Tag Archives: Southern Draw

IPCPR 2017 – Southern Draw Cigars

At the IPCPR show this year I finally had the chance to meet Robert Holt of Southern Draw cigars at his award-winning booth. The booth had an inviting back porch feel, and as I was standing at the booth waiting to introduce myself I met his in-laws (I hope I’m right remembering the relationships) who were helping man the booth. Lovely folks giving the Southern Draw company the family feel that is consistent with what I’ve heard of the company. When Robert finished he came and greeted me like an old friend, already knowing who I was. I can’t get used to being recognized, I was similarly surprised earlier in the week by Mickey of Blind Mans Puff, who is a long time reader and former contest winner. Anyway, as it was the end of the second day of the show, we agreed to meet first thing Thursday morning when the show opened.

 

SouthernDraw_RoseofSharon_GordoSouthern Draw featured three new cigars this year, the Jacobs Ladder, the Rose of Sharon and the Quick Draw with a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper. I smoked the Rose of Sharon at the show, it’s named after Robert’s wife Sharon. Since I can’t really make any kind of judgments on cigars smoked at the show, I smoked another one last night in the Gordo format, a generous 6.5″ x 60.  The wrapper is Ecuadorian Sun Grown Connecticut (Ecuador has perpetual cloud cover, so the sun  grown description is accurate, but the wrapper is indistinguishable from a shade grown Connecticut wrapper). The binder and filler are Nicaraguan, based on the information on the website I don’t think there’s ligero in the blend. (edit: after watching the video again, Robert said that it has 25% ligero! Still smooth and flavorful!) As with all of the Southern Draw cigars, this is made at the AJ Fernandez factory. The Rose of Sharon is buttery smooth, with loads of flavor. It has the signature nutty/grassy shade wrapper flavor with a level of richness and depth that was really enjoyable. I enjoyed the heck out of the Rose of Sharon at the show, and even more on last night’s walk and for an hour or so after getting back.

 

SouthernDraw_Jacob'sLadder_GordoRewind to Thursday when I selected the Jacobs Ladder, again in the 6.5″ x 60 Gordo size. This new cigar isn’t yet listed on the company website, but it is listed at Famous Smokeshop, which says it has a PA broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers specifying Esteli ligero and Ecuador Habano binder. The name is both a biblical reference and another family name as Robert and Sharon have a son named Jacob (middle name). The importance of family was abundantly clear in the IPCPR booth. I didn’t like the Jacobs Ladder.  I LOVED it. Holy crap this is a great cigar! Strength, flavor and balance like crazy. It’s not a morning smoke, or a cigar for the faint of heart.  The PA broadleaf (incidentally, grown in the next county to the west of where I live). It hit on my favorites, cocoa, espresso, with some spice and earth from the broadleaf. I appreciate the signature closed foot on Robert’s cigars, as it SD_JLgives an initial blast of wrapper flavor at the start, that is, unless you toast it like you would a finish footed cigar. I go straight to the mouth with the closed feet cigars so I don’t miss anything (let to a burn hole in a shirt once…). This is another gem from Southern Draw, I think that makes them five for five with me now, I dig the Kudzu, Firethorn and Quickdraws too (although I’m behind on sampling the Quickdraws, haven’t had the Connecticut or PA Broadleaf yet). Generally the cigars coming out of AJ Fernandez appeal to me and these cigars from Southern Draw are at the top of the heap. Well done, Robert Holt!

 

 

Speaking of Famous Smoke Shop, they have a new Cuban Cigars Hub on their site. Since it’s now permissible to buy Cuban cigars in countries where they are legally available (most) and bring them in to the U.S., The folks at Famous have put together this hub to further educate consumers on not only the cigars, but the rules and the history of the Cuban Embargo and all it encompasses. Head to http://cubancigars.famous-smoke.com/, there’s a lot of great information they’ve put together. 

