When it comes to making a special cigar, there are many who have accomplished it but when it comes to making the cigar special, that is a little different. This year, Southern Draw Cigars accomplished “special” in many ways, when they introduced a cigar known as Cedrus – The Hogan at this years International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Association show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I don’t know if I can count the ways that make this cigar special, but we will start with the story. Cedrus – The Hogan has been in the works for 5 years, that is about as long as the company has been selling cigars. The are two parts to the name of this cigar.
- First is “Cedrus“, which comes from Cedrus libani or Lebanese Cedar. This was an ancient tree, the wood of which was used to build temples, palaces, and sailing vessels. The tree represents the biblical inspiration of the company.
- Second is “The Hogan“, which actually has two intertwined meanings. It represents the huge red cedar trees on the Pacific Coast of the U.S. which endure for over a 1,000 years, grow to over 200 feet and represent the firm, reliable and beautiful characteristics of cedar. Those same characteristics are found in the Hogan family of Phil and Shelly Hogan, a couple that Robert and Sharon Holt developed a relationship with, as far back as 1996. Robert describes the relation as “closer than family“.
Taken all together, Cedrus-The Hogan represents all that is Southern Draw Cigars – Faith, Flora, and People.
Another special point about this cigar is how the company chose to package it. Instead of using standard boxes that everyone is so familiar with, they chose instead to us a patented box design, that stands the 10-count of cigars in vertical fashion, with each cigar in it own cedar silo. The presentation makes me think of missile silos on a US Navy missile cruiser. That makes a lot of sense when you understand that Phil Hogan is U.S. Navy Retired.
The blend is quite special too. It uses carefully selected crops of leaf from Indonesia, Dominican Republic, and multiple regions of Nicaragua.
- Wrapper: Besuki TBN – Sumatra, Indonesia
- Binder: Habano 2000- Esteli, Nicaragua
- Viso: Piloto Cubano – Dominican Republic, Criollo 98 – Esteli, Nicaragua
- Seco: Habana 92 – Quilali, Nicaragua
- Ligero: Corojo 99 – Jalapa, Nicaragua
The cigar is available in only one size, a special 5.5 x 52, square box-pressed Belicoso Fino. To make it extra special, the company chose Tabacalera AJ Fernandez to produce the cigar. I’ll say here, as I say it always, you can’t go wrong with A.J. There will be a total of 5,000 10-count, numbered boxes and 1,000 total 10-count refill bundles (60,000 cigars 2018). I feel special and honored that I have box number 21/2000 from Southern Draw to experience and review, which I have done and am here today to report my findings on the Southern Draw Cigars – Cedrus – The Hogan.
Before I get into the details, let me state, I have personally smoked 3 of these cigars so far. I have some out to my Stogie Press associates to review but they have not gotten to it yet, and when they do I will update this article with their findings.
The Southern Draw Cedrus-The Hogan cigar is a spectacular cigar to look at. From opening the special box and sliding out one of these dark brown, smooth and satiny specimens to examining the feel of its square barrel, light oily sheen, and the perfectly finished tip of its head is enticing to say the least.
There are two bands on this cigar, both of which use a green, cream, and gold motif. The primary band is the standard Southern Draw Cigars logo used on all its cigars and the secondary band just below presents the word “CEDRUS” bold and proper.
Looks are important but yo cant always judge a cigar by its looks alone, so now it was time to get to know Cedrus – The Hogan a little better. I ran it along my nose to ensure it was properly aged and ready to smoke, a cigar this special should be ready right out of the box to fire up. The pre-light aromas aroused my interest further, with pungent fermented leaf aroma along the barrel and a noticeable yet benevolent pepper note.
Moving along in my acquaintance with Cedrus-The Hogan, I sliced the tip of the cigar to create a 3/8 inch opening, which is what I learned to be the perfect cut on the Cedrus to get the draw I like. of course you can experiment also but if you were curious a smaller opening required a wider cut once I got into the journey. The cold draw flavors were delectable with notes of sugary sweetness and a growing pepper the more you puff on it.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, it was time to ignite this beauty and see how it performs. I used a cedar spill to ignite it, slowly warming the foot to an even orange glow taking in a few peppery puffs of smoke.
Cigar Review Notes
- The journey starts with a white pepper and salted butter blend of notes
- Cream and fruit enter rapidly as the pepper pulls back
- Medium grey grows on top of an even, medium char line
- A rich earthy aroma starts to fill the air around me about an inch into the burn
- Ash fell gently after an inch and revealed a perfect burn cone
- Excellent oil production is developing on the wrapper
- Sweet cedar notes enter with a hint of cinnamon spice
- Smoke is full and mouth filling allowing the flavor to be savored
- Aroma morphs into more of a roasted meat note
- Natural sweetness increases – especially off the head, on the tip of the tongue
- Coffee and chocolate nuances enter – think cafe mocha with the underlying sweet creaminess
- Ash has been solid through the burn
- An exotic, but not overwhelming spice begins to develop
- Herbal notes blend with the spice reminding me of some of the fine Asian meals I have enjoyed on my trips overseas
- The final brings a bit more woodiness with a sprinkle of pepper finish
- Medium Strength/Full Body
- Total Smoking time was 1 hour and 20 minutes
Overall, I rate the Southern Draw Cigars Cedrus – The Hogan a solid 97. This cigar is by far the best product out of Southern Draw Cigars to date. .Five years in the making, it lives up to everything the company pledges to deliver. The robust and balanced flavors along with excellent burn kept me intrigued from foot to nub. Paraphrasing Steve Saka, “you know a cigar is great when you get to the end and look in your pocket to see if you have another”. Even at the MSRP of $11.95, I would highly recommend buying a box of these so you have another to smoke before they run out.
With total transparency, the only point deduction I am taking on this is the medium grey ash. Why you may ask? Because when I developed the Stogie Press rating system, one of the brand owners I conferred with was Robert Holt. He told me the ash of cigar should be white because a white ash means all the organic compounds in the leaf have burned and organic equals flavor. So even with the incredible flavor that this cigar offered, if there was just a tinge more combustion it may have delivered even more complexity.
(-1 ) Medium Grey Ash
(+1 ) Buy a Box, (+1 ) Large oiling on the wrapper during the burn