Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Cuban-Seed Habano Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5.5 x 54 “Robusto-Box Pressed”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $8.90 ($8.60 @ Stogies World Class Cigars-Free Shipping)

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Today we take a look at Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu.
Thanks to Miguel Castro for the cigars.
Rated 93 by Cigar & Spirits Magazine 2014
Double fermented
Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez S.A. (AJ Fernandez)

BACKGROUND:
From the Southern Draw Cigars web site:
“Kudzu is Southern Draw’s inaugural cigar specially blended to complement the robust styles of craft brews, boutique wines and spirits. The velvety, oily wrapper is a beautiful aged Habano Oscuro with solid construction evident from the first touch. Along with rich flavor and a full bodied double-fermented wrapper, are fillers and binders of premium aged Cuban seed Nicaraguan tobaccos. The blend offers subtle notes of spice, cedar and cocoa. Each cigar has been hand-rolled and then aged to perfection, allowing the flavors to marry. The temperature and burn rate produce an even, clean white ash. Each cigar has a guaranteed perfect draw because every cigar is draw-tested to exacting standards.

“Recommended Beverage Pairings for the Kudzu:
“Craft Brew: IPA, Porter, Stout, Brown Ale, Sours, Bock and Lambics
“Wine: Port, Late Harvest, Full Body Cab/Reds
“Spirits: Single Barrel Whiskey/Bourbon, Single Malt Scotch, Barrel Aged Rum (12-15 Year), Brandy, XO Cognac, Premium Anise and Cinnamon Liqueu
rs.”

DESCRIPTION:
This is a much lighter cigar than the Firethorn. Yet, seems to be more popular. It has a nice semi-crisp box press, tight seams, and some minor number of veins.
The foot is closed. The triple cap is beautifully executed.
The oily wrapper is the color gingerbread and mocha.
This is not a rock solid cigar. It is soft any place I depress it. Maybe some Klonopin will help?
Just like the Firethorn, the double bands is topped by the same Southern Draw artsy cigar band….and a secondary band that merely says: “KUDZU.”

SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto 5.5 X 54 $8.90 MSRP
Toro 6 x 52 $9.30 MSRP
Gordo 6.5 x 60 $9.95 MSRP
Can be bought at a lot of small online stores.
You can buy an assortment of Southern Draw Cigars, and swag, from their web site.
Below is a photo from the Southern Draw Cigars web site of the different blends and sizes:
cigar-sizes

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell a light sweetness, cedar, maybe some cherries, and spice.
From the clipped cap, and the clipped closed foot, I smell dark chocolate, spice, raisin sweetness, cedar, barnyard, espresso, and
The cold draw presents flavors of malt, chocolate, cream, spice, baking spices (cinnamon and nutmeg), and hay.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is excellent.
Wow! A super spice bomb that makes my yarmulke twirl on top of my toupee.

Along with that massive dose of black pepper is: Chocolate, creaminess, malts, espresso, raisins, cedar, and shortbread cookies. (I know that’s strange).

Well, I’ve got 7 more cigars to review. Since I promised to review the Kudzu as a companion piece to the Kudzu, I am keeping that promise.

I expect a few cigars this week from a couple readers. If there is something to review, it’s on. Otherwise, I will hold on to those 7 sticks until February 3 to continue reviewing.

Right off the bat, the Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu stakes its claim to being the better cigar of the two…both this blend and the Firethorn.
It has AJ written all over it. Starts with a bang and, hopefully, makes more transitions that an 80 year old woman driving to the market.
The sun is out early and very bright. Nearly washes all the color from the cigar:

4

I haven’t exactly said this in a while, but holy shit. From the first moments of lighting this cigar, it has my undivided attention. My apologies to the folks at Southern Draw, but the Kudzu kicks ass and buries the Firethorn in a shallow grave.

For a cigar that is as soft as the Kudzu, I expected it to be a quick smoke. Just the opposite. It is a lazy, slow smoke.

