The Blend: MANZANITA (“little apple”)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua, AJ Fernandez Cigar Co.
Wrapper: Habano Hybrid, undisclosed
Binder: Habano, undisclosed
Filler: Pelo d’Oro, Corojo 99, Ligero, undisclosed
Size: Toro 6.0×52, round format
Box: 10 count, single stack
MSRP: $14.99 per cigar, $149.99 per box
DECEMBER 19, 2020 – Happy Anniversary Sharon.
Austin, TX — The Southern Draw Cigars family have commissioned the AJ Fernandez Cigar Co. to produce our contemporary blend cigar, a humble effort to share the legacy of Traditional Tobacco, that is tobacco and other plant mixtures used by Native Americans for the same reasons as our family, for sacred rituals, ceremony, healing and giving thanks. FUN FACT: Research shows that Native Americans were smoking tobacco more than 1,000 years before Europeans arrived with their own domesticated variety, possibly dating back to 2500 BC.
The blend is being called MANZANITA — a term coined years ago during a planning session as AJ, Rafael, Freddy, Sharon, and Robert inspected bales of rich Habano hybrid, noting the deep red oily leaves, indicative of the shimmering “red” bark of a manzanita tree, these superbly fermented leaves were destined to be the wrapper. Each tobacco involved in the blend brought an undisclosed origin during blending, which included varieties of Pelo d’Oro, Corojo 99, Habano and the compulsory, ligero. The company has decided to keep the countries and farms of origin confidential as not to form notions prior to each person’s own actual smoking experience.
“We have long desired to share the history of traditional tobacco and its spiritual importance and then we had an epiphany while working on names for our new cigar release,” says Robert Holt. “Some nostalgic names were thrown around, but, when we saw this leaf, its deep red color, observed the texture, rolled the tabaquiados and smoked them together, there was a unanimous endorsement that Manzanita (meaning “little apple” in Spanish, describing the tiny, apple-like fruit) was perfect. This name and our research go back to 2013, awaiting the right moment to tell its story and should not be confused with the ever popular 4×42-ring petit corona size cigars produced by Caldwell Cigars. Robert Caldwell was generous to approve our use of the Manzanita brand and has our humble thanks for the gesture. Distinctive tobaccos, each with their own narrative, were graciously sourced and collated into the binder and filler. There is ample reason to be excited about this incomparable cigar and I will leave it there for now, decide for yourselves.”
Manzanita in its natural form, has been used as a tobacco substitute or additive to wild tobaccos, for food and medicinal purposes by Native Americans for millenniums, which is only part of the story. Southern Draw “elevates” the presentation of this release as a tribute to the contributions of longtime financial consultant and close member of the family Cortney L. Taylor, most notably in the color scheme of the bands and special designed boxes as they embody his cherished university and athletic program. Design incorporated a respectful interpretation of Native Art within the cigar rings. From there, the Manzanita burgeoned into a much bigger concept that the family is excited about, including an essential charity component. When approached with the proposed brand, HumidifGroup, Cigar Box Factory (Estelí) and Cigar Rings (Estelí) were quick to join the design team that now render a fresh new presentation. Then the valued retail partners and media members with whom the family regularly deal, responded rapidly about helping to augment the efforts to launch the brand. Despite the limitations on travel and in-person gatherings, each displayed great faith in an unknown offering, a combination of small shops and larger retailers have joined the endeavor.
“The instant I smoked these tobaccos individually was amazingly satisfying but, the most gratifying aspect of this brand is that it’s not just one story, it’s a series of stories. We will be able to share the
sacred spiritual and cultural uses of Traditional Tobacco and support a remarkable Native American charity while we publicly thank Cortney for his 20 years of professional dedication to our ventures and for his friendship. Many interesting facts from our research will follow the launch as we engage in Zoom and Skype and other communication with our retailers and media members,” says Sharon Holt of Southern Draw.
There are several virtual events being planned to celebrate the launch of this new blend following the release and invite all media members to schedule some time to smoke and discuss this soon. Some proceeds from the Manzanita will go to the First Nations Development Institute, an organization endeavored to ensure the sustainable, economic, spiritual, and cultural well-being of their communities. Southern Draw has chosen for their contributions to go toward Nourishing Native Foods & Health, www.firstnations.org The initiative is expected to raise a total of $30,000 for this charity in 2021, with hopes to exceed that number at the end of the program.