A cigar with a baby pink band—it’s a look that requires the utmost confidence in the smoking experience to follow. With the cigar being made to embody Sharon Holt, spouse of Robert Holt and co-founder of Southern Draw Cigars, confidence is an understatement. The story of Rose of Sharon Desert Rose begins in 2017, with Southern Draw introducing two of its most critically acclaimed brands in its (then) three years of existence: Jacobs Ladder and Rose of Sharon (aka ROS). The prior was made in homage to the Holts’ son (ranking as Cigar Dojo’s No. 4 Cigar of 2017), while the latter commemorated Sharon Holt with a fuller-flavored take on the Connecticut Shade smoking style. Two years later the company debuted an amped up version of the Rose of Sharon dubbed Desert Rose.

Rose of Sharon Desert Rose is rolled in a singular 5½″ × 52 belicoso fino format at the highly sought-after Tabacalera A.J. Fernández factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. And while the blend appears largely similar to the ROS on paper, Desert Rose features higher-priming Corojo ’99 and Piloto Cubano ligero filler leaves from Honduras and the Dominican Republic, as well as a tweaked Ecuadorian cloud-grown claro-shade wrapper that is a heartier, more robust version of the leaf used on the original ROS cigar. There’s no denying that the original ROS was an impressive blend; however, Desert Rose has grabbed the torch and ran, offering one of the fullest-flavored Connecticut experiences in memory. The cigar lights up with a comfortingly smooth texture across the palate, ramping up quickly with butter-heavy flavors of caramel-infused milk, toasted marshmallow, salted butter/caramel, sweet cream cheese, and butter-doused Malt-O-Meal cereal. Being the embodiment of the modern “amped up” Connecticut style, Desert Rose should not be mistaken for a stronger take on the genre (in terms of nicotine), but rather a highly flavorful experience, competing squarely alongside the maduro and Habano-wrapped Nicaraguans that dominate in the modern era.

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Desert Rose Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
  • Filler: Honduras | Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Small Batch
  • Vitolas: 1
  • Price: $11.99 (MSRP)

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