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Cigar Review: Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder Robusto

22 Jul 2019

The phrase “Jacob’s ladder” has many meanings. At least two novels, two films, nearly a dozen places around the world, a plant, and at least a dozen songs borrow the name. The genesis of the name (pun intended) is “a ladder leading to heaven that was featured in a dream the biblical patriarch Jacob had during his flight from his brother Esau in the Book of Genesis,” according to Wikipedia. “The significance of the dream has been debated, but most interpretations agree that it identified Jacob with the obligations and inheritance of the people chosen by God, as understood in Abrahamic religions.”

Along with Rose of Sharon, Austin-based Southern Draw Cigars introduced the Jacobs Ladder (sans apostrophe, for some reason) blend in 2016. At first it was a limited release, but it grew into full production in 2017.

Like all Southern Draw creations, Jacobs Ladder is made at Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. in Estelí. It sports a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper, an Ecuadorian binder, and “double Ligero” filler tobaccos from the Estelí and Jalapa growing regions of Nicaragua. Much like Jacob’s biblical ladder, the Southern Draw website calls this line “bold, but approachable.”

There are three standard vitolas: Robusto (5.5 x 54), Toro (6 x 52), and Gordo (6.5 x 60). Three additional sizes (including a Lancero and two perfectos) are classified as “limited.”

I sampled three Jacobs Ladder Robustos for this review. This cigar features a dark, moderately oily wrapper with few veins and tight seams. The foot is closed, and the cap is a bit rough around the edges. Dual bands of dark blue (purple?) and gold decorate the top half, while a cedar sleeve covers the bottom. The pre-light notes are rich and reminiscent of cocoa powder and baking spices.

Once underway, I find a powerful yet well-balanced profile with notes ranging from dark chocolate and roasted peanut to black cherry and leather. On the palate, Jacobs Ladder finishes in a rich flourish of sweetness and black pepper. The texture is thick and syrupy.

Things settle down considerably towards the midway point in terms of body. The flavor seems creamier and less intense here. But the strength—and by that I mean the nicotine kick—seems to grow with every puff. With other cigars, 19 times out of 20 I don’t notice the nicotine at all. But the Jacobs Ladder Robusto brings it in a heavy dose that’s impossible to ignore.

Throughout, the combustion properties are solid, including a smooth draw, straight burn line, generous smoke production, and a white ash that holds firmly off the foot.

The Jacobs Ladder Robusto retails for $9-10. But I wouldn’t suggest it to the faint of heart at any price. If you’re a seasoned cigar veteran with a full stomach and a nicotine itch that needs to be scratched, though, look no further.

This bold, imposing cigar earns three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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