I am having wavy burn issues. I shall keep an eye on that so it doesn’t make a run for the border.
No CD’s or Spotify this morning. The sun came out early. Yesterday was a frigid -25°. This morning is a balmy -11°. Shorts and T shirt weather.

The only downside to listening to the Classic Rock station on AT&T cable TV music station is that they play way too much Bob Seger. Never grew a liking for him.

Back to the weather. No CD’s or Spotify because it’s clumsy. I have to wear a ball cap to keep the sun out of my eyes. I have to wear headphones to listen to the music. And each time I get up to take a photo, I nearly have to undress. Music on TV is much better.

Years ago, I bought a nice sound bar for the living room TV. Charlotte hates loud TV. But absolutely loves music. Once she got the experience of surround sound and those big fat bass notes, I have to sit in the man cave while she watches every single music show on TV. The walls are a’ shakin. If I took that sound bar away, she’d be depressed for months. So I won’t.

All right then…Zep’s “Rock and Roll.”

Strength started out dead center of medium body. But an inch in, it begins to move to medium/full.
Transitions are going nuts. I’m an avowed AJ fan. Remember those Fallen Angel Devil’s Ink that I so heavily promoted while on sale? Well, the CI doesn’t seem to sell them anymore. And I think I know why: Major burn issues. Every single cigar I lit had a major run within a couple of minutes. Didn’t matter what I did, it ran. If CI or AJ claim it was a limited run, that’s bullshit. It was an extremely poorly constructed cigar and I bet there were so many complaints, they took it off the market. My bad for promoting it so heavy. Didn’t expect my boy to let us all down like that.

He’s doing just fine with the Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu. This is the AJ I love.
It obviously needed very little humidor time as I don’t believe I’ve had the sticks for even two weeks.
But I am having burn issues. It’s needed a couple touch ups early in the game.

Flavors are so complex, I’m having trouble discerning exact flavors.
There is a heavy creaminess, very spicy that is both black pepper and jalapeno, either vanilla toffee or caramel, malts, graham cracker, fresh orange, a bit of licorice, and coffee and chocolate. The cedar is on the wane. No other wood shows itself.

Mind you, it takes several minutes of smacking my chops to find these flavors. They just don’t jut out at you. A couple sips of water re-freshens the flavors.

Miguel Castro referred me to a brouhaha going on at Halfwheel.com. Check it out. It basically started out at how Halfwheel gets their consensus for making a top 25 cigar list for 2015. But then the comments take umbrage with the methods they used. And they don’t divulge all the review blogs they used to make their decisions. Just the Big Guys of course. I even get involved in the Comment section.
No matter how many types of numerical magical mystical systems they use, it still requires human input meaning that it will never be objective.
My comment was completely ignored by every other person commenting including the moderator.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 30 minutes.
Strength is medium/full.

Do you remember those little round cracker sticks dunked in chocolate at the end? My parents always put them out when company came. I stole as many as I could get away with. Flavors were orange, raspberry, etc. All coated in that delicious chocolate.
This is a flavor I’m getting with the Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu.
There are definite orange and raspberry elements. Very subtle and the untrained palate may not taste them. Smoke it as your first of the day and see if you agree.

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The graham cracker component is pretty strong now aided by that chocolate covered fruity dessert sticks thing.
Oh wait…Chocolate covered raspberry jelly rings. Damn. That’s in there too.
Raisin sweetness is prominent. Chocolate and coffee take a back seat to other flavors such as malts, creaminess, strong spice, and cherries.

How come no one makes fun of the flavors that the Blind Man’s Puff site comes up with? I really like that site. It’s unique. And they come up with some crazy flavors like I do. No one makes fun of them for having great palates.

I am so disappointed when I read some review sites and find them finding the same flavors over and over. Just touching the top of the palate. Just the main flavors and not looking for the subtle and nuanced flavors.
Most reviewing the Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu stick with about 4 or 5 flavors throughout.

The Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu is a highly complex cigar and deserves better dissection than most reviewers give it.
Ahh..Van Halen playing “Pretty Woman.” I dig it my babies.

