MAXX by Alec Bradley Steve R Is anybody else sick of seeing Paris Hilton on the news every minute of the day? In jail, outta jail, in jail, finding God, changing her life...who cares?! It’s sickening. Last night I turned on the television to see yet another report on the status of Princess Parasite, a clip of her being carted away in a squad car crying her eyes out. After watching just long enough for a sheepish smile to creep over my face, I quickly grew ill and retired to the sights and sounds of Downtown Bethlehem with a big, fat cigar. The cigar of choice, MAXX by Alec Bradley in ‘The Freak’ size. At 6.3” x 60, this cigar is a monster. An over-stuffed toro that guarantees an extra-long break from the daily grind. Normally I wouldn’t choose a cigar of this size for a daily smoke, but part of my job is writing the newsletter for our Cigar of the Month Club, which involves the cigar write-ups. You guessed it...MAXX is part of next month’s selection, along with 3 other fantastic cigars. And so, I am going to kill two birds with one stone! MAXX is an intriguing cigar made in Nestor Plasencia’s Honduran factory, El Paraiso, for Alec Bradley. Each of the five vitolas is unique, sporting juiced-up proportions to maximize the flavor produced by its already complex blend of tobaccos. This includes a 4-country blend of long-fillers (Columbia, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico) bound by a Costa Rican leaf, all hugged by an attractive Nicaraguan maduro. Oh my! I now sit at my desk with another 'Freak' in front me. Aesthetically, the cigar might bring a tear to your eye. The wrapper is dark and oily, with minimal veins, consistent color, and a well-applied double-cap. As expected, it’s very heavy in the hand and the roll is solid from head to toe. The pre-light aroma smells like baked bread, with some spice tingling through the nose. I had to use Brandon's Swiss Army Knife Cigar Scissors to cut this bad boy, and upon doing so, noticed a nice pre-light draw with just enough resistance. I lit up with about 20 minutes to go here at the office before I cut out for a quick round of 9 holes, our CI Golf League is in full swing! The ‘Freak’ opens with a rich, toasty blast of flavor that coats the entire palate. The aftertaste is long and enjoyable, with a robust, tobacco flavor that seems to cling to my taste buds. Throughout the smoke, a variety of flavors hit different parts of the palate. The dark maduro leaf leaves behind a sweetness on the tip of the tongue and lips. On the sides of the palate, I note a deep, woody flavor, especially during the first third. Then, as I approached the 2nd tee, I picked up something really interesting - yes I already have one hole under my belt and I am still have plenty of cigar to go. It was just past the midway point when this happened. While rolling the smoke around in my mouth, the back of my palate began to pick up a meaty flavor, almost like stewed beef. Weird, yes, but pleasant and surprisingly fitting, considering how ‘meaty’ this cigar is in stature. This flavor was prominent until the last inch, when I decided to set the cigar down one final time after 3-putting on the 6th tee. MAXX is a beast. In both the size and flavor departments. But, it’s far from overpowering. Definitely a medium-bodied smoke with balanced layers of rich, toasty flavors that evolve during the burn. Truth be told, I first had this cigar in the FIX size about a year ago, and instantly knew it would be a hit among customers due to its level of complexity. Considering the price, it’d be silly not to give this cigar a shot. And, it gets better...Alec Bradley will be introducing a new size, the Nano, which is a smaller, petite corona.