Southern Draw Fraternal Order Blue
I know I talk a lot about the weather here, but when its like 700 degrees half of the year you get a big excited when fall hits, and our fall is awesome. I took some time to appreciate this weather out back with a Southern Draw Fraternal Order Blue and a bottle of Goose Isalnd’s Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout.
The Good Stuff:
Southern Draw has quietly snuck into the humidors (and hearts) of cigar enthusiasts across the nation the past few years making their blends some of the more sought after boutique brands as of late. In the past, they have done quite a few exclusive blends and sizes for many of the larger retailers. This round, they created an all new blend exclusively for Cigars International, enter the Fraternal Order Blue. The cigar is offered in a single 6 x 54 toro format blended using a Corona 99 wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The Southern Draw Fraternal Order Blue comes packaged in boxes of 10 and will run $8 per stick. I do not believe this cigar is released yet, but should be hitting the store in the very near future.
- Size: 6 x 54
- Wrapper: Corojo 99
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Body: Medium/Full
- Strength: Medium
- Price: $8
- Pairing: Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout 2018 (Imperial Stout 14.9% ABV)
The Southern Draw Fraternal Order Blue starts out with a very consistent milk-chocolate brown wrapper. There are a few lighter areas scattered throughout. The wrapper itself is very thick and very dense while the cigar as a whole is very hard and tightly compacted. The wrapper’s texture carries some very light tooth and a good amount of oils as it showcases only a few minor veins and natural tobacco webbing scattered throughout the cigar’s long, thick body leading up to it’s double wrapped cap. The cigar is polished off with a new blue band featuring the Southern Draw crest embossed on the front in gold ink with the words Soli De Gloria Exclusive” on the front along with a secondary band featuring the blend “Fraternal Order Blue” embossed in white.
The wrapper on the Southern Draw Fraternal Order Blue gives off strong toffee and spice aromas while the foot of the cigar carries much more spice, earthy, and natural tobacco aromas. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces really bold honey, floral, and earthy flavors.
The Southern Draw Fraternal Order Blue starts out with a strong cayenne pepper punch which left my tongue and lips tingling for a bit. After about a quarter inch the pepper began to fade and I was left with some great caramel, vanilla, toffee and musk flavors over light spice and earthy undertones. Being as tightly packed as this cigar is I was a bit worried about the draw but each and every tiny little puff kicked out massive clouds of thick, white smoke while the cigar itself released a good amount of stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is so razor thin and dead even leaving behind a trail of brilliant white ash which held on for an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Southern Draw Fraternal Order Blue a really bold creamed coffee flavor rocketed into the mixed backed by bold toffee and musk, light vanilla and caramel over a lot of soft earthiness. The retrohale really brings back a lot of the pepper from the start of the experience so I don’t find myself doing that too often. The burnline is still rocking even and the cigar has required no additional attention from my torch. I close out the second third with only a very minor nicotine kick.
Into the final third of the Southern Draw Fraternal Order Blue and not a whole lot has changed, and that’s a good thing. The creamed coffee, toffee and musk still lead the charge backed by vanilla and caramel over some great earthiness and dirt. This cigar took me an hour and forty five minutes to smoke down to the nub and I experience no harshness nor extended heat. I never once had to touchup or relight the cigar and I close out the experience with only a very minor nicotine kick.
This is a classic example of a great, old-school cuban style blend. The Southern Draw Fraternal Order Blue was complex enough to keep me entertained, but not over the top making me have to sort through the palate to decipher what was really going on in there. The body was medium/full from start to finish while the cigar hovered in the medium-strength arena pretty much the whole time through. This is a solid offering and for the price, something I’d definitely keep on hand for my regular rotation.
It’s pretty easy to see why I chose Goose Islands’ Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout for this pairing. The 14.9% ABV imperial stout starts out with loads of sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, malt, caramel, and brown sugar with an extremely heavy and sticky mouthfeel before finishing even sweeter with more vanilla and malt with a nice bourbon barrel bite on the finish. The vanilla, malt, and caramel married up beautifully with the existing flavors in the Southern Draw Fraternal Order Blue while the sweetness added an extra layer of complexity to the overall paring experience.