Joining the 300 Hands Maduro and 300 Manos Habano (Cigar Dojo’s 2018 Value-Priced Cigar of the Year) comes the 300 Hands Connecticut by Southern Draw. Blended by Robert Holt of Southern Draw Cigars at Tabacalera A.J. Fernández (the company’s long-time manufacturing partner), this cigar seeks not to capitalize on the great success of the Southern Draw Rose of Sharon (Southern Draw’s premiere Connecticut offering), instead focusing on the story of the 300 hands that create each cigar.

300 HANDS is an all too real story of collaboration told through a value line of premium cigars from Southern Draw Cigars. The result of approximately 300 small steps and those hands producing nearly identical handmade rolled bundles of our patiently aged and naturally fermented tobaccos that we know as premium cigars. The process of hand making a premium cigar is a deliberate marriage of art and skill that has been passed down from generation to generation and our beloved Nicaragua, with its complex tobaccos and dedicated people, is now the most prominent supplier of this unique art form to the United States and the company is honored to share this charitable project with our retail partners and consumers.

I get a little tired of marketing materials telling me why a new blend is “something that they’ve been working on for eight years,” or “it’s so-and-so’s personal blend,” or just how luxurious they want you to feel. So it’s pretty refreshing to be given a reminder of the people who are part of the process and matter, not just because they make cigars, but because they’re human beings. In addition to the focus on humanity, there’s a humanitarian element involved, as 25 percent of profits go to “those Nicaraguans that offered us their honest stories and identified specific needs in and around their own communities.”

A value-priced premium cigar that actually does some good in the world? Sign me up.

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300 Hands Connecticut Petit Edmundo Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Connecticut Shade (USA)
  • Binder: Peru
  • Filler: Nicaragua | Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera A.J. Fernández (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Regular Production
  • Vitola: 4¾” x 52 (Petit Robusto)
  • Price: $5.99 (MSRP)

Appearance

300 Hands Connecticut sports a caramel-hued wrapper with very little oil, a couple of veins and bumps near the foot, and a large double cap. It’s stout but light in the hand. My eye is naturally drawn to the band, which features a pretty unique, pale, cornflower blue and some appreciated die-cutting and embossing (seen on the 300 Hands logo). Why can little companies like this figure out how to make a simple, attractive band for a value/bundle cigar, when the corporations print their bands on cheap home-printer paper for cigars with $20-plus MSRPs? But I digress. Finally, the edge of the band features a miniature likeness of the country of Nicaragua, which is what this cigar is all about.

Click images below for full resolution

Smoking Experience

The foot of this cigar smells so sweet, fruity, and spicy that I think it’s like a jalapeño-cherry Fruit Roll-Up (if there were such a treat). There’s a lot less happening on the cold draw, like finding the remnants of a bowl of fruity pebbles—sweet and milky. Airflow is really wide open—I hope it closes up a little after lighting.

There’s really a lot of fruitiness at the beginning of the cigar, which is lacking any considered depth. A white grape juice/dolce sweetness springs forth, then… wait for it… pepper. A little eggy creaminess takes a turn, being flan-like in flavor and sweetness. It’s all pretty mild, though, save for the level of pepper. Speaking of the pepper, its main feature is that it is DRY, particularly through the nose. It’s not exactly unpleasant, but it does limit the desire to retrohale. Rounding out the first third, the cigar has a mild-to-medium strength, with slightly more body. It’s kind of flat on the flavor scale, with that dry pepper driving away what could be a sweet, creamy focus.

Southern Draw 300 HANDS Connecticut Petit Edmundo cigar ash

The second third is becoming a little more medium-bodied, with the dryness of the pepper being a little less relentless and the grape juice gaining traction. The burn has been perfect thus far, with the draw being pretty free but better than I expected, offering plenty of smoke output on each puff. There’s some real creaminess happening now, with a hefty dose of walnut bitterness that is pretty tasty. The profile is still not particularly complex, but it is enjoyable.

Burning past the halfway mark, this Connecticut is creamier still. Fruitiness moves more towards something tart, and there’s some return of the spiciness, only it is now more round and better at meshing with the overall profile. But that overall profile is still pretty straightforward—not quite reaching that “new-school Connie” territory. Honestly, this just kind of comes across like a mass-produced cigar. This is what I would have expected a Nicaraguan Cohiba to taste like (although at four times the price). At an hour and 18 minutes, this petit robusto is down to nub territory. It’s still mild to medium on the strength, with a medium flavor and body.

Southern Draw 300 HANDS Connecticut Petit Edmundo cigar smoking

Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?

I thought this cigar was just OK. I didn’t dislike it at all, other than the flat, dry, singular spiciness through the first third. Otherwise, it was tasty if nothing special. The quick smoke time would do well as a morning dog walker or driving to work with coffee. I wouldn’t load up on these based on retail price alone, as there’s better in this category for less. I do, however, feel good knowing that this cigar is helping those who make them, so it has merits other than that of the smoking experience itself and therefore makes it worthy of its price tag.


Profile
  • Flavor: Medium
  • Strength: Mild / Medium
  • Body: Medium
Core Flavors
  • Black pepper
  • Walnut
  • Tart fruit
  • Creamy
Tips
  • Smoke Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Pairing Recommendation: Coffee | Dolce Late-Harvest wine | Burnt City Brewing’s Freight Handler Stout
  • Purchase Recommendation: Bundle of 10

Southern Draw 300 HANDS Connecticut Petit Edmundo cigar nub finished

300 Hands Connecticut
The real takeaway for me with this cigar is that it gives back. With 25 percent of the proceeds going to Nicaraguans in need, it’s a cigar you can feel good about purchasing. It’s also a welcome thought process that stems from the name itself, that we may give thanks to the people who help get this cigar to us, from the seed, soil, harvest, aging, and of course, manufacturing. The cigar itself is a value-priced offering from the company that made one of the most lauded Connecticut cigars in recent memory, the Rose of Sharon. Unfortunately, this Connecticut doesn’t have that same magic. It is entirely serviceable, the construction is flawless—albeit quick burning—and it does some good for people, so I feel that it’s a good, worthwhile cigar.
Appearance89%
Burn/Construction92%
Draw89%
Flavor83%
Complexity80%
Price/Value85%
Pros
  • Charitable contributions to Nicaraguans
  • Great construction
Cons
  • Very dry pepper through the first third
  • Not particularly engaging or complex
86%Give 'em a hand
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