Wrapper: Connecticut Shade (USA)
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
Size: 5.625 x 46 Corona Gorda
Today we take a look at the 300 Hands Connecticut.
Samples were provided by Southern Draw 9 months ago.
Yes, there is no hiding that I’m a big fan of SD. And after the last few reviews that died in the dust of Death Valley, I decided to review a cigar that everyone and his brother have already reviewed. But they all occurred in 2019 after its release. I’ve had these cigars marinating naked in my humidor for over 9 months. The flavor has matured and is a different animal than what I smoked after a couple months of humidor time.
Lastly, Southern Draw Cigars has proven itself to be a reliable cigar manufacturer churning out great blends, one after another. So, if you think that SD having an advertising space on this blog makes a difference one way or another in influencing my opinion, you’re wrong. SD is probably one of the fastest, and most impressive, boutique brands to hit the cigar world in a few years.
The difference between my review and the others is a testament to the growth of a blend that has a highly reasonable price point.
Released Fall of 2019.
Factory: Tabacalera A.J. Fernández
From Southern Draw’s press release:
“300 HANDS is an all too real story of collaboration told through a value line of premium cigars from Southern Draw Cigars. The result of approximately 300 small steps and those hands producing nearly identical handmade rolled bundles of our patiently aged and naturally fermented tobaccos that we know as premium cigars. The process of hand making a premium cigar is a deliberate marriage of art and skill that has been passed down from generation to generation and our beloved Nicaragua, with its complex tobaccos and dedicated people, is now the most prominent supplier of this unique art form to the United States and the company is honored to share this charitable project with our retail partners and consumers.”
SIZES AND PRICING:
Petit Edmundo: 4.75 x 52 $6.00
Coloniales: 5.25 x 44 $6.20
Corona Gorda 5.625 x 46 $6.30
Piramides: 6.125 x 52 $6.40
Churchill: 7 x 48 $7.20
The near banana colored wrapper glistens in the light with oil. The stick is well packed, devoid of hard or soft spots.
Seams are visible but tight. Very little veinage to disrupt the flow. The cap is so expertly applied, I can’t tell if it is a double or triple. But guessing based on price point, I will say it is a double cap. The wrapper is as smooth as a baby’s tush.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Big globs of white chocolate and thick creaminess are up to bat first. And there is a slight banana aroma that is in the mix along with a gorgeous floral note, cedar, black pepper, café au lait, barnyard, and caramel.
The cigar is difficult to draw on, so I grab my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and have at it. Turns out there is a small plug at the cigar band level. This is usually where plugs live and reside. One swipe of my PerfecDraw and my work is done.
The cold draw presents flavors of black pepper, creaminess, white chocolate, banana, cedar, and caramel.
I smoked one a couple nights ago as I haven’t touched my sampler for some time. Spoiler Alert: It surprised the hell out of me. I found it nothing like the previous reviews I checked out. The nearly one year of humi time has transformed the blend into something very special.
A blast of black pepper is at the head of the parade. I realize that most experienced this blend as a mild cigar. You are about to find out, that with time, this ain’t no regular Connie.
Immediately complex. Flavors of extreme creaminess coats my palate. The spiciness is quite potent. The banana and newly identified salted nuts with caramel are head banging in the mosh pit. There is that white chocolate again. Transitions begin. The finish causes involuntary lip smacking. Nice bits of the aforementioned elements are in play.
The construction is excellent as the burn is nearly razor sharp.
The Corona Gorda is my all-time favorite size. I find it to have an exuberant intensity than larger cigars usually don’t have. Same goes for the Corona.
Strength is not mild, mild medium, or medium. This little Fokker is traveling towards the light and is lingering on the cusp of medium/full and ready to cross that line. Most cigars, given plenty of humi time, mellow in their attack. Not here, my dears. This thing is ramping up to shoot King Kong off the Empire State Building.
By no coincidence, I’ve been an AJ fan forever. Nice combo of heads put together to produce a quality smoke that is priced like a yard ‘gar but is something else entirely.
It is by no means a flavor bomb. It works diligently with the flavors mentioned and, for me, that’s enough…as the character of the blend is taking a third bow in the spotlight.
The balance of sweet v. savory is spot on. The stick is now so complex that it becomes a cigar that those smokers who proclaim, “I know what I like and what I don’t like,” will enjoy the hell out of. I love a Connie with some balls. Very few out there. I believe I can count on one hand the Connecticuts I enjoy. You want names? I’d have to go through my reviews and I’m lazy. I will try to get those names before I finish here…but I’m on a roll now and don’t want to stop.
The first third was an opening salvo. The 300 Hands Connecticut is reaching for its balls and yanking hard. Me? Personally, I can’t do that at my age. I’m afraid at this point in my life, they might break off.
The spectrum of both flavors and character widen their aperture.