 

MiQurida_MasSuciaFinally, I stopped in to my favorite local shop, the Wooden Indian, Friday night for there Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust event with Steve Saka. Of course, if my old friend Steve is in my ‘hood, I feel compelled to visit, buy his cigars and hang out and smoke with him for a while. As a bonus, his wife Cindy was there too. I smoked the new Mi Querida Mas Sucia, which is an enormous 7″ x 58 which generally more of a good thing in the Mi Querida line. It started mellow and built over the two and a half hours I smoked it. Odd that I smoked all very large cigars this week, but why not? I enjoyed them all! I also managed to score a never released Liga Privada No. 9 with a Connecticut wrapper with my purchase, which will be a very interesting cigar, considering it’s seven years old.

 

That’s all for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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First Wednesday Contest Two Days Late, and a Kilo Cigar

I missed the Wednesday post, it’s been a hellish week at work, so I blew it off. I asked on the Cigarcraig.com Facebook page if anyone minded if I posted it late and the sentiment was positive.  It seems people love the chance to score some freebies!  So I rummaged through the humidor and pulled out about 10 cigars and found some other odds and ends. More on that later, I have a couple of cigars I want to talk about first!

 

 

Kilo_RobustoI signed up for The Cigar Authority Care Package, which is a monthly care package of cigars that they are going to smoke on the show during the course of the month, so I dropped the folks at 2 Guys a note asking to include a couple of the new Kilo cigar (and charge me for them) that is the creation of Barry Stein. Barry created a version of this cigar when he was working for Miami Cigar and Co., and it’s been re-imagined through the United Cigar Group and made by Noel Rojas who makes the Guayacan line.  I received the care package along with the Kilo cigars last week and smoked a robusto this week.  The cigar is made up of an Ecuadorian habano wrapper,  with Nicaraguan Corojo 2006 binder and three ligero fillers from Aganorsa and Rojas’ farms.  This is a strong cigar, with lots of flavor.  It burned perfectly, much like the Guayacan toro I smoked later in the week to compare. Kudos to Barry for realizing a dream and bringing a very nice cigar to market. Good smoke, but not for the feint of heart. The idea behind the care package is to smoke the cigar that corresponds with the show, preferably while watching The Cigar Authority show live on Saturdays. I generally find myself listening to the podcast version during the week, so I try to remember to smoke the cigar while listening. there have been some spectacular cigar included in the packages I’ve received. It’s an entertaining show and is in my regular rotation.

 

Contest

 

contestI pulled some favorites out of the humidor, as well as a sampler of Southern Draw cigars, and a Stage V Cigar Clinger.  The Southern Draw sampler includes a Kudzu, a Firethorn and a Quick Draw Pennsylvania, all tasty smokes from the A.J. Fernandez factory. Also included is a Nica Rustica Belly, an Arandoza White Robusto, a Classic Cigar Habano Blend from East India Trading Co., a Tortuga Reserva Cedro Belicoso, a Buena Vista Short Churchill, a Six-Sixty Robolo and a Black Abyss Toro (the last two from the factory that makes Aging Room and Señoreal).  All cigars I like to smoke.  It’s hard to say what else might fall into the shipping box when it goes out. Usual rules apply, if you’ve won in the past few months you’re out, just leave a comment here to enter. I’ll pick a winner next Wednesday (maybe), November 11, 2015.

 

That’s it for now, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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A Byron, a Maxx, a Recluse, Quick Draw and an Indian Motorcycle Premium Cigar

Don’t forget to enter Wednesday’s contest to win some great Gurkha cigars.  To answer a couple of questions and maybe dispel a myth or Gurkha_The Cask Blendtwo, I am working my way through the sampler (another one, not the one I’m giving away, duh…) and these are very nice cigars. These are predominantly Brick and Mortar exclusive cigars that you won’t find in mail order outlets. The Cellar Reserves have been pretty terrific, I smoked the Cask Blend and it was a good, mild cigar, and the Classic Cigar is actually on my go-to list, I like them a lot. I’ll get to the other two this week.  Point is, they are good quality cigars which are eminently smokable.  You can accept them for free with confidence!

