Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano ~ Medio Tiempo
Binder: Nicaraguan Ometepe
Filler: Nicaraguan Vintage Proprietary
Size: 6 X 44 Lonsdale (Box Pressed)
I first reviewed the Kudzu Lustrum Belicoso in 2019 and thought it was the cat’s pajamas.
I gave it a perfect rating of 100. I get slammed about handing out occasional 100’s by those that don’t get it…they assume that I mean it is the best cigar in the world…Wrong. What I am conveying with a perfect score is that in that moment(s) of my review, the cigar enchants me to the point that I cannot find a single fault, the character of the cigar blows me away, and it completes me…like Julia Roberts and Huge Grant. I’m just a Sothern Draw blend standing in front of you begging you to love me. So, I loved it back.
I smoked one just a couple days after receipt and my toupee flew off and Charlotte thought I said the words, “Pull” and she nailed it with my Mossberg. So now, I can only afford Howard Cosell-quality hairpieces. I hung with him at the L.A. ABC TV station long ago and far away.
You are asking if I reviewed the same blend once, why am I reviewing it again?
Because the shapes and sizes are radically different…and they matter. I got into an argument with a reader over the Cigar Aficionado cigar of the year a couple years ago. I didn’t think it deserved the crown of kings. It was good, but not that good. I smoked the Robusto, and the winner was a Belicoso with the same ring gauge and only one inch longer. This troll kept telling me it was a different cigar. He repeated himself so many times and refused to acknowledge my response, so I had no choice but have him taken out.
I commented that there are noticeable differences between a Gordo and a Lancero…but one inch makes no difference at all. Lawdy, I’ve used that line so many times when I was young and single, it should be tattooed on my forehead…but then I couldn’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery.
From the Southern Draw press release:
“Southern Draw Cigars will release a special size of its award-winning KUDZU LUSTRUM, a Lonsdale 6.0×44 size that has been expertly box pressed. The release will be featured at the Cigars International Hamburg Block Party by CIGARfest on Saturday October 16 and Sunday October 17, 2021.
“Robert Holt added “The company has used more of its flavorful Medio – Tiempo Habano wrapper, applying the smaller leaves that were not large enough to produce the Belicoso Fino 5.5×52, we originally released during IPCPR 2019. We just couldn’t find a better way to utilize the remaining Medio – Tiempo leaves. We did not adjust the blend so expect an incredible medium/full bodies and flavored smoking experience. Wrapper: Medio Tiempo, Nicaragua, Binder: Ometepe, Nicaragua, Filler: Nicaragua. I am honored to represent the SDC family during the Cigars International Hamburg Block Party by CIGARfest this weekend, where the great staff will join me in sharing this new release.”
“Kudzu LUSTRUM has been expertly constructed in Esteli, Nicaragua at the A.J. Fernandez Cigar Co., producing only 15,000 of the new Lonsdale size, packaged in 12 count boxes which features the same design as its recent Desert Rose Lonsdale. MSRP $10.89 each or $129.99 per 12 count boxes. (Final price subject to change).”
This cigar feels good in the hand. I’m a fanboy of a box press…except for the part that they rarely burn well for me. There is some veinage, but it doesn’t distract from the handsome appearance. The wrapper is a deep coffee hued leaf with lots of oiliness and smooth as my tush. Seams are completely invisible. The demarcation lines of the triple cap have been blended in with auto putty…very monolithic. And the box press is closer to a square than a rectangle. Nice looking stick.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Barnyard galore but mixed with the aromas of big floral notes, licorice, almonds, a chocolate soda creaminess, bits of caramel, malt is a big deal, cinnamon, cedar, and Worcestershire sauce.
The cold draw presents flavors of dark chocolate brownies, creaminess, malt, orange citrus, caramel, cedar, cinnamon, and black pepper.
The draw is perfect. A solidly packed stick but air flow is baby how I like it. I grab my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and clean the cat’s ears with it.
I get hit with a sledgehammer on my first puff. Nearly knocks me senseless due to its strong intensity. Complexity wastes no time at all and makes a stand. My eyes are tearing up from that light up. The character of the cigar hit me from left field.
Holt doesn’t mess around. Never has, well maybe when he was a kid using his Erector Set to make a copy of Three Mile Island. Normally, I go all bat shit crazy when a cigar tastes this good right out of the gate. SD has spoiled me to the point that this surprise becomes an expectation.
