One of the highlights of the 2019 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) trade show, was the announcement and showcase of the Brimstone line extension to the acclaimed Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder. Hailed as the company’s boldest blend, it was described as a vivid interpretation of wrath with the Jacobs Ladder –hail, fire and brimstone – the names applied to each of its triple ligero filler tobaccos. The Jacobs Ladder Brimstone is a collaboration with AJ Fernandez and Ethan Jacob, the son of Southern Draw founders, Robert & Sharon Holt.
Shortening the name to Brimstone, a moniker referencing the Bibles’ passages about fiery torment, it is the fifth size of the Jacobs Ladder and uses a patiently aged Pennsylvania Broadleaf USA wrapper. Whereas the original Jacobs Ladder was billed as a double ligero, the Brimstone is a triple ligero.
The complete bend is described as:
- Wrapper – Pennsylvania Broadleaf USA
- Binder – USA Maduro
- Filler – Potent Triple Ligero, from Nicaragua and Dominican Republic
The Jacobs Ladder Brimstone is expressed in a 6 x 50 perfecto and comes packaged in 20-count boxes and 20-count refill bundles. It has an MSRP of $11.99/cigar. Total production, for 2019, was limited to 75,000 cigars.
For this review I sampled quite a few of these over the course of the year and today I present my take on the Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder Brimstone.
The Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder Brimstone is a very dark brown perfecto that is as close to black (oscuro) as you can get. It is beautifully constructed with a well applied cap and expertly finished perfecto foot. The broadleaf wrapper has minimal veins and has a slight gritty feel to the touch. A few gentle squeezes along the barrel reveals that it is solidly packed with no soft spots and it has a nice weight in the hand.
Two bands adorn the cigar. The primary is the standard Jacobs Ladder blue band with the Southern Draw logo printed in gold. The secondary band is placed just below the primary and uses a blue, white and gold motif. It boldly declares this as the “JACOBS LADDER BRIMSTONE” in gold on a blue background. The presentation is finished with a cedar sleeve that covers the barrel from foot to just below the secondary band.
As I ran the Brimstone along the nose, I picked up what I would describe as a smokey wood note along the barrel. With it being a perfecto, there was no way to discern any notes of the foot.
I sliced the head about a 1/4 inch down from the point and proceeded to give it some cold draw puffs. It had a restriction that I would expect from a perfecto and offered pre-light notes of peppery spice with a hint of fruit.
With the preliminary examination out of the way it was time to get this one ready to burn to ash. I used a cedar spill to light the tip of the foot, which took to the flame well, and offered initial notes of pepper that warmed the palate and hit the nose well opening the nasals for what was about to come. Follow along as I break down the Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder Brimstone for you.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial light hits the nasals, palate, and throat with a warming pepper note
- Espresso notes join the mix shortly after
- A roasted coffee bean note wafts off the foot
- White ash forms on a mildly wavy thick char line
- Touch of cedar enters
- Gentle sweetness adds to the profile as the pepper pulls back
- A light citrus note fills in the early profile
- Early rise of strength appears
- Herbal notes join the mix
- Smooth retro-hale in as it moves into the second third with a fairly clean finish on the palate
- Well formed ash fell revealing a flat but centered burn cone
- The early citrus morphs to more of an orange rind midway
- Aroma shifts to more of an earthy aroma
- Bitter sweet dark chocolate nuance
- Sweetness grows with an added savory spice note
- Smoke starts to get hot in final
- Spice increases down to the nub
- Full Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 30 minutes
Overall, if you are looking for a power bomb of a cigar then this is right in your wheelhouse. Unlike the original Jacobs Ladder that offered a smooth and growing strength, the Brimstone gets to you right out of the gate with almost instant full strength and does not let up down to the nub. There were some pleasant flavors to be had too, including a well balanced mix of sweetness, orange rind, and espresso. It did exhibit a slight wave to the burn yet never needed a touch up. If you like strength and complex flavor in your cigars, this is worth picking up a box and let some age. I rate this a 92.
Point Deductions: (-1) Mild Wave in Burn; (-1) Flat Burn Cone; (-2) Smoke Gets Hot in Final Third
Bonus Points: (+1) Consistent across multiple samples; (+1) Buy a Box