Cigars with interesting backstories: Alec Bradley Magic Toast

April 28, 2023

Sometimes the cigars in our humidors are born from the most unlikely inspiration. Whether you’re drawn in by its name, cigar band, or a unique blend of tobaccos, it’s fascinating to know how it evolves from the manufacturer’s mind into the hands of cigar lovers.

While not every cigar has a backstory deserving of front-page headlines, we will look at some of our favorite smokes that have been created from barely-believable experiences.

The first in our mini-series brings us to the Alec Bradley Magic Toast — an enchanted cigar that came out of the left field — a tobacco field in Honduras, to be precise. Before discussing its fascinating origin, let’s learn a little more about the brand.

An overview of Alec Bradley

Alan Rubin established Alec Bradley Cigars in 1996, naming the brand after his two sons, Alec and Bradley. He also leaned on his father’s advice that companies beginning with the letter ‘A’ stood out in alphabetical listings.

Rubin’s passion for one of the finer things in life stemmed from a trip to Europe, where he first had the satisfaction of smoking high-quality cigars. After he and his father sold their hardware (nuts and bolts) company, the world of cigars called out to Alan.

After attending the 1996 Retail Tobacco Dealers of America trade show, Rubin partnered with a small manufacturer in Honduras who agreed to produce cigars for him. Alec Bradley’s first cigars turned out to be unprofitable, with failed schemes at importing stogies for sale on golf courses (Bogey’s Stogies) and flavored after-dinner cigars.

By the spring of 1999, Rubin was burdened with around $60,000 of debt and facing an early exit from the industry. Thankfully, a chance meeting with industry professional Ralph Montero (now Alec Bradley’s executive vice-president) led Rubin to Henke Kelner — a cigarmaker for a brand associated with true luxury — Davidoff.

Montero and Rubin scraped together enough money to launch a new product line called Occidental Reserve (with the assistance of Kelner). Named after Kelner’s factory in the Dominican Republic, its mellow Dominican fillers make for a great starter cigar. More importantly, it kept Rubin afloat. Around 500 silver mailing tubes containing two cigars were sent to retailers with no price list. This strategy helped Alec Bradley Cigars acquire around 300 new customers, and from this point onwards, the company didn’t look back.

Their subsequent two releases — a triangular cigar called The Trilogy and a three-nation blend smoke with a complex palate of spices known as the Alec Bradley Maxx was well received.

However, the rich and hearty Alec Bradley Tempus gave the company the exposure it sought, gaining the accolade of a 94/100 rating from the Cigar Aficionado publication.

Almost a decade on, up popped the Magic Toast. But how did this magical smoke come to light?

Smoking the Alec Bradley Magic Toast

  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Strength: Medium – Full
  • Wrapper: Honduras
  • Binder: Honduras / Nicaragua
  • Filler: Honduras / Nicaragua
  • Sizes Available:

A cigar well worthy of a place in your box of magic tricks, the Alec Bradley Magic Toast cigar is malty and rich with a pre-light aroma of damp earth, vanilla, and barnyard. Dressed in a dark and oily Honduran Maduro wrapper, it has an impressively rich, dark flavor profile with a sweet finish that delivers notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.

The toasty opening delivers black pepper, sweet earth, and leather, with hints of barbecue on the nose. Towards the midpoint, a touch of acidity is welcomed to the Magic Toast’s profile in the shape of black coffee and citrus peel. The pepper lightens, while gritty earth, dark chocolate, and rich wood ensure the smoke is still deep and full-bodied.

The complexity and balance between the savory and sweet flavors continue into the final third. The chocolate is now like malted milk chocolate, adding a softness and almost caramel gloss to the stronger hints of coffee and earth. Some cured meat is initially present in the cold draw that can be picked up to add a salty taste to the many flavor transitions throughout this smoke.

We recommend smoking the Magic Toast slowly so you can enjoy its complexity. Its malty character pairs well with a rich stout and makes for a fantastic evening “toast” for an experienced smoker.

There’s no doubt that Rubin and Montero produced some magic with this blend, and you can experience it alongside many more magical smokes at

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