Cigar Ratings & Reviews

#nowsmoking: Southern Draw Kudzu LUSTRUM 5th Anniversary


#nowsmoking: Southern Draw Kudzu Medio Tiempo 5th Anniversary LUSTRUM Cigar Review

Factory: AJ Fernandez

Size: 5½” x 52 box-pressed Belicoso Fino

Strength: Medium-Plus

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Ometepe Medio Tiempo

Binder/Filler: Ometepe/Proprietary Nicaragua

Where It’s At

First, give me the back story. . .

Once every five years, Southern Draw Cigars will be releasing a special one-time blend to celebrate the family’s commitment to their ever-growing brand. Known as the LUSTRUM – meaning a five year period – the limited production offerings will be very small batches of 25,000 – 75,000 total cigars. The first special blend is the Kudzu LUSTRUM, celebrating the original Kudzu cigar blend offered by Southern Draw Cigars. The Kudzu selection was first produced Southern Draw’s exclusive factory partner A.J. Fernandez Cigar Co. in 2014.

The blend of this limited production Nicaraguan puro is comprised of a thick and oily Medio-Tiempo Habano wrapper with Nicaraguan Ometepe binder and vintage Nicaraguan long-leaf filler tobaccos. Note that Medio Tiempo wrappers are rarely used and reserved for some of the most expensive and revered cigars in the industry.

Kudzu LUSTRUM has been expertly handcrafted in Estelí, Nicaragua at the A.J. Fernandez Cigar Co. in a single size, 5½ x 52 (box pressed) Belicoso Fino with a total of 2,500, 10 count paper mazos (bundles) featuring hand-drawn art depicting the family’s prior military service and the history of the Southern Draw cigar brand.

Gary and Jared smoking Southern Draw Kudzu LUSTRUM 5 Year Anniversary Belicoso Fino

The Kudzu LUSTRUM 5 Year Anniversary Belicoso Fino offers a medium-plus cigar rife with earth, peppery spices, oak, citrus tang, and more on a long, savory finish.

Let’s talk construction. How well is it made?

Expertly in every way. The cigar had a solid feel and neatly pressed edges. The Colorado-hued wrapper had an oily patina throughout with some visible veins, while the seams were virtually invisible. This emphasis on quality was further evidenced by its savory-looking gleam when hit by light.

So, how does it smoke?

The Kudzu burns cool with a high volume of dense, chewy smoke that moved freely through the cigar revealing a straight and firm marbled ash. The aroma was reminiscent of roasted peanuts or even peanut oil, recalling that mouthwatering aroma you get when whipping up some stir fry. The smoke is also very well-balanced with a lingering peppery finish.

What are the primary flavor notes?

There’s plenty of earth and spice, along with black pepper and a slight vegetable note in the early stage. Notes of citrus and oak enter the fray, keeping it interesting. At the midsection, a pleasant note of sweet tobacco rises to the surface, and the cigar tended to seesaw between medium-to-medium plus in body. Through the nose is where you’ll find most of the power and much more flavor. The retro is fiery, fruity, and at times, that veggie note sneaks in. Later stage retrohales proved even more intense and spicy.

Cigar Ash from the Southern Draw Kudzu LUSTRUM 5 Year Anniversary Belicoso Fino

So, is it complex?

Absolutely. The smoke starts-off mostly earthy and peppery, then transitions to a slightly sweeter mix in Act 2. From there, the sweetness and spice – among other savory flavors – trade hands between long intervals. This Kudzu may not be a rollercoaster, yet it’s anything but static. It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

What drinks can I pair with it?

Pairing it with a lighter beer like Stella Artois or a Pilsner might be a better option, since most craft beers these days might overshadow the flavors, getting the cigar lost in the sauce. On the other hand, a sweeter Bourbon or even a dark, Añejo sipping Tequila might reveal some hidden flavor nuances depending on your preference.

(For more cigar pairing ideas, see our cigar pairing guide.)

Tell me who this cigar is for.

The LUSTRUM Kudzu Medio Tiempo would make a good fit for the intermediate crowd. N00bs might want to hold-off for its peppery spice and complexity. However, if you’ve just completed cigar boot camp and are ready for the next notch in your belt, this figurado won’t disappoint.

Bottom line: Is it humidor worthy?

These days, finding good cigars isn’t the chore it used to be, but there are some that rise to the occasion. Kudzu LUSTRUM is one of them. Considering the rarity of the Medio Tiempo wrapper leaves alone, this Belicoso Fino is more about bringing you a quality cigar and less about upmarket prices. The value here is well-weighted toward you the smoker, so dig-in while the getting is good. Remember, it’s also a limited edition.

– Gary Korb and Jared Gulick