Cigar Review: Nat Sherman VIP Selection

Nat Sherman

Size: 6×48, Carnegie (Toro)

Wrapper: Connecticut

Filler: Dominican and South American

Strength: Mild

Price: Box of 25, $171

Grade: 9.0

The story of Nat Sherman International is an interesting one.

Nat Sherman International got its start in the 1930s with the partnership between Nat and Charles Baer, owner of the Epoca Cigar Factory. Together they opened a retail store in New York City. Soon after, the shop became a gathering place for some of the higher folks of society. Towards the close of the 1930s, Nat released his first line of cigars bearing his own name. Into the 40s, Nat was the first to introduce a cigarette with a brown wrapper and with similar characteristics to a cigar; he called it a Cigarettello. These small hybrid smokes took off in the 50s thanks to Hollywood smokers. Nat continued to sell cigars as well, as one of only three authorized distributor of Cuban cigars east of the Mississippi River.

The 60s and 70s marked continued success in the cigarette business, with the acquisition of the Alexiou Cigarette Factory and the production of the MCD cigarette line. It wouldn’t be until the early 90s, at the death of Nat and the return of Nat’s son, Joel Sherman, to the family business that the company began to focus more on cigars. New lines of cigars and accessories were launched, cigarette sales continued, and everything was repackaged and revamped. The retail store was also moved to its current location at 500 Fifth Avenue.

Into the 2000s and still a family business operated largely out of New York City, Nat Sherman moved some of their manufacturing to a new facility in Greensboro, North Carolina and their corporate offices to Fort Lee, New Jersey. Though movement has occurred, Sherman’s roots still seem to be firmly planted in New York City. You can read more of Nat Sherman’s story on their website.

Today’s review is of the VIP Selection. It features a Connecticut shade wrapper and Dominican and South American filler. It is a buttery smooth cigar available in 5 sizes. For an official look of the VIP Carnegie, click here.

Now, with Nat’s interesting story shared, let’s toast the foot of this VIP!

Pre-light, 2.0:
This may be the smoothest wrapper I’ve ever seen on a cigar; the transitions in the leaf are flawless, the veins are unnoticeable and it is like silk to the touch. The almond colored wrapper is flawless and is accentuated very well by the simple, thin, and distinguished band—red, gold, and purple. The triple cap is beautiful on this VIP and the punch revealed a perfect draw. The pre-light aroma and draw matched, with sweet barnyard notes dominating the senses. I cannot find one area of deduction on the appearance and pre-light draw of this cigar.

Burn, 1.6:
The burn on the VIP was not at all what I was expecting; the ash was loose and at around the 2/3 mark the draw tightened and I was forced to re-light. Otherwise, this was a pleasurable experience. The ash was pure white with no discoloration and the draw was spot on. The smoke was very thick and the pull on the cigar was effortless.

Flavor, 2.7:
The VIP was extremely smooth and consistent. It is difficult to break this cigar into thirds since there were no real shifts; it remained delightfully predictable throughout. From time to time a bit of harshness would arrive in the back of the throat but this was quickly brushed aside. The dominating flavor profile was a nuttiness that was complimented by a smooth creaminess that reminded me of butterscotch. There were quick tastes of leather and barnyard, but they were very minimal. Overall, this was exactly what you’d expect from a premium, mild-bodied cigar.

Overall, 2.7:
I am happy with a price point of around $6.85 per cigar when purchased as a box; these prices are from Sherman’s website, so you may be able to find them a bit cheaper elsewhere, though these sticks are pretty difficult to locate online. Lindsay (@TheCigarChick, @NatSherman_Intl) was kind enough to send me a couple of these for review since I was unable to find them locally. This is hands down one of the cleanest cigars I’ve seen and the flavor was ultra-smooth. I would have liked to get a better burn out of this one, but one re-light and a few inches of tightened draw isn’t a whole lot to complain about. If you see this one locally, by all means grab a few. I’ve got another that I’ll let rest a bit.

(Total: 9.0)