A couple of months ago I took a mini vacation to Austin, TX for labor day weekend. We loved the city of Austin, the music, the food, and the good folk we met. I especially enjoyed the few hours in the Habana House Cigar Lounge while my wonderful wife and stepdaughter did some shopping on a Sunday afternoon. .I wrote about the shop and our time in Austin and was contacted by Southern Draw Cigars to see if I would be willing to review some of their line. I gladly accepted their offer and shortly later I received a nice 5 pack of the their Kudzu Toros. I don’t normally smoke cigars I receive from manufacturers immediately upon arrival. I prefer to let them age some in my humidor, but these looked really good, and like a kid in candy store, I had to break open the 5 pack and fire one up. I will tell you that first was as good as the last I smoked and those shared with a couple of fellow Stogie Press team members.
Before I get into the review, let me discuss a little about the company itself. Southern Draw Cigars is a newcomer to the cigar market. They hit the scene last year and have gotten some rave reviews. According to their website:
Southern Draw Cigars was founded by U.S. Veterans with a desire to recognize and defend our southern traditions, while honoring the history of tobacco and those resilient families who have cultivated, fermented and aged it to perfection. In collaboration with our seasoned partners that hail from a proud culture in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico and now reside in Nicaragua, which is highly regarded as the best cigar producing region of the world. Southern Draw may very well be considered a “newcomer” to this industry be we aren’t new to cigars and we offer only custom blended cigars that are hand crafted from only fine and rare aged Cuban seed tobaccos
Southern Draw cigars use tobaccos from AJ Fernandez and are constructed and rolled at the Tabacalera Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua. I have to say, you can’t go wrong partnering with AJ Fernandez and by the looks of the Kudzu that statement is validated. The Kudzu Toro is a silky smooth, dark Habano Oscuro wrapped, box pressed cigar that weighs in at 6 x 52. The binder and filler are also from Nicaragua. For those that may not be familiar with Oscuro leaf, it is the top priming (uppermost cut) of the tobacco plant. Basically, Oscuro leaf has stayed on the plant about 50% longer than other cuts exposing it to more sunlight. Because the leaf actually starts to cure on the plant, it ends up being more flavorful. This leaf is one of my favorite and I am pleased that Southern Draw did not cut any corners in the Kudzu so that we can have a delightful smoking experience.
Besides the Toro, Southern Draw Cigars offers the Kudzu in 3 additional vitolas:
- Petite Corona, (Pigtail capped) 5.5 x 52
- Robusto 5.5 x 54
- Gordo 6.5 x 60
So let’s take a closer look at the Kudzu. Besides the silky smooth box pressed wrapper, you will also notice that it has a closed foot. That wrapper also has some slight marbling to it. The seams are tight and it is well capped. An impressive specimen of a cigar. Running it across my nose I picked up some earthy notes and sweet fermented tobacco.
The Kudzu is adorned with two bands, both of which are applied with obvious pride with perfect alignment of lines.
I know that may not mean much, but it tells me if that they took the time to apply the bands right then I would expect they took the same care and patience in the construction of the cigar itself.
After slicing off the cap and taking a few pre-light puffs I note the earthy flavor that I picked up on the aroma which I would have expected. That sweet earthy taste of the well fermented leaf is the start of a delightful smoking experience.
As I fired up the Kudzu, i was a little surprised at the early note of butter, that was coming through. Don’t get me wrong, it was a delicious note on the front of this cigar which blended in well with some early spicy pepper. The pepper was not so strong as to burn the nostrils but did awaken them. The smoke itself was thick and creamy and filled the palate. The ash was white, slightly toothy, and held on for an inch or more before falling.
As it moved into the second third a touch of leather and cedar entered the profile. I would describe the Kudzu at this point as a solid medium strength cigar. The flavors notes started to add-on with notes of dried fruit and an aroma that filled the air with hints of nut. Smoking it down further, the nut starts to take a more prominent position in the flavor profile.
As the Kudzu enters the final third, the early spice is present throughout the burn while the strength ramps up and is now medium to full. That could mean it would be full strength, to those that don’t smoke cigars on a regular basis, so you may want to be sure you have eaten before taking this one down to the nub.
Overall the Kudzu was a welcome addition to my collection of fine cigars and I was pleased to have been able to share them with some of my fellow Stogie Press team. The notes described are a collaboration of those fellow team members. We would like to thank Southern Draw Cigars for the samples and look forward to sampling their other blends. Next in line for Southern Draw is their Quick Draw.