Nat Sherman is one of the first names brought to the table in a conversation on American tobacco culture. First started in 1930 by the man himself, Mr. Nat Sherman, as a retail tobacconist in Manhattan, New York; Nat Sherman has remained a prominent name in the American tobacco scene for over 80 years. Nat Sherman continues to perpetuate the image of classic tobacco culture. Back in the 30s and 40s, tobacco products, particularly cigars, were associated with the upper echelon of society; something for people of refined taste to indulge in. The Nat Sherman retail store quickly became a hot spot for Manhattan night life, attracting a high profile clientele. Lawyers, politicians, musicians, fashion designers, investors, and even high-ranking members of organized crime families frequented the store. The Nat Sherman retail store was so well regarded that it came to be considered a neutral zone among the organized crime families, meaning that no violence would ensue whilst at the Nat Sherman store.
With roots as deep as Nat Sherman’s, one comes to expect a certain level of quality. Nat Sherman had somewhat fallen from the spotlight for a number of years, only to reemerge with a bang. Nat Sherman released the Nat Sherman Timeless, a cigar which managed to take the tenth spot in Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 of 2012. Feeling rejuvenated, Nat Sherman proceeded to churn out several new cigars; the Timeless Nicaraguan, the Nat Sherman 1930, and the Nat Sherman Sterling. Thus far, all of the new releases have retained the prestige the brand is known for. Now it’s time to see if we can say the same for the Nat Sherman Sterling.
Cigar: Nat Sherman Sterling
Size: Marevas 5×42
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Appearance and Pre-light Aroma:
The Nat Sherman Sterling is light brown color, a bit darker than a typical Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. There is some interesting coloration along the length of the cigar, with dark streaks shooting in different directions. The wrapper does have a bit oil, but ultimately has a fairly coarse texture to it.
The pre-light aromas are reserved and subtle, with the predominant scents being hay and tobacco. One might throw the term earthy into the mix, but a bit of a reach is required to make the claim. There is an undertone of what I can only describe as ‘warm’; it’s nowhere near developed enough to be described as a soft spice or pepper, or even cinnamon for that matter, but a little something is certainly there. More hay and some earthy notes are present on the dry draw, but that’s as far as it goes.
The first word that shoots straight to the tip of your tongue is “Cuban”. The Nat Sherman Sterling contains bold and pronounced flavors right at the forefront of the palate, and finishes with an impeccably smooth creaminess. A gentle sweetness coats the palate, intermingling with nuanced notes of floral hay. The Nat Sherman Sterling is making a paradoxical display of being simultaneously bold and pronounced, but gentle and reserved.
The Nat Sherman Sterling is a glorified dessert, the creaminess of this cigar is absolutely astounding. The profile on display is incredibly smooth, rich, and buttery. The line between primary notes and undertones is incredibly blurred, achieving a sense of balance and refinement that is seldom found in most cigars. The brunt of the smoke is sugary and luscious, with a bit of salt and tangy sweetness on the very back of the palate. Notes of dry wood and bold, slightly burnt coffee are picked up, most pronounced in the finish. The texture of the body is absolute velvet.
The final third doesn’t see a whole lot in the way of change. The more agricultural notes emerge to the front, particularly flavors of wood. hay, and bold coffee. The body has become a bit more dry than earlier on, but is still by in large very creamy. The depth of all these notes is near infinite, and this far into the Nat Sherman Sterling I still don’t feel that I’ve wrapped my palate around them. My palate feels incredibly saturated with all the flavors of the Nat Sherman Sterling. For first time since the beginning there is some real spice to be enjoyed, and provides a nice heat through the nose.
Burn and Construction:
The Nat Sherman Sterling is hands down one of the most well constructed, if not thee most well constructed cigar I have ever smoked. The draw was absolutely perfect start to finish, the ash held on brilliantly, and it didn’t require a single touch-up. The Nat Sherman Sterling lights up with zero fuss, and I would go so far as to say it defines what a cigar should smoke like. Not even a trace of bitterness, even down to the nub. A very, very impressive cigar in regards to its burn and construction.
The Nat Sherman Sterling is a very intriguing stick, and one that leaves somewhat of an internal conflict. The first several batches we received were quite spotty in their flavor, but I’ve smoked 5 from more recent batches and was wonderfully surprised to see that those issues have been sorted. The Sterling is relatively straight forward in what it offers; it only ever has few notes in play at a given time, but what is there is particularly refined and has an astonishing level of depth. The Sterling shines through and is a real treat through a retrohale, and I’d venture so far as to say that you’d be doing the cigar a disservice by not putting at least some of it through the nose. The body is wonderfully supple, luscious, and creamy in a way that’s seldom found in other cigars. The Nat Sherman Sterling has quickly become a morning favorite; mild enough in strength to smoke right out of bed, and an abundance of rich, smooth creamy flavor that will hold it’s own in the face of a hearty breakfast and a cup of coffee.
Ultimately, and you’ll have to excuse me for the cutesy comparison, the Sterling could easily be compared to eating cake. Cake generally offers a euphoric rush of flavor in your mouth, but ultimately the last bite of cake tastes almost exactly like the first. You’re not complaining, because cake is delicious, but you generally only find yourself eating a piece of cake, not the whole thing. The Nat Sherman Sterling is a similar experience, and as such I tend to prefer to stick to the smaller sizes. Too much of a good thing and that jazz…
4 out of 5.