Kicking off 2021, Southern Draw Cigars announced a cigar that has been years in the making – the MANZANITA. The process of creating this blend started way back in the early days of Southern Draw Cigars when Robert and Sharon Holt were meeting with AJ Fernandez and his team at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez.
As the Holts 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. They tagged the bales for Southern Draw and held onto them and now that leaf has been transformed into the Southern Draw Cigars Manzanita.
The resulting 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 Southern Draw Cigars Manzanita is currently available 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 they come packaged in 10-count, single stack boxes.
For this review I sampled four Southern Draw Manzanitas that were provided by the company for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
The Southern Draw Cigars Manzanita is a beautiful reddish brown cigar that is smooth to the touch with minimal veins. It has a slight oily sheen and is finished with a well applied cap. The seams are tight and the cigar is solidly packed with no soft spots detected along the barrel.
Two bands adorn the cigar, each using a red, black, and silver motif. The primary band is the standard Southern Draw logo and the secondary band, placed just below the primary, denotes this as the “MANZANITA”. I like the color combination on the back ground of the reddish brown barrel and feel this would be eye catching on a humidor shelf.
As I ran the Manzanita along the nose, I picked up a woody pre-light aroma along the barrel and the foot excited my aroma sensor with notes of hazelnut and chocolate. It is an enticing start to the journey indeed!
I used my double blade cutter to slice the cap straight across the shoulder and proceeded to give it some cold draw puffs that were spot on with restriction and offered light sweet earth and fresh mushroom notes. A little more puffing and there is a growing pepper note along with an added natural sweetness and hazelnut. The early journey has my interest peaked.
My double flame torch was perfect to warm the foot as I drew in the first flavorful puffs of hazelnut and cinnamon spice. Follow along as I burn the Manzanita to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Right off the initial light my palate was greeted with hazelnut and a hint of cinnamon spice
- The spice is most pronounced on the retro hale
- A solid white ash forms on a thin char line
- Oodles of smoke production fills the palate
- A pleasant fruit aroma wafts off the foot
- Cedar notes enter near the end of the first third
- Ash fell in nice chunk and revealed a well defined and centered burn cone
- A pleasant nut sensation adds to the profile moving into the second third along with a mild chocolate nuance
- Natural sweetness and cream notes add to the pleasure
- Mild generic spice notes enter midway and evolve into umami notes deep in the second third
- Cedar continues to be prominent
- Aroma shifts to more of a wood note entering the final third
- Down to the nub there is a notable increase of pepper on the retro-hale
- Medium Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 35 minutes
Overall, the Southern Draw Cigars Manzanita was quite the pleasurable smoking experience. The flavor profile was moderately complex with some interesting notes that stood out like hazelnut and umami. A solid core of cedar is detectible through a good half of the journey. The smoke was smooth and easy on the palate from foot to nub. This is a cigar any level of enthusiast would enjoy and is most certainly box worthy. It did exhibit a slight wave to start that corrected nicely and then only to appear deep the second third. I rate this gem a 95.
Point Deductions: (-1) Mild Wave
Bonus Points: (+1) Buy a Box; (+1) Consistent and Pleasurable across multiple Samples