavor profile with slight pepper, wood, leather, nuts, coffee, tobacco, and caramel with a medium-body and medium flavor. The one hour and fifteen minute smoke time was a smooth and enjoyable experience. The burn line was slightly off-center, but evened out towards the end with no touch-ups required. There were no other flaws in the smoke. The construction was nothing less than perfect. This cigar would be highly recommended for a great flavor experience. The Alec Bradley Sanctum is available at retailers now. Till next time, my friends.

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