 

Byron_Seri SigloXIX_PoemasOn to the week’s smokes.  I signed up for The Cigar Authority Care Package which is four cigars that go along with the cigars that they smoke on the radio show.  Dave Garofalo is losing his shirt on this deal, or at least not making any money.  This week’s selection was the Byron Serie Siglo XIX Poemas, a 4 7/8″ x 52 cigar made in Costa Rica of undisclosed ingredients. these are sold in beautiful porcelain jars. Nelson Alphonso is the man behind Selected Tobaco and these cigars, and he’s the guy who designed the Pardon 50th Anniversary humidor as well as the Cuban Cohiba Behike packaging and tons of other Habanos special release packaging.  The care package costs $20 a month delivered, and this is a $25 cigar. I’m ahead of the game already. The guys on the show rave about this cigar, and it’s certainly a perfectly crafted cigar and visually appealing.  I found it to be a good cigar, the flavor doesn’t “wow” me, it’s nice, medium bodied and inoffensive. I guess this is another for the list of cigars I just don’t get, or the hype made my expectations too high. I will try them again, for sure, who knows if it just wasn’t the right cigar for the moment or what, what do I know. If this is a cigar that is the best cigar you’ve ever smoked, who am I to say you’re wrong, it just wasn’t a good match for my preferences. I do encourage everyone to tune in to the Cigar Authority show, it’s entertaining and informative, and the Care Package is a hellofa deal.

 

AlecBradley_Maxx_FixxLast week when I went to the Alec Bradley event at Cigar Brothers one of the cigars I came home with was the newly re-banded Maxx in the 5″ x 58 Fixx size.  The One Thing I noticed about this cigar was the dark and oily Nicaraguan wrapper. I can’t really say if I’ve smoked the Maxx before other than the Brazilian version that was a Cigars International exclusive, so I don’t know if they’ve changed the blend along with the packaging (on second thought, I’ve smoked the Maxx Connecticut in the Best Cigar Prices exclusive Robolo size). This was a really tasty smoke.  It’s a blend of tobaccos from Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico and was full flavored and medium bodied. The flavor was rich and well-balanced and much to my liking.  These are priced around $6 in PA, and well worth it.  If you asked me if I’d rather have twenty of these, or four Byrons for the same price, I’m sure you know what my answer would be. The Maxx is a great value.

 

Recluse_AmadeusHabano_ToroNext up was the newest offering from Recluse Cigars, the Amadeus Habano. this was their new release at the IPCPR show, where I ran into Scott Weeks and J.R. Dominguez a few times. I got in on the ground floor with these guys thanks to Will Cooper‘s introduction, and have really enjoyed all the cigars they have come out with. This cigar is a Habano wrapped version of the Amadeus, which came out last year with an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper. I let these rest a while because the first one I smoked a couple of months ago didn’t smoke right, and that’s been unusual in my experience with the brand. The Amedeus Connecticut is an excellent cigar, and the Ecuador Habano wrapper adds a little bit of a richness and zing to the flavor, and I’m sure the Mexican binder helps out a little too.  This is another winner in my book, love the look of the holographic band too, this has a lot of curb appeal and delivers on the flavor side too. I do have one gripe though, and it’s my usual…its been a few months since this was displayed at the IPCPR show, update the website with the details, please!
SouthernDraw_QuckDrawSince I smoked my first cigar from Southern Draw Cigars a month or so ago, I have been interested in sampling their Pennsylvania wrapped Quickdraw.  Of course, the name reminds me of the cartoon character from the early sixties, Quick Draw McGraw.  If they come out with a size called “El Kabong’, I’ll know that that’s where the name came from! Another reason it might be called the Quickdraw is because it’s a 4 3/8” x 44 petite corona, and the company is based in Texas, so there’s the wild west theme going on, along with the fact that it’s a short smoke. These also come in a Habano wrapped version, but since I live in Pennsylvania, this one was the one I wanted to try. This is a great little smoke, loads of deep, espresso and cocoa flavors along with some nice sweet spice from the PA Broadleaf.  These are made in the AJ Fernandez factory so the construction was top-notch. So far I have really enjoyed everything I’ve smoked from Southern Draw, the blends are in line with my preferences, and the factory that makes them might have something to do with that, but it might also be that Robert Holt is a man of excellent taste and refinement.

