Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
Size: 7.5 x 50 Double Corona
Price: $10.00 ( A buck less online)
Today we take a look at the Southern Draw 2019 IGNITE Navy SEAL Foundation San Andrés No.2.
Samples were provided by Robert and Sharon Holt.
I’ve had these cigars marinating naked in my humidor for 6-8 months.
From Cigars International:
“Southern Draw is at the top of their game. The family-operated boutique cigar brand has gone from obscurity to heavyweight status in the blink of an eye, and their main focus has been giving back to the community and showering their fans with appreciation. One large demographic of cigar fans that deserves our utmost respect and appreciation is our men & women in the military, and the Holts are killing two birds with one stone by pairing with the Navy SEAL Foundation for this year’s IGNITE Series.
“The Holts are veterans themselves, so choosing a veteran-owned charity providing services to Special Forces members and their families was a no-brainer. This year’s limited-edition releases come packed in 10-count jars and are limited to just 800 jars each. The bands represent the Navy SEAL Foundation, making this the ultimate collector’s piece for anyone who supports those who defend American freedom every day.”
“According to a press release issued by Southern Draw, each purchase of an IGNITE humi-jar will result in a charitable contribution of 12.5 percent of the cost to the Navy SEAL Foundation, something only made possible as each valued retail partner jointly contributes to the selected charity.
“Southern Draw launched the IGNITE series in 2018 with proceeds benefitting Operation Cigars for Warriors. The company said that the project was launched with the intent of raising money for three types of charities: those helping active-duty, deployed, military veterans and their families; premium cigar rights and cigar retail associations; and organizations that help the needy, homeless and hungry population, many of whom are U.S. military veterans.”
Now this is a big honker. But a beautiful honker…like my schnoz.
The photos seem to indicate toothiness, but the cigar is slick as glass. Construction is immaculate with not a single hard or soft spot. The cigar has nominal resistance when squeezed. The stick has areas of high sheen and oiliness. The wrapper is the color of chocolate, black coffee, and ginger. The triple cap is nearly seamless. Seams are invisible. Veinage is minimal. Nicely done.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Light fruity overtones of citrus, melon, yogurt covered raisins, butterscotch, and Fruity Pebbles. The savory notes are dark cocoa, espresso, malt, cedar, barnyard, white pepper, and a touch of black licorice.
The cold draw presents flavors of dark cocoa, black coffee, malt, butterscotch, creaminess, white pepper, cedar, and Fruity Pebbles.
The draw resistance is on the money. I don’t need to drill for oil with my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool.
And the music playing is a great start…”Voodoo Chile” by Jimi. Live version.
Billows of smoke immediately fills the room and makes me look like Pigpen from “Peanuts.”
I’m blasted with flavors of white pepper, creaminess, caramel, milk chocolate, malt, licorice, cinnamon oatmeal, cedar, and licorice.
Complexity jumps right in. Transitions begin. The finish is sweet and creamy. I’m smacking my lips again…just like a hungry dog…except I choose to drool on the cat’s head sitting below me.
Strength is a medium+.
Smooooth. Nice balance happening here.
The San Andrés No.2 can be found at Famous Smoke, JR Cigars, etc. You just need to look for it with the usual suspects online or check out the Southern Draw web site for B&M locations.
Sugar cookie, nougat, brown sugar, and plain hummus. Crazy, man.
The burn is exceptional. Beautiful sharp edge.
I’d like to see a little more spiciness, but it is the only criticism I have.
Cinnamon rides the wave doing a hang ten giving the blend the oomph I was looking for in the peppery department.
The sweet factors dominate at this early stage. But I can taste the savory notes gearing up.
This will be a two-hour cigar journey.
I found that smoking the stick at a month in was too early for my palate. 3-4 months really kick starts the blender’s intent…and now at nearly 8 months, the cigar is a beautifully blended stick.
The blend doesn’t have the heavy handedness that so many Nic based blends possess. I like the use of the Ecuadorian binder and the Dominican partial filler. It gives the cigar a smoother approach. No black pepper surfing the back of your throat drowning out any subtle flavors trying to break through.
I met a guy at Prime Cigar whose son is a social influencer. He had to explain that to me. First, the guy is 54 and looks like the Marlboro Man. He showed me Tik Tok videos of his son. The kid is 19 and has half a million followers…mostly chicks. His kid just signed a modeling contract in Hollywood and is heading there soon. This boy is a babe magnet and he knows it. One of the videos showed his girlfriend…who is a star on the Disney Channel…No, not Annette Funicello.
The strength is settling in at a solid medium. I do believe the humi time has mellowed the blend. But now black pepper raises its head. Houston, we have oomph.
OK. I’m a Southern Draw fanboy. I truly enjoyed reviewing the other Navy SEAL Foundation blends. And every other blend that came out of the Holts’ efforts. Reviewing a SD blend is always a given that I will be a happy camper. I can review a dud tomorrow or the next day and curse like Sgt. Bilko if he was on Netflix. But then, Phil Silvers has been dead a long time…his cursing would sound like mumbling in tongues.
