I live in the nether world with Alec Bradley Cigars. I’m not on their reviewer’s list but when they have a giveaway, I always get something even when I don’t know about the giveaway. So that is very nice.
You trust your gut feelings? I do. After 102 years on the planet I am able to recognize the signs. (Just kidding. Nowhere near 102). I’ve only had this cigar for a few days and methinks it is going to surprise the hell out of me. If it doesn’t, you will never read this review.
This is a stunning new cigar from Alan Rubin and the folks. There aren’t that many of my tribe in the cigar business so I cheer Alan Rubin on.
The first Family Blend showed up in 2009. It was an honorarium to the dads of Alan Rubin, George Sosa, and Ralph Moreno.
There is nothing about the cigar on the A/B web site and not a single review yet. So I am winging it here. The cigars should be in retailers any day now.
The stick is gorgeous with a reddish brown wrapper covered in oil and very smooth to the touch. Seams are tight. There are lots of small veins. The triple cap is perfect with a Cuban pigtail atop it. Makes me think of one side of Princess Leia’s head.
The artwork is definitely fancier than the original Family Blend. Ladies and Germs, we are in the new millennium.
And the word “Lineage” refers to Rubin’s sons who are now old enough to enjoy cigars with the old man.
I use the “yarmulke” cut to remove the cap but the wrapper only; preserving the tobacco underneath and giving me a little wrapper yarmulke to photograph.
I smell very dark baker’s cocoa. There are woody and cedar components. A dash of spice. Very leathery. And a savory meaty element. Sticking the exposed cap up my nose and I smell steak sauce. (I can hear you all running to wash your hands.) And lastly, a bit of nutmeg.
Time to light up.
Smoke pours from the foot like a Pittsburgh chimney. The stick is so jam packed that all of a sudden I am having a draw problem. I found the best way to open the passages is to roll the cigar in your palms, gently but quickly, and this works much better than shoving a damn dagger down the middle and cracking the wrapper.
This is going to sound psychotic but sometimes at the beginning of a cigar, as I try to dissect the flavor profile, I get a flash card in my brain of a fruit or something else. I just got an apple flash card and indeed, there is a sweet, but tart, apple flavor. Like a Granny Smith. It is very subtle and I doubt it will last long; say as opposed to the tumor in my brain that caused the flash card. LOL
I am getting a lot of potential but clearly, I should have waited a couple weeks before lighting this up. So instead of it becoming a flavor bomb in the first third, it will become one at the halfway point. No big deal. I was in a big hurry to smoke this gorgeous cigar and I let my right brain get in the way.
Just when I’m slapping myself in the face for having the wrong gut instinct, the flavor profile blossoms. I am not quite at the end of the first third and wonderful flavors emerge: Spice, meatiness, earthiness, sweetness, apple, citrus, cedar, and leather.
The second third begins and hits flavor bomb status. The char line has required only one touch up that was minor and the cap is behaving like a champ.
This is a real man’s cigar. The meatiness. Now the introduction of creaminess. The spicy Ha-Cha-Cha, the fruitiness, citrus, and cedar and leather make it an excellent cigar. Of course with patience, of which I have none, this cigar will bloom into a monster of a blend. I can just tell these things. After all, I am THE KATMAN! (But I only have a tiny shmeckel)
I am now at the halfway point. Complexity digs its heels in. All types of sweetness and creaminess are driving the bus. The meatiness has moved to the back of the line. The cedar and leather have moved up.
I’m not sure you will taste the apple like I do. Our palates are so unique to each and every one of us that you will probably taste something different. But that apple-y taste is very strong for me.
As the cigar becomes more complex, the flavors spread out into a Blues Angels formation. Zipping by at astounding speeds. Faster than Mighty Mouse, even.
The strength is still at medium body. I don’t think it is going to become stronger than this which is somewhat of a surprise. Maybe extensive humidor time may change that. Beef it up, so to speak.