There is rich black coffee in the mix along with malt, creaminess, black pepper, orange zest, and chocolate pudding with sprinkles.
This is just the first half inch and I’m kvelling. I’m verklempt.
Strength is a rich medium.
Transitions take off like its wife caught it buying more cigars. The finish is buttery and oily. It drips chocolate nougat. There is a very malty beer in the background. And hot cinnamon candy struggles for domination with the black pepper.
So far, no burn problems that I normally have with any box pressed stick.
The cigar is 60% sweet v. 40% savory. This will change in the second half. At this early point, the cigar reminds me of dessert.
I love cigars this size. I find their flavors and character to be more intense than a bigger cigar. While a bigger cigar might provide a nicely well-rounded experience, the smaller stick brings the fight into the ring on your terms.
Intensity, complexity, character, balance, nuances, and string cheese…The Lustrum is outperforming most other sticks at this price point.
There is a faux hickory-ness that really hammers on the savory side of the coin. The cigar is pushing out so much information to my brain that I decide to become a dentist. Woe is me.
It is, most assuredly, a big flavor bomb.
I’ve had the cigars a couple months. It has been pure adrenaline that kept me from chain smoking the Lustrum. A typical reaction I have with all SD blends. Plus, the fact that AJ had his toes in the water with this blend makes it even better.
The first third took around 20+ minutes to smoke.
I get a windy glance at dark and sweet black cherries. No flavor point hides. Big notes of chocolate, espresso, creaminess, malt, licorice, hickory, and Boston Baked Beans…the candy covered peanuts.
This is the first time I’ve smoked the Lustrum on an empty stomach. It must be the way you smoke it. No detritus from drink and food to disperse the flavors that are inherently one minded.
The spiciness of the black pepper and cinnamon pair up nicely without trying to take the flavor profile hostage. An edgy potency that works in harmony with my palate, my brain receptors, and North Korea.
This is one of those cigars that just ruin your day because no matter your choices later, they will pale in comparison.
Time whizzes by uncontrollably like having Steve Martin work on your teeth.
As much as I disdain being happy, I have a big shit eatin’ grin on my puss as I am cuddled in a warm blankey of contentedness.
The Lustrum is a straight-ahead joy to the senses. I dance around naked, but the cat does not awaken from his morning nap. Now if I had my tap shoes on…
The flavor bomb quotient is better than the all the physics used to create the atom bomb.
Which would I prefer? A flavor bomb or an atom bomb? I gotta’ think about this.
I reach the halfway point and I am in Pennies from Heaven mode.
Strength touches the hem of medium/full.
Malted milk balls. I haven’t tasted that in a couple of years from a cigar I reviewed. It was always my favorite movie theater candy when I was growing up in the 1840’s. When I was down to five cents left in my pocket, I reluctantly bought a box of Jujubes. Remember those? If I put enough in my mouth, I could glue my mouth shut as they got stuck on the top of my teeth. But I couldn’t let a nickel burn a hole in my pocket.
Once again, this is a perfect blend for my palate. And I’m a horrible snob. If I smoke a catalog cigar and it doesn’t explode in the first half inch, into the trash bin it goes. That’s a despicable snob.
The intensity is so irreplaceable that I can even bop while listening to my least favorite band, “America.” I’m at the crossroads…waiting.
Not one flavor morsel has been disseminated into the collective. All bold and special. I can pick each one out without scrunching my chiseled face. I need to hide my toolbox from Charlotte.
I’m dancing the Time Warp. You smoke this Lustrum and you can’t remember your name, where you are, or why you are eating menudo on purpose.
The fat chocolate notes are driving the bus. Right behind is that malt running down my leg. Black cherries smoke the spiciness. It is so creamy that it feels like I’m the third ingredient in a smoothie. The nougat and caramel team up perfectly. The hickory morphs into a nice piece of smoked brisket.
Construction is immaculate. No burn issues. The cigar doesn’t get soft. No harshness or bitterness. No additional heat. A beautifully built cigar.
For as long as I’ve smoked SD cigars (6 years), I’ve never been letdown or disappointed.
Think about any other brand with 25-30 different blends and count how many never let you down. Southern Draw stands alone…like the cheese.
Strength maxes out at medium/full and doesn’t take a step towards full tilt.
Doesn’t matter what your experience as a smoker, this blend will knock your socks off.
This cigar deserves nothing less than a perfect rating. It hits all my pleasure buttons.
As the Lustrum disappears into the ether, flavors remain bold. What a treat.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS