Team Cigar Review: Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum

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Cigar Details: Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum

  • Vitola: Belicoso
  • Length: 5.5″
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez
  • Blender: Robert Holt
  • Price: $11.89
  • Release Date: July 2019
  • Source: Southern Draw

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper on the Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum is matte milk chocolate brown and has a fine grit sandpaper feel to it. The cigar has a rectangle press with some small veins that are also well pressed. The seams are smooth and not immediately visible. The tapered head is well finished. The cigar has two bands with the primary being the standard company design and carrying the Kudzu brownish red and gold color combination. The foot band has the same combination of colors along with some white and designates the line. The aroma from the wrapper is barnyard with a light cocoa. The foot brings a mix of hay and wood. The pre-light draw brings a mix of cedar and hay with a mild spiciness on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

The Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum is a solid Belicoso that is pressed quite well. It has a dark natural wrapper that sports few veins throughout. It is smooth in texture, while firm and is giving off an aroma of cookies and cream, dry wood and sweet tobacco.

Pre-light Experience

The Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum is a figurado vitola, along with a fairly firm box press. It features a primary band along with a secondary foot band. The bands have a lot going on with letters in gold, and shaded red or white backgrounds. For aromas off the cigar, I noted mustiness, bread, barley, brewers yeast and light tobacco. A very sweet raisin and tobacco was present from the foot.

Pre-light Experience

The Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum has an aggressively rectangular press. The wrapper is a Colorado Maduro shade. Construction feels and looks good as veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even with an appropriate give and tapered head well wrapped. Nosing the wrapper gives a mixture of strong barnyard and chestnuts. Nosing the foot tells the same strong barnyard and chestnuts with an added red pepper spice. Cold draw gives dirt, cedar and faint plums.

First Third

The cigar begins with cedar and baking spice and is slightly drying. At a quarter inch in, the baking spice has transitioned to a full black pepper. At three quarters of an inch in, the pepper has mellowed a bit and isn’t as in your face. The retrohale has a slight pepper zing up front and then relents to some cedar. At an inch and a quarter, the cedar gains a bit of a toasted note. As the third comes to a close, the toasted cedar has a slight lead over the black pepper. The strength in this third was medium.

First Third

The first third begins by delivering some great sweet spice notes that is paired with some dry earth, wood and creaminess. There are some nutty qualities present as well and the finish is of leather. I would classify the cigar as being medium-full, and that goes for strength, body and flavors.

First Third

My first few puffs bring sweet baking spices with cedar accents. The baking spices also take on a white pepper aspect and intensify immediately to medium-full on the retrohale. Significant lingering white pepper present on the post draw. Sweet earth joins the retrohale minutes later. Mild cocoa and cedar join after that on the post draw. As the first third settles, post draw medium leather and sweetness establish. Baking spices and pepper have receded, replaced with creamy cedar. Mid profile light plus cocoa joins, bringing some chalkiness with it. That cocoa moves up with light plus by the halfway point. The bottom half of the first third has a profile of largely cocoa and trailing cedar.

First Third

The first third has a medium body and strength delivery of creme brûlée, cedar and soil. Retrohaling surprisingly has a great amount of red pepper spice pulling through considering there is no spice through the mouth draws. The finish is pretty short with a lingering dirt/soil note.

Second Third

As the second third begins, a bit of coffee joins the profile. At a quarter inch in, the coffee gains some cream. At a half inch in, the creamy coffee leaves as some mustiness joins in to mellow the black pepper while the toasted cedar remains up front. The retrohale is toasted cedar and mustiness. As the third comes to a close, the toasted note is replaced by some char as the cedar is slightly ahead of the mustiness and black pepper. The strength in this third bumped up to slightly above medium.

Second Third

I am in the second third of the cigar now and there has been some transitioning from the first third. I am picking up some mineral and manure notes, and with that are some stronger spice qualities. Pepper has begun to emerge and with that is the nutty and leather finish. Unlike before, the cigar has increased in strength and body in this third and I would say it is between medium-full and full.

Second Third

Cocoa leads the profile moving into the second third. Citrus, cedar to finish each draw. On the retrohale, light cocoa that finishes with light cedar. On the post draw, light white pepper. The citrus moves into the middle of the flavor profile, taking on a drying post draw aspect once the cigar has settled in.

Second Third

The second third throws off the balance a bit. I think I’m starting to get more of the medio tiempo influence being slightly metallic. Further, the cedar note has a burnt character to it. Both the metallic and burnt cedar mixed with the creme brûlée note is an odd combination. Strength increases to medium plus and body stays medium.

