Alec Bradley Cigar Company has its next cigar in the Experimental Series—the Project 40 Maduro. This project follows up the original Project 40 line to continue Alan Rubin’s theory for the “pursuit of happiness.” This cigar is made in a similar mindset of the Project 40, embarking on a darker flavor version of its predecessor.
The Project 40 continues down the experimental pathway, with hopes to influence the cigar smoker’s mindfulness and happiness through premium cigars, while keeping the price in mind.
Project 40 Maduro 05.50 Breakdown
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Brazilian Habano
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: J. Fuego Cigar Co. de Nicaragua (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5″ × 50 (Robusto)
- Price: $5.75 (MSRP)
The Project 40 Maduro is made, like its predecessor, at the J. Fuego Cigar Co. de Nicaragua factory, keeping some uniformity to the Project 40 series. This was once an uncommon manufacturing partner for Alec Bradley, though recent releases have shown a growing partnership between the two. J. Fuego Cigar Co. de Nicaragua has a long history of growing, blending, and making cigars since 1876.
For the Project 40 Maduro, the blend appears nearly identical to its predecessor, including an all-Nicaraguan filler and Brazilian Habano binder. The differentiator—at least on paper—is evidenced with the cigar’s Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper, differing from the Nicaraguan Colorado of the original cigar. And while the original debuted in four sizes, Alec Bradley has opted for three at the time of the Maduro’s release:
- 05.50: 5″ x 50 | $5.75
- 06.52: 6″ x 52 | $6.25
- 06.60: 6″ x 60 | $6.50
The Alec Bradley Project 40 Maduro 05.50 is sized at, as the name implies, 5″ x 50. The packaging stays in line with the Experimental Series, showing a white box with black, maroon, and gold coloring for the emblem. The Project 40 Maduro is darker in color, with a black and maroon band. This label shows “MADURO” in white on the lower portion, as well as a gold “Experimental Series” identifier on the secondary band. This coloration gives a darker, scientific feel to this project. The overall look of a cigar has the appearance of a classic sci-fi government stamp from a laboratory.
The cigar itself has a good feel to it, and seems pretty on point for a robusto. The black, maroon, white, and gold bands complement the dark brown mahogany wrapper, which has a very bold but classic look. The seams are tight and well made with a nice cap. The mahogany-hued wrapper shows some veins, a lack of any noticeable oils, and an overall bumpiness and roughness to the leaf.
The wrapper has a faint wood and leather smell to it, which is fairly uniform from the tip to the foot of the cigar. The pre-light draw has a good resistance—not too loose or firm. The distinct flavors on the pre-light draw are warm, dry, and spicy.
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Project 40 Maduro lights up with instant malty flavor, joined by tones of wood and earth, that starts the smoking experience off very nicely. The first third has a nice malty, rich earthy flavor that stays pronounced. This third smokes nicely, but does not hit you with the level of standout flavors that the original Project 40 displayed. Overall, this section was very enjoyable and easy smoking leading into the bulk of the cigar.
As you get into the second third of the cigar, the maltiness tapers off to a slight saltiness, with some earthy coffee flavors and the development of a smooth black pepper on the retrohale. This transition is pleasant and brings some depth to the experience—a great addition to the cigar that helps pick up your interest during the smoke.
Continuing to the last third of the cigar, the malt has completely faded and the profile becomes more of a smooth spice flavor that is not very strong or harsh. Most of the pepper flavor fades off as well, transitioning to a quiet end in flavor intensity. You are left with a mild earthy component.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Absolutely. This is a truly flavorful cigar that is very affordable, doing a fine job delivering happiness to the palate, as advertised. I believe having a few of these alongside the original Project 40 in your humidor is a fine strategy.
- The cigar itself does not have a lot of smoke output. It has a good, even burn. You can expect a medium–plus body with medium flavor. The ash develops a nice white-to-light gray, staying on through the second third without really trying.
- Overall, the smoke was nice and enjoyable, with good flavors and transitions, but compared to the original Project 40, the Maduro lacked more transitions and vibrance of flavors. This, however, might be what you would expect with the darker wrapper. Towards the end of the cigar, it did start to run a bit hot, which may be the reason for some of the flavors backing off.
- The hard part with any followup to a series (movies, albums, etc.) is that it’s always more difficult to get that excitement or enthusiasm that accompanied the first edition. A challenge for this cigar is how to make it stand out as a maduro. Just like dark-roast coffee or stouts, it can be challenging to bring out complexity through a heartier profile. However, I like where this series is going, and Project 40 Maduro is a great follow up in the collection.
- Flavor: Medium
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium-plus
- Roasted coffee
- Smooth pepper
- Smoke Time: 48 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Coffee | Nut brown ale
- Purchase Recommendation: Keep enough for a spur-of-the-moment smoke (i.e. potential box buy)
- Extremely attractive price point
- Easygoing flavors are very approachable
- Burned slightly hot towards the end
- Smoke time was on the shorter side