One of the busiest companies at the 2019 IPCPR Trade Show was Southern Draw Cigars. For the most part, Southern Draw focused on brand extensions (additional blends for existing brands, and line extensions (new vitolas for existing blends). One of the new brand extensions came to Southern Draw’s 300 Hands brand in the form of a Connecticut Shade offering – appropriately called the 300 Hands Connecticut. 300 Hands is a value-priced brand with a charity component attached to it. The 300 Hands Connecticut joins the 300 Hands Maduro and 300 Manos (Hands) Habano blends that were introduced in 2018. Today we take a closer look a the 300 Hands in the Petit Edmundo (Short Robusto) format.
Back when first assessed the Habano blend, we described the 300 Hands project in more detail:
The 300 Hands name pays homage to the people of Nicaragua involved in the 300 steps needed going from seed to store to deliver a hand-made premium cigar to the consumer. The people involved don’t just include those who work on the farms or in the factory, but also include the forgotten people such as repairmen and bus drivers. Because many people in Nicaragua live in poverty, Southern Draw Cigars set out to create a charitable angle where the company is donating 25% of the profits of 300 Hands to (according to Southern Draw) “those Nicaraguans that offered us their honest stories and identified specific needs in and around their own communities.”
Charitable giving is not something new for Southern Draw, but rather something the company has incorporated into its philosophy and overall mission statement. The company has gone as far as producing a series of cards for the 300 Hands project that highlight the people involved with the project and their role in the process.
Without further ado, let’s break down the 300 Hands Connecticut Petit Edmundo and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
Southern Draw has other Connecticut Shade offerings including Rose of Sharon, Desert Rose, QuickDraw Connecticut, and Ignite Connecticut No. 1. The difference is the 300 Hands Connecticut is the first Southern Draw cigar to use a U.S. Connecticut wrapper. The blend itself is a multi-national one including a Peruvian binder and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. As with all Southern Draw Cigars, the 300 Hands Connecticut is produced at AJ Fernandez’s factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut
Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican Republic
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez
There are five sizes to the 300 Hands Connecticut. These are the same five sizes offered in the Habano and Maduro blends. Each is packaged in ten-count bundles.
Petit Edmundo: 4 3/4 x 52
Coloniales: 5 1/4 x 44
Corona Gorda 5 5/8 x 46
Piramides: 6 1/8 x 52
Churchill: 7 x 48
Southern Draw has provided retailers with a patent-pending vertical display tray that holds 10 cigars of each size from both blends. These also hold the cards representing the people involved with the project.
The U.S. Connecticut Shade wrapper of the 300 Hands Connecticut Petit Edmundo reminded me of a “dark Connecticut Shade” – in other words, it was a couple of shades darker than the average Connecticut Shade wrapper. The surface of the wrapper didn’t have any oil on the surface. The surface of this cigar had a slightly bumpy texture. In addition, there were some thin visible veins while most of the wrapper seams were well hidden.
The band of the 300 Hands Connecticut is blue with white font. The center of the map contains the text “300 HANDS” with a triangle in the middle of the center “0”. The left side of the band contains the text “CONNECTICUT” while the right side contains a map of Nicaragua. A blue stripe crosses the map with the text “PUROS DE NICARAGUA” on it. The upper and lower part of the band is finished with a perforated pattern.
After using a straight cut to remove the cap of the 300 Hands Connecticut Petit Edmundo, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered a mix of cedar and cream notes. While this was a simple pre-light draw, it was one that was satisfying. At this point, it was time to toast the foot of the 300 Hands Connecticut Petit Edmundo and move on into the smoking phase.
The 300 Hands Connecticut Petit Edmundo started out with notes of wood, cream, and cedar. The cream and cedar notes moved to the forefront early on. On the retro-hale was a layer of black pepper. The wood notes settled in the background and were joined by a classic citrus note. Later in the first third, the citrus started to make its way into the forefront. By this point, the black pepper note also surfaced on the tongue.
As the 300 Hands Connecticut Petit Edmundo moved through the second third, the classic wood notes made their way back into the forefront, joining the cedar. While the cedar/wood connection would seem to give this a very wood-centric flavor profile, this was not the case. The cream and citrus notes continued to creep into the forefront from time to time. In addition, there still was some black pepper on the tongue.
During the last third, the cedar took over as the sole primary note. The citrus, cream, pepper, and wood notes remained complementary to the cedar. There was a little more in the way of pepper during the last third, but this did not transform the cigar into a spice bomb. This is the way the 300 Hands Connecticut Petit Edmundo came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The 300 Hands Connecticut Petit Edmundo maintained a straight burn path from start to finish. There was a slight amount of jaggedness on the burn line, but this didn’t prove to be problem-some or have an adverse impact on the cigar experience. The resulting ash was silver-gray. This wasn’t the firmest ash, but it was not a loose nor flakey ash either. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
Strength and Body
It’s hard to compete value-wise with what the 300 Hands Connecticut Petit Edmundo brings to the table. At a price point under $6.00, one can argue that this long filler cigar was priced too low. One thing that was a bit of a disappointment was that given this was somewhat a unique combination of tobaccos (i.e. U.S. Connecticut wrapper and Peruvian binder), I was expecting a unique flavor profile. This did not turn out to be the case, as I found the flavors here comparable to many Connecticut Shades on the market. In the end, this didn’t result in a loss of points and the one positive is that the flavors produced were excellent.
This is a cigar that I could recommend to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, the 300 Hands Connecticut Petit Edmundo is a cigar I would smoke again – and it’s one that garners box (bundle) worthy consideration in my book.
Key Flavors: Cream, Cedar, Citrus, Wood, Pepper
Strength: Mild to Medium
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Worthy Consideration
News: Southern Draw Cigars to Introduce 300 Hands Connecticut at the 2019 IPCPR
Source: Southern Draw
Brand Reference: Southern Draw
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop