In 2017, Southern Draw Cigars would release a line known as Jacobs Ladder. The cigar gets its name from Southern Draw owners Robert and Sharon Holt’s son Ethan Jacob. There were two common denominators with the Jacobs Ladder line – they feature dark wrappers and they are positioned as being the boldest smokes in the Southern Draw portfolio. Since then Jacobs Ladder has grown into a full fledged brand with several blend offerings. In 2019, Southern Draw would add a second blend known as Jacobs Ladder Brimstone, and late in 2021, Southern Draw would roll out a third blend under the Jacobs Ladder line – Jacobs Ladder – The Ascension. Today we take a closer look at The Ascension.
When the Ascension was released, it was done to commemorate the 21st birthday of Ethan Jacob Holt. As for the blend, it actually is one that dates back to September 2016. At the times the cigar were rolled and then stored into the Aging Rooms. An initial release was done for Famous Smoke Shop before the company did a national release at the end of 2021.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Jacobs Ladder Ascension and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The blend features a San Andres Mexican wrapper, a Nicaraguan Habano 2000 binder, and all-Nicaraguan fillers. Production is handled at AJ Fernandez’s factory in Nicaragua. The San Andres wrapper is the big x-factor here. The Jacobs Ladder and Jacobs Ladder Brimstone blends utilize a Pennsylvania Broadleaf leaf for
Wrapper: San Andres, Maduro Mexican
Binder: Habano 2000, Nicaragua
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
The Jacobs Ladder Ascension comes in one size – a 5 1/2 x 52 box-pressed Belicoso. The cigars were released in ten-count craft paper bundles that the company refers to as “mazos”.
The San Andres wrapper of the Jacobs Ladder Ascension had a dark espresso bean color to it. There wasn’t much in the way of oil on the surface, but there was a slight amount of mottling. Any visible veins on the wrapper were minimal. The dark wrapper did a good job at covering up up the wrapper seams. This cigar had a square-press to it. There also was a moderate taper at the head of the cigar.
There are two bands on the Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder Ascension. The primary band has a purple background reminiscent of the Jacobs Ladder flower. On the band is the text “SOUTHERN DRAW”. Below the text is a gold ribbon-like design with the text “SOLI DEO GLORIA” (which is Latin for Glory to God alone) in a thin dark purple font. The remainder of the band has gold adornments. On the left side of the band is the text “AGED” while on the right side of the band is the text “HAND MADE” – both in white font.
There is also a secondary band located just below the primary band that also has a purple background. This features the text “JACOBS LADDER” in gold font. There are also gold adornments surrounding the text.
The cigar has a cedar sleeve going up 1/3 the length of the cigar from the footer.
After removing the cedar sleeve on the Jacobs Ladder Ascension, it was time to commence the cigar experience. A straight cut was used to remove part of the tip for the cigar. A little less than half of the tip was clipped to allow the smoking experience to take advantage of the tapering this cigar offerers. Once the tip was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered notes of coffee, cream, earth, and a slight amount of cedar. Overall this was a satisfying pre-light draw experience. At this point it was time to toast up the footer of the Jacobs Ladder Ascension and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start of the Jacobs Ladder Ascension delivered notes of coffee, earth, cedar, fruit, and black pepper. Early on the coffee and earth notes moved into the forefront. The cedar, fruit, and pepper notes settled in the background as secondary notes. On the retro-hale, there was an additional layer of black pepper present.
During the second third of the Jacobs Ladder Ascension, the coffee and earth notes remained grounded in the forefront. While the cedar, fruit, and pepper remained background notes, there was a slight increase in the intensity level of both attributes. Rounding out the flavor profile, there still were some fruit notes present.
There wasn’t much change in the final third of the cigar experience. It was still coffee and earth primary, secondary notes of pepper and cedar and more subtle fruit sweetness. This is the way the Jacobs Ladder Ascension came to a close. The resulting nub was slight soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The Jacobs Ladder Ascension required some touch-ups to maintain a straight burn line and straight burn path. While the touch-ups did the trick, there wee more touch-ups needed than I preferred. The resulting ash was firm with a silver-gray color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw to the Jacobs Ladder Ascension was slightly more open than I prefer. Normally I prefer a touch of resistance to a draw. At the same time, there were no adverse effects to the smoking experience due to the draw.
Strength and Body
The Jacobs Ladder Ascension keeps to the intent for the Jacobs Ladder brand to be bold smokes. The cigar started out with medium to full strength and medium-bodied flavors. By the second third, the strength progressed to full. At the same time, the body moved into medium to full territory. The cigar remained full strength, medium to full-bodied for the remainder of the smoking experience as the intensity increase leveled off.
In terms of strength versus body, the strength maintained an edge through the smoking experience.
One preliminary note that has no affect on the cigar: this is a beautiful cigar and I hate that it is put into a mazo. This would be a beautiful cigar to be displayed in a retail humidor and not hidden in a craft paper bundle. I’m known to not like craft paper bundles, and this is a case study of why I don’t like them.
Overall I have found the Jacobs Ladder pillar of the Southern Draw Cigars portfolio to be one of the best ones. However, there has to be a blend that will fall to the bottom and the Jacobs Ladder Ascension is that cigar. It dwarfs in comparison against the core Jacobs Ladder offerings and the Jacobs Ladder Brimstone offerings. This isn’t a bad cigar, but it’s pretty average and doesn’t have the wow factor of the other Jacobs Ladder offerings. In the end, if you like San Andres tobacco, this will probably be the cigar for you. Given this is a bolder cigar, it’s one I would steer to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, I’d recommend trying a sample first and seeing if this cigar is for you.
The Smoking Syndicate Review
Ben Lee of The Smoking Syndicate previously assessed the Jacobs Ladder Ascension and gave it an 89. Note due to age restrictions, you will need to click on Watch on YouTube.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Earth, Cedar, Fruit, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Minus
Strength: Medium to Full (1st Third), Full (Remainder)
Body: Medium (1st Third), Medium to Full (Remainder)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder – The Ascension to Get National Release
Price: $11.79 SRP
Source: Southern Draw
Brand Reference: Southern Draw
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on September 30, 2022 @ 6:18 pm