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Staff Reviews

Southern Draw Cedrus Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

We’ve received a decent influx of new smokes from Southern Draw over the past few months, and today I’m smoking the Cedrus blend in a 5.5-by-54 Robusto. I’ve already reviewed Jacob’s Ladder and Rose of Sharon from Southern Draw, which I scored 90 points and 88 points, respectively. Most Southern Draw cigars fall into the $10-12 price range.

Southern Draw cigars are blended and handcrafted in Esteli, Nicaragua, at the AJ Fernandez cigar factory. As an award-winning cigar-maker and one of today’s biggest blenders in Nicaragua, AJ has been a key player in the success of Southern Draw cigars. Brand founders Robert and Sharon Holt partnered with AJ nearly a decade ago when they were first planning to launch the Southern Draw brand. As the AJ Fernandez portfolio of premium cigars has grown, AJ has expanded his farms and factories several times to accommodate the growth of the many brands he’s contracted to produce, including Southern Draw.

The Cedrus from Southern Draw is named after the Cedrus libani tree, the source of the cedar used in many cigar boxes and wooden humidors. Cedar is an ideal material for storing cigars because it reacts positively with moisture, and it’s a natural beetle repellent. Cedrus cigars come in olive-green 20-count boxes with matching green cigar bands. The Robusto is box-pressed, and it’s made from a variety of different Cuban-seed tobaccos, including Dominican Piloto Cubano, Nicaraguan Criollo ’98, Nicaraguan Habano ’92, and Nicaraguan Corojo ’99, all of which are finished in an oily Indonesian wrapper leaf.

When I crack a fresh box open and select an attractive Robusto, I can tell the cigars reflect the high standards for consistency AJ is known for. Minimal veins skirt the wrapper’s dark color from head to foot. Before lighting the cigar, sweet and spicy notes of red pepper, plum, and raisin flood the cold draw as I take a few puffs after clipping the cap. The cigar smells of pepper, hay, and cinnamon from head to foot.

Once I start toasting the end, pronounced notes of rye toast with butter stimulate my taste buds before a profile of pepper and moss begins to dominate the cigar. My nose hairs sting for bit when I first retrohale the smoke. A dry aroma of oak and espresso overpowers my nasal cavity as the binder, filler, and wrapper tobaccos settle into a nice even combustion. Ample streams of smoke pour out in every draw while a firm ash unfolds.

As the Cedrus Robusto develops, an earthy intensity overwhelms the cigar’s initial spice. Notes of charred meat and dark chocolate leave an impression in the aftertaste, but the cigar has shifted into an overly dry profile. The room note is pleasant, and I think if I was sipping a cold beer or performing some outdoor errands, I would enjoy the cigar more. I’m naturally more critical when I’m focused on the cigar’s flavor.

Southern Draw Cedrus is a good cigar, but its arid texture prevents the tasting notes from blossoming with more clarity, so I’m knocking a point or two off and settling on 88 for my rating. I also feel the price point is a little high for an Indonesian wrapper. However, I’m curious how this cigar will taste after a few months of rest. I’m willing to smoke it down the road and offer an update. In the meantime, sample a single for yourself before you jump on a box. 


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