Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder: Ometepe (Double Binder)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Proprietary)
Size: 5 x 58 Semi-Box Pressed Perfecto
Price: $21.99 (Comes in pairs – $11.00 per stick)
Number of cigars smoked prior to review: 1
Robert Holt and some stranger:
Today we take a look at the Southern Draw Code Duello Kudzu
Thanks to a reader for the sticks.
Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
Released: August, 2016.
Comes in pairs…at $21.99.
Limited production of 4,000 cigars per year.
From the Southern Draw web site:
“Southern Draw Cigars was founded by U.S. Veterans with a desire to recognize and defend our southern traditions, while honoring the history of tobacco and those resilient families who have cultivated, fermented and aged it to perfection. In collaboration with our seasoned partners that hail from a proud culture in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico and now reside in Nicaragua, which is highly regarded as the best cigar producing region of the world. Southern Draw may very well be considered a “newcomer” to this industry be we aren’t new to cigars and we offer only custom blended cigars that are hand crafted from only fine and rare aged Cuban seed tobaccos afforded us by AJ Fernandez and the dedicated team at Tabacalera Fernandez located in the heart of Estelí, Nicaragua. We currently produce a monthly limit of 5,000 cigars per blend, so we urge you to continue to enjoy them.
“Perfection may be unachievable but we will keep trying, under the watchful eye of a 3rd Generation Cuban and Master Tobacconist and with focus on the simple but powerful words of Charles Simmons “true greatness consists in being great in little things” and it is our belief at Southern Draw that “integrity is the first step to true greatness…” We go with God’s Grace and may God Bless you all.”
From the Southern Draw press release about the Code Duello blends:
“KUDZU (6 X 56): A double Oscuro perfecto that is box pressed and provides a Full Body/Full Flavor version of the original blend.
“KUDZU (5 X 58): A double Ometepe perfecto that is box pressed and provides a Medium Body/Full Flavor version with notes charred oak and light pepper aromas.
“FIRETHORN (6 X 56): A double Rosado perfecto that is semi box pressed and provides a sophisticated and smooth Medium Body/Medium+ Flavor of the original blend.
“FIRETHORN (5 X 58): A double San Andres perfecto that is semi box pressed and provides a Medium+ Body/Full Flavor version with additional strength hidden beneath a naturally sweet wrapper.”
This cigar has a gorgeous, very oily (Dipped in 10-40) dark chocolate brown wrapper.
The seams are tight and some veins here and there…All in all, a beautiful representation of master rolling techniques.
Most of the stick is smooth but it has some nice tooth as well.
The triple cap is flawless. As is the construction of the entire body of the cigar.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell dark chocolate, a combo of mixed hot peppers, a lovely light creaminess, cedar, gooey caramel, cappuccino, a string of malts, and a touch of floral notes.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell…I’d have to take large chunks away from the stick’s cap and foot to really delve into this. I’d rather leave them alone as I am very attracted to them…I shall continue to flirt with the cigar until I am rebuffed.
The cold draw presents flavors of red hot peppers, chocolate, cream, cedar, cornbread, caramel, sweetness, floral notes, and malts.
Because of the shape, by the time I really measure the main body of the cigar, it is less than its advertised 5”. So I shall review the cigar in halves instead of thirds. Easier on me and my tape.
I don’t remove the tiny little nub at the foot before lighting. I like old school and light the stub and allow nature to do its thing organically.
First things first….the draw is supremely pure and clean. For such a heavily packed cigar, it is packed in all the right places….like me.
Flavors come blasting out of the blend like a 95mph fast pitch.
Up first: Chocolate, malts, creaminess, spiciness, black coffee, roasted salted nuts, a generic sweetness, cedar, dried fruit, orange citrus, and some decadent bakery item with lots of cream cheese and dusted with powdered sugar.
Not bad, Robert Holt, not bad at all.
Two things can happen here. The first is that I’ve been let in the door and allowed to be blown away by the offering of a complete stranger. The blend will continue to layer and build upon the wonderful start.
Or second, the opening salvo will peter off and the cigar is reduced to rubble.
I’m betting on the first scenario.
Within the first half inch, the strength hits medium/full. No mucking about here.
The peppery finish is as long as a country mile. I dig a pony.
Without exception, I have troubles with any cigar not perfectly round. If it is a box press, perfecto, or any other non-regular shape…well, I seem to have a learning disability when it comes to keeping the char line bright and shiny.
