What’s in Your Humidor?: Robert Holt of Southern Draw Cigars

What’s in Your Humidor?: Robert Holt of Southern Draw Cigars

Southern Draw Cigars may be a relative “newcomer” to the cigar industry, but they’ve been quickly catching on with average smokers and avid cigar enthusiasts alike. The Southern Draw Firethorn even captured a sport on our Honorable Mention List for 2014. This veteran owned cigar brand with cigars manufactured at AJ Fernandez’s factory in Nicaragua was the brainchild of Robert Holt, who I’ve been luck enough to get to know over the past two years and call a friend. Robert may be one of the few people on the planet who can talk as much as I do, and he’s got more than enough interesting stories to tell that he doesn’t get boring.

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Robert has been a big supporter and good friend to ToastedFoot, so we’re so happy to have Southern Draw as our partner in this month’s #SouthernDrawSeptember Giveaway, where we’re giving away Southern Draw cigars all month long. In keeping with the monthlong event, we asked Robert to be part of our “What’s In Your Humidor?” feature.



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What’s currently in your humidor?  
My selection ranges from my sentimental favorites to OPC (other people cigars, usually other manufacturers or reps offer them during chance meetings) to a gathering of Pre-embargo Cubans that I reach for on occasion.  Some of the boxes currently in the humidor include Don Benigno Laguito No. 1 and Petit Robusto, Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro, T.L. Johnson Tempio, Laranja Reserva and AJF Mayimbe Torpedo.

What kind of humidor (and size) do you use for personal storage?
I keep a free standing end-table style cabinet humidor, a couple of commercial Manchester table top units that rotate, a few standard desktop humidors we age a few experimental blends in and then – my state-of-the-art, prides and joy – 150 QT Igloo coolerdoors.  All are ideally protected by Boveda!

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About how many cigars are in your humidor?
I keep about 800 – 1,000 cigars on hand but like many others, we share and sample a large number of cigars on a daily/monthly basis, with the exception of our sentimental favorites – we rotate the stock quite often.

Are you currently testing any new Southern Draw blends? Any details you can share?
Yes, always. We will remain true to our core lines for the most part.  The Kudzu – Oscuro and the Firethorn Habano Rosado but we are looking to expand to new vitolas that will further enhance the SDC experience.  Back on topic, we have blended and been working on a QuickDraw Connecticut USA for over a year now, looking to expand our line of petit vitolas with another $5 – $6 blend.  Tweaking the blend and smoking periodically has been a joy – I’m looking for that consensus among the team that the aging is right and the blend is optimal for a release.  I will share that this isn’t your everyday Connecticut, a balance of sweetness, flavor and strength – yes strength that makes you really pay attention to a unique Connecticut USA blend.  We are looking to highlight to our favorite US grown tobaccos, which started with our QuickDraw Pennsylvania Broadleaf and we continue with the Connecticut.  We pray for an early winter 2015 release!

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When you’re working on a new blend, what factors do you most take into consideration?
1. Quality of Tobaccos – not just wrapper but the binder/fillers must be top quality and we are LOVING Nicaragua for this reason

2. Drying/Aging/Fermentation process within factory – QC/QA process

3. Ongoing availability of tobaccos – we aren’t offering limited release or one-time blends, each blend must be sustainable for 5 years and beyond

4. Balance – strength, flavor and aroma – we aren’t searching for a mild, medium or full-bodied cigar or a Connecticut, Habano and Maduro but rather balance – so every ¼ leaf matters

5. Uniqueness and complexity of final blend – does it remind us of anything else we have smoked? If yes then change/tweak blend if no then proceed

6. The most import factor for us from start to finish – Simply Perfect Draw!  Quality construction while providing the ideal burn rate, burn temperature, draw and smoke – clean from head to foot.

How many cigars do you smoke in a typical day, when you’re note blend testing?
Five or six cigars, eight or more when on the road with partners and during events.  It is important for me to have a daily routine and it starts and ends with a cigar, I love to share what I’m smoking, when I’m smoking and where I’m smoking it, paying true respect to those that put forth the effort to cultivate, harvest, process and distribute – it takes a village to produce a cigar, as you know.

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Here are ToastedFoot we’re big Southern Draw fans. (JD smokes more Kudzus that probably anyone else on the planet.) Still you have to smoke other people’s stuff too. Is there anything that stands out to you that you really enjoy?
If you note my responses to “what’s in your humidor” these are some of those blends BUT for me, I love the stories, I love meeting the people involved, I love the passion, the excitement and most importantly I want to support those family owned businesses that work so hard to support this great industry for the workers, distributors, retailers and consumers – so I gravitate to toward those cigars – my daily picks are AJ Fernandez Oval Petit Robusto, Espinosa Laranja Reserva Corona Gorda and Nomad C-276 Toro.

What are some of your all time favorite cigars?
My favorites correlate to events and/or specific times in my life, as such my all time favorite is the Robaina Don Alejandro (introduced and gifted to me by Alejandro Robaina), La Gloria Cubano Wavell Maduro (my 1st cigar ever 20 years ago), Southern Draw Kudzu (my 1st ever blend) and the AJF Mayimbe Torpedo (its lights out for me after a long day and this cigar).

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Is there anything else about Southern Draw you want to share with our readers? 
We are humbled by the support throughout year one, we are blessed to be a small part of such a growing industry and as a family we take great pride in the little things, doing it right and taking care of customers.  We are working diligently to support the traditional demographic of cigar smokers while attracting a new generation of premium cigar smokers – including the ladies in our lives.  This is our avenue or path to share our faith, our family and our southern hospitality.  We do it all for the Glory of God Alone – Soli Deo Gloria!

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Southern Draw Reviews:
Southern Draw Firethorn Toro
Southern Draw Kudzu Gordo
Quick Draw Pennsylvania by Souther Draw

Robert Hold and his wife Sharon have been great friends and supporters of ToastedFoot. We’d like to thank them for their continued support, and for their generosity in helping us put together our #SouthernDrawSeptember Giveaway.

Interview by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)