HAs it been almost year? A year since Southern Draw Cigars celebrated the Boss Lady herself with an extension to the Rose of Sharon line? Well yes it has! Now I would be remiss, if I did not say I have been quietly enjoying this line extension over the past year. Every now and then I reached back in the humidor and pulled another one out and each time it just got better. In fact, I smoked six of these before I penned this review, just to be sure. So today, I would like to offer the Stogie Press review of the Southern Draw Desert Rose.
In the company’s press release last year, they noted:
“The Desert Rose is an almost flawless medium bodied, medium flavored cigar that is as beautiful as the original blend while offering a buttery smooth yet spicy “burst of flavor” with each draw before yielding to a very clean palate. We leave the rest of the images and unique flavor transitions to those that choose to make a purchase.”
A pretty fair description of this cigar and a real tribute to the Boss Lady, Sharon Holt. The company further expressed:
“The Rose of Sharon is a beautiful cigar blended to represent the beauty and personality of Sharon Holt, a founder of Southern Draw Cigars.“
When talking to Sharon and Robert Holt about this blend, they explained it as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian cloud-grown Claro wrapper
- Binder – Thick and flavorful Condega, Nicaraguan Habano
- Filler – A married blend of Corojo 99 and Piloto Cubano ligeros from Honduras and the Dominican Republic
The Desert Rose is produced in Esteli, Nicaragua at the A.J. Fernandez Cigar Co. and is expressed in a single, Belicoso Fino 5.5 x 52 (box pressed) vitola.
Total release for 2019 was 75,000 cigars (full production of 150,000 cigars is scheduled for 2020, 2021 etc.), The company has set an MSRP of $11.99 per cigar or $119.99/10-count box.
Every time I broke out a Southern Draw Desert Rose from the humidor, I was impressed with the beauty of the golden tan and silky smooth Ecuadorian wrapper that no identifiable veins. The cigar is perfectly constructed from head to foot, with a solid packing, expertly finished cap, tight seams, and perfect soft box pressing. It so alluring, you just have to take this one on a journey.
There are two bands that bejewel the Desert Rose. The primary band uses the standard Southern Draw logo on a pink background and black and gold borders. The secondary band rests just below using the same black, gold and pink motif and declares this as the “DESERT ROSE” in gold on a black background. The choice of colors works perfectly on the golden tan backdrop of the cigar wrapper.
Now I know looks can be deceiving, they draw you in, and entice you and sometimes the result is not what your eyes played into your mind. But the Desert Rose is not one of those. The pre-light aromas were even more appealing than the looks with a rich curing barn aroma off the barrel joined with butter and spice notes off the foot. Between the looks and aromas of this cigar you are left chomping at the bit to cut it, light it, and smoke it.
I used my double blade Xikar cutter to slice the cap on a 45 degree angle and open it up to give me a perfect draw. The cold puffs graced the palate with rich sweet earthy notes. As I took a few more puffs I noted a light peppery sensation building on the tongue. It was now time to set the heat to the foot and get the desert journey started.
A soft flame of a lit cedar spill was the perfect implement to light the Rose. A torch may be too much heat for the delicate wrapper. As I warmed the foot, I drew in the first puffs of peppery smoke. Wow! This may well represent the Boss Lady. Follow along as I burn the Desert Rose to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Pepper shot to start especially on the retro-hale
- Light grey ash forms on top of a medium-thick char line
- Fruit and spice notes join as the pepper pulls back
- Hint of nut adds to the pleasure
- Excellent ash falls in a nice chunk with an excellent burn cone
- Vanilla notes brighten the profile
- Sweet and creamy butter notes bring it down to the midway point
- Strength move up to a solid medium
- Increased sweetness enters midway with a delectable syrupy aroma
- Barrel get a tad squishy
- Floral notes and increased spice builds deep in the second third
- A hint of malt joins the spice down to the nub
- Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 40 Minutes
Overall, the Southern Draw Desert Rose was a spectacular cigar and having known Sharon Holt for a quite a number of years, it truly reflects her sweet but firm demeanor. The flavor was pleasantly complex and well balanced with no bite or harsh bitterness. In contrast, sweetness, cream, butter, and fruit highlight the profile with hints of floral, malt and vanilla. As the surprising strength builds there is a well balanced spice that takes you down to the nub. The burn was spot on through the journey and the ash held tight and when it fell it had a Stogie Press signature burn cone. Certainly Box Worthy I rate this a 96.
Point Deductions: (-1) Barrel gets a tad squishy deep in the second third
Bonus Points: (+1) Hell Yea – Buy a Box; (+1) Complex and Balanced; (+1) Consistent Experience across multiple samples