First things first: this is Southern Classic, not Southern Draw.
When you look at the portfolio of Southern Classic Cigars, there’s a pretty big disconnect between the brands and their names and the company’s name. Southern Classic is not what you would probably expect, instead it features brands like Coabey, Cucubano, Cuey and Dujo.
Southern Classic is a small manufacturer based in Nicaragua. Its factory is run by Juan Alberto Gomez-Pacheco, who worked with the legendary tobacco grower Alejandro Robaina for over a decade.
The company celebrated its fourth year in business last year with a release known as the Southern Classic Anniversary, a Nicaraguan puro released in a single 7 x 52 Churchill size. It’s priced at $14.95 per cigar and limited to just 200 boxes of 10 cigars.
- Cigar Reviewed: Southern Classic Anniversary
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Southern Classic Cigars
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Churchill
- MSRP: $14.95 (Boxes of 10, $149.50)
- Release Date: 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The wrapper has a nice darkness with a decent bit of oils and fair amount of reds. I will say, while it’s not a Femur, the 7 x 52 vitola is not something you see a ton of. The Churchill vitola itself seems comfortably out of fashion and the slightly larger ring gauge, a 52 as opposed to the traditional 47 or more common 50, is rather unique. Aroma off the Nicaraguan wrapper is nutty with some floral flavors and a bit of barnyard. The foot is much more Nicaraguan with lots of sweet brownie chocolate, a strong woodiness and some slight hints of pepper. As for the cold draw, there’s a lot more chocolate, a ton of a generic chocolate chip cookie dough flavor, though not much else. It’s also surprisingly mild.
It begins with some spices on the tongue, a deep cherry woods, chocolate, grains and some pepper skin—though there’s no actual burning pepper. It’s medium-full, something that is a bit of a relief given the cold draw. An inch in and the Southern Classic Anniversary is in a weird place. There are a lot of herbal flavors, along with some ginger ale and lots of minerals. The retrohale is equally funky with some sour Starburst candy, more herbs and a lot of spices. I’d actually recommend skipping the retrohales, or at least toning it down, as it’s just not a pleasant mixture. Construction is excellent through the first third, though I can feel the draw opening up a bit.
Unfortunately, those open draws eventually lead to two of the three samples requiring a relight, while the other sample needs a touch-up. Oddly, even after the relight, the sour Starburst flavor is still very much present in the nose, though fortunately it dominates the other flavor, an earthiness, making blowing smoke out of the nose much more palatable. The mouth has a lot of damp earthiness, some acidity and nuttiness. While the flavors are medium-full, it’s difficult to isolate the individual sensations. The finish has hay, some pepper and sunflower seeds. Strength is medium and body is full.
I find myself almost always double puffing on the Southern Classic as the final third begins; that’s almost certainly a symptom of the open draw. Eventually, another relight is needed on one cigar while the others just require touching up. Flavor-wise, a very bitter chocolate has emerged, joined by some pink salt, pecans and some acidity. The damp earth disappears for a few puffs and then returns as the dominant flavor, though the Southern Classic has gotten much harsher. Strength picks up to just shy of full, though body and flavor are otherwise the same in terms of intensity.
- Cigars for this review were smoked in October. For a variety of reasons, this review was delayed.
- In 2015, Southern Classic released the Cucubano Anniversary, which was also a 7 x 52 vitola.
- The band is based on the Cuey band. I still haven’t figured out exactly what this or that band reminds me of, but the font seems similar to the font used for the Habanos S.A. logo.
- Strength is largely medium-full, though it gets very close to full by the end of the cigar.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Southern Classic Cigars. They were sent in a very nice wooden box that would make for a nice three-cigar travel humidor.
- Final smoking time was two and a half hours.
- Site sponsors Smoke Inn and STOGIES World Class Cigars both carry Southern Classic Cigars, though not the Anniversary.
Touch-ups were a constant presence throughout the Southern Classic Limitada. That being said, it’s a decent tasting cigar with some very peculiar notes, and it takes a lot of effort to find them with a requisite that your palate certainly needs to be clean. However, if you decided to pair this with a healthy pour of overproof bourbon, I think you’d be in for a pretty good night as the cigar certainly has the flavor intensity to stand up. That being said, I think it really needs a partner to shine.