6

I have to close the window opposite me. I don’t care if I’m engulfed in a cloud of smoke. It’s fucking cold!! My balls have stuck together. I now have a single testicle.

Strength is a solid medium/full.
And then a major transition….Subtle flavors become big, bold flavors.

Oh no…Jimi playing “Voodoo Chile.” There is a God. Thank you Cosmic Muffin. I’ve got the walls shaking. Only way to listen to Jimi. Never got a chance to see him. One of my biggest regrets.

The chocolate and coffee return big time.
The halfway point. Smoke time is 45 minutes.
The orange element moves very close to the front of the line. Pretty much in tandem with the chocolate and coffee and creaminess.
The malts are the usual suspects. By now, I’m sure you’ve memorized the list.
The toffee isn’t toffee. It’s caramel.

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I’m going to need to revise my Top 25 Cigars of 2015 and add this to the list. What to remove? Hmmm…
This is now one of my most favorite AJ blends. Just spectacular. Brock commented on the Firethorn saying that the Kudzu is one his favorites as well. Well Brock, you and I are brothers from another mother. Spot on, son.

I have to get some of these. I haven’t bought cigars in months. So I call my daughter and ask to borrow $40. Done.

I go to Stogies World Class Cigars and buy 5 singles of the Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu in robusto size for $8.60 per stick. Free shipping. And a promo code: EM10 for 10% off. I got in just under the wire with $38.70 spent. Woo Hoo!

I got the Robusto for $7.74 each. Or $1.16 per stick cheaper than everyone else is selling them for.
I almost didn’t review this morning wanting to save my cigars for the last week.

Now I’m so happy I did. Miguel sent me three sticks and this was my first one. So that’s 2 left plus 5 on the way. Bless-ed by the Cosmic Muffin. Thank you baby Jesus!
This will be a good day.

Oh fuck me…George Harrison’s “What is Life?” One of my all time faves.

This is a killer cigar. No shit.
I just replaced the Angel’s Anvil with the Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu for the No.9 spot in “THE KATMAN’S TOP 25 CIGARS OF 2015.” It really is that good.

I don’t have the pressure of other reviewers to canonize my top 25 cigars as I am quitting in a few weeks. And since this is a 2015 cigar, why not? I’ve made several changes since January 1 to the list.
You know what this reminds me of? An Ezra Zion blend. Now which one? Oh snap! This is easy: Ezra Zion All My Ex’s. The leaf stats are different but the Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu has that flavor bomb status the EZ blend has. A perfect balance. And a very long finish. And oh so complex. Right from the start.

“Paint it Black” by the Stones. I was at McCabe’s Music Store in Long Beach, Ca when Keith Richards came in and bought a Dulcimer that is so prevalent in the song. Fucking Wikipedia says it is a sitar. Fucking idiots.
McCabe’s was one of the biggest hang out for rock stars getting special instruments in the 60’s and 70’s.

McCabe's_Guitar_Shop,_Santa_Monica

It was there, that one of their luthiers took my funky Dobro electric bass and made it kick ass. They are mystical and magical there. We even got to practice there once when our rehearsal space disappeared. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band hung out there. Even their banjo player, John McEwen, gave me 5 string banjo lessons there.

ngdb

We were rehearsing The Beatles’ “Back in the USSR” when one of the NGDB came in and helped us get the song right.
I even went to high school with Jimmie Fadden who was their blues harp player. He got kicked out because he had long hair in his senior year. He would walk around the school with a double bandolier of harps.

Photo of Jimmie Fadden:
JFwarmup

Back to the Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu. The hell with it. I’m on my last legs of reviewing so why not throw in a rock story. Am I right?
Strength hits full body.
And the dreaded nicotine follows. Oy vey.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.
For a soft cigar, I am totally surprised it smokes so slowly.

I tip my yarmulke to the folks at Southern Draw. And to AJ, of course.

The only criticism I have is the need for touch ups on a regular basis. Must be the Wisconsin cold.
The Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu is the true definition of a flavor bomb. I don’t care what my detractors say about me using the term too often. They just don’t have my palate.
And to be honest, I don’t think you need a great palate for this blend.

