Cigar News: Southern Draw Cigars Announces the Manzanita and Associated Native American Charity

Southern Draw Cigars has announced today, an exciting new blend that has been years in the making.

It Started Years Ago

The whole process began years ago, when Robert and Sharon Holt were meeting with AJ, Rafael and Freddy at the AJ Fernandez factory. As they were inspecting bales of tobacco, they came across some rich Habano hybrid that took Robert back to his youth when his family traveled the western United States on camping trips. It was on these trips that he discovered the manzanita tree. He told AJ that the Habano hybrid leaf had a color that resembled the shimmering bark of that tree.

Manzznita tree along the walking path at the Vipassana Center in North Fork, CA.

Knowing what he was looking at, Robert and Sharon wrote their name on the bales and claimed the pristine wrapper leaf for a future project that he was to name the MANZANITA. Now years later, that project has come to fruition with the process started about two years ago.

Knowing the beauty and flavor of the wrapper leaf the next step was to add a deserving array of binder and filler leaf to complement the wrapper. The team sampled various other leaf and blend combinations. They settled on a blend that included varieties of Pelo d’Oro, Corojo 99, Habano and the compulsory, ligero.

The result of their craft is described by Southern Draw Cigars as a contemporary blend cigar. It was a humble effort to share the legacy of Traditional Tobacco, that is tobacco and other plant mixtures used by Native Americans for the same reasons as our family, for sacred rituals, ceremony, healing and giving thanks.

FUN FACT:  Research shows that Native Americans were smoking tobacco more than 1,000 years before Europeans arrived with their own domesticated variety, possibly dating back to 2500 BC. 

Manzanita in its natural form, has been used as a tobacco substitute or additive to wild tobaccos, for food and medicinal purposes by Native Americans for millenniums, which is only part of the story. Southern Draw “elevates” the presentation of the MANZANITA cigar release as a tribute to the contributions of longtime financial consultant and close member of the family Cortney L. Taylor, most notably in the color scheme of the bands and special designed boxes as they embody his cherished university and athletic program.

In the press release today, Robert Holt, founder of Southern Draw Cigars noted:

“We have long desired to share the history of traditional tobacco and its spiritual importance and then we had an epiphany while working on names for our new cigar release. Some nostalgic names were thrown around, but, when we saw this leaf, its deep red color, observed the texture, rolled the tabaquiados and smoked them together, there was a unanimous endorsement that Manzanita (meaning “little apple” in Spanish, describing the tiny, apple-like fruit) was perfect.

This name and our research go back to 2013, awaiting the right moment to tell its story. Distinctive tobaccos, each with their own narrative, were graciously sourced and collated into the binder and filler. There is ample reason to be excited about this incomparable cigar and I will leave it there for now, decide for yourselves.”

The company also noted that the name should not be confused with the ever popular 4×42-ring petit corona size cigars produced by Caldwell Cigars.

Holt added:

“Robert Caldwell was generous to approve our use of the Manzanita brand and has our humble thanks for the gesture.”

Manzanita Details

The Southern Draw Cigars MANZANITA will be initially released as a full production cigar expressed in a single (6 x 52) Toro. Later in 2021, the company will be expanding the line to include their standard size robusto, toro and gordo. The MSRP for the initial release is set at $14.99/cigar and will come packaged in 10-count, single stack boxes.

The blend for the MANZANITA is described as:

  • Wrapper: Habano Hybrid (undisclosed country/region)
  • Binder: Habano (undisclosed country/region)
  • Filler: Pelo d’Oro, Corojo 99, Ligero (undisclosed country/region)

The MANZANITA will be produced in Nicaragua at the AJ Fernandez Cigar Co. factory.

Native American – First Nations Development Institute Charity

The Manzanita burgeoned into a much bigger concept that the family is excited about, including an essential charity component.

Some proceeds from the Manzanita will go to the First Nations Development Institute, an organization endeavored to ensure the sustainable, economic, spiritual, and cultural well-being of their communities.  Southern Draw has chosen for their contributions to go toward Nourishing Native Foods & Health,  The initiative is expected to raise a total of $30,000 for this charity in 2021, with hopes to exceed that number at the end of the program.

Sharon Holt of Southern Draw explains:

“The instant I smoked these tobaccos individually was amazingly satisfying but, the most gratifying aspect of this brand is that it’s not just one story, it’s a series of stories. We will be able to share the sacred spiritual and cultural uses of Traditional Tobacco and support a remarkable Native American charity while we publicly thank Cortney for his 20 years of professional dedication to our ventures and for his friendship. Many interesting facts from our research will follow the launch as we engage in Zoom and Skype and other communication with our retailers and media members.”

Quickly Embraced Concept

When approached with the proposed brand, HumidifGroup, Cigar Box Factory (Estelí) and Cigar Rings (Estelí) were quick to join the design team that now render a fresh new presentation.

Then the valued retail partners and media members with whom the family regularly deal, responded rapidly about helping to augment the efforts to launch the brand. Despite the limitations on travel and in-person gatherings, each displayed great faith in an unknown offering, a combination of small shops and larger retailers have joined the endeavor.

There are several virtual events being planned to celebrate the launch of this new blend following the release and invite all media members to schedule some time to smoke and discuss this soon.

The 1st Ten – Valued Retail Partners, each receive 100 – ten count boxes of the Toro 6 x 52:

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For general information about Southern Draw Cigars, a list of retail partners, cigar blends and reviews, please visit us at our new website:  Please LIKE, FOLLOW & TWEET – Facebook/Southern Draw, Instagram/SDCIGARS and Twitter/@SDCIGARS.