Cigar: Alec Bradley Family Blend
Size: BX2 toro 6" x 54
Filler: Honduras and Nicaragua
Price: MSRP ~$7.00
The Family Blend has a nice honey-brown wrapper with one medium sized visible vein, and a slight oily sheen. It has a pigtail cap and appears to me well constructed, with no soft spots. The band is a little meh, but it's alright.
For the first time I tried the Tobias Pigtail Chomp, and it worked! Sorta. I gently clenched the pigtail between my chiclets and pulled softly, and a piece of the cap came right off, but not quite enough to open the draw as I liked. Instead of trying to tear it open with my fingernails, I gave it a quick punch. Prelight flavor was raisin-y, with an excellent draw resistance.
The cigar lit up easily, and I immediately got a lightly sweet and fruity flavor, with no spice or pepper. Lots of light grey smoke, and a nice burn line even though the ash grew a bit wonky. This 1st third rounded out pleasantly mild+ with a short finish.
The strength and flavor picked up slightly in the 2nd third to a nice, round medium. The fruitiness went au revoir, but the light sweetness stayed and I began to pick up some pleasant cooking spices. I did have to retouch the burnline twice.
This final part was my favorite - the smoke got thicker and the flavors remained similar, but richer and creamier with an increase in the moderately sweet cooking spice as well. The burnline corrected itself - no more retouches. I nubbed the cigar.
The Family Blend was a nice smoke and pleasant from start to finish. It was aesthetically pleasing. I didn't pick up anything overly complex, but if the flavors are good I don't require much else. I'm not generally a fan of black-pepper bombs, so the fruit, sweetness, and mild spices were nice. I appreciated the smoke output, and my only complaints were the two retouches and bendy ash.
This is one I could buy a box of if the price was low. I won't be out scouring for it, but I would absolutely enjoy smoking and gifting a whole box if it popped up on a good sale. More likely I'll nab a 5-er sometime. I do think this would also be good for my infrequent-smoking friends as a way to try a cigar with some non-overpowering flavors, rather than an extra-mild, bland Connecticut. It was nice to come back to a good AB, after my last (Harvest '97) was unsmokeable bad.
Smoking characteristics: 22/25
Overall impression and value: 32/35