Yet, I read other reviews and almost none rave about it the way I’ve done. What is wrong with them?
I find that this cigar has made it on to the top 25 cigar lists of a lot of reviewers. Mostly the small guys like me. We didn’t get to smoke the $100 cigars the Big Guys got to smoke. That’s just rubbing it in our faces that they have better sponsorship than we do.
But then, I find the Big Guys are basically a boring read. Put their reviews on tape and play them back at bedtime and you have instant sleep.

You’re kidding…Rod Stewart doing “Gasoline Alley.” As soon as he got rid of the Faces, he went into a deep spiral. It was the only time in his career that his music sounded genuine. Not over produced.

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This is why I like reviewing in real time. It’s organic. Not like so many other reviewers that seem like copywriters.

The nicotine slows me down.

I can’t say enough good things about the Southern Draw Cigars Kudzu. A spectacular blend in spite of burn issues.

I noticed that there was only 1/3 reviews of the Firethorn compared to the Kudzu. Now I know why.
Stogies World Class Cigars is the place to go. $1.40 less than the MSRP that everyone else is charging and another 10% off with the promo code EM10. And free shipping.

Go get some now. If you haven’t smoked a Kudzu, you are missing out on one of the great cigars.
Thank you Miguel for your kindness and generosity.
Final smoke time is one hour 30 minutes.
And to end the review, how appropriate; Zep’s “Dazed and Confused.” Which describes me to a tee.

RATING: 96

9

And now more crap about my life in rock n roll:

Here is one I haven’t told in a long time….
My band, Curved Air, was touring with Black Sabbath. Now this was the stupidest pairing in the world. Our two bands were oil and water. And we were scared to go on first.

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Curved Air almost, without fail, headlined its own gigs. And we played a healthy 2-1/2 hours. When we supported a big band, we were only allowed 45 minutes. You have to remember that the road is not that much fun and you live to play. So waiting all day to play and then only get 45 minutes was disappointing. Fortunately, being the support act only happened now and again.

While Curved Air was basically a stable bunch of people who smoked weed and hash, Sabbath was doing heroin. And their fans were totally out of control. A mob.
As we took the stage, people booed. Oh lord.

Curved Air was a really big band in England, South America, Japan, and Europe. We weren’t used to getting booed.

We always started with a high energy instrumental. And then we would introduce Sonja Kristina. And she was always dressed in high end slut clothing. The crowds always went nuts. Even the Sabbath crowd. The booing stopped once she was on stage. She was slinky and sexy. The little boys wet themselves.

Well, we did our magic and but the crowd became restless. Even yelling out Black Sabbath at times.
Knowing she had to win back the crowd, Sonja really did a number.

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She started to shed her clothes. And she would take turns kneeling in front of me, and the guitarist, and the violinist giving us fake head. The crowd nearly turned the arena upside down.

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This caught the attention of Ozzy who was just off stage. He was a big fan of CA. And he stood there during our entire set.

He walked on stage and the place went nuts. He grabbed Sonja and she knew what to do. She got down on her knees in front of him and undid his fly. She reached in with one hand and began to lick the outside of his pants. He took the microphone away from her and made all sorts of lewd comments. I thought the crowd was going to storm the stage.

The band and I were laughing big time. There was nothing shy about Sonja. Ozzy pushed her hand away and yanked out his petunia.

Sonja took the mic back and began to sing our only Top 10 hit, “Back Street Luv.” The band followed her. She stood there singing with Ozzy’s dick in her hand. Roadies and security had to stand at the front of the stage and were throwing the more excited fans off.

After the gig, both bands and all of the roadies not working, headed to the “in” club in town. We sat at a big half-round booth. Sonja sat next to Ozzy. And then all of a sudden she disappeared. She was giving Ozzy head underneath the table. Ozzy’s facial expression never changed.

