Reviews by Richard M.

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She don’t know she’s beautiful…

Richard M.

Southern Draw Rose of Sharon Toro 6x52
Burn Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Personal Score: 97

So, most of my staff and several customers have asked me why I have not done a review of the Southern Draw Rose of Sharon, a cigar that I have probably bought 30 boxes of in the past few years…Well, I guess I was just blind to the fact I had not written a review here, but I had done a 30 second review of this cigar on social media early on…so without further ado, here is my story of the Little Brand from Austin Texas…

Many years ago Bobby B. and I were working an evening shift when a tall gentleman walked in wearing a fancy shirt bearing the name “Chief Evangelist”. Bobby said “This guy looks important”! I turn around and across the store I see none other than Robert Holt, Co-founder and Chief Evangelist of Southern Draw Cigars. This was a bit odd to me, since at the time, Cigars International did not carry Southern Draw cigars…or so I thought. I had only enjoyed one Southern Draw Cigar, a Rose of Sharon that Rick N. from Operation: Cigars for Warriors gave me upon his return from CATS fest in Texas, just prior. I introduced myself to Mr. Holt and began a conversation with him about why he was in the store. Before I could get much in conversation wise, he was providing me my second only Rose I had ever lit. After putting fire to the closed foot, I asked him what brought him to our humble little corner of Pennsylvania. He stated we carry his cigars and wanted to educate us on the brand, mission, and cigars. Surprised, Bobby and I checked our point of sale system and sure enough, there were the SKU’s for the entire line of Southern Draw Cigars. That evening meeting would be the start of a long friendship with Mr. Holt, and served as the introduction to my ‘drive to work cigar’.

You see, I have a nearly 50 mile commute to work on Pennsylvania routes 22 & 78. Although not as bad as the 405 in LA, the Cross Bronx Expressway in NYC, or Route 95 in Florida, these roads I travel can get your blood pressure way up, combined with the fact that they are perpetually under construction. So, what does any of this have to do with a cigar review you may ask? Well, this 50 mile ride could take me forty-five or two hours! The way to keep my frustration level down is to enjoy a great morning cigar for the drive in…and what better way than one of my top three favorite Connecticut cigars.  

Named after Roberts’s wife and Southern Draw co-founder Sharon, and hailing from A.J. Fernandez’s factory, this cigar is draped in a silky smooth Ecuador Sun Grown Connecticut surrounding a Nicaraguan binder and Dominican Ligero and Nicaraguan long fillers, this light tan cigar can only be described as beautiful. The wrapper is nearly flawless, with very few noticeable veins and no blemishes. It has two Black, Gold, and Pink bands, one bearing the name of the company, Southern Draw and their moto Soli Deo Gloria, and the other the name of the cigar, Rose of Sharon. Perfectly rolled, uniformly round, and wonderfully balanced, this cigar boasts a closed foot. The purpose of this is that when you are lighting it, you do not toast it first…rather you light and puff right away. This gives you a nice taste of the wrapper right as you light it. This also means that the pre-light draw is slightly tighter than the average cigar, but fret not, any tightness will go away as soon as the matches lights this delightful foot. The notes I get upon puffing through the closed foot is nicely subdued floral, creaminess, and milk chocolate. Once the cigar gets going, there is a wonderful white pepper on the retro-hale, and cedar and oak, sweet cocoa, and hay on the palate. The finish in the first third is so short, it is nearly non-existent, once you puff the smoke, it is as if you are not even smoking a cigar. The body is mild to medium (3 out of 10) and the flavors are medium plus (7 out of 10) yet very balanced.

Before continuing on with this review, I want to speak about Southern Draw Cigars and specifically the Holts. Southern Draw gives back to the community and the factory workers all the time. They support many charities such as Operation: Cigars for Warriors and The Navy Seal Foundation to name a few. The company is owned and operated by Veterans. Southern Draw Cigars remains dedicated to producing unique blends of premium cigars, and providing the most consistent and sustainable products possible. Robert has stopped by the store many times on a social basis, when he is nearby, he will stop in the store and enjoy a cigar and beverage with the staff. Robert and Sharon have also done many events here in my store, including our Beerfest, CIGARFest ticket sales, as well as Thirsty Thursday, amongst others, and you will not find people as nice and as humble as these two. They are truly Southern Hospitality in a person, a true Lady and Gentleman.  

Getting back to the cigar, as the first third transitions to the second third, I found the retro-hale pepper getting much more pronounced, into a dried red pepper and spice. There is also some dried fruit sweetness on the retro and the flavors on the palate really bloom like a rose on a warm summer morning. I found oak, tea, caramel, cinnamon, cream, and sugar, so the middle third was nearly like a graham cracker…leaving me wanting more. At this point in the commute I am generally in the second of four construction zones, and this cigar is doing a fine job of keeping my blood pressure in check. As I pass the Pennsylvania State tree…the construction cone…I am reminded to relax and think of the good times I have spent with the Holts. The finish stays very clean at this point, I feel the body has become a solid medium (5 out of 10) and the flavors have moved up a notch to just under full flavor (8 or 9 out of 10).  

Generally as I pull into the parking lot, I am beginning the final third of this cigar. Often I want to just sit in my SUV and enjoy this until the end, however the work day must start, so I head into work as I head into the end of the cigar. I feel I am getting peanut butter, charred oak, and rye grain notes combined with the red pepper remaining on the retro. I can’t recall having to relight this cigar due to any construction issues, if I have had to relight, it has been due to stopping for gas or food in the morning, but construction as always been flawless for me, even burn, nice combustion line, strong white dime-stack ash, and a crisp and short finish. Unlike other reviews, I generally can’t pair this with too many adult beverages since I am generally driving, so it is often relegated to a soda or ice water. I have been told it works real well with coffee, however since I don’t drink hot brown liquids, I will take your word for that. I will say that in the evening I have sometimes enjoyed this with a Yuengling Lager or Golden Pilsner and it works just fine for that. The cigar finishes similar to the middle third on body and flavor. It is just enough to get me right in the morning, and if I have a case of the Mondays, I can at least be comforted in knowing that my Monday morning commute will be solid as long as I have my Rose of Sharon with me.

As I conclude this review, I am reminded that I need another box, so before I buy all of them, do yourself a favor and pick up a box of these cigars…the Rose of Sharon, like their namesake, is beautiful, and it will not let you down.