Final Third

The final third continues on with the charred wood up front as the mustiness moves up and the black pepper is in the background. At a half inch in, the char has increased as the black pepper is now only present on the finish. The retrohale is musty cedar with just a faint char. At an inch in, a slight vegetal note joins in as the cigar begins to warm up. As the cigar comes to a close, the char and black pepper are gone and it’s just musty cedar and the vegetal note. The strength in this third remained at slightly above medium.

Final Third

I am in the final third now and the cigar has shown some major decline which is a total shame. It is slightly bitter and harsh and showing earth and mineral notes. The cigar’s strength and body also increased and I would classify the cigar as being full in that level and medium-full in flavors.

Final Third

Cedar is the flavor driver moving into the last third. Some mild drying cedar takes hold of the middle of the profile. A mossy quality joins minutes later. Once the cigar settles in, a loamy earth takes over the post draw.

Final Third

The last third continues to deteriorate. Not only is it metallic and burnt, there’s now a harshness mixed in. What also is disappointing is the complete lack of the creme brûlée sweetness and creaminess. Strength and body finishes medium-full and medium.

Burn

The burn line was slightly wavy at times but never needed any attention. The ash held on in one inch increments.

Burn

The burn was solid throughout the cigar. It was never perfect, but the actual burn line was sharp and produced a firm charcoal ash throughout. I did a terrible job taking photos, but each third held on well.

Burn

The burn started out straight with a bright white ash. Ash held on in up to 2 inch increments. As the cigar progressed, there was an uneven burn that canoed and eventually self corrected.

Burn

Burn was perfect. Even burn, tight ashes and cool burning temperature.

Draw

The draw was perfect with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.

Overall

The cigar began with cedar and baking spice which quickly moved to a full black pepper. The black pepper mellowed as some creamy coffee joined in. Later, some mustiness replaced the creamy coffee and the cedar gained a toasted note. Later, the toasted note was replaced by char and then a vegetal note joined. Construction was very good and strength was right around medium the whole way. The Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum began rather pedestrian and never gained a profile that really impressed. A pretty standard flavor profile and not what I would expect from an anniversary release. It fits in with some of the other cigars in the portfolio, but I was expecting more. The price point isn’t over the top, so it’s worth a try to see what you think, but it’s not something I’m going to be in a hurry to revisit.

Draw

Draw was solid from start to finish. Well made cigar.

Overall

The Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum is another classic example of a cigar smoking really well for two thirds and then tanking in the final third. There was great complexity in depth in the first two thirds, nice transitioning as well and then it went downhill so fast. The body and strength were at a great level and for a period of time, the flavors were right there rocking and rolling. I thought maybe we were going to see a solid blend from AJF, start to finish, but that is not the case.

Draw

Normally, I would expect a box pressed cigar to be in the open spectrum but the Kudzu Lustrum had a half to one notch of resistance. That still places it in the ideal zone for draw.

Overall

The Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum started like a wild horse out of the barn, with flavor intensity that didn’t seem like it was going to settle down. But it did settle down and became balanced and nuanced through most of the first and second third. The last third wasn’t able to hold on to the same level of flavor complexity as the rest of the cigar. Construction was impeccable. Overall, I found the experience to be enjoyable, and I would be happy to smoke another Kudzu Lustrum in the future. Total smoking time was 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Draw

Draw was also perfect, giving the best air flow.

Overall

I’m rating the overall experience as average but I’m honestly disappointed. The first third or so was good in itself purely based on how sweet and creamy the creme brûlée was. But as the Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum progressed, the creme brûlée kept diminishing and was replaced by a harsh and burnt cedar, metallic notes and earthiness in dirt/soil. I know Robert can do better than this (much better), so will chalk it up as a one off.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
Good
AverageFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond
Third
GoodSecond
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GoodSecond
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Average
AverageFinal
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SubparFinal
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Very GoodBurnGoodBurnAmazingBurnAmazing
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Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.65

Cost/Point

$2.10

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.60

Cost/Point

$2.12

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

6.82

Cost/Point

$1.74

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

5.75

Cost/Point

$2.07

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum
John McTavishTeam Cigar Review: Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum

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2 comments

Join the conversation
  • shlomo - January 8, 2020 reply

    kohnhead rated this cigar of the year 2019? is it really that bad?

    Aaron Loomis - January 9, 2020 reply

    Everyone’s tastes are different, so I’m sure it was great for him. You can see a bit of the spread from the team here.

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