Southern Draw Parallel Universe | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés, Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.125 x 52 Piramides Box Pressed
Strength: Full
Price: $9.99

Thanks to Adrian V. for the fiver.

I’ve reviewed 25 different Southern Draw blends since 2015. Everyone a stellar cigar. Except for my most recent review of the Fraternal Order Blue, which was a subpar blend not worthy of the SD brand. Still only one out of 25 sticks is quite remarkable for any cigar manufacturer.

Since Ezra Zion bought Cigar Federation, they brought with them their unique press release style to every cigar they release. In most cases, the actual press release is embodied in the cigar description on either the EZ website or the CF website.

I’ve checked the cigar forums and the comments and emails I get from my readers and the general consensus is that they are fatigued from the constant over the top manifestos about each and every cigar.

As you can read in the following P.R. for the Parallel Universe, they claim this cigar may be the best blend that SD has ever released. No matter how good this stick is, I truly doubt that claim.

At some point, the EZ boys are going to have an Ah-Ha moment and realize that smokers no longer take the P.T. Barnum cigar descriptions seriously.

The real downside to this is that most smokers consider the massive attack of brouhaha just ridiculous and take it all with a grain of salt.

To prove this point, in the past, any new Southern Draw premium has been met by wild buying sprees by their many fans. Sticks are put in the backordered category in a week or less. They have a brilliant rep for selling high quality blends at very reasonable prices…now here is the point I want to make. The cigars have been for sale for months. And only 1605 cigars were released. That’s 321 five packs. In the real world, a new release would have sold that many sticks in the first day or two. Yet, here they sit, still for sale. I’ve smoked two sticks prior to this review and they are good cigars. The EZ fashion for describing cigars has gone past the fatigue point and is now in the “I don’t trust the P.R.” mode. This oddball way of promoting cigars is biting them on the ass.
On with the review…

From Cigar Federation:
“Just when you think you’ve smoked it all…a cigar like SOUTHERN DRAW PARALLEL UNIVERSE comes out and turns everything you know about boutique cigars upside down!

“The NEW SOUTHERN DRAW PARALLEL UNIVERSE is coming to the party with all the bells and whistles…First, it’s a Piramides (torpedo) size. Second, it’s a BOX-PRESSED Piramides. And third…it features 2 wrappers: An ultra-chocolatey San Andres maduro and a luxurious and creamy Connecticut leaf!
“PARALLEL UNIVERSE is loaded with some of the most complex and delectable binder and filler tobaccos you’ve ever hope to light up! (I seriously don’t know how they get their hands on such great stuff. It’s freakin’ unbelievable!)

“Bottom line…it’s one of the most delicious and incredible cigars they’ve ever created!

“(If you were a fan of the previous Southern Draw CigFed EXCLUSIVES—ROSE & GUNS and MIDNIGHT ROSE..then you are gonna absolutely ADORE the New PARALLEL UNIVERSE!)

“SOUTHERN DRAW PARALLEL UNIVERSE full-bodied, med/full-strength 6 1/8×52 Box-Pressed Piramides. As I said before, the dual wrappers are San Andres and Connecticut. Binder and filler tobaccos will remain undisclosed.

“So, yes, Southern Draw pulled out all the stops for PARALLEL UNIVERSE!
“SOUTHERN DRAW PARALLEL UNIVERSE is the MUST HAVE cigar of 2021! You are gonna love it! Guan-damn-teed!

“NOTE: TOTAL PRODUCTION is only 1605 cigars! So, you’re gonna need to hurry like your life depended on it! Beg, borrow, or steal whatever you need, but don’t miss out on this amazing cigar!”

This is an absolutely gorgeous cigar. Nearly a work of art. The box press is crisp and uniform. The pointed triple cap is immaculate. The barber pole is geometrically symmetrical…just a knockout presentation. This alone should have sold the cigars out in the first week. Seams are razor sharp. Veinage is nearly invisible. The cigar is very heavy in the hand. No soft or hard spots. Both leaves shimmer with oil.

