Willy Herrera, a name many people in the cigar industry recognize and respect, and one many hobbyists may or may not know. On Monday, December 10th, Willy himself was here in our Scottsdale Cigar King location to roll cigars, answer questions about his new blend, the Herrera Esteli, and just have a great time. His time here was great for everyone who was able to attend as the big man answered questions for our customers, rolled cigars, and even shot a Bear video with us. It was an amazing event. For those who aren’t familiar with Willy Herrera, we have a little bio for you on this cigar legend in the making.
Willy got his start in the cigar business learning from his Grandfather at El Titan de Bronze in Miami, eventually taking over the company and producing some of the hottest boutique blends in the industry at the time. For years Willy churned out small batches of product, building the brand and his name and reputation as a blender, roller, and face of the growing company. He also began blending products for other companies and helping grow brands outside of his own.
Fast forward several years to 2011 and the surprise announcement that Willy Herrera had stepped away from El Titan de Bronze, the company he helped grow and mold into a little powerhouse. Joining the team at Drew Estate Cigars, it sent quite a shockwave through the industry to hear of the change. Leaving Miami for Esteli, Willy was taking a big step forward in his cigar career and the building of his legacy in this storied business. When the change occurred, many weren’t sure what to expect and what role Willy would play in the massive culture of Drew Estate. At the time, Drew Estate talk was dominated by the newly introduced Undercrown and the always popular Liga Privada. Where would his style of cigar fit and would it work?
Working throughout 2011 and into 2012 was a big change of pace, adapting to the new tobaccos that Drew Estate had access to, the culture change from Miami to Nicaragua, and maybe the biggest change, the culture shock that could come with the ever eccentric crew at Drew Estate. Even with all of the changes around him, Willy put his head down, put his blending skills to work, and started working on what would be his initial offering under the Drew Estate banner. He spent most of 2011 and into 2012 living in Nicaragua, infusing his Cuban style into the unique culture that Drew Estate had already established.
What came out of that year of hard work, big change, and culture shock was Herrera Esteli, a cigar with big flavor, somewhat big power, and what can easily be described as Cuban influence. The first cigar to come out of Drew Estate with any sort of old world Cuban influence, Herrera Esteli was introduced here at Cigar King on Monday, December 10th. The initial run of these cigars is limited and they won’t be fully released to the public until mid to late 2013, but Cigar King was one of just 50 stores in the U.S. to receive this special launch with Willy Herrera himself here to help celebrate! Joined by “Dirty” Fabien Ziegler, the national sales manager for Drew Estate, we were able to host around 300 people for this very special launch party. While most of the stock was sold that night, you can rest assured we will be carrying more of this product as soon as it becomes available. We owe a big thank you to Drew Estate and especially Fabien and Willy for making this party happen. We always have a blast when Drew Estate rolls through Cigar King and this event was no exception.