Would Have Been Fantastic, Were it Not for the Wrapper (Alec Bradley “The Lineage” 1996 Robusto)

Listening to the Damage Report, as we generally do every morning, I was tired, so I wanted something good and strong. Normally I smoke cheroots in the morning, but today I was going for the heavy duty.

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Enter the Alec Bradley Family Blend 1996 “The Lineage.” Cigars International tells me that “A milk chocolaty Honduran wrapper leaf from the Trojes growing region covers finely aged Nicaraguan and Honduran long-fillers.” I understand it received a 90 rating from Cigar Aficionado. It’s a medium Connecticut robusto (5.2 inches, 52 ring gauge,) with a double cap under its pigtail; matte finish, no veins, rich brown walnut wood colour. I have to confess that the wrapper was a little dry and there might have been the hint of a crack in it. That might have been a fault of my humidor, however; I think it needs reconditioning. The wrapper note was not strong, but what there was suggested an iron tang.

The bands reminded me of my school colours: maroon and white, with gold highlights. I believe it’s supposed to confer a suggestion of sophistication, and remind you of an ivy-league college, but it didn’t do much for me. Probably because I wasn’t a fan of my high school.

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The room note was subtle, woody and sweet. I’ve been smoking a lot of strong cigars lately; it was a nice contrast. The pack was hard and the draw a bit too easy. I think it was an indication of how dry it was.

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I started it up at about ten a.m. It burned unevenly, leaving a hard core that burned slowly but the surrounding layers burned quickly. However, it was delicious! A mixture of sweet and cedary-wood elements, with a floral undertone. Unlike many other cigars, the flavour remained fairly consistent throughout the smoke, right up until near the end, where the strength of the accumulated chemicals gave it a strong earthy tone.

It burned terribly with that cracked wrapper, however. I had to keep slipping the band up to prevent the wrapper from flaking off and making the cigar unsmokeable. I finished the smoke at about twenty to eleven.

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I can’t give it a high rating due to the terrible wrapper and draw. But the flavour really was excellent. I suppose I’ll have to try this again sometime and see if the wrapper issues were particular to this cigar, or if they are endemic of the cigar itself.

You can get the Lineage 1996 at Cigars International for $36.50 USD for a five pack and $138.99 USD for a box of twenty. Famous Smoke will sell you the five pack for $34.99 USD instead. They’ll cost you $12.40 CAD for a single, $63.43 CAD for a five pack (currently out of stock,) and $233.22 CAD for a box of twenty at Cigar Chief.

And that’s a lady’s perspective!

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