Alec Bradley’s anticipated spring release of its candela is still on schedule, but the green cigars will be hitting shelves with a different name at the request of a fellow veteran. The Alec Bradley “Dirty Hooligan” has been renamed “Filthy Hooligan” as a gesture from Alec Bradley owner Alan Rubin to longtime friend Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate fame.
“I had to make a decision that was based on integrity,” says Rubin, who explained that he received a text message Saturday from Drew, a long-time friend who explained that the “Dirty” name was important to the marketing of several of Drew Estate’s products. Rubin and his staff decided Monday to scrap the name. “The product is good enough to sell on its own, no matter what we called it,” says Rubin.
With labels and boxes already in the early stages of production, the sudden change has financial repercussions. Rubin said he already had plates, boxes, and T-shirts in print. But Rubin is taking those things in stride. “We view the friendship as more important and the relationship as more important,” said Sam Phillips, vice president of marketing.
While the packaging has been changed to reflect the adjustment in name, the cigars themselves will stay the same. The bunch is essentially the same as the Black Market blend from which it is a descendant: a double binder, one leaf Honduran, the other Nicaraguan, and filler tobaccos from Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The only tweak was “a bit of extra Panama” according to Phillips, who describes the flavor of the smoke as having some very light white pepper undertones. The wrapper is a vibrant green Nicaraguan leaf cured by the Plasencias in Nicaragua.
Rubin says a candela has been in the pipeline for years, but last year they found the leaf they wanted with Nestor Plasencia’s Nicaraguan production. Rubin says of the wrapper, “It has a life to it—it’s not thick and bitter, but it’s lively.”
As with many candelas that come to market, the Filthy Hooligan cigar is a limited release project for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Just one size—a 6 inch by 50 ring Toro—is being released for now, and only 2,000 boxes of 22 cigars each are going to market.