 

IndianMotorcyclePremium_RobustoLast night’s cigar was another new cigar from the IPCPR show.  Phil Zanghi started Indian Tabak cigars in the 90s, eventually partnered with an entertainment lawyer from LA, who took the brand and ran with it, which was a springboard for Rocky Patel Cigars. Recently Phil got the trademark back, but instead of reviving Indian Tabak (which was originally an homage to Indian motorcyles, nothing to do with his partner’s ethnicity, that was a happy coincidence), he came out with the Indian Motorcycles Premium Cigar. In Phil’s both, which also highlighted his Debonair brand, he had a beautiful Indian motorcycle on display. I didn’t get a chance to talk to Phil much at the show, but I’ve heard plenty about this in other media outlets. This cigar had a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper that was oily, almost gritty, to the touch, unique to me, and I liked it. The cigar burned reasonably well, it wanted to run up the bottom a bit, but that’s what lighters are for, to fix the occasional errant burn. It had a very open draw, and, again, rich flavors of sweet cocoa and coffee.  Another winner in my book and I can’t wait to get some more. I believe these have been hitting shelves as Phil was touring New England recently for the release, making the official debut at Kurt Kendall’s newest Twin’s Smoke Shop location, the perfect place given Kurt’s appreciation of nostalgic motor vehicles.

 

That’s enough for today, I may have to go back to posting twice a week so I don’t have to spend so long Sunday mornings typing! Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

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Big Delicious, Villiger San’Doro and Southern Draw Kudzu Cigars

Room101_BigDeliciousFollowing on the heels of the Johnny Tobacconaut, I came across a lonely Room 101  Big Delicious that is a Smoke Inn exclusive and was released with much fanfare a year or so ago. This is a cool 6¼” x 52 figurado with a dark Habano 2000 wrapper.  You don’t see “Habano 2000” used that much any more, it got such a bad rap for not burning when it came around in the early part of the century (that makes me feel old…, it was around 2000).  The wrapper hangs over the foot so one really gets a nice taste of it off the light. When I see a wrapper folded over the foot, or some variation of that, I tend to just stick the cigar in my mouth and light it up, I figure toasting will burn off that extra wrapper leaf before I get to enjoy it!  Anyway, this cigar was sitting in the humidor, all alone and needed to be smoked, so I smoked it.  It was still big, and still delicious.  It burned well, had loads of deep, rich flavor and was quite satisfying.  These are still available from Smoke Inn and aren’t too expensive compared to a lot of other cigars. I don’t know that age has really improved this cigar, so if you get some, smoke them, I don’t believe they are regular production so they are what they are, still Big, still Delicious! The Website calls it the “The bastard child of Matt Booth and Abe Dababneh!”, I prefer to think of it as their “love child”.

 

Villiger_San'Doro_ToroWhile looking through the IPCPR samples, my eyes landed on a Villiger San’Doro Maduro in a toro size.  This year they released the San’Doro line in three wrapper, the Maduro, the Colorado and the Claro. While the Colorado and Claro are made at Tabacalera Oliva in Esteli, the Maduro I smoked is a Brazilian puro made in Viliger’s factory in Bahia, Brazil.  I’ve smoked Brazilian puros before, and when I smoked this one I didn’t know it was a puro. This was a nice, sweet maduro with  lot of great flavor.  I have samples of the claro (Ecuador Connecticut) and Colorodo (Habano from Nicaragua) in the humidor and I’m looking forward to smoking them, although I expect them to be completely different.  I’m not entirely sure when or if these are going to be offered in the U.S., there seems to be a lot of information pointing towards a European release this month.  I suppose someone will let me know!

 

SouthernDraw_KudzuI smoked a really nice Sindicato Hex Perfecto, and another Leccia Luchador Frogsplash this week, but i’ve discussed those before and there’s nothing really interesting to report. I did receive some goodies from Southern Draw Cigars and couldn’t wait to dig into the Kudzu after having a good experience with the Firethorn a week or so ago.  The Kudzo Toro is 6″ x 52 and has the covered foot again.  Both the Kudzu and Firethorn come in four sizes, a Pigtail capped Petite Corona, a 5½” x 52 Robusto, the Toro and a 6½” x 60 Gordo. The Kudzo has a dark Habano Oscuro wrapper and Binder and fillers from Nicaragua.  It starts off with a punch, and I began to question the wisdom of lighting this up before I had dinner. While it was a stronger cigar, my poor dining judgement didn’t come into play, as it smoothed out and was a solid medium to full cigar which I found to be quite enjoyable. It had some wood and chocolate flavors and smoked evenly until I put it down with under an inch left. I’m quite impressed with this line in my limited experience with them, although they are made at the A.J. Fernandez factory so I shouldn’t be surprised. Thanks to Robert Holt for sending some samples along, very good smokes.

 

That’s it for today, I don’t usually do two posts in one day, so don’t get used to it! While I’m thinking of it, next Saturday, October 3rd, from Noon to six is The Smokin’ Goose festival in Limerick, PA.  This was a great time last year, and this year they are having it right at the store instead of off site.  I plan to be there and am looking forward to it.  Check out The Smokin’ Goose website for tickets and information. A portion of the proceeds go to Cigars For Warriors. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

CigarCraig

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The Cigar & Spirits Magazine’s Tasting Club Selections From July

CigarandSpiritsClubThe Cigar & Spirits Magazine offers a tasting membership, and my wife ordered their five pack of 90+ rated cigars a couple of months back.  I’m not certain if this is a recurring program or not, the magazine is bi-monthly (six issues a year), and I haven’t gotten another shipment (or charge) since the initial shipment. I guess we’ll see what happens!  The package I did receive last July, came in a humidor bag with a Boveda pack and a little vial of polymer beads, and seemed to be in good shape.  I placed the bag, opened, in the drawer of the NewAir CC-100 humidor and got sidetracked with IPCPR samples and other things. This week I decided to smoke them up and include them in a mid-week post. Please note that this was purchased with no promotional consideration by the magazine whatsoever.

 

Falto_SeleccionEspecialThe club selections included three cigars I hadn’t smoked before: A Swag S Ego Grande 6½” x 60, a Falto Seleccion Especial Corona Gorda 5¾” x 48 and a Southern Draw Firethorn 6″ x 52.  There was also an AJ Fernandez New World Navegante 5½ x 55 and an East India Trading Co. Red Witch Robusto 5″ x 52.  I thought it was a very nice selection for $35, although I didn’t go to the trouble of looking up the values, although I know the New World and Red Witch are closer to the $5 price point. That’s not to say that they aren’t great cigars, just that they are reasonably priced. I chose the Falto first as it was the least familiar to me. Apparently this cigar is Falto owner Luis Juan Falto’s preferred cigar, and it was a very nice smoke.  It has a Dominican wrapper, Sumatra binder and fillers from Brazin and the D.R.  It’s funny how years ago an Indonesian wrapper (or binder) seemed to be the mark of an inexpensive cigar (and one I never cared for AJF NewWorld_Navegantepersonally) and not calling it Sumatra makes it OK, much like Mexican used to be reviled, and now San Andrés is primo. I digress. The Falto Seleccion Especial was a great size, had a nice, clean and sweet flavor that was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  OK, I can see that it would be rated in the 90s.  I followed that up on Sunday evening with the New World, which is a great cigar at a great price.  Abdel and his dad, Ismael Fernandez, did a great job on this medium to full bodied  cigar that is perfectly constructed. definite 90s material.

