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Staff Reviews

Alec Bradley Family Blend VR1 Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

Back in 1996, Alec Bradley brand founder Alan Rubin set out to create his first cigar. Over the last twenty-four years, Rubin has released many memorable cigars. In 2011, he achieved the biggest critical accolade of his career when he won ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ honors from Cigar Aficionado for the Prensado Churchill. Ever since the award, earlier Alec Bradley creations get overlooked at times.


Alec Bradley Family Blend is one you shouldn’t dismiss. To this day, it’s one of the highest-rated blends the company has ever released. It’s considered a hidden gem by many. Nonetheless, Family Blend stands out on our Holt’s sales charts as one of the top-selling and most reviewed cigars from Rubin. Today, I am going to dive into the Alec Bradley Family Blend VR1.

Alec Bradley Family Blend is a three-country blend handmade at the Raices Cubanas factory in Danli, Honduras. Nicaraguan and Honduran long-filler tobaccos are properly blended beneath an Indonesian binder before being topped with an oily Honduran wrapper leaf. The cigar has one final touch, a little pigtail cap to catch the eye.

From smelling the foot of the cigar, I pick up alluring notes of earth with a touch of leather and citrus. The cold draw has a little bit of sweetness but also a slightly acidic quality. It’s a pleasant zest. This particular Alec Bradley Family Blend VR1 has a very smooth wrapper a with thin vein structure that is a touch rustic in appearance. I pop the pigtail cap off with my fingers and am greeted with a perfect draw. There is no need for me to cut any extra off.

Notes of earth, light pepper, cinnamon, and oak stand out within the first few puffs of the VR1. After about a half-inch in, the profile smooths out and allows a subtle and buttery sweetness to come through and unify the profile. As I progress through the cigar slowly, the flavors continue to change. By halfway, I am picking up notes of buttered toast and oranges. Imagine French Toast and a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice at breakfast. Towards the end, bitter notes of espresso enter the equation. To be honest, this whole cigar tastes like I just went to brunch with the family.

Alec Bradley Family Blend VR1 burned nicely for over an hour. Construction was well above average. I had one minor touch-up short of the halfway point to keep the wrapper straight. From beginning to end, the draw was superb. The smoke was thick and aromatic. Family blend is definitely full-flavored, but only medium-bodied. To me, this is a perfect first cigar of the day. I would classify the strength as a five on scale of one to ten. The finish lingers a bit but leaves an agreeable aftertaste.

Do yourself a favor and snag a box in your favorite size. Alec Bradley Family Blend is a complete steal when it’s on sale. Its complex, versatile, and distinctive flavors easily impress seasoned cigar lovers in addition to diehard bargain hunters. Add Family Blend to your rotation today and enjoy an excellent selection from Alec Bradley that lives up to its reputation more than ten years after its debut.


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