Nat Sherman founded his company in New York at the height of the Great Depression. Seemingly a strange time to jump in to the high-end cigar market, Nat Sherman saw an opportunity; his premium cigars would be enjoyed by people of status, and were seen along with them in the public eye—fashion executives, show business superstars and of course, the omnipresent gangsters of the day. While others were feeling the effects of the Great Depression, entrepreneur Nat Sherman was doing quite well. Now, more than 70 years later, his still family-run business, now in its third generation, continues to produce some of the best cigars on the market.
President and CEO of the Nat Sherman brand, Joel Sherman, began working with his family’s company in 1960 at the tender age of 21. The Joel Sherman Limited Edition 75th Celebration was created in very limited quantities to commemorate his 75th birthday. This handmade from the Dominican Republic starts with a filler core and binder leaves from the Dominican and is held together with an impressive Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. Perfectly constructed, expect mild but complex notes of pepper, cream, wood, and nuts that are met with a dose of sweetness. Pair it with a Cabernet.
Though tobacco is indigenous to Hispaniola, the tobacco industry in the Dominican Republic existed in the shadow of Cuba’s dominance through the 1960s. When the exodus of Cuban cigar makers began in the wake of the revolution, many decided the Dominican Republic would be ideal for the resumption of their livelihoods. Unrest in Nicaragua in the 1980s fueled the Dominican cigar industry further. The country now makes more than half of the premium cigars imported into the U.S.
The Cibao Valley and the nearby city of Santiago are the center of cigar production in the Dominican Republic. Three main varieties are grown here: the mild and native Olor Dominicano; the intense Piloto Cubano, brought from the Vuelta Abajo of Cuba; and San Vicente, a milder and more acidic Piloto hybrid. Dominican puros were once unheard of as it was widely thought impossible to grow quality wrapper leaf on the island, but new growing techniques are now allowing some exceptional puros to be produced.
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