If they're not already, Southern Draw should be a company that is on your radar. They have a fairly diverse portfolio and pump out some well crafted cigars. Presentation is on point. Wrappers always look dapper. Caps are hearty & strong. There is just one aspect that stands in the way for me personally and that is cedar. I know, I know, cedar is a flavor that is very common. In fact, I'd say it's one of the most common notes in the biz. I also enjoy well balanced cedar notes just like many of you do. Outside of Jacob's Ladder (which I really like and should do a review for in the future), I find that many of the Southern Draw blends have cedar as the up-front flavor. Some of them pick up a cedar log and assault you with it, but others are more subtle. Rose of Sharon is the quieter smoke of the bunch.
This particular sample had some scuffs, but rarely does a Southern Draw look unshaven.
This picture doesn't do the wrapper feel justice. So silky, so smooth. A delight to simply hold!
* nom nom nom *
Cigar: Southern Draw Rose of Sharon Robusto
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez de Nicaragua SA, Estelí
Size: 5.5 x 54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Nicaraguan / Dominican Ligero
In traditional Southern Draw style, the cigar looks sharp. There are a couple of small blemishes on the wrapper, but it's the first time I've seen such from them. Otherwise it would have scored a 10. Firm & even placed band, seamless construction, crazy soft & delicate wrapper, and the bunchy closed foot is always a nice touch in my book.
I popped a double punch thinking the dry pull wasn't enough with just the single, but I got fooled (hey, it happens). This resulted in a slightly open draw, but certainly manageable. Unfortunately by the end it was too much and began to run hot.
Aside from the ski slope that refused to be corrected and I said screw it, the burn was alright. The ash was still very tight. It burned consistently, just at a slant. Minor I suppose. Still bugs me though.
1/3 - The cedar base claims the lime light right from the start. Clean sawdust is sprinkled around. A rather bland beginning is livened up with some mild cream and a faint raspberry note in the way back.
2/3 - Not much changes when moving into the meat n potatoes. I struggled a bit here to find some complexity. The same few notes kept coming to mind though. On a positive side, the creaminess and faint raspberry becomes more noticeable.
3/3 - The open draw at this point has allowed the cherry to be a little hot. Smokey cedar grabs the mic and starts screaming death metal.
To be fair, this particular specimen did have some issues, but Southern Draw normally hits the mark in construction. This is one of those cigars that is widely popular, gets high ratings, but just doesn't deliver the complexity to my palate like it may for others. I'm not be raving about this one personally, but I'd still recommend trying it.
Have you had the same experience? Do you also find that cedar takes too much of the pie? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
**Number of cigars smoked for the review: 2