Something new…the sweetness begins to delineate itself with examples of molasses, Tupelo honey (Had to get the Van Morrison thing in there as it is what I am listening to while writing), sugar cane, and chocolate ice cream. Very nice.
The malts explode: Biscuit Malt, Cara Munich, and Chocolate Rye Malt. (See Malt Chart).
Surprisingly, once I got past the little footer nub, the char line has been performing nicely without need for a single touch up.
With only an inch burned, the Southern Draw Code Duello Kudzu finds its complexity and blender’s intent. Transitions are layers upon layers of ever changing accents to the main body of the flavor profile.
I’ve reviewed the original blend of both the Kudzu and the Firethorn and thought very highly of both. The Southern Draw Kudzu placed at No.10 of my 2015 Top 25 Cigar List.
I took a chance with this blend because it doesn’t have as much humidor time as I would have liked…but the clock is ticking for 2016.
Yet, the Southern Draw Code Duello Kudzu is acting like a champ. Definitely New Breed style of blending from Robert Holt.
Without finishing the cigar, I can say that this is a blend worth $11.00. No intense interrogation or waterboarding required to get me to announce this. Although, I’ve found that if Charlotte waterboards me each morning, I wake up totally refreshed and ready for the day of knocking over convenience markets.
The nuance of subtle flavors and the depth of character are killing it.
My first hypothesis of how this might go is the right one.
Strength is a solid medium/full.
I am loving the intense spiciness. I’m a pushover for a blend that maintains its hotsy-totsy love of pepper throughout the entire cigar experience.
Black cherries pop up. For some reason, I think of a Pop Tart. I don’t know why. But the fruitiness is more than the filling of that children’s window into the world of sugar. It is like a jelly doughnut filled with berry preserves. Or a fancy French piquant bottle of black currant preserves. One of the fruitiest blends I’ve smoked. And it hangs on to the finish like a baby holds its binky.
The Southern Draw Code Duello Kudzu is first rate blending. Kudos Robert.
Smoke time is 40 minutes. A nice slow roll.
The Southern Draw Code Duello Kudzu needs to enter a mental hospital because it is crazy good. Some lithium and anti-psychotic meds would be good…and maybe a little shock therapy?
Maybe that’s my subconscious speaking.
Flavors are enhanced greatly by the first half’s influence.
Powdered sugar doughnuts. I can almost smell it. I dream of doughnuts. I haven’t eaten one since 1981…when I gave up sugar. It is the only food item that manufacturers can’t figure out how to make sugar free so I smell my wife’s breath if she eats one.
I’ve got the Code Duello Firethorn waiting in the wings. Can’t wait.
The Southern Draw Code Duello Kudzu is a major player. I loved the original blend but this is something else entirely. Clearly, Robert Holt is a very patient man. Blending like this is mind boggling. And Robert…yes, you are a young man. (Of course, at my age, anyone under 55 is a young man).
Holt will need sunglasses if he keeps this up. His future is going to bring you some even more fantastic blends.
There isn’t a dull moment with the cigar.
Most definitely, one of the most complex cigars I’ve smoked. I recently reviewed some big name blends that are expensive and have a mighty force of followers. The Southern Draw Code Duello Kudzu beats their pants off.
Here they are: Spicy, creamy, chocolate, black coffee, caramel, malts, roasted nuts, French pastry, berries, cedar, assortment of sweet elements, orange citrus, and something that can only be described as having that mysterious “It” factor.
The Southern Draw Code Duello Kudzu hits full body.
Whether it is called a flavor bomb, sweet spot a’plenty, or master of its own domain, the blend has me very impressed. This is a cigar that all aficionados will love.
I’m down to the last 1-1/2” and I don’t want it to end. My palate is all aflutter with the impact of the complexity, flavors, and temperament of this blend.
When I love a cigar, I can’t shut up.
Not a lick of flavors from my lists has retreated in any form. Bold with dots of nuance and subtleties.
With 1” to go, the Southern Draw Code Duello Kudzu goes bat shit crazy with loud flavor elements. That was a surprise. Instead of becoming harsh or dull, this blend has gotten even smoother.
This is a must have blend. You will thank your Uncle Katman and shower him with myrrh and incense.
What a joy this has been.
Final smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
Odd choice of names. Kudzu is a non-native, invasive weed. Great review, tho. Keep up the good work and be healthy!