|Southern Draw Firethorn Robusto|
The Southern Draw Firethorn is the second line released by Southern Draw Cigars. The company was founded by Robert Holt and a group of U.S. Veterans. They have teamed up with A.J. Fernandez’s Tabacalera Fernandez to make their cigars. The name is appropriate to the company’s vision. Southern Draw seeks to keep to the promoting “Southern” culture and in particular paying homage to being a Southern gentleman. In terms of their cigars, the company has put considerable effort into have an effortless draw when enjoying a cigar. Finally, the company has designed their lines with the concept of pairing with a libation. The Firethorn is the company’s Habano wrapper offering. I have recently had an opportunity to smoke the Southern Draw Firethorn in the Robusto size and found this to be a very impressive cigar. This is a cigar and a cigar company worth keeping an eye on.
Since launching in 2014, Southern Draw has launched four blends across three lines. The company’s first release was a box-pressed Habano Oscuro wrapper release called the Southern Draw Kudzu. This was followed up by the Firethorn. This past Fall, the company launched petite corona offering called Quickdraw which is available in both a Pennsylvania Broadleaf and Habano blend.
As mentioned, the company has also launched their cigars with the idea that they can be paired with a libation. For the Firethorn, the company lists on their web-site the following recommendations:
- Craft Brews: Cream Ale; Lager; Pale Ale; Belgian; Wheat; Pils; and Irish Red Ale
- Wines: Malbec; Ruby Cab; Syrah; Petite Sirah; Zin; Bordeaux and Oakey White
- Spirits: Blended Scotch/Whiskey (5 to 12 Year Aged); Vsop Cognac; Mixed Drinks with Vodka, Rum, Gin, Schnapps, and Tequila
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Southern Draw Firethorn Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
According to the company, the Habano Rosado wrapper used on the Firethorn is a double-fermented wrapper.
Wrapper: Habano Rosado
Binder: San Andres Mexican
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Tabacalera Fernandez)
The Southern Draw Firethorn is available in three sizes. The cigars are sold in 20 count boxes and 20 count bundles
The Habano Rosado wrapper of the Firethorn Robusto has a medium brown wrapper with a cinnamon tint to it. The wrapper itself has an oily complexion to it. I also found the wrapper to be on the smooth side. There are some veins and wrapper seams that are visible, but both are on the thin side. The Firethorn also features a covered footer – something also found on the Kudzu and Quick Draw lines
The Firethorn features two bands. The primary band has a red, brown, gold, and black color scheme. The text “SOUTHERN DRAW” is in gold font over a brown / maroon background. The brown / maroon background has a gradient effect to a red color along the sides. Below the text is a gold ribbon-like design with the text “SOLI DEO GLORIA” (which is Latin for Glory to God alone) in thin black font. The remainder of the band has red, black, and gold designs. Most notably to the left is the text “AGED” in white font on a red background. To the right is the text “HANDMADE” – also in white font on the red.
There is also a secondary band located just below the primary band. This features the text “FIRETHORN” in gold font which sits on a brown / maroon background. The brown / maroon background also has a gradient effect to red on the left and right. There are also brown and gold adornments on the secondary band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I started my cigar experience with a straight cut. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. While there was a covered foot, I still was able to get some nice flavors on the cold draw. The cold draw would produce a mix of floral and fruit notes. Overall I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point I was ready to light up the Southern Draw Firethorn and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start to the Southern Draw Firethorn had a mix of fruit, assorted baker’s spices along with a slight caramel note in the background. As the flavor profile took form, the fruit notes became primary and were joined by a toast note. The baker’s spice and caramel moved into the background. While there were some nice sweet notes, the Firethorn very much maintained a “tobacco-like” profile from start to finish. Meanwhile I detected some notes of pepper with some fruit sweetness on the retro-hale.
Toward the end of the last third the fruit note took on a slight burnt note that almost reminded me of cherries jubilee. This remained a primary flavor. Meanwhile the toast notes became secondary joining the baker’s spice and caramel in the background.
During the second third, I found the burnt fruit note still remain primary. Meanwhile the baker’s spice was secondary. I found that the caramel notes were replaced by a nut flavor that was also in the background. The toast notes significantly diminished.
In the last third, the flavor profile remained the same except that the spices joined the burnt fruit notes in the forefront. This is the way the flavor profile came to a close. The end of the cigar was flavorful and not harsh. The resulting nub was slight soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall I found the Firethorn to burn well. The cigar didn’t have the sharpest burn early on, but it soon straightened out after some cosmetic touch-ups. The burn remained on a straight track and never was in danger of tunneling or canoeing. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color. The ash itself was firm and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. I didn’t notice much in the way of any significant flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the Southern Draw Firethorn Robusto|
I paid close attention to the draw as this is one of the selling points of the brand. In general, when it comes to A.J. Fernandez-made cigars, they have pretty much consistently delivered an excellent draw. In the case of the Firethorn, I found it to live up to all expectations. The draw was not too loose, not too tight. It was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavors from.
Strength and Body
Prior to smoking the Southern Draw Firethorn Robusto, this was positioned as a “medium” cigar. This is exactly the profile I got from this cigar. This cigar delivers an experience that I would put on the lower end of medium strength and medium-bodied. Both the strength and body balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
For a first year company, the Southern Draw Firethorn was a very impressive blend. I found this was a cigar that delivered some unique flavors. The fact that this cigar is dialed back in terms of strength and body worked well with this cigar’s flavor profile. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Firethorn was the complexity this cigar delivered. I found this cigar had some nice change-ups and nuances throughout the smoking experience. While a pairing wasn’t done for this assessment, this is a cigar I can see working with most of the recommended libations.
This is definitely a cigar I would recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast looking for that “medium” smoke. As for myself, this is a cigar I would definitely smoke again – and its certainly worth a fiver in my book.
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufacturer
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