12/3/15

Alec Bradley Family Blend, The Lineage - Cigar Review

PROLOGUE
8:45am
"You worried me sick. What if you got hurt...or WORSE? What would happen to me? [epis?]?" I'm moving my lips, sure, but my Jewish mother is doing the talking.

Ruby Vondella shivered her reply in my arms, she has a sweater, but her Dachshund tuchus was too far from her front to cover. She had gotten out the front door and ran across the street to the homeless encampment which looks like a neighborhood park to the untrained eye.

I'd be lying if I wasn't shaken by the whole ordeal. I seek calm in --

THE CIGAR
Honduran wrapper
Nicaraguan binder
Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers
6 x 53 Toro
Courtesy of The Briar Shoppe
PRELIGHT
Orange hued undertones peek through the somewhat varying shades of cocoa powder brown wrapper. Seams are even, tight, and plainly visible. Veins are present but not in a burn altering threat, plus there's a goodly amount of largess spider web veins. Cute pigtail cap. Smattering of tooth. Tobacco at the foot shows a nice evenly dense packing of mainly lighter tobacco complexions.

I should and I shall mention the band. There.

Hand-feel is smooth yet rustic as there is both a touch of oiliness as well as fine grit. A 53RG feels a bit large even in my quite mainly hands. Packing is, according to ye oldde Charmin test, medium+ firmness but not without a touch of lively springiness.

Schnoz notes from the shaft are of sweet tobacco with top-notes of hay and under-notes of leather. Within the hay is a cocoa powder and within the leather hides a umami aspect of savory meatiness. At the foot, it's very meaty and sees the inclusion of sweet and savory cooking spices. Very nicely delineated aspects. Can I please light it up, already?

No? Fine, I'll go on about the cold draw: sweet and savory spices with the scale tipped toward sweet. Nice medium+ resistance on the pull. Little bit of fruity desert vibe. Baked apple. Not a lot of that meatiness, but I sorta do expect it to surface on the --

LIGHT
Very nice dose of seasoned hardwoods and cedar with a leather backing on the foot toast. First hot draw is of that plus warm spices. Creamy mouth-feel sets in right off the bat and a nice baked apple adheres to that and creates a medium length finish. Second hot draw id retro-haled. Imagine jamming a caramel apple, on fire, up yer nose. Now imagine you did that to keep in the baker's spices you just snorted. That. Now imagine I find it all quite pleasant. A third hot draw shows a sweeter side to the cedar and an amping up of cream. I smack my lips as umami appears just around the corner. Savory has taken over sweetness. Apple is green and sharp. A red pepper looms nigh. I'm enjoying the wave of flavors, and they lay on my palate in a now medium+ finish that is of a fruity stewed fruit desert topped with whipped cream and served after a slab of meat drowned in steak sauce.

Burn is a good bit of ribbon, burn-line is -thick. Ash is an ugly flakiness of medium grey to charcoal. I re-touch and won't hold it against anyone but possibly myself -- I'm giving Alec Bradley the benefit of the doubt. Smoke output is medium+. Foot-note is creamy cedar. Room-note adds a touch kindly leathers. Draw is still at medium+ resistance. The density of packing softens a tick about 3/4" beyond the burn.
ACT I
A decent dessert stick is decent on account of leaving you savory remnants behind, from which to reminisce on dinner. This offering does that quite well. The baked apple and toasted cream are very much in the wake of a savory and somewhat peppery ghost. The backing of this is a sweet cedar and seasoned hardwood backing with a further dimension of leather notes.

The burn repairs but not fully, a bit of it runs ahead and threatens a tunneling. I roll off very warm and powdery ash with a new brownish bit to it; touch it up again, and -- this mea culpa is a you-a culpa and is not directed at myself. I shall merely look at the party I address and whistle. Even on a lil resting, the burn is quite fast and the eyeball'd dense packing is now quite a bit looser than first perceived. Flavors remain unchanged. Finish has sweetened and lengthened a tick.

