Nat Sherman Sterling Corona Gorda

The Nat Sherman Sterling is a cigar that was launched at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas.  This cigar would be the fourth blend and third line (joining Nat Sherman 1930 and the two Timeless Collection lines) of the Michael Herklots era at Nat Sherman.  It was in 2011 when Herklots joined Nat Sherman as Executive Director of Retail and Brand Development (and now recently promoted to Vice President).  The Sterling addresses a particular niché in the Nat Sherman portfolio – delivering an ultra-premium ($9.00 to $15.00 price point), milder cigar.  Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Nat Sherman Sterling.  This cigar is another stellar addition into the Nat Sherman family.

For the Sterling, Nat Sherman teams up with the Quesada family’s MATASA factory in the Dominican Republic – for whom the company has a long history with.  Herklots has recently worked with this factory on the newly released Nat Sherman 1930 and the Timeless Collection Dominican cigar.

When the Nat Sherman Sterling was announced, Herklots discussed what the inspiration was for this cigar:

The Nat Sherman Sterling represents a new standard for complexity, balance and finesse in premium cigars. They’re inspired by some of the most prized Havana cigars of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s that continue to be collected to this day. These cigars embody balance and sophistication, and focus on flavor more than strength.”

Without further ado, let’s break down the Nat Sherman Sterling and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile

In addition to an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper and Dominican binder, the Nat Sherman Sterling contains Dominican filler tobacco that has been aged up to ten years.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican

Vitolas Available

The Nat Sherman Sterling is available in five sizes.  All of the cigars are packaged in boxes of 25 except for the Super Lancero which is packaged in boxes of ten.  All of the ring gauges are 46 and under.  The line was originally launched in four vitolas with the Super Lancero being added earlier this year.

Perlas: 4 x 40
Marevas: 5 x 42
Dalias: 6 1/4 x 43
Corona Gorda: 5 3/4 x 46
Super Lancero: 8 x 38

Appearance

For this cigar assessment, I smoked the Nat Sherman Sterling Corona Gorda. The Ecuadorian wrapper of this cigar has a classic light brown color. There is some oil on the surface of this cigar. The cigar has some noticeable wrapper seams and some visible veins, but overall I’d still classify the surface of this cigar as smooth.

There are two bands on this wrapper and as one would guess – they have a sterling silver color . All of the fonts on the bands are in black. There is a shield outlined with the initials “NS” in the middle. Above the shield is the text “NAT SHERMAN” and below the shield is the text “NEW YORK”. There are some embellishments and rivets on the band giving the band an almost 3-D effect.

The secondary band is all silver and contains silver rivets also providing a 3-D effect. The text “STERLING” is etched on it in platinum with a platinum etched rectangular design surrounding it.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up my Nat Sherman Sterling Corona Gorda, I went with a straight cut. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw produced a mix of wood and cream notes with very little in the way of spice. Overall I found the pre-light draw to be satisfactory. At this point I was ready to remove the footer band, light up the cigar and see what the overall smoking experience would deliver.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Nat Sherman Sterling continues with the wood and cream notes that I detected on the pre-light draw.  I also detected some black pepper notes in the background. These pepper notes were present (but subtle) on the retro-hale.

In the first third, the cream notes remained primary.  This was joined by alternating notes of wood, natural tobacco, and nut.  At times I could also detect more than one of those three notes present with the cream.  Meanwhile in the latter part of the first third, the pepper notes now were also joined by some cedar notes and a slight citrus component.

By the second half, the wood had dissipated, but the nut and natural tobacco continued to rotate in and out with the cream notes up front.  In the background the cedar notes were now overshadowing the pepper notes.  The citrus component remained a distant secondary note.

By the last third, the spice notes took center stage.  While this was not an overpowering spice not, it became the primary flavor.  By now the cedar was much more prominent.  The cream was a distant secondary note with the citrus.  This is the way the Nat Sherman Sterling came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.

Burn and Draw

The burn and draw performed as I would expect a premium cigar to perform.  The burn line remained nearly razor sharp from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups along the way.  The resulting ash while not “sterling silver” still had a nice silvery gray color to it.  The ash remained firm throughout the smoking experience with no flaking or flowering. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.

Burn of the Nat Sherman Sterling

The draw performed excellent as well.  It had a touch of resistance – which is something I like.  The cigar produced an ample amount of smoke, yet the draw didn’t have any looseness to it.

Strength and Body

As Herklots mentioned above, the Nat Sherman Sterling is going to emphasize flavor over strength – and this is exactly the profile I got with this cigar.  From a strength perspective, this cigar is going to start out mild.  It stays in the mild range before progressing to mild to medium in the last third.

In terms of the body, the Nat Sherman Sterling isn’t going to deliver bold flavors that weigh heavy on the pallet.  Herklots used the word “finesse” and I concur with that assertion.  I found the flavors to start out mild to medium-bodied.  In the last third, they move to to medium-bodied.  While the body of these flavors was subtle, I found it to fit this particular profile like a glove.

Final Thoughts

This cigar was definitely a winner.  It’s subtleness and finesse is really what completes the package in my book.  This cigar was an interesting experience for me.  I admit, when I first smoked it, I enjoyed it, but didn’t pick up a lot of the complexity and nuances.  On some of the subsequent smokes, I really took my time smoking this cigar and I began to pick up quite a bit more.  While this cigar fits the my personal definition of a classic morning smoke, I can see myself enjoying this cigar any time of the day. I’d also recommend this to a novice enthusiast or to an experienced cigar enthusiast who appreciates a milder smoke. As for myself, this is definitely a cigar I’d smoke again – and it’s worthy of  a box split.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Mild (1st 2/3), Mild to Medium (Last third)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st 2/3), Medium (Last third)
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Score: 92

References

News: Nat Sherman Sterling
Price: $14.80
Source: Sample Provided by Manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Episode: Episode 86
Stogie Feed:  Nat Sherman Sterling

* Cigars for this assessment was provided by Nat Sherman. The samples were received in order to provide feedback.  Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.