You have read about, heard about, maybe even enjoyed one, but today I am here to present the Stogie Press review of the Southern Draw Kudzu LUSTRUM. This is not your run of the mill cigar, it is an anniversary cigar to celebrate 5 years in the cigar business. That’s right, Robert Holt has been traversing the country, going from shop to shop, evangelizing the Southern Draw message for half a decade, as his wife Sharon keeps pushing him with encouraging words. The family business has grown large over the short five years, even their son Ethan has come of age and is helping out.
The LUSTRUM, which means “5-year period”, has been in the works for as long as the company has been selling cigars. The LUSTRUM is a celebration of the famed Kudzu blend that launched the company back in 2014 and cemented an exclusive relationship with A.J. Fernandez. It features a rare and extremely aged Medio-Tiempo Habano wrapper along with vintage fillers. No corners were cut in this magnificent creation and A.J. Fernandez knocked this out of the ball park for Southern Draw.
The blend of this limited production Nicaraguan puro is described as:
- Wrapper – Thick and Oily Medio-Tiempo Habano
- Binder – Nicaraguan Ometepe
- Filler – Vintage Nicaraguan long-leaf
Medio Tiempo wrappers are rarely used and reserved for some of the most expensive and revered cigars in the industry.
Robert Holt – Founder of Southern Draw Cigars noted in an earlier press release:
“If we were entering a BBQ cook-off this summer and only had a single cut of meat to submit to the judges, the LUSTRUM would be a consensus choice by the family.
Offering extravagant and rather pricey vintage tobaccos at a blue collar price, a thank you to those who have supported the brand over the last five years. We think we have a cigar worthy of celebrating the first five years of Southern Draw – a family company that by the Grace of God and for the love and support of an industry – has made it longer and been more consistent than many expected. Enjoy the LUSTRUM and share your feedback and reviews.” .
The Kudzu LUSTRUM is expressed in a single, Belicoso Fino 5.5 x 52 (box pressed) vitola. Production is limited to a total of 25,000. They come packaged in 10-count paper mazos (bundles) featuring hand drawn art depicting the family’s prior military service and the history of the Southern Draw brand. This spectacular cigar is priced at $11.89/cigar or $118.99 per 10 count mazo.
For this review I sampled 5 Kudzu Lustrums, and found each to be consistent in burn, flavor and overall quality.
The Kudzu LUSTRUM is most certainly a gorgeous cigar, with its oily and toothy, dark brown wrapper, expertly finished Belicoso cap, and smooth box pressed edges. The cigar has a decent weight and appears to be well packed from head to foot.
There are two bands that adorn this special cigar. Both use a gold, brown, and white motif where the gold color absolutely pops on the dark brown background of the wrapper. The primary band is the standard Southern Draw logo while the secondary, footer band, makes it clear as to what this cigar is, “Circa 2014 – 5 Years – LUSTRUM – KUDZU – MEDIO TIEMPO“. No doubt what you are getting here.
Running the LUSTRUM across the nose, my sensors picked up sweet fruit and baking spice aromas off the foot, along with a very inviting mild spice along barrel.
I sliced the head on a 45 degree angle like I do with all Belicoso and Torpedo style vitolas. I just like that kind of a cut on these, it helps to direct the smoke to the top of the palate. The cold draw was spot on with restriction and delivered notes of earth, pepper, and savory spice.
Using a double flame torch lighter, I warmed the foot to an even orange glow and drew in the first palate pleasing puffs of smoke. I have to say, from the first puff I felt this was going to be something special.
Cigar Review Notes
- Full volume of cream and coffee notes right off the first light
- Smoke is quite thick in texture (perfect for smoke rings)
- Pepper blast through nose on the retro-hale
- Fragrant aromas immediately fill the air
- Savory and natural tobacco sweetness breaks in
- Solid white ash rests on a crisp and medium char line
- Aroma develops into a sweet floral note, filling the lounge
- There is already an abundance of oiling above the burn line
- As the ash fell, after an inch plus of burn, it revealed a signature burn cone, well formed and centered
- Touch of cocoa enters as it moves into the second third
- Smoke is smooth and silky at this point
- Savory notes grow into a sweet BBQ note
- Smoke volume remains full and thick
- Strength is slowly moving up
- There is a delicate sweetness off the wrapper on the head
- Spice notes fill out the profile in both flavor and aroma, deep into the second third
- Special note – I put one down for 5 minutes, when I returned it was still ignited!
- Mild cocoa notes linger on the palate
- Salty butter graces the palate near the final third
- Strength is solidly full at this point
- Moving through the final third, I was greeted with sweet cherry nuances
- Down to the nub, the smoke finished with burst of savory notes
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 35 minutes to the nub
Overall, the Southern Draw Kudzu LUSTRUM was a spectacular cigar. I had to smoke through 5 of them just to be sure I was getting this one right. Each one was spot on with zero issues in burn, flavor, and aroma. Never overbearing and offering pleasant transitions of flavor. This is one I highly recommend buying a Mazo of – you will not be disappointed. This is what an anniversary cigar should be. I firmly rate this a 99.
Point Deductions: ZERO
Bonus Points: (+1) Fine Oil Development; (+1) Buy a Mazo; (+1) Crisp Burn Line