 

Swag SMonday I came home to a little package from Boutique Blends which contained a cool Xikar Xi1 cutter decorated with the  Aging Room and Boutique Blends logos. This cutter has been all the rage fr how many years? 15? I’ve never owned one. I have a Xikar lighter, the XV V-cutter and the MTX scissors, which I love, but never got around to getting one of the nor iconic teardrop cutters. So, I figured I’d try it out on the Swag S Ego Grande. This cigar confuses me a little because I can’t find it listed on the companies website, and a search returns a bunch of references to the Swag S Maduro, which this did not seem to be at all.  It looked like a Habano wrapper, milk chocolate in color, and really didn’t strike me as a maduro at all. Any help from the folks at Cigar and Spirits or my friends at Boutique Blends would be appreciated (in the comments of this post would be great!).  I liked the cigar, it was really large, and took the better part of two hours to smoke, and the Xikar is sharp and gave a nice, clean cut as expected. It had a nice burn and draw, was pleasantly sweet and on the milder end of medium. I don’t know if this would be in the 90s for me personally, but that’s largely why I don’t do ratings as taste is subjective. Many thanks to the folks at Aging Room/Boutique Blends for the awesome cutter, it will get a lot of use!

 

SouthernDraw_FirethornLast night I selected the Southern Draw Firethorn Toro from the sampler, this is a brand I’ve heard about, but never seen in the wild.  I’ll be honest, in the Southern Draw portfolio, this would probably have been my third choice after the Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapped Quickdraw and the Habano Oscuro Kudzu, but this Firethorn looked good. It’s got a ruddy Habano Rosado wrapper and binder and fillers from Mexico and Nicaragua. I would have done myself a disservice by passing this cigar up, had I had the choice. It smoked sweet and smooth and was quite satisfying.  Great construction as one would expect from a cigar coming out of Tabacalera Fernandez.  Oddly, the Texas based company’s founder, Robert Holt, has a connection to the area in PA where I live.  I look forward to sampling more from Southern Draw as I manage to find some. If I were rating this it would be in the 90s for sure.

 

EastIndia_RedWitch_RobustoOne cigar in the sampler left, and that’s the Red Witch from East India Trading Co. EITC is the budget branch of Gurkha, which I  suppose if you go by  the Gurkha cigars in the big catalogs, doesn’t make much sense. If you look at it from a brick and mortar side, with cigars like Gurkha Ghost, Cellar Reserve and whatnot selling in the 7-10 range, cigars like the Red Witch, Classic Cigar Havana blend and Rogue occupy the $4-7 price point, it makes more sense. This example smoked perfectly, as a matter of fact, I wish it had been longer.  It has a nice leathery, woody flavor, and is a perfectly nice cigar, I can’t find fault.  I would smoke these on a regular basis.

 

 

Overall, I think the Cigar & Spirits Magazine cigar club is a good value, and I’ll be interested to see if another installment shows up automatically, or if it’s a buy as you go sort of arrangement. My wife handled the whole transaction, so I really don’t know what to expect. I think it would be a neat idea for them to charge $40 bi-monthly and include the current issue of the magazine with the sampler, assuming the cigars in the club are rated in the issue.  Given that the subscription rate is $19.99 for 6 issues/year, this would pay off for them. Just a thought. I liked that there were cigars that I haven’t smoked that I don’t see in my area, and the ones I was familiar with I liked.  I wouldn’t be as pleased if I got five cigars I had smoked before, but I’m not the typical consumer.  I have to admit that I’m only interested in half the content of the magazine, being a non-drinker. As always, your mileage may vary.

 

I’m off to the Baltimore area for a few days, I plan to pay a visit to The Humidour in Cockeysville on Friday, and Davidus in Ellicott City on Saturday. If you are in the area, look me up or drop me a note, I’ll be the guy smoking a cigar.

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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