The price point. The $6.50-$9.00 range is more than fair for this blend. Clearly, the A/B folks took the addition of this blend very seriously indeed and made sure that the devil in the details was done right.
The body, with 2-1/2” to go, moves to medium/full. The spiciness increases.
Here are the flavors, in order: Creaminess, sweetness, fruity, caramel, citrus, coffee, newly acquired cocoa, cedar, leather, and meaty.
Construction on this cigar has been excellent. And now that the strength has increased, so have the flavors. As I predicted the cigar moves to a new level of flavor bomb status in the last third.
It’s a damn candy bar now. The cigar is so creamy and sweet that it’s like buying a Danish at Katz’s Deli in NYC or a Danish at Canter’s Deli in L.A. I can taste the cheesecake.
Holy shit this tastes wonderful. So this is what the cigar is going to taste like given some time in the humidor.
The char line is dead nuts. YES! That’s what it was missing: Nuts. And now they are here. The cigar was slightly nutty throughout the burn but I didn’t catch it. Now, with the cigar exploding with flavor, the nuttiness is very strong. Very close to marzipan.
This cigar is going to shock the shit out of a lot of people with preconceived notions of what an Alec Bradley cigar should taste like. I think this is the company’s big move into the territory of the New Breed Tattooed One’s field of expertise. But at a reasonable price. Of course, that is not necessarily a fair comparison as Alec Bradley is so big now that they have a huge array of tobaccos to choose from…and at the right price.
I’m just sitting back and enjoying the cigar now.
The cigar finishes out at medium/full strength. But no nicotine. It is very smooth without a hint of harshness or heat.
And now for something honorable:
A Memorial Day Homage….
I come from a small family. No brothers. No uncles. No cousins. And I am only second generation in this country.
So the only person I can pay homage to is my late father.
He was an Army corporal. He landed at Normandy on D-Day. And spent almost two years in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany.
When I was young, my father told me stories of WWII. I was enthralled. Of course, he hid the horrors from my tender ears.
As I got older, he began to tell me more. He seemed to be ashamed of himself in some of those stories. Things he did and took part in. Things that always happen in a war on the ground.
My dad was wounded and sent home. He got shot in the chest by a .50 cal machine gun from a German nest that his group stormed. He was very lucky to have survived.
My father received the Bronze Star with 2 clusters. And he received a Purple Heart.
He never talked about his medals. Never. But he liked to talk about the bullet that nearly killed him and how his son lost it forever. Yes. I was around 4 years old and got into a drawer in his dresser and found the bullet. I played with it, got bored and no one knows what happened after that except it was gone. For 54 years, my father told everyone that would listen how his only son lost his bullet.
My father refused to watch WWII movies. When “Saving Private Ryan” came out, he refused to watch it. I didn’t get it until then. Private Ryan was probably the most realistic movie about war made in his lifetime.
When I tried to talk to him about it, he would say nothing. So I let it go.
It was then that I realized how deeply the war affected him. It was no longer funny stories about crazy things that happened on that journey. He never spoke about the war again.
I always knew my father was a hero.
And so is every American that served or still serves.
On a sad note, my father passed on July 11, 2003. He was 80.
Jewish tradition dictates that the body be buried within two days. On the day he died, I suggested to my evil step mother that my father be buried at Arlington Cemetery. She told me she had him cremated.
It is against Jewish law to be cremated. I was speechless. I was his only blood son. And I had no say in this. And then she committed a mortal sin in my eyes. She gave my father’s medals to the step son. A boy 14 years my junior.
This was my father. A man who gave me life. And denied his wishes for his beloved son to have what he secretly cherished. I wear his medals in my heart every day.
Lastly, my father suffered the indignation that thousands of vets must endure to this day. Indifference from the VA.
I want to make this with one statement in his memory: Shame on you, Veteran’s Administration.
And God Bless you, Dad. Your blood lives on in me and my daughter, Katie.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS