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Stogie Reviews: Alec Bradley Family Blend VR1

24 Jan 2011

There are a few cigar makers whose products I rarely pick up. Sometimes it’s because they market so many different sticks I can’t remember which ones I like and which ones I don’t; sometimes it’s because I’ve smoked a number of their cigars and didn’t find any appealing, so I gave up.

Alec Bradley falls into the second category. My experience with The Freak was typical: “I certainly wouldn’t call this a bad cigar; it’s just not a cigar I’m particularly interested in smoking again.”

But after reading and hearing good things about the Family Blend, including a rank of 16 in Cigar Aficionado‘s best cigars of 2009, I thought I’d give it a try. According to Alec Bradley’s website, the cigars were created “expressly” for the fathers of the firm’s three top execs. I’ve read also that they were handed out, unbanded, at events. Initially, only a robusto (5.5 x 50) was produced. Now, there are four other sizes (though the website still says it’s only available as a robusto).

The blend combines Honduran and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos with an Indonesian binder and a Honduran wrapper. Purchased as a single, the robusto, known as the VR1, sells for about $6.50. I’ve smoked a couple of robustos, the MR23, and the six-inch BX2.

I found all similar in taste, appearance, and performance. Each experienced minor burn problems along the way, with none burning straight from beginning to end and at least two requiring relights. The sticks also produced fairly thin, light smoke.

Unfortunately, I find myself with thoughts similar to those I had for The Freak: an OK cigar, but not particularly interesting or compelling. I wanted to smoke a few Family Blends before reaching any conclusions, and I feel I have done that. My conclusion: I don’t plan to smoke any more.

Again, this isn’t a bad cigar. Just not one that appeals to me. Obviously, others feel differently and you might, too. For me, though, it fits squarely in the three stogies out of five rating range.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Ning

12 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Alec Bradley Family Blend VR1”

  1. Marc E Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    To each his/her own. Personally I love these and am happy if others don't – that way the CA Top25 buzz won't make them too hard to find or force an increase in prices 🙂 Keep up the good work, love this site.

  2. Marc E Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    Btw I like the new "you might like" link at the bottom of the reviews. Very nice.

  3. cj Monday, January 24, 2011 at 1:39 am #

    I 100% agree with the review. I have tried several of these and found remorse in spending my money on them. I don't see what anyone would enjoy in a bitter and musty flavor profile. IMO, a stick such as La Traviata pounds this one into the ground for flavor and value.

  4. Nick M. Monday, January 24, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    This is the only cigar Alec Bradley makes that I enjoy. The Churchull is my favorite. I'll take one of these over a Tempus or Prensado any day.

  5. Chaz Monday, January 24, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    I'm totally on the same page with you re:the AB line- I keep on reading really positive stuff on this blend, along with the tempus and prensado, which gets me to give them another shot- and I always come away underwhelmed. Not terrible cigars by any stretch, but nothing I would crave to smoke again…

  6. John Monday, January 24, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    I've been done with Alec Bradley smokes for some time now. Iv'e tried them all, because of all the good things I'd hear. But the Tempest Maduro was it for me. Pure garbage. Every one of his cigars has a fowl tin taste that I can't quite put my finger on. Anybody else get this taste from his cigars.

  7. Chaz Monday, January 24, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Foul tin might be a little strong, but as soon as I read that I knew EXACTLY what you were talking about. I've given them a long chance- done too!

  8. Ethan K Monday, January 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    I'm glad to read that others reach a point of giving up on some manufacturers. AB's cigars have never thrilled & sometimes disappointed me. I can barely manage to buy any cigars and certainly cannot afford bad gambles… Thanks for smoking them; so we don't need to.

  9. John Monday, January 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Chaz, you're getting that foul taste too? I've mentioned this before and was always shot down. It's nice to hear I'm not the only one. lol. What would you describe it as? To me it's an annoying tin taste, I get in all his smokes. Not just sometimes. All the time. I really can't pinpoint the taste though. you?

  10. Chaz Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 3:41 am #

    Hey John- When you say tin it made me think of something metallic, and that's what I repeatedly get- something vaguely metallic- from the tempus, family blend, prensado and maxx. It has to have something to do specifically with his blends, in my opinion, because other stuff from the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras where these are made, like Illusione and Viaje, is amazing.

  11. John Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Chaz, Matallic is a good word for it. I'll go with that. And Yes I love Illusione and Viaje Too. Great smokes.

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