My least favorite song of all time is playing: “A Horse With No Name.” Oy gevalt.
I had some cap issues with the wrapper. My bad. Not the cigar’s fault.
“Whole Lotta Love” is now playing. In college, I needed an easy class in my schedule, so I took a music appreciation course. It was boring as hell. But we were allowed extra credit projects…so, I dragged my 1970 Gibson EBO bass and bass rig into the classroom. I used a movable chalk board and wrote out some music and then asked if the class knew what it was? No one knew. It was the main riff to Whole Lotta Love. I played it and woke up the class. I also wrote out “Sunshine of Your Love” and The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.” I got an ‘A.’
I was asked to play a solo. I did as commanded. Within the first 24 bars, I had put the entire class to sleep.
Strength is being upped.
Sip of water…really brings out the savory portion of the blend: unsweetened pie crust, some Indian spices, a balanced tobacco output, buttery rolls, and a strong malt presence.
Complexity is spreading like wildfire. Transitions are moving at a vicious pace. The finish is full of little idiosyncratic elements that are mere flashes of good cigars past and present.
The Mexican San Andres wrapper has been uber popular the last few years. It is usually attended by a strong cigar. And sometimes overwhelming the rest of the blend. Not here. The four different tobaccos are working as a team. The San Andres is providing an edge, the Ecuadorian is providing character and depth, the Nicaraguan is providing potency, and the Dominican is providing smoothness.
Nothing linear going on…this is an ever-increasing complex stick. The sweetness factors have morphed. Now a sum of its parts.
Early on, the cigar was stronger in its early stages of humidor time in my cave. The cigar is now going in lots of directions; all of them contributing to the nuanced experience.
It’s now medium/full and there is no going back. Should erase the previous paragraph so as not to look stupid. Too late…
Cinnamon graham cracker is in play. A totally out of left field element appears in the form of steak and eggs. I have no idea where this came from…but I like it…makes me hungry.
Nicotine enters stage right. I’m at the halfway point. Where did I put my aluminum foil hat?
When I talk to customers at Prime, lots of more experienced smokers call it getting dizzy or trippy. I generally need to explain why. I had a couple young guys come in and asked for the strongest cigar possible. They wanted to trip out on the nicotine. Then these guys sit at the bar and I watch their personalities change into blithering idiots. But very nice idiots. They got what they came for. I gave them Padrons.
It took 75 minutes to get to the halfway juncture.
Time is kind to the Navy SEAL Foundation San Andrés No.2. Smoked earlier than 6 months, and the strength is evident much sooner than the halfway point. It’s OK. I have an I.V. of matzoh ball soup hooked up.
I get stuck staring at the laptop screen. “Bleeding Heart” by Jimi is playing and I sit here swaying like Ray Charles. I dip my testicles in a bowl of ice water, and I snap out of it.
The second half of this cigar really explores everything this blend has to offer.
The cigar makes a quantum leap. Flavors go from showing up in an orderly fashion to all out-attack mode. Big fat notes of everything I’ve described on steroids.
This blend seems to have been a challenge to try something new. A nice addition to the SD catalog.
The nicotine has calmed down. It is not increasing as I go. I am the King Wuss of Nicotine. My friends call me Prince Phillip.
Speaking of which…”Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd is playing now. That describes me to a tee at this moment. That song is also credited by music critics as having the greatest guitar solo of all time.
This is the Golden Ticket part of the Navy SEAL Foundation San Andrés No.2 experience.
Flavors go nuts. Lemon citrus, creamy, chocolate, espresso, meaty, malty, licorice, nutty, cinnamon, cedar, buttered toast, graham cracker, and black pepper. Wow.
The complexity jumps the shark. It is pure manna. Smacking my lips like a crazed baby bird waiting to be fed.
The flavor profile is so overwhelming that the buzz from nicotine dissipates. I can see with both eyes once again.
There is another new blend called the Barber Pole. I intend on getting to this one as well.
I’m now closing in on 2 hours.
I plan on nubbing this baby with a cigar roach clip.
We gotta get Southern Draw blends into Prime Cigar. But with the pandemic in full swing, getting cigars from manufacturers is damn near impossible due to all forms of transportation being affected.
I get at least one phone call per shift in which the caller asks if we sell cigar bands? I try, I really do try, not to laugh. I tell them that eBay is full of sellers auctioning off huge amounts of bands. Still, they always sound like I’ve really disappointed them, and they will never recover.
I’m cruising. I’m in a warm blankey of SD goodness.
The strength is now full tilt. With the right amount of personal humidor time, this would be a great cigar for newbies to learn from. It slowly eases you into a fuller experience that really entertains the palate.
As the stick begins to disappear into the ether, it just becomes more flavorful and impactful.
A ten count in the IGNITE plastic container is only going to cost you a C Note, or less.
Another Holt blend well done.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS