Southern Draw Cigars Rose of Sharon Lancero | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan Viso, Nicaraguan Seco, Nicaraguan Ligero, Dominican Piloto Cubano
Size: 6.5 x 40 Lancero
Strength: Medium
Price: $8.99

Today we take a look at the Southern Draw Cigars Rose of Sharon Lancero.
This is the newest size and though I reviewed the Rose of Sharon Toro in May of 2017, lanceros always have their very own distinct character so it’s time to smoke, write, and review.
Thank you Robert and Sharon.

I made it a point not to go back and read my Toro review so as not to taint my view of this blend. Which could go two ways…either I nail every exact flavor and moment just as described from the Toro experience…or…I find something new in this change up of size. And it’s a new cigar blend.

Limited production to 20 count boxes. 1500 total boxes.
From Robert Holt:
“It is available, we released 1500 boxes in January with famous smoke shop, sold out, we have some now in stock and more coming this week. All good to go.”

From the Southern Draw Cigars press release:
“The Rose of Sharon embraces a unique blend that will enhance the current Southern Draw Cigars core line including the Kudzu – Oscuro and Firethorn – Rosado blends. A very well-balanced cigar with Mild Body – Medium Flavor.

“The natural cloud cover of Ecuador has supplied us with a prized wrapper, a velvety feel, gentle sweetness and a toasty burn, our beloved Nicaragua has gifted us with rich and elegant binder and filler tobaccos while the distinct Piloto Cubano of the Dominican Republic adds a dose of boldness and spice that allows this blend live up to its moniker. “She don’t know she’s beautiful!’ said Robert Holt the Chief Evangelist of Southern Draw Cigars.

“Besides the apparent beauty of The Rose of Sharon in its semi box pressed format, the release is a celebration of Grace and the devotion of Sharon Holt as she continues her daily service via strong faith and daily fellowship. “Much like a Rose, Sharon exemplifies our brand with her beautiful soul, humility and a “subtle” boldness which has made an incredible impact on so many lives. We truly needed to acknowledge her, continued Holt.”

Pairings for the Rose of Sharon are:
Craft beers – IPA, Belgian White, Lagers and Scottish Ales. (Floral, hoppy, Carmel and malts)

Spirits – single malt scotch, Rum 3 – 7 years, Rye and Asian Whiskey, vodka/gin w/ mixed drinks.
Wines – Chardonnay (oak french), Pinot Noir, Reisling and Champagne/prosseco
Holt told me retrohaling is a must. I no longer retrohale as my sinuses are fakakta. But I can still enjoy my cigars to the fullest. You folks can buy this cigar and smoke it using the retrohale technique and then leave comments about your experience.

Lancero: 6.5 x 40 $8.99
Robusto: 5.5 x 54 $9.80
Toro: 6 x 52 $10.25
Gordo : 6.5 x 60 $11.35
Toro: Petaca Case $24.99 Box of 2

The cigar feels light and delicate; probably caused by the hue of Bambi’s mom wrapper that is all Connie. The cigar feels evenly packed. No soft spots. No hard spots. Seams are nearly invisible while veins are minimal.
The stick has a nice soft box press along with a pigtail atop the cap and a closed foot.

From the shaft, I can smell red pepper, creaminess, perfume-laden floral notes, strong natural peanut butter, malt, cedar, banana, butterscotch, crème brûlée, fruity notes of kiwi and passion fruit, chocolate, espresso, earth, wind, and fire, and lastly; buttery bread.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell floral notes, crisp red pepper, potent milk chocolate, and all of the above.

The cold draw presents flavors of peanut butter, creamy rice pudding, caramel, malt, cedar, banana, fruit, chocolate, coffee, and buttered toast.

Okie doke, here we go…
Perfect draw. The right amount of resistance to make this a comfortable experience.

Flavors expose their soul immediately: Creamy, peanut butter, red pepper, malt, cappuccino, generic sweetness, buttery, Three Musketeers’ chocolaty nougat, and a nice touch of cedar.
Complexity aims for the cheap seats and sends it over the bleachers. The Southern Draw Cigars Rose of Sharon Lancero performs exactly as expected…a major slap to the puss with an intense complexity complete with a myriad of character sustaining moments all happening at once.

Strength is medium.
Transitions are dashing about like a gazelle being chased by a lioness. The finish is decadent and should be ashamed of itself.