Strong aromas storm my nasal cavities…floral, including lilac notes are gorgeous and make me visualize a beautiful garden in the summer, The Mexican strips are full of dark red mole sauce (Chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and cumin, dried chiles, pumpkin, raisins, and sesame seeds), the Connie strips smell of buttered popcorn, cream, white chocolate, mild floral notes, cedar, and freshly baked sourdough bread.

The cold draw presents flavors of Swiss milk chocolate, red pepper, creaminess, vanilla, yeast, Mexican mole sauce, malt, raisins, chocolate milkshake, and nuttiness.
The draw is absolutely in my wheelhouse, so my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool will be put gently back in its case for another time.

Smoke engulfs me like a white nimbus cloud. Sweetness immediately takes a foothold. It comes from the Nic leaves and the Mexican wrapper. The mole sauce is ever present in these early stages.

The spiciness is a bit strong but comes from a twofold of both black and red peppers. I taste poblano as well. Living in the Southwest for a decade in the 90’s burns the smell and taste of many indigenous peppers into one’s brain. I loved them all, even if smoke sometimes came out of my ears when eating them with Mexican food. My favorite dish is the chile relleno.

It is this dish that I use to judge each and every Mexican restaurant we try. If the relleno ain’t so hot, the rest of the menu will usually be mediocre.

The char line is on the straight and narrow.

A warm buttery bread element coats my lips and inner cheeks.

The stick is packed to the gills. The burn is very slow. This might be close to a two-hour cigar.

I probably won’t debase myself as usual because of my respect for the Holts. They are born again, and I don’t feel comfortable disrespecting them. They have been very kind and generous with me.

Character, more than complexity, finds its way early into this exercise. The balance is beginning to find its way with a beautiful Mexican approach. The chocolate, creaminess, cinnamon, and various peppers make for a wonderful combination.

Strength is a potent medium.

The finish is delicious and feels like I’ve eaten a lovely south of the border meal.

My mother died of Crohn’s when I was 18. She was 42. She became sick when I was 13. She missed my Bar Mitzvah as she was in the hospital. My dad hired this soulful Mexican woman in her mid 40’s to stay with us during the week to take care of us. On the weekends, she would go home to the Tijuana hills where she lived in a one room shack with a dirt floor. No running water or electricity. We took her home once and at the age of 13, my eyes and heart were shocked at seeing so many poor people and how they were forced to live. Julia and her husband Juan had four children.

My dad would hire Juan to come to our house, with the family during the week, and pay him to help with renovations and other two-man jobs around the house.

Julia became my second mother.

This woman could cook like a Mexican goddess. Her chile rellenos set the bar high for the rest of my life. She made her own tortillas and my dad, my kid sister, and I would scarf those special dinners down like flesh eating zombies. Meanwhile, my mother was fed chicken broth.

So, I know Mexican spices. And this cigar is redolent with those delectable elements of the earth.

Complexity kicks in with a wallop in the first inch. Just broadsides me with its intensity.

The only reviews I saw were video reviews. A couple were unkind and gave the cigar a poor rating. Idiots.

This cigar reminds me of Julia’s incredible fish tacos. That beautiful oiliness from the fish and the tartness of cabbage salad.

But incredibly, I can taste her homemade corn tacos. They melted in your mouth. There is a big heaping of that component that wraps the other flavors in a blanket.

I purposely left out the CF description of the flavors in the background quote. I didn’t want to be influenced by what their palates picked up. We are all different as night and day and what I taste can easily be the exact opposite of what you experience.

The black pepper disappears into the morass of Hispanic peppers.
The creaminess is very much like the crème fraiche used by inventive Mexican chefs.

The balance is revealing itself to be an adventure for the palate.

I can not overstate the influence of Mexican influences in this cigar.

Strength is pushed to medium/full.
The experience is smooth as glass. The complexity becomes more nuanced with every puff.

