2017 was a massive year for Southern Draw Cigars. Between the success of Rose of Sharon and Jacobs Ladder (Cigar Dojo’s No. 4 Cigar of the Year for 2017) Southern Draw couldn’t have had a better year. Their follow up, Cedrus, was released at IPCPR 2018, roughly two weeks after the cigars were first announced. The blend marks the fifth official core-line cigar from Southern Draw, using the same inspiration as nearly all previous releases: faith, family, and “the flora around us.” Southern Draw explains these core principals in greater detail:
The Latin name is Cedrus libani or Lebanese Cedar trees were highly sought after for ancient woodworking. The woods high quality, pleasant scent and firmness made it a popular building material for Holy temples, palaces and sailing vessels. Cedars popularity endures today as it is the most utilized wood in the premium cigar industry and the image of the CEDRUS tree serves as the biblical inspiration for our brand art.
Western Red Cedar known as “the Hogan”, native to the Pacific United States, growing to 200’ tall and living up to 1,000+ years, this tree demonstrates the firm, reliable and beautiful characteristics of cedar. Our bridge to an ancient symbol and a wood that has proven valuable through the ages.
We offer tribute to Phil and Shelly Hogan, a relationship that began in 1996, a friendship turned “closer than family”. Their love and support of Southern Draw Cigars began in 2014 when they rallied family and friends to support our mission even in the face of uncertain risk.
Cedrus “The Hogan” Breakdown
- Wrapper: Besuki TBN (Sumatra, Indonesia)
- Binder: Habano 2000 (Estelí, Nicaragua)
- Seco: Habana ’92 (Quilalí, Nicaragua)
- Viso: Piloto Cubano (Dominican Republic) | Criollo ’98 (Estelí, Nicragua)
- Ligero: Corojo ’99 (Jalapa, Nicaragua)
- Factory: Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua (Nicaragua)
- Production: Small Batch (60,000 cigars for 2018)
- Vitola: 5½″ × 52 (Belicoso Fino)
- Price: $11.99 (MSRP)
Described as “Southern Draw’s most diverse blend to date,” Cedrus begins with a reddish-hued Sumatra wrapper, which the company notes, “[represents] diverse
Asian food cultures.” The binder is Habano 2000 (grown in Estelí) and the filler ranges from the Dominican Republic to Nicaragua (including the rarely used Quilalí region, known for its peppery spice and herbaceous qualities).
There were 60,000 cigars produced for 2018, spread across 5,000 boxes and 1,000 soft bundles. There is only one size of Cedrus (“The Hogan”) made for the cigar’s introductory year—a shapely 5½” x 50 belicoso fino, which has been rolled at A.J. Fernández’s factory in Estelí.
Click images below for full resolution
The Cedrus has a patented, vertically stacked box design that takes on the shape of an ammo can. This look is very different from anything put out from Southern Draw to date. Jar-style, vertical displays are not uncommon in the premium cigar scene, but the Cedrus has a unique look to it. The most interesting facet is a gridded cedar layout, held within the bottom half of the box; this holds the cigars firmly in place, keeping overall construction intact (a common problem for vertically aligned presentations).
Cedrus is quick to stand out as the most intricate format from Southern Draw (historically known for their budget-friendly, everyday smoking experiences) to date. When slid from the grid-like cedar enclosure of the vertical box, a .50 caliber machine gun bullet cartridge is the first comparison that comes to mind. With a long, tapered, pyramid-style head, paired with a box-pressed shape, the look is most comparable to Arturo Fuente’s Añejo No. 77 “Shark” cigar. The wrapper is dark but not super oily, and the belicoso cap is very impressive, with little visible seams from head to toe. With a gentle squeeze, The Hogan seems to have a medium-plus bunch, feeling solid in the hand.
On the nose, there is tang and cedar on the wrapper, with an oaky smell on the foot. The pre-light draw is medium-firm, showing very sweet notes of orange and citrus.
Click images below for full resolution
Cedrus starts a bit salty, with a nice mineral, earthy quality. The draw is a little tight, but the construction looks great. This cigar’s concept has a big connection to the Pacific Redwoods and cedar trees, and the profile follows suit, slowly laying the groundwork like roots to a tree. It has that rich, earthy quality, with a touch of tanginess in the background. At about three-quarters of an inch, I get some pepper and dark, plum-like notes.
This cigar definitely has notes of sweetness, but by no means is it a sweet cigar. It has a medium strength, medium flavor, and medium body throughout the first inch or two. Cedrus has a good raw tobacco taste on the tongue as well, an appreciated quality that helps to add depth to the overall profile. The ash is dark and rich—almost Cuban-esque—and the construction has been impeccable in the first half. This would pair well with a cup of coffee and/or a glass of bourbon, both of which would amp up the sweetness on an otherwise dry texture. I am really enjoying the flavors at the midway point; it has a rich, leathery smoke pouring out of it (surprisingly good smoke output for a draw on the firm side), and very strong notes of, you’ll never guess… cedar! You simply can’t name a cigar “Cedrus” and not have a lil’ cedar in there.
Right around the band, I have to do a slight touchup, which has been the only minor problem with construction I have had thus far. I get some dark chocolate and peppercorn flavors on the palate. The smoke output has really picked up and now it is just pouring out of the Cedrus. The cigar has been complex but it hasn’t had much progression in flavors; I still get mainly richness and earthy qualities, with a backing note of sweetness. Moving forward, the Cedrus tastes a bit like sourdough bread—there is a bitter quality as well, but in no way unpleasant. The end of this cigar still has some kick to it, but the strength, body, and flavor have stayed medium virtually the whole experience.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Without a doubt. Cedrus is a great representation of the tree family because it starts with a nice earthy flavor, moving into pure cedar, and eventually throws in some dark and juicy fruit. This may come as a shock to some of you (sarcasm), but fruit comes from trees (well, not redwoods or cedars or Lebanese cedars, but you have to let me have this one). This cigar is unique within the SD portfolio, showing some wonderful flavors and complexity to it. I think the Cedrus, with some age, could be a real show-stopper; not to mention that I just really like the box, so a 10-count purchase is an easy call.
- Flavor: Medium
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Dark fruit
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Dark-roast coffee, Bourbon, Dark chocolate chip cookies
- Purchase Recommendation: Box purchase
- Good smoke output
- Rich, easily enjoyable flavors from start to finish
- Great construction
- Dry texture (can require sweet beverage as pairing)
- Lack of flavor evolution and/or "wow factor"
- Draw on the firm side