I don’t get it. How the hell does Holt & Co. get it right time after time? Did they just happen to discover eminent domain in my parietal lobe? Or do they know Robert Johnson?

There is a very Cubanesque flavor profile emerging. That twang so often described a million different ways is in play. It reminds me of the Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure de Luxe…which I reviewed and received a 96 rating.

I see no reason to stop my forward momentum in declaring that this blend is going to receive a monumental reaction when it becomes time to score it.
And it’s only $9.00. Holy crap. Know how many $9 sticks I can stack up against the Southern Draw Cigars Rose of Sharon Lancero? I can’t think of any.

The stick is a slow roll taking its time. The ash doesn’t want to cooperate as it disappears into my lap when I’m not looking.
Flavors are on full ahead, captain, and steady as she goes. A sip of water and flavor bomb ranking appears out of nowhere.
From every vantage point, this is a perfect blend for newbies and sophisticates alike.

Smoke time is 40 minutes.

The malts, the creaminess, the chocolate, the peanuts butter, cedar, and caramel drove right by the “Welcome to Intense Town” sign long ago.

Van the Man is playing. One big regret is I’ve never seen him live. There is still time.

You must get tired of me going Bozo crazy over great blends. I can’t help it. (I’m not an animal!). One day I’m telling you I wouldn’t smoke a certain blend unless a gun was put to my head; and the next I’m telling you I’ve found the cure for cancer.

The Southern Draw Cigars Rose of Sharon Lancero is like baklava. Layer after layer of thin flakes of goodness stacked among sweet and savory notes. The blend loses the ability to disperse the flavors in a strict coherent linear motion. Instead, it is a broad sweep of super intense moments that tell you a beautifully blended tube of tobacco leaves rests in your open maw.

Strength is medium/full. I like that. The stick has a real kick in the arse now. The docile elements of spiciness have gone from being in hiding to blustery and bold. Yet, never overwhelming. It complements the transitions perfectly.

Balance. What every influential blend brings to the table. Nothing is out of line. There isn’t an iota of flavor out of place. Every piece of tobacco is working in unison to bring about a simple orgasmic experience…all with your pants on.

I love this cigar. I gave the SD Kudzu 2018 a perfect 100. Totally different blend than the Rose of Sharon. Yet it is in the same wheel house. A common thread runs through the Southern Draw Cigars line. Excellence beyond expectations.

The Police is playing “Every Breath You Take.” I remember seeing Stewart Copeland after the single became the biggest hit on the planet. I remember the music video. In it, both Andy and Stew are shown singing harmonies; meanwhile, Stew is slamming down hard on his snare…almost out of frustration. So I asked…”Why are you lip syncing to Sting’s own harmonies?” The reply was that he was told his voice wasn’t good enough and Sting insisted that he be the only one to sing. So professional Stewart merely went along with the plan and took it out on his kit during the video shoot.

Where was I?
The Southern Draw Cigars Rose of Sharon Lancero is one impressive stick. And I love the fact that it stands on its own. Size does matter. (How many times have you been told that?).
The last third will see my abduction by aliens who only speak Yiddish.
The halfway point is here at one hour.

While totally different than the 2018 Kudzu, the Rose of Sharon lancero is perfect in every way. I’ll take this cigar over most of the Cuban blends out there. It is so close to the finest Cuban blends we all love that I’m now actually shocked at how this isn’t Cuban.
No bullshit. If you haven’t tried the Rose of Sharon…in any size, you are losing out on a reasonably priced super star of a blend.

The Rose of Sharon was my No.2 cigar of 2017. Unequivocally, both the Kudzu and this lancero will be among the top of the pops for 2018.

This is a whole different way of blending cigars. I can experience the intense passion the SD folks utilized in fleshing out this final product. It’s all there for you to taste. Totally transparent and hides nothing from your palate.

Because the cigar felt light to me, I assumed it would be a quick smoke. Man, I was wrong. It’s as if the tobacco leaves all joined hands and are singing “We are the World.”
Once again, I’m ruined for the rest of the day.

Smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.

I should make it very clear. After two reviews in the same one week period, I’ve given the SD blends the holy grail of ratings. Perfection.

I’m not a shill. I get nothing in return for my review. They are not a paid sponsor. Over the 10 years I’ve been doing this, there have been countless blenders I’ve gotten behind because I believe in them and what they do. Nothing wrong with that as my responsibility is to you, the reader. Not the manufacturer or online store. If I find something extraordinary, I must pass on my exuberance or it is all for naught.

Like the Kudzu, zero construction issues….no wrapper issues…and not a single char line touch up required. I have a friend who shows me all the issues the cold is having on her cigar wrappers. Me too. But not on the really good cigars. The Rose of Sharon is built like a tank.

One last pass at the flavor profile: Creaminess, caramel, butter, red pepper, malt, caramel, roasted salted nuts, cappuccino, milk chocolate, nougat, kiwi, cinnamon graham cracker, cedar, vanilla pudding, and sweet elements like dried coconut and apricot.

Yikes. And I only touched the surface. This blend is a carousel of blistering flavor components that go on and on…The balance is the star of the show. You want to smoke a faux Cuban? This is the blend for you.

Robert told me he believes the Firethorn is even better than the Kudzu. That’s a bold statement. Could that review actually go over 100? Because that seems to be the theme to this company’s attitude.

Nothing is taken for granted. Blends are not released before they are ready and never released unless they match the unwavering standards of the Holt family. Very few blenders out there like these guys. So many good blenders will put out a turd hoping their name recognition will sell a sub-par blend. Not the Holts. They strive for extreme relativity in the universe.

Strength remains at medium/full.
Smooth, balanced, full of sweet spots, and not a single construction issue. You know where this is going.

Even with only an inch to go, the Southern Draw Cigars Rose of Sharon Lancero is upping the anty with new elements to surprise my palate. It continues on its upward climb and not letting go of your cajones until it is done with you; leaving you limp and exhausted.

Final smoke time is one hour 50 minutes.


And now for something long ago and far away:
It was the early 80’s….

Out of respect for the Holts, who are very faith based, I try to avoid my R or X rated rock n roll stories. But I found one that is G Rated. And it’s timely as it takes place on Passover which is only three weeks away.
I love music. I love playing bass. And my body of reviews has presented that to you.
It was Passover day and I was stuck in the studio with Hall of Fame drummer Hal Blaine and a full orchestra. Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood.

Hal got me on board to do a Barbra Streisand album. It paid better than scale and it lasted two weeks…because we didn’t layer. It was done live. Nothing is scarier than sitting with some of the finest studio players who sight read and get it right on the first try with no rehearsal. So I furiously re-taught myself to sight read note charts. I was already doing a lot of sessions; both at my recording studio and in L.A. That was very intimidating. Now? Charlotte has to remind me every time I leave the house to pull my fly up.

On my last night of recording, it was Passover night. Streisand showed up in the booth. I could see her and was blown away. I never thought I would see her; let alone possibly meet her. I didn’t know if she would have a phalanx of body guards to keep the lowly musicians away from her. From my vantage point, this didn’t seem to be the case. (My cousin, Fred Selden, is an iconic session reed player. He has made a very nice living doing TV and movies as well as playing pop and playing on serious jazz albums. At the age of 13, he led his own jazz band to tour in Europe. Back in the 70’s, he played on a lot of TV shows. One was the “Donnie & Marie Show.” I remember the day he told me how much he made being in the orchestra of a TV show. Remember, this was the 70’s. He made $600 per show. One night of taping. And then $400 per rerun. So he would do 20 shows and then maybe 10 reruns during summer. That works out to $16,000 for 20 hours of work. Not bad.

Back to Donnie and Marie. During pre-recording of the show’s numbers in the Gower recording studio, Marie was ushered out of the studio and into a special movie star trailer every time the band took their union sanctioned break. The Mormon family didn’t want her to associate with any of these iconic Hollywood session players.

The session broke around 7pm. I was packing up when Streisand approached Hal. Hal had played on many of her albums and they were old friends. Hal was courteous and introduced me. My knees were knocking.
When she heard my last name, she asked if I had any family? I nodded yes as the ability for speech eluded me.

She looked at both Hal and me and asked why we weren’t at home for Passover Seder? Hal’s real name is Harold Simon Belsky.
We both shrugged our shoulders. Passover was at my dad’s that year. And I was a good hour on the freeway away to get there from Hollyweird.

She was fretting she was in the studio to begin doing her vocals…buyer’s remorse that so she would miss out on her Seder. Though why she allowed this scheduling is a mystery that will go to my grave.
I began packing my gear into my 1971 Datsun station wagon. She followed me out.

“Screw it. I’m coming home with you.”
I gasped.
Before I could say anything, she got into the front passenger seat. Her manager came running out and asked what the hell did she think she was doing? Back in 1982, Sunset Gower charged $250 per hour. That’s $175,000 in 2018 dollars.

She told him that she was going to a Passover Seder at my dad’s house in Long Beach.

The manager flew off the handle and started screaming at her. I didn’t say a thing. I just watched as they argued. The manager leaned into my window. Streisand leaned over me to yell back. I was sandwiched with no way to escape. My heart was racing so hard that it felt like my carotid would explode.

She told him he had no right to make her work on Passover and she would do what she damn well pleased.
I was pissing my pants.

A moment later, she got out of my Datsun. She leaned in and gave me a hug and winked at me as she walked back into the studio. She had never really intended to come home with me. She was just pranking her manager.

I was relieved. What could I have possibly talked to her about? Not to mention that if she did come home with me, the scene would be right out of the movie, “My Favorite Year.” My step mother was Lainie Kazan. Just in spirit, of course.

When I got to my dad’s, I told everyone what happened and my evil step mother went bananas.
She was from the same neighborhood as Streisand in Brooklyn. She was on Cloud 9 at the thought that maybe Streisand would have attended our Passover Seder.

For years after that, she told everyone who would listen about this story. The near miss. I never had the heart to tell her that it was never going to happen.

A couple weeks later, I got a nice letter from Barbra. Hal gave her my address.
Sometimes, you just never know where life will take a strange turn.
The next bass session I did, with Hal’s endorsement, was a national Chevy commercial. No celebrities or stars attended.


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10 replies

  1. Southern really does seem to be doing it right. That Kudzu? Holy crapstein, that was a tasty smoke. Really full-flavored and complex, but smooth as buttah at the same time. A box-pressed AND a perfecto, and yet it burned perfectly. And that gorgeous wrapper!

    Gonna do this one tomorrow am, FCOTD. Looking forward to it even more now after that review.

  2. Ok, smoking the Sharon now. I’m not much of a Connecticut fan, but I can honestly say that this is the best Connie I’ve ever smoked! I’ve never, EVER, had this much flavor from a Connie. What a great cigar!

  3. Famous still had them, and code: katman took 15% off. How can you beat a box at $150 for a cigar like this!
    You’ve now had what, 3 out of 4 reviews be 100!
    Prepare for the letdown to begin.
    It’s inevitable….. right?
    Unless it’s time for a new Isabela or Nomad.
    Thanks as always, for the insight.

  4. Just got my 2-packs of the regular Kudzu and Rose of Sharon toros on Wednesday. I know you’ve said that they don’t require too much humidor time, and they came so well packed with boveda packs. I figure a week of rest might be enough to give them a try, and if they don’t shine, I’ll have another of each to try in a month or two. Really looking forward to them!

  5. I was thinking the same thing. But funny you should mention….I’m reviewing a new limited edition Bespoke this morning. So the downer review will have to wait.

  6. You are definitely on a ridiculous roll.
    Its good to be the Katman!
    Happy Green Day tomorrow, its my great grandsons 1st BDay.
    Stop by, I’ve got some Redbreast Irish whiskey that needs some attention.

  7. I can be there in an hour…
    Happy birthday to your grandson. Mine turns 9 months in a couple of weeks.

  8. Wow, you have memories to cherish forever. Awesome — Good cigar review too. Only had the opportunity to smoke one of these-Rose of Sharon

  9. 100 score! Wow. Can’t wait to try one of these. Having never tasted the forbidden fruit, you had me at “faux cuban.” Something sexy about that pink band on the long tan Connecticut legs too. Mmm…

  10. I agree with you on a lot of your reviews, but wow do I ever agree with you on this one! As for the retrohale, it brings a bit of a floral component into the bouquet. No pun intended. Peanut butter and creme brulle for days and that seems to be the key taste elements with other things wafting in and out. I give this a 100 too. As for the Cubanesque profile, I think if you took one of the better Punch Punch’s you can find and just spread that flavor profile out a bit from the body that Punch brings to the table, you’d be close. It wouldn’t just be an ordinary Punch Punch, it would have to be one of those ones that make you go hmm

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