A meaty buttery, lemon chicken flavor erupts. I know a lot of things taste like chicken, but this is my first cigar to do so. Maybe, I’m hungry.
This is becoming one intense cigar experience. We have medium/full strength now.
Patience can be a virtue with your stash. Some can follow the curve, while others can’t.
I’ve got a couple 300 Hands Habanos and Maduros with the same humi time. I reviewed the excellent Habano exactly two years ago. Great cigar. But I have not reviewed the Maduro. Probably time to do so.
The blend settles into a smooth ride down the rapids.
Which just caused an old memory to pop up. Back in the early 80’s, I went with some friends to the Sacramento area to ride down the rapids of the American River. It was an all weekend affair. One friend had to be air lifted out as she broke her ankle when it hit a rock beneath the inflated raft.
And one girl that I was unknowingly being set up with wouldn’t leave me alone. She climbed into my bed roll the first night; but I was asleep. I was afraid of bears and thought I was being attacked ala Leonardo DiCaprio style. I screamed like a little girl and jumped out of the sleeping bag only to fall into the campfire. It was out but still hot. Only minor burns but this chick was crossed off my list of conquests.
The exacting balance is making this a very enjoyable smoke. Anyone else, and this blend would be $12.
The strength accelerates. This ain’t your grandpa’s Connie. The 9 months of resting naked has given this cigar a purpose in life. And now, I’ve got a buzz.
Vanilla, salted nuts, even more banana and cream, an even keeled black pepper, lemon citrus, malt, caramel, and a light milk chocolate are crossing swords. The flow is moving me to tears…well, more of a quiet whimpering.
This is the complete cigar experience. Not a single criticism to piss and moan over.
I may have a new job. It’s wild and crazy and have never done anything like this in my life. Will know soon. And then I can divulge details. If I don’t get it, I will come back and delete this mini paragraph.
The lemon morphs into lime and back again. While having plenty of savory qualities, this flavor profile inserts a delicious fattening dessert quality.
Because the cigar is so well constructed, it burns like it has all the time in the world. I believe this will be close to a 90-minute cigar.
You don’t rush this cigar. The relaxation quality is a 9.5. Only the uneven bars left to tackle.
Dr. Rod is on the edge of releasing three new products to his PerfecSmoke lineup. You’ll want to have them all. Rod made me sign an NDA, in blood, not to go any further.
The finish to this cigar is bloated with such intense flavors that I’m able to smoke the cigar properly…take a few puffs and then lay the cigar down for a couple minutes. In that time, I can smack my lips like a hungry Sacramento black bear.
I can’t think of another boutique brand that has the consistency that Southern Draw exhibits. Staying power.
Strength is a solid medium/full.
It seems that most reviewers felt this was, at its strongest, a medium strength stick. It was only warming up at that stage. The blend is so much more than that now.
The burn has been impeccable.
I really don’t like to go all crash and burn on a crap cigar I’ve reviewed. Some cigars deserve it for any number of reasons. But I much prefer to offer up a cigar you will like and won’t have your wife nagging that you spend too much on cigars…even if it’s true.
The smoothness of the balance has taken over completely. This is a full plate of blend design uniformity. This isn’t some cigar that Robert Holt picked from a conference table of samples. The man is involved in every aspect. Hence, the wonderful consistency of his line. You know I’m telling the truth.
The cigar continues to extrapolate more and more flavor and character as I begin to see the end of the journey.
But do you have the patience to do what I did? Leave it alone for months?
My first sip of water and the emollients of the blend spill over; garnering a beautiful cigar experience. I don’t remember a $6 cigar showing this level of quality. Crazy Town.
Even though I am completely blind now, I continue without hesitation to smoke the cigar to a nub. Not a lick of harshness or bitterness. The strength remains at medium/full.
You like buttery, creamy, spicy complex cigars, boy do I have one for you.
I’m listening to Chris Stapleton. The man has talent.
For some reason, I go into the Way Back Machine and remember something Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers told me at the start of my first live gig with them: “Bill…don’t fuck this up.” I wanted to correct his error, but he was already counting down to “Little Latin Lupe Lu.” At the end of the gig, Medley slapped me on the back and said, “All right Billy, you did a good job. See you tomorrow night.” Sigh.
Over the course of my musical career, I have accumulated a bunch of scrap books full of print reviews. About one third get my name wrong. I complained once to the writer and he said, “Don’t worry about it. I told everyone what a good bassist you are.” Oh well…Mel John will leave a legacy of many nom de plumes.
I am reaching the 90-minute mark. This has been a blast. My sight has returned. My testes are back in position. And I have a fresh pair of Depends on.
While a lot of cigar smokers will put their cigar down with an entire third to go…I’m reveling in the big sky of the 300 Hands Connecticut. I pull out a roach clip I bought in Haight Ashbury in 1967 and finish the stick.
I’ve discovered a marvelous blend because I gave it time to breathe and mature.
I’d snag a ten count if I were you.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS