Cigar Review: Southern Draw Kudzu Axil Lancero

Cigar Review: Southern Draw Kudzu Axil Lancero

Southern Draw Cigars
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano Oscuro)
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Size: 6 1/2” x 40
Strength: full
Price: $8.99

Overall Rating: 9.0

Over the past several years I have had a growing appreciation for the lancero vitola, and over the same period of time I’ve also developed a fondness for Southern Draw Cigars. The Southern Draw Kudzu Gordo earned the No. 4 spot on our Top Ten Cigars of 2015 list, so the idea of a Kudzu lancero is one that I was excited about. Like the rest of the Kudzu line, the Kudzu Axil Lancero is made at AJ Fernandez’s Nicaraguan factory, and is full bodied with a good mix of cocoa, earth and pepper. Full bodied cigar enthusiasts looking for a lancero to suit their tastes will find the Kudzu Axil from Robert Holt’s Southern Draw Cigars is good cigar at a reasonable price.

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Pre-Light: Featuring the typical Southern Draw band and a secondary band with the “Kudzu Axil” name, the Southern Draw Kudzu Axil Lancero fits nicely with the rest of the Kudzu line. A rich chocolate brown wrapper really sets off the different reds and gold colors of the cigar’s band. There are few veins to the smooth and dry to the touch Habano Oscuro wrapper of the Kudzu Axil. There’s a slight tip to the cap of the Kudzu Axil, that is not quite a pigtail, but adds a nice looks to the cigar. The cigar is firm to the touch, and is a good looking lancero.

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A mix of earth and leather aromas are easily noticeable from the Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper of the Southern Draw Kudzu Axil. Because the foot is covered, like on the other cigars in the Kudzu line, there is no discernible difference between the aromas from the wrapper and the foot. The pre-light draw is slightly firm, but allows through notes of leather, earth and pepper.

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Burn: The Southern Draw Kudzu Axil has a great draw, especially for a lancero. For the most part, the Kudzu Axil is an even burning cigar. One of the three I smoked for this review burned a little along a vein, but it corrected itself once burning past the vein.

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Flavor: Right from the start the Kudzu Axil begins with an immediate burst of pepper, which quickly mellows into flavors of chocolate and earth. Cocoa, earth cedar and pepper are the main notes during the first third of the Kudzu Axil Lancero. During the transition to the second third of the cigar there is an uptick in the amount of pepper on both the palate and retrohale. Cocoa, cedar and coffee dominate the flavor profile during the second third of the cigar, while pepper and spice are present in the background. During the transition to the final third of the cigar the spice and pepper become prevalent, and blends nicely with the existing cocoa and coffee notes. The final third of the Southern Draw Kudzu Axil finishes with a mix of earth, cocoa, cedar, spice and black pepper.

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Overall: Having previously reviewed the prerelease version of Kudzu Lancero, I was glad to get a chance to try it again in its finished state, as the cigar was much improved. While still not quite as much to my liking as the Gordo, which earned a spot in our Top Ten Cigars of 2015, the Kudzu Axil Lancero is one of the better full bodied lanceros that I’ve had. There are so many mild and medium bodied lanceros on the market, but there tends to be a lack of strength and pepper to the lanceros out there that is what many full bodied cigar enthusiasts have come to love in recent years. Full bodied smokers looking for a lancero to suit their tastes will find the Kudzu Axil much to their liking. At $8.99 the Southern Draw Kudzu Axil is a great value, although we don’t take price into account in our Overall Ratings of cigars. While I definitely liked the Kudzu Gordo more (there’s just something about that cigar), I will definitely be adding the Kudzu Axil Lancero to my humidor on a regular basis. I’d highly recommend giving this cigar a try.

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Pairing: A nice sipping rum compliments the Kudzu Axil well. The Ron Zacapa 23, Kirk & Sweeney 12 or Zafra 21 are all excellent choices for pairing with this cigar. The scotch drinker will find that the Dalmore 12, Dalmore Cigar Malt, Glenfarclas 12 and Balvenie 17 DoubleWood all pair well with the Kudzu.

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Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)

Cigars for this review were provided by Robert Holt of Southern Draw Cigars before August 8, 2016. Southern Draw is an advertiser with Toasted Foot. Although the generosity and support is greatly appreciated it does not alter the Overall Rating of this cigar. At Toasted Foot LLC we remain committed to providing our readers with impartial cigar and product reviews.