A sip of water brings on raw cashews, a heavier cinnamon, a stronger mole sauce influence, and that lovely crème fraiche.

This blend is in the same league as some of the best of SD’s blends. The over the top circus description has kept smokers away. That, and that I could not find other written reviews. This usually tells smokers that something is wrong with the cigar, so they pass.

My review should change that. I have no idea how many fivers are left, but since the cigars have been on sale for months, I’m guessing not much. I stick my neck out before the second half and tell you to grab some sticks before they are gone.

This blend became a real sleeper. Thank you again, Adrian for sending me this fiver.

The construction is top of the pops. The burn is flawless.

I’m craving a Mexican breakfast of fried eggs, refried beans and tortillas…smothered in mole sauce.

In 2005, I was running the steel for McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. Almost every day, I stopped at a popular Ma and Pa burger joint that made fantastic Hispanic food. I always got the breakfast. Kept me going for the rest of the day.

Sweetness comes from the raisin element, as well as the embedded milk chocolate, a new hint of grapefruit slices, sugared and creamed coffee, and molasses.

Nicotine arrives of course. The medium/full attack is on the rise.

I’ve been up since 1:30am because my neck pain does not let me sleep. This is the first review I’ve ever done in the middle of the night.

A big shift occurs…the game is upped to the big leagues. Every flavor is injected with steroids. I feel like Mark McGwire. Or Lance Armstrong but with both my nuts.

I’m digging the shit out of the Parallel Universe. Strange name. But there seems to be an unsaid rule these days when it comes to naming a blend. The weirder the better; and the more confusing.

I reach the halfway point at the one-hour point. My projection was on the money.

As the second half begins, the sweet spot has a giant Batman light shining in the sky.

The blenders may have had the same experience I’m having…that is, this blend is fixated on a Mexican menu, both sides. Just like in the film, “Diner,” I want to eat the entire menu in one sitting.

I don’t know if the P.R. is correct by saying this is the best SD blend yet. But it is certainly one of the most unique.

The intensity of this blend is bursting from its seams.
I change my earlier description that I dig this cigar to I love this cigar.

Transitions are on a forced ten-mile hike double quick. The finish coats my mouth and lips like a new paint job.

Strength is now full tilt. Wow. This will wake you up. Right before it swings a right uppercut and knocks you out. This blend ain’t for sissies.

A good tequila that is smooth as ice would be the perfect complement.
The warm corn tortillas and crème fraiche and chocolate mole drive the mule train. The ancillary flavors of molasses, nuts, cinnamon, poblanos, toasted sesame seeds, and unsalted butter work in perfect harmony.

I am way past the 90-minute mark.
The cigar continues on its quest to cold cock me into unconsciousness from the Chernobyl strength.

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys soothes my tired soul.

This could easily be one of the premium Ezra Zion blends…makes me wonder.
This blend doesn’t taste like an AJ corroboration. But I could be wrong.

I look outside and the sky is still black.

The cigar has reached its zenith. It is on cruise control. Fine with me. It is satisfying and a meal unto itself.

My puffs slow down to a crawl. I allow the finish to be savored for as long as possible.

If you can handle super strong blends, this baby is for you. But it would be a shame to miss out on the intensity of its variety of flavors that do not come along often.

With less than an inch to go, I call it. It is a two hour and fifteen-minute timeless smoke.

With all the humility I can muster, I approve of this blend as something special.
I hope you get to enjoy the Parallel Universe in the manner I have.
Carry on…



2 replies

  1. It is a great smoke, glad you liked it. I do agree the hype machine is becoming less and less effective—everything is amazing, out of this world, insert superlative here. So maybe that’s why they still have this cigar in stock, a sign of people getting tired of exaggerations.

    I liked the Midnight Rose even better—that one sold out quickly. Strong, really strong, and really flavorful.

    Cheers Phil!

  2. Right again Phil! Never seen a better-executed barber pole.
    Wait til ya try the SD Ladykiller; to me, toss up which is better.

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