|Nat Sherman Timeless Collection (Nicaragua)|
At the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, Nat Sherman unveiled a Nicaraguan puro blend as a part of its Timeless Collection. Earlier in 2012, Nat Sherman released the first blend of the Timeless Collection. This marked the first national launch of the Michael Herklots era at Nat Sherman. The original Timeless Collection was a multinational blend made at the MATASA factory in the Dominican Republic. That cigar was a huge success for Herklots and Nat Sherman – and it ranked as our #25 Cigar for 2012. The Timeless Collection Nicaraguan edition is a different blend made at the Plasencia factory in Nicaragua. I recently have had an opportunity to sample the Timeless Collection Nicaraguan – and this adds another outstanding blend into the Nat Sherman portfolio.
The Nat Sherman Timeless Collection Nicaraguan version has the same banding as the MATASA version. Unless you are familiar with the wrapper differences, one way you can tell the two blends apart is that the Nicaraguan version is a box-press cigar (the other difference is the Nicaraguan cigar is packaged in a black box). When I spoke to Herklots at the 2012 IPCPR, I asked him why the same banding. Summarizing Herklots’ answer, he views both blends as the “Timeless Collection”. We’ll touch more on that after breaking down the Timeless Collection Nicaraguan version.
As mentioned, the Nat Sherman Timeless Collection Nicaragua is an all-Nicaraguan puro. No specifics on the tobaccos were disclosed other than country of origin.
Currently, the Nat Sherman Timeless Collection Nicaraguan is available in three sizes. As mentioned above, these are all box-press vitolas. The cigars are packaged 21 to a box.
452: 4 x 52
556: 5 x 56
660: 6 x 60
For this cigar experience, I went with the 660 vitola. The Timeless Collection Nicaraguan 660 has a coffee bean colored wrapper with some dark marbling. The texture to the cigar was slightly coarse. There were some visible wrapper seams, but the wrapper was pretty much void of any significant visible veins. The box-press itself did have a couple of slightly soft spots, but nothing that overly concerned me
As mentioned, the Timeless Collection Nicaraguan version has the same banding as the original MATASA version. The band is reminiscent of a wrist watch. It has a yellow face with the black-colored letters “N A T S H E R M A N” arranged like numbers on a clock. There is a red dial at the center. In the middle of the watch it says “NYC 1930” in a small black font. The remainder of the watch design has red, gold, and black trim. The “band of the watch” features black, brown, and gold coloring.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Timeless Collection Nicaraguan 660, I went with a straight cut into the 60 ring gauge sized cap. It was then time to begin the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw notes produced a combination of earth, cocoa, and some lemon citrus. Overall this was a satisfactory pre-light draw. It was now time to light up this cigar and see what the overall smoking experience would deliver.
The start to the Nat Sherman Timeless Collection Nicaraguan continued with the earth, cocoa, and lemon flavors found on the pre-light draw. I also detected some pepper as well. After a few draws, the lemon and the pepper took over – providing a “citrus/pepper” blast. Once the pepper subsided, the flavor profile for the first ten percent of this cigar took shape. It had lemon and earth as primary flavors, pepper as a secondary flavor, and cocoa notes that were tertiary.
Around the 10 percent mark, the cocoa notes took on a little more sweetness and became more of a traditional chocolate flavor. These chocolate notes moved up and joined