Review: Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum
Kudzu Lustrum Medio-Tiempo
Produced by: Southern Draw and A.J. Fernandez Cigar Co.
Wrapper: Medio-Tiempo Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Ometepe
Filler: Vintage Nicaraguan long leaf
Size: Toro—6 x 52 (box-pressed)
Time to smoke: 85 minutes
Release date: June 2019
About the cigar:
We recently sat down with Southern Draw founder Robert Holt at the Smokin’ in the Carolinas cigar festival in June and asked him about the brand new Kudzu Lustrum—which debuted at that festival—a cigar he calls “very special.”
“People who follow Southern Draw realize this is an anniversary,” Holt said. “The Kudzu blend was the first-ever blend in 2014 by Southern Draw, so what we’ve done with Casa de Montecristo and the JR stores is we were able to produce a special anniversary series for them using a medio-tiempo wrapper, which is very expensive, very difficult to get, but so flavorful and so rich. Lustrum in Latin means 5 years. So, this is the five-year aged medio-tiempo Kudzu Lustrum Toro that will be available beginning today.”
Holt says they plan to have a similar release every five years with production limited to 25,000–75,000 cigars for each release.
If you’re wondering what medio-tiempo is, it’s a priming of tobacco that grows on the very top of the tobacco plant and is only found in a select few plants. It’s strong and is typically reserved for higher end cigars, usually as a wrapper.
Other than the JR Cigar and Casa de Montecristo exclusive Toros, of which only 220 boxes were made, the rest will come in a belicoso fino 5 1/2 x 52 box-pressed size. The cigars are packaged in 10-count paper mazos with only 2,500 made. The packaging features hand-drawn art depicting the Holt family’s prior military service and the history of the brand.
“If we were entering a barbecue 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,” Holt said. “Offering extravagant and rather pricey vintage tobaccos at a blue-collar price is 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, which has made it longer and been more consistent than many expected.”
Since we were gifted one of the exclusive Toros, that’s the one we’ll be reviewing today, and if you get a chance, head over to a JR Cigar or Casa de Montecristo ASAP to get one!
This cigar features a gorgeous medio-tiempo wrapper (apparently very expensive and difficult to get) and has an excellent cold draw with notes of spicy pepper. The cigar lights up with minimal effort.
I immediately taste a copious amount of pepper and feel it on my lips, and there are wonderful aromas of caramel and spice.
The smoke production on this cigar is wonderful, and the smoke appears to almost have a bluish hue to it. As I move further into the cigar, I pick up more woody flavors and some chocolate. At a little over an inch, I tap off the ash.
This is a wonderful medium-bodied cigar, leaning toward the milder side, and I love how the spice transitions into sweeter flavors as the cigar progresses.
I will note that I love to save cigar bands to remember what I’ve smoked, but I had a bit of a hard time removing this band. After a few tries to remove it intact, it ended up tearing quite significantly.
But band aside, as it is a minuscule issue and in no way affects the cigar’s flavors, the Kudzu Lustrum is an excellent cigar and provided an extremely enjoyable experience (along with the whiskey and music—see below).
When I interviewed Holt, he told me that he likes to begin and end every day with a cigar by himself to just spend time thinking about the day ahead or the day that transpired. So, I, too, instead of scrolling through my phone or reading, decided to just sit and think about my day as Holt does, uninterrupted. Let me just say, I highly recommend it.
Blackened whiskey. This whiskey, from late master distiller Dave Pickerell in collaboration with Metallica, is smooth and oaky and perfectly accentuates the spice of this cigar.
The craziest thing about this whiskey is that while it’s being barrel-aged, it’s jolted to life by Metallica songs using a proprietary sonic enhancement system called Black Noise, which pummels the whiskey with sound, causing it to seep deeper into the barrel where it picks up additional wood notes.
Additional flavors of the whiskey are caramel and honey and heavy spice on the first few sips, with a smooth and slightly creamy finish. This whiskey was made for music and cigars.
Full review here.
This was my first time trying a Southern Draw cigar, and I’m an immediate fan. I have the original Kudzu Lustrum and 300 Hands to sample still, but I assume they’ll be great. From trying this cigar, and from talking with Robert, you can tell how much pride and passion is put into each cigar, and it truly shows.
For more info, visit southerndrawcigars.com.
Interview with Robert coming soon!