Southern Draw 300 Manos Habano

“The new project, called 300 Hands, features a pair of cigars, 300 Hands and 300 Manos, a nod in both English and Spanish to the approximate number of steps it takes to produce a cigar, and more importantly the people whose hands touch your cigar on its journey, and in this case, on its journey from Nicaragua to the United States. In a press release, the company calls the project “a celebration of the most distinctive tobaccos born of Nicaragua’s special combination of soil, temperature and sunlight, of differing yet refined processes and most notably, the tobacco stained hands that meticulously perform every step required to produce a Southern Draw cigar.”

300 Hands uses a Nicaraguan maduro wrapper leaf grown in the country’s Estelí region, while the binder comes from Indonesia and the filler hails from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. 300 Manos, which is pronounced trescientos manos, uses an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, binder from Cameroon, and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

Both lines are being made at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. in Estelí, will come in 10-count bundles, and are being offered in the same five vitolas and prices:

  • 300 Hands/300 Manos Petit Edmundo (4 3/4 x 52) – $5.99 (Bundles of 10, $59.99)

  • 300 Hands/300 Manos Coloniales (5 1/4 x 44) – $6.19 (Bundles of 10, $61.99)

  • 300 Hands/300 Manos Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) – $6.29 (Bundles of 10, $62.99)

  • 300 Hands/300 Manos Piramides (6 1/8 x 52) – $6.39 (Bundles of 10, $63.99)

  • 300 Hands/300 Manos Churchill (7 x 48) – $6.49 (Bundles of 10, $64.99)

It’s also a limited release, with 15,000 cigars per size and blend being made, for a total run of 150,000 cigars. The company is also producing 250 display trays for its retailers.

“We want to share this story with the masses and have priced this cigar line in an unbeatable range of $5.99 – $6.49 while expanding our charitable giving strategy to Nicaragua,” said Sharon Holt, co-founder of Southern Draw Cigars. She added that the company will distribute 25 percent of its profits to those Nicaraguans that offered their honest stories and identified specific needs in and around their own communities.

The cigar also comes at a time when the country is undergoing civil unrest and widespread violence as part of government reforms to its healthcare and pension system.

“We have high hopes for a better Nicaragua as they fight to overcome decades old struggles that have just recently escalated into what has been deemed a ‘newsworthy’ crisis, “ stated Robert Holt of Southern Draw in a press release.”

I am very happy to have the opportunity to try this new product and to have a relationship with genuine people with a desire to give back. Robert, Sharon and the rest of the team at Southern Draw are really setting the bar high and I think the cigar community has an opportunity to make an impact. With that said, let’s check out this project and see what we get shall we?

I have the 300 Manos 5.6 x 46 Corona Gorda available to review.

Blend Profile:

Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Binder: Cameroon
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
Size: 7 x 48 Churchill
Strength: Medium

Country: Nicaragua

Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
Price: $6.29

Appearance:

The cigar features a medium brown wrapper with small veins, very smooth leaf, and tight seams. The band is white with black lettering. Very simple design but a nice looking presentation. Notice the square end of the cigar in the 2nd photo.

Pre-Light:

The cigar feels firm with no soft spots. Out of the wrapper I get heavy notes of barnyard, hay, earth and pepper. After a few minutes of airing out, I pick up the same from the foot but also notes of caramel, and almost graham cracker sweetness. I use a V-cutter to open the cap and the cold draw is perfect. Open but not loose with a touch of resistance. I get notes of hay, wood, roasted nuts, pepper and coffee. I am very curious about this cigar.

1st Third:

After toasting the foot, the initial draw offers a good blast of pepper, tons of smoke production, wow I did not anticipate that one! There is a semi-sweet cocoa, wood (oak possibly) and earth notes. Very different from anything I remember from SDC in the past. About 1/2 inch in and things begin to change up some. I am getting some cedar, spices, and a hint of dried fruit sweetness. Possibly raisin. This is one complex smoke. It is early into this one but this certainly does not smoke like a cigar under $7. The draw is perfect, burn was a touch wavy and shortly after taking a pic, the ash dropped and it evened out nicely. Tons of smoke coming out of this thing. Clouds up for sure with this one! As I end the first third, I am getting some espresso notes, wood and pepper on the finish. The sweetness that was there has faded. Strength is medium.

2nd Third:

Entering the halfway mark, the burn evens out, performance is on cruise control. Ash won’t hold past more than a half inch or so and I have dropped a few taking pictures. I am getting notes of coffee beans, cedar, that dried fruit again and sweet notes of caramel and vanilla. There are notes of dark chocolate bitterness that make an appearance and fade away. It seems the more I get into this, more and more flavors show up. Very complex blend with a ton of surprises along the way. Strength is staying a solid medium.

Last Third:

The weather is taking a turn for the worse so I am being forced to finish this a little faster than I hope to. As I move into the final third, again the profile changes back and forth. Many of the same notes from the first and second third take turns making an appearance and then fading to the back. I am really having a hard time putting this one down because you find a little something different at each draw. Notes of cedar, spice, pepper, dried fruit, caramel, coffee and smoky wood round this one out. Performance was great throughout. Great draw, tons of smoke, slightly wavy burn as the wind started to pick up. Strength was medium plus only because I had to pick up the pace to beat the rain. I think it would have been medium to the end.

Final Thoughts:

As I smoked this cigar, I found myself trying to wrap my head around the fact that this is a $6.49 (MSRP) stick. I think the complexity, flavor, construction and performance of this cigar rivals cigars twice the cost. I have had other cigars in that $10 – $15 price point that were not as good as this. The only minor thing with this one was the ash. It would not hold very long so every time I set it down for a pic, even if I was careful, it fell. If that is the worse of my issues, I will take it.

This is a great cigar for beginner smokers to try, it’s easily affordable, medium strength, but I feel that even more advanced smokers would enjoy this one as well because it is complex enough to hold your attention. For me, this one is a no brainer and I would definitely purchase a bundle. I was hoping to see Robert in person this week in Virginia but thanks to the upcoming hurricane, that will have to wait.

So there you have it. My opinion of the 300 Manos Habano from Southern Draw Cigars. I say very well done and if you see this stick anywhere, grab it and let me know what you think about it. Be sure to leave your thoughts, comments and questions here. Follow us on social media, and join the Facebook group (CigarHawk Group) for some great interaction with some great people. As always, until next time #longashefullglasses.