Southern Draw – Firethorn Augusta
Yet another un-seasonably warm afternoon means more backyard time! This week my company includes a Southern Draw Firethorn Augustapaired with a bottle of The Bruery’s Elvish Mash Barleywine beer.
The Good Stuff:
Southern Draw has partnered up with Cigars International to bring us yet another great addition the exclusive brands the duo has produced together. From the Cigars International website:
On this Veterans Day, we wanted to show support for some veterans that currently operate in the world of cigars. Southern Draw is a small boutique company out of Texas that’s owned and operated by a family of veterans. Headed by two US Military vets, Robert and Sharon Holt, this company is committed to being socially responsible and charitable to those in need. So it’s only fitting that we show them some support today and everyday.
Not just good people, Southern Draw makes some damn fine cigars that have been growing in popularity rapidly the past few years. And today, I’m pleased to announce their newest release that can only be found right here at Cigars International. Southern Draw Firethorn Augusta comes crafted in a lovely 5.5”x54 box-pressed belicoso shape with only 1,000 mazos made available. The name of the cigar and artwork on the packaging pays homage to Holt’s time at Ft. Gordon in Augusta, GA.
As for the cigar itself? Crafted at the Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Factory in Nicaragua, you know you’re in for a flavorful treat. A double fermented Ecuador Habano wrapper greets the eye with Mexican and Nicaraguan Tobaccos underneath. The Habano wrapper leaf, paired with dark tobaccos underneath provides a sweet and spicy, medium-bodied experience with notes of roasted nuts, cocoa, and caramel. These cigars were rolled way back in May 2014, giving them a healthy 5 years of age, and now it’s their time to shine.
- Size: 5.5 x 52
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
- Binder: Mexican San Andres
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Body: Full
- Strength: Medium/Full
- Price: $9.99
- Pairing: The Bruery Elvis Mash (Barleywine 10.9% ABV)
The Southern Draw Firethorn Augusta starts out with a gorgeously consistent, milky-brown wrapper. I’m hard-pressed to find any color inconsistency in this. The wrapper’s texture is slightly toothy with a whole mess of oils coating it. The wrapper itself feels very thick and dense as the cigar as a whole it very heavy, then a little soft to the touch. The wrapper is laid seamlessly over itself leading form the cigar’s foot up to it’s tapered torpedo cap. The soft-box-pressed format makes the cigar incredibly comfortable to hold both in hand, and in mouth. The cigar is polished off with a Maroon version of the Souther Draw band we’ve come to expect from the brand with the addition of a secondary band sporting the “Augusta” crest embossed in gold.
The wrapper on the Southern Draw Firethorn Augusts gives off good amount of floral and earthy notes while the foot of the cigar is much more moss/dirt based with notes of soft spice. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces a ton of pecan notes over a good amount of earthiness.
The Southern Draw Firethorn Augusta starts out with a nice little black pepper greeting which faded from the experience after the first few puffs, but not before leaving my lips tingling a bit. Once the pepper faded the cigar began to release a ton of the pecan flavor I picked up during the cold draw over caramel, bold earthiness and some slight floral flavors with a dash of.. what I can only describe as banana. That’s a reach for sure, but I swear there is this subtle sweetness on the finish that reminds me of banana bread. Anyways, the draw is flawless as every little puff whips out a ton of thick smoke that doesn’t hang around for very long before dissipating while the cigar releases a decent amount of stationary smoke as it it rests in my ashtray. The burnline started with a pretty wide wave but has quickly started to fix itself as it leaves behind a trail of compacted dark gray ash which held on for about an inch before falling in my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Southern Draw Firethorn Augusta and everything is still going great. The Pecan, caramel and earthiness still lead the chard with lighter notes of floral, banana bread, and now some slight cocoa. The retrohale really brings out the spice and a bit of the pepper I picked up at the start of the experience. The cigar is still burning great and close out the second third with only a very minor nicotine hit.
Into the final third of the Southern Draw Firethorn Augusta and not a whole lot has changed since the second third, and I am all for that. Pecan and Caramel are the dominant flavors over earthiness floral, and yes, banana bread which surprisingly has stuck around for the long haul. It took me an hour and a half to smoke this cigar down to the nub. One note, in a few of the cigars I smoked prior to this one I experienced a good amount of sap build up, as the cigar may still be very young. I really took my time smoking this one and experienced none of the sap so it’s likely I was smoking too quickly before.
Forgive the lack of ash in my ashtray, it was breezy out so the wind too care of that. Southern Draw has been sneakily creating some world-class blends over the past few years and the Firethorn Augusta is no exception to that. The complex, and extremely pleasant flavor profile showcases just what this cigar brings to the table. The burn was flawless and the price point is very affordable considering the experience this cigar offered. You can’t really ask for more. This is something I will grab more of and add to my everyday rotation while they are still available.
The Bruery’s Elvis Mash is a bourbon barrel aged barleywine brewed with bananas, peanuts and salt. Coming in at 10.9% ABV this barelywine leads with loads of sweet brown sugar and strong natural banana flavors, which is a very hard flavor to achieve in such a big, barrel aged beer. Under the banana and sweetness are great notes of peanuts, malt, and caramel with a very heavy, sticky mouthfeel before finishing with even more brown sugar and banana over lighter notes of vanilla and malt. I have a thing for banana in beer and this beer had loads of it. The only thing really missing here is the barleywine, I was expecting more bitterness and hop instead of all the sweetness, but once I got through that shock I couldn’t get enough of it. As soon as I lit up the Souther Draw Firethorn Augusta for the first time I knew exactly what beer I wanted to pair it with. The toffee and banana notes blended in perfectly with the beer while adding a bit more complexity to the beer with the earthy overtones.