While most cigars have a story, Southern Draw’s more recent releases have all seemingly had a purpose.
At this year’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, the company introduced its most explicit mission-inspired cigar. As is often the case, there’s not just a single cigar. There are two cigars, or perhaps 10 cigars.
One is known as 300 Hands, the other is 300 Manos, the Spanish word for hands. Both are offered in the same five sizes, though the blends are different. For its part, 300 Manos uses an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, a binder from Cameroon and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
The cigar I’m reviewing, which is the one with the blue font, is 300 Hands. It uses a Nicaraguan wrapper over an Indonesia binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Honduras.
- 300 Hands/300 Manos Petit Edmundo (4 3/4 x 52) – $5.99 (Bundles of 10, $59.99)
- 300 Hands/300 Manos Coloniales (5 1/4 x 44) – $6.19 (Bundles of 10, $61.99)
- 300 Hands/300 Manos Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) – $6.29 (Bundles of 10, $62.99)
- 300 Hands/300 Manos Piramides (6 1/8 x 52) – $6.39 (Bundles of 10, $63.99)
- 300 Hands/300 Manos Churchill (7 x 48) – $6.49 (Bundles of 10, $64.99)
The names of the two cigars both come from the idea that there are as many as 300 different hands—150 different people—who touch the various materials used to produce a single premium cigar, from the time it’s a tiny seed going into dirt for the first time until it reaches your retailer’s shelf.
As it has done before, Southern Draw is donating a portion of the profits—this time 25 percent—to a specific cause. This time it’s going to Nicaraguans who are in need.
Production is limited to 15,000 cigars per size and blend for a total of 150,000 cigars across the two lines. In addition, the company has made 250 of the display trays you see above, which are meant to be used at retail.
- Cigar Reviewed: 300 Hands Coloniales
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua (EstelÍ)
- Binder: Indonesia
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
- Length: 5 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 44
- Vitola: Corona
- MSRP: $6.19 (Bundles of 10, $61.99)
- Release Date: 2018
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Bundles of 10 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The 300 Hands is dark, though the wrapper probably looks darker thanks to the contrast from the predominantly white band. The aroma off said wrapper has lots of sunflower seed and—on two of the cigars—a bizarre aroma that I can only describe as “new car smell.” While the aroma off the wrapper was medium, the foot is a bit milder. It’s also extremely smooth with sweet cocoa, kind of like a chocolate ice cream, and not much else. The cold draw is mild as well with some greasiness, some bitter cocoa and a tonic water-like flavor that is extremely clean.
While the pre-light flavors might have been mild, the 300 Hands begins with a ton of flavors. It’s sweet with sunflower seeds, floral flavors, butterscotch, popcorn and leather. The flavors come fast and furious before a mixture of earthiness and breadiness on the finish. Eventually, the flavor settles in, both in terms of the flavors themselves and how long they stick around on the palate. At its core, the 300 Hands is toasty and earthy; underneath that is some sugar cookie, ground black pepper and some minerals. The nose is much brighter with floral flavors and on one sample, that new car smell again. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium and strength is mild-medium. Construction is good with a slightly open draw and only one of three cigars needing a touch-up.
Not surprisingly, the 300 Hands Coloniales is still dominated by earthiness and toastiness. Underneath is some green licorice, sunflower seeds and some white pepper. It’s tough to pick up much beyond toastiness on the retrohales, but there are times in which a water chestnut or some egg noodles emerge. Construction remains great, sans one sample which is requiring a lot of touch-ups. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-plus and strength is mild-medium.
The final third of the 300 Hands Coloniales is still both toasty and earthy, though a nuttiness is beginning to rival the long-dominant flavors. In addition, there’s some underlying creaminess along with a fresh-baked French loaf, orange bitters and some mustard powder. While the profile is muddled, it’s not particularly harsh. Flavor finishes full, body is medium-full and strength remains mild-medium.
- Fun fact: we once thought of a project that was going to be titled 300 Hands. As such, we own the domain 300hands.com and some of the associated social media accounts. While I would have loved to have gotten that project off the ground, that wasn’t happening and I’m glad the name is going towards a good cause.
- The timing of this release probably couldn’t be better, as Nicaragua has been experiencing civil unrest since April.
- Also, credit to Southern Draw for pricing these cigars affordably. Unfortunately, the bar today seems to be set at anything under $7.
- If you aren’t retrohaling this cigar, get ready for a ton of earthiness from start to finish.
- The new car smell aroma was present on two of three cigars. For those wondering, the cigars were packed in cellophane. This is the first time I recall picking up that particular smell.
- While two samples burned great, the final sample suffered from numerous touch-ups in the second half.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Southern Draw Cigars.
- Final smoking time is a very quick one hour and 15 minutes.
There are times in which a smaller ring gauge can bring out the best in a cigar, other times it has a habit of drowning out the robustness and layers of flavors; the 300 Hands Coloniales is certainly the latter. There’s a lot to like—the price, the flavor and the charitable aspect—but this is one of the more disappointing releases I’ve smoked from Southern Draw, who is one of the hottest companies in the business at the moment. I’m curious to try both the 300 Manos version, as well as larger ring gauge versions of the 300 Hands.