Alec Bradley, by the way, is named after founder Alan Rubin‘s two sons. He named the cigar, however, after the lengthy amount of time it took to craft and perfect it.
“Back in 2001, while visiting a small farm tucked away in a valley on the Honduran-Nicaraguan border, I was shown a wrapper leaf being harvested in very limited quantities,” Rubin told Cigar Weekly in 2008 when Tempus hit the market.
“Grown on just a few acres and not intended for commercial production, I knew this wrapper was something special. Over the next several years, I worked very closely with the farmer and purchased only the best wrapper from each harvest. … These harvests have been small and not mass-produced by the ‘commercial’ growers usually tapped for such a project.”
Only the best 20 percent of old-school rollers at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras get to participate in making this cigar. It’s the same factory that produces Illusione cigars, for what it’s worth. And the construction is extra robust, with a triple cap to finish the wrapper.
The “Quadrum” Tempus vitola is a box pressed, square-shaped masterpiece with lots of punch and a peppery finish. I picked up a 5-pack at Cigars.com for less than $20.00, which is better than half off the retail price.
The Alec Bradley website says the Tempus line’s wrapper and binder leaf, and half of the filler, is sourced from the Las Trojes region on Honduras. (The rest of the filler blend is Nicaraguan.) But many cigar marketers report that it’s made with an Indonesian binder — which would make sense since it’s among the more neutral binder leaves in the world. I’m assuming the Tempus began with the Indonesian binder and no longer uses it.
In my opinion, it’s hard to find a better smoke right now — although the Alec Bradley Prensado line is getting a lot of amazing press too.
The Tempus is smooth, creamy and earthy with a late-onset cherry flavor and a nutty finish that matures into full pepper in the last third. I had to re-light it once near the end, but I’ll take the blame for that since I was so busy editing our reporters that I forgot about the cigar for about ten minutes. I’ll note that it was a long smoke — 90 minutes for a 5.5-inch x 50 longish robusto.
Its construction is near-perfect, with a non-toothy but moderately veiny wrapper, rock-solid visible seams, and that triple cap that make it easy to cut and easier to smoke. If you need a visible demonstration of how a cigar roller “caps” a stogie, see my video from the JC Newman Cigar Factory in Tampa. (RELATED: Cigar Hunter: ‘Hecho a mano’ in Tampa)
The box-press shape adds to the experience, since it’s unusual and both easy to hold and impossible to roll away in an ashtray — especially one perched on your dashboard. (Don’t judge. You probably do this too.)
None of Ovid’s poems talk about tobacco, of course, since he died about 1,500 years before the plant found its way to Europe. But his stuff is fully of heady themes like love and betrayal, punishment and reward, fate, and the folk-tale origins of everything from laurel wreaths and crow’s feathers to ancient Rome itself.
If that doesn’t sound like the stuff of a creative cigar marketing campaign, I’ve been reading the wrong magazines.