Southern Draw Manzanita Cigar Review
Southern Draw's Manzanita is a medium strength blend of unknown origin. And even though they don't tell you where the tobacco comes from, the blend offers a very full flavored profile with notes of cedar, roasted almonds, leather, black pepper, and sweetness. This is the perfect cigar for anyone who wants a refined experience that comes with few to no drawbacks and easily qualifies as a special occasion cigar.
( 2 votes ) 82
Southern Draw has been gotten a lot of love from their new blends in recent years, but the Manzanita is something a little different. This blend comes with a $12 – $14 shelf price. That puts it a little higher than the rest of their lineup. Supposedly it also offers a leg up on the quality of their other blends with a hybrid Habano wrapper, and Pelo del Oro + Corojo ’99 fillers (among other things). The question I have is – can this new cigar offer an above average experience and flavor to match the above average price tag? And the only way to find out is with a cut and a light!
|Filler:||Pelo De Oro, Corojo ’99, Ligero|
At the outset, I’m kind of expecting A LOT from that Manzanita. A $13 shelf price is certainly higher than the rest of Southern Draw’s core line. I typically find their blends to meet the value of the attached shelf price, but this one sets a new bar.
The light up isn’t a bad start toward qualifying cost of the cigar. The first puffs at light up provide some vibrant notes of cedar, mild leather, and what I’m almost tempted to call graham cracker (which needs more development and balance to really be fully called graham cracker). On the retrohale, there’s a rare mix of black pepper and sweetness. Typically, light up pepper on the retrohale is a stand alone feature. So the fact that the sweetness is strong enough to come through seems notable.
Normally, this is where the flavor of most blends tends to find it’s footing. I have come to expect a balance of notes, or even some new notes to emerge. The Manzanita has progressed a little differently. Black Pepper and Cedar still come across nicely through the retrohale. On the tongue, the profile has become very cedar forward. And what sort of tasted like graham crackers in the first third has developed into a roasted almond note that adds a nice roasty characteristic to the whole profile.
Strangely enough, the smoke is producing a chalky consistency (as opposed to a creamy consistency that I sometimes mention with other cigars). The chalkiness (I cannot believe that word is spelled correctly, it doesn’t look right at all) is actually a great feature of the flavor. It’s not something that comes through with the flavor of a lot of cigars, which also makes it kind of a rare find for a flavor characteristic.
Passing through that halfway point, the flavor remains very steady. Cedar and roasted almonds still rule the roost (with a leather kicker), with black pepper and sweetness barreling through on the retrohale. And of course that chalky texture remains as steady as ever. The thing, at this point in the smoke, that stands out the most is the volume of flavor that this blend puts out. Even thought the profile offers a few hearty notes, the flavor still fills out the entire palate very nicely. Those notes, and the accompanying sweetness, can be tasted everywhere on the tongue. This isn’t typical with a lot of cigars where flavor notes can live mainly on the front of the tongue or in the back of the tongue. With the Manzanita, flavor covers the whole palate in the same way that color covers a fine painting.
Even though the flavor was at it’s best in the first and second third, the final third provides am impressive amount of intact flavor. Leather has dropped away from the profile, and roasted almonds have overtaken cedar. But the core notes are still present without any substantial changes. Strength has increased a bit, but not more than a notch or two (if you’re using a scale of 1-10 where 1 is totally mild and 10 is so strong it causes instant death).
This has been an impressive blend that I would put in the same category as other special occasion cigars like the Oliva Melanio. And in my opinion, the vibrant consistent flavor qualifies the