Cigar Reviews

Alec Bradley Family Blend

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I’ve had a few of these cigars sitting in my humidor for quite some time. When I was looking for something to review I figured it’s been awhile since I’ve picked up an Alec Bradley outside of the recent blind tastings I’ve done. I’ve smoked them before but when I stared at the stick and tried to remember my thoughts I couldn’t quite put them together so I decided to write up a full review on a couple of these.

The Alec Bradley Family Blend seems to receive good reviews from various sources. Originally, the Family Blend was created for the smoking enjoyment of Alec Bradley’s 3 big shots/executives. It’s was first only available in a single size which is the one I will be reviewing today. Last year they announced an expansion of the line to a total of 5 vitolas.

One thing that immediately caught my eye about this cigar was the unique blend of tobacco leaves used in it’s creation. The Honduran and Nicaraguan leaves are fairly close geographically but the Indonesian leaves come from the opposite end of the world. Let’s see how these leaves blend together and jump right into the review.

Cigar: Alec Bradley Family Blend
Drink: Unibroue Brewery – Maudite
Vitola: No. 1 (5.5 x 50)
Wrapper: Honduras
Binder: Indonesia
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
Price: about $6.50
Burn Time: 1.5 hours

Construction:
• A very oily wrapper encompasses this cigar with a medium cinnamon brown color
• The triple cap is very cleanly applied and finished with a small pigtail
• The cigar is quite firm when squeezed and consistent throughout
• There are a few visible medium sized veins but none that pose burn issues
• The foot is packed well but not as full as the cigar feels
• The cut was easy but made a big mess as the filler went flying everywhere
• The draw on this cigar is just as it should be, no complaints at all
• The band slid off nice and easy with no glue problems at all

Burn:
• Toasting was fairly quick and even, the foot was glowing nicely
• The burn is coming along very sharp through the first third
• Continuing with the stellar burn, the cigar has not wavered even a bit as I pass the mid-point
• I got my first wave in the burn near the last bit of this cigar but it managed to correct itself after a small purge
• I also noticed a small tunnel at this point which likely led to this problem, a slight squeeze on the cigar managed to close up the tunnel

Smoke & Ash:
• A nice mouthful of smoke right from the first draw
• Ash appears nice and tight with clean light grey lines
• Despite it’s appearance, the ash lasted only about half an inch before gently falling into the ashtray
• Resting smoke was fairly moderate
• The first ash was likely not a good indication as the second ash reached almost two inches

Tasting Notes:
• The wrapper on this cigar has very little aroma, maybe just a slight tobacco scent
• The foot is similarly lacking in aroma, maybe just some hints of spice and tobacco
• Pre-light draw brought more of that spice and an added mix of cedar
• Initial draws bring a white pepper and nutmeg type spice mixed with a helping of woodsy and earthy notes
• The spice slowly settled into the background leaving the woodsy and earthy flavors to dominate
• The retrohale has been fairly mild with only a small bite and a woodsy finish
• The cigar itself has also been in the mild body range so far
• The flavors are not overly complex but they are smooth and balanced
• As I reach the half-way mark, the spice is slowly making a comeback, more of the nutmeg rather than the pepper
• The finish has also developed a slight creaminess to it although it seems to come and go
• As I approach the last third, the body has ramped up into the medium range and the retrohale has a little more bite
• As I approach the last inch, the pepper flavors have returned in full force along with a burnt woodsiness, the nutmeg and creaminess have disappeared at this point
• I got slight bit of bitterness as I approached the end and decided to let the cigar down a tad bit early at 1.5 hours before the harshness built up too much

Final Thoughts:
This was a well constructed and fairly good tasting cigar. I can definitely see how it can score high points on a lot of review sights. I’m personally slightly underwhelmed and I’ll try to explain. As I mentioned in the notes, the cigar was not overly complex. It seems like the cigar took the basic flavors of cigars and just melded them together in a well constructed stick. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing by any means but I feel it lacked character and brought nothing unique to the table. Would I smoke it again? Yes I would but it wouldn’t be my first pick. It scores big points in construction, ash, smoke, and burn. But only fairly good points in the flavor department. Don’t get me wrong here, this can be a very good smoke for most people or for those times when you want a trusty stick that is enjoyable and doesn’t require extra attention. But if you are looking for something new and different in the cigar world, this is not the stick for you.

Pairings:
Ah yes, another brew from one of my favorite Canadian breweries. I’ve had the Unibroue Maudite in previous pairings with the My Father Le Bijou 1922 and the La Aurora 1495. As I’ve said in those reviews, this is a very tasty dark amber beer that is fermented on a yeast base. It seems to do a good job of pairing with many different cigars and this was no exception. Other good pairing with this cigar would include a dark porter, coffee or my personal favorite, Tawny Port.




Daniel T. (a.k.a. Dalamscius) is an IT Professional from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He enjoys cigars, scuba diving, hockey, fishing, nature and anything that challenges his mind. If he's not sitting on his big comfy couch or at work you can usually find him in a boat on top of the water or 100ft under the water enjoying a dive. He is engaged to a wonderful Fiance and looking forward to his wedding. Feel free to contact Daniel anytime via email (dalamscius[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter http://twitter.com/Dalamscius

10 Comments

  1. blane

    January 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Spot on review.Along with the harvest I find both too woody and earthy for my taste. But I must say I do enjoy the Tempus.I have some Maxx Vice and Curved sitting around for a couple of years and I forget how those were.

  2. Danny Principe

    January 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I really didn’t like this cigar. It had a weird sourness that really rubbed me the wrong way.

  3. Dalamscius

    January 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks Blane. I definitely agree that the Tempus was more enjoyable. Let me know what you think of the MAXX when you smoke it. I reviewed that one a long time ago on here.

    Danny, I agree. But I have to ask. Why exactly are you rubbing the cigar all over you?? hehe 😛

  4. Tadd

    January 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I really like the SCR, I haven’t had much experience with AB, had the Prensado and Tempus, but really did enjoy the SCR. Nice review, will need to look for these more often.

  5. Danny Principe

    January 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Haha, I rubbed those cigars I sent you all over my junk. Expedites the aging process.

  6. Dalamscius

    January 26, 2011 at 7:35 am

    @Tadd – I also enjoyed the SCR. I would definitely pick up those before I picked up another one of these sticks so I’d suggest keeping your $$ for those. But if you do try one let me know what you think

    @Danny – lol, you will pay for your acts of indiscretion!

    @Tony – Thanks dude! You are right about their variety, they seem to have quite a few flavor and body profiles covered. This one just falls into the middle of the road… I still have a Sun Grown you sent me I need to spark up!

  7. Tony Casas

    January 26, 2011 at 7:22 am

    See, the comments speak for themselves. One thing I think Alec Bradley has done a wonderful job with is coming out with multiple, different style blends. Everyone has a favorite. For me, this doesn’t sound like something I’d pick up. But toss a Sun Grown or a Prensado under my nose and they’re mine.

    Excellent review dude.

  8. Tony Casas

    January 26, 2011 at 8:09 am

    The Sun Grown is very good. I was really surprised. Medium, woodsy, exactly what you expect. It’s similar to the Ashton VSG only a quarter of the price.

  9. John

    January 26, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I get a metallic tin taste with all his cigars. I’m done with the guy.

  10. JerseyJay

    January 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Daniel,
    Nice review, again ! Family Blend wouldn’t be my first AB choice but I still enjoyed it. I had a Toro. My favorite is still Prensado, following Tempus. I had Tempus Maduro about a month ago and it tasted like a cardboard.

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