A roadie that Ozzy always picked on turned the tables on him. He took a shit into his hand and dropped the turd into Ozzy’s drink. The roadies fled the table. Sonja did not. And Ozzy never saw it coming as he lifted the drink to his mouth.

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As soon as turd touched his lips, he stood up knocking the entire table on its side. He started cursing. Sonja scrambled to get out of there. Ozzy knew who did this and chased him around the club.
Darryl, Curved Air’s leader, told us this might be a good time to split.

When we were the backup for some big group, it was usually for only 3 gigs. And this gig was out third and last.
For some reason, we never toured with Black Sabbath again.

Well, that’s it for me for a while.

I’ve got a really important doctor appointment at the U of W Medical College this Thursday, the 21st. I will finally get the real skinny about what’s happening to me. I will have to double down on the tranquilizers for that visit. Scared shitless. LOL.

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8 replies

  1. I want to apologize for my grammar. I really struggle like no other time in my life. Four hours to write this review and others like it because I have tabs open for online dictionaries and a Thesaurus. I even use Spell Check.
    But I’m clearly losing it. I’m very embarrassed about my writing. I’m not going back to fix things as I will just continue to be confused and may make it worse. Plus, after 4 hours, I’m exhausted.
    Hopefully, I can get to Feb. 10 without making a complete ass of myself.
    Thanks to everyone for their readership. Means a lot.

  2. I hate it when people but feces in my bev while I’m getting a blowjob at the club.

  3. You mentioned the problems you were having with the Fallen Angel Devil’s Ink…based upon your recommendation, I ordered fifty or sixty of them on special, and I tellya…I have NOT been disappointed at all! I haven’t had any significant burn issues with them unless I had minor ones along the way, but never anything like a run. I’m not a fan of the box press, and it seems like they are a little harder to get lit initially, but the blend and construction of the ones I got were spot on! I store mine in the mid-sixties, so I don’t know if that’s different from where you store yours, but I’ve discovered that everything just goes together better at that relatively low RH thank when I was keeping them around 70 RH.

    Anyway, I appreciate your recommendation on that particular stogie, have had a great experience with them! In fact, I read about your problems yesterday before I went to work, so I smoked one on the two hour plus commute home…as you put it…’dead nuts burn line’!

    • Hi VK (Don’t know your real first name).
      I’m so happy to hear that you had no issues.
      Maybe it’s just me. I keep my humidity at around 67%.
      The more the Alzheimer’s affects me, the more the confusion settles in. So maybe I just no longer remember how to properly light a cigar.
      I love the flavor of the Devil’s Ink. And it seems that the run starts in the first couple of minutes. So I toast the foot and lay it down for a couple minutes. Sometimes letting it go out.
      I re-light it and then watch it like a hawk. If it begins to run, I attend to it immediately.
      That sometimes is the answer. Other times, it doesn’t matter what I do, it runs. I then have to torch the shit out of the cigar which makes me unhappy as it certainly affects the flavor of the cigar.
      Regardless, as no one else has commented that they had troubles so it must be me.
      Thanks for your comment, VK.
      All the best,
      Phil

      • Phil…who knows when it comes to ceegars? There are so many variables. Just one of those things. You and I keep our sticks at about the same humidity. Maybe it’s cuz we don’t have snow here in SoCal! Yeh! Dat’s de ticket! Yeh!

        My first name is Vance, but I’ve gone by VK for dern near forty years, but I’ll answer to either.

  4. Hey Phil,
    I just wanted to say I wish you all the luck in the world tomorrow for your doctor’s visit. You’re in my thoughts and prayers sir.

  5. Damn, what a review. I saw it now for the first time. We will share the link with the masses and you just earned yourself the title of Southern Draw Cigars – Evangelist. We look forward to a visit at Stogies on our next trip to Htown, keep doing what you do. Great work.

  6. I very much enjoy your writing style and your reviewing style! I must agree that the Kudzu is a definite hit! I love the flavor and strength profile, and I haven’t had any wonky burn issues with any Southern Draw cigar I’ve yet smoked! Thanks Katman!