An orange note emerges sweetly and without a trace of acidity. I have already mentioned a ton o' flavors and smell/tastes all are still aboard. Primary notes are woods, leather, sweetness. Secondary notes are a healthy dose of baked apple and the rest. Mouth-feel and body are toasted cream and an amping up of caramel finds a home therein.

Packing loosens another notch. Ash is bfugly. Draw downs to a medium. Profile meets the draw at a dead on medium. As the opening act closes, a seam loosens a 1/4" from the burn-line.

ACT II
We start with another touch-up to overcome that loosened seam. Ash is a continued medium grey to charcoal hot (literal) mess with waves of brown. My poor. poor schmatta/hankie laid out in my lap and laced with streak of black and brown -- why must an innocent piece of cloth suffer such tsuris?

As the midway point comes loometh nigh, a sweet charring peeks in, a heavy roasting of the savoriness. It is well-balanced by a deepening of apple and the further emergence of caramel. Creme brulee is there, too. Baker's spices are sprinkled liberally and, particularly so on the retro-hale. Red pepper mutes and dries as if roasted in a wood oven. Woods, there is that, too. Still a seasoned hardwood and sweet cedar.

This cigar is an excellent offering for a novice smoker looking to step up into the big leagues. Complex and nuanced flavors of a somewhat simple variety. Simple to mean nicely delineated and familiar. Not exotic and/or beyond the borders of the every day.

Smoke output ramps up again to a near full and the aroma is quite kind; a late autumn wood cabin. Construction-wise, the loosening has ceased. Draw is still at medium. Do not hesitate to retouch the light, as it seems to lack self-correction. Ash is more dark than medium grey and the brown is here to say -- as are my accidental rhymes. Oh, the burn has slowed.

Creaminess rises and drags behind it a rather strong and goodly coffee note. Finish lengthens and thickens to a nice chewiness. Body is a medium+, then. The orange is a zest of the stuff, and the sharper notes of wood and leather softens. Traces of red papper remain only in warm hints and on the retro-hale. I never got the meatiness I had guessed at -- but did enjoy its remains; as if the entire stick has thus far been in the context of a post heavy rustic stew. A dessert stick with balls. The charring, which was nice, exits softly and leaves a warm blanket behind in the cabin, as the final act approaches.

ACT III
Why does the ash bother me so? It's black now at its tip and flaky but newly oiled. The burn has actually evened out and its line, thinned to a -medium. At the other end of this Lineage offering, a nice chew develops. I feel like I should loosen my belt and sink into a post feast slumber in a warm chair by the fire.

Very nice tobacco notes set in with a heady and inherent sweetness that lingers on my palate and in the aiar around me. The aroma is that of an oven cooling after the hearty desert is removed and eaten. Coffee is creamy and sweet, seasoned with a bit of nutmeg. Citrus zest stays on my palate to keep the mouth-feel from being sickly. If Thomas Kinkade painted cigars, he'd paint this one.

At the band, and at the heels of a sweet hearty tobacco crecsendo -- a new savory meatiness can be detected at the horizon. A rack of something decidedly not kosher being placed in a hot oven. The lady of the Kinkade house is a balabusta, indeed!
NOTES
I'd love to see an offering wherein I feel as though its Honduran components did not contribute via a deficit.

All told, this offering is a good bit up from mundane and a smoker that a novice palate on the uptick would greatly enjoy. Too, it's be a thing I'd reach for as a daily, if my pockets held more coin in the lint/coin ratio.

PAIRINGS
Merlot, perhaps a fortified wine -- Tawny Port is a can't miss. Heat up said Port, mayhaps. I would drink a fine Manischewitz, which is perhaps an oxymoron as well as my own personal schtick. Hot cocoa -- not the kiddie kind, a darker sort. A handmade quilt. Frou-frou coffee drink of yer choice, ma'am.

FINAL GRADE
****B****

EPILOGUE
10:10am
Ruby Vondella quickly tires of my (s)mothering, and I smooth it over with a wedge of Velveeta. Here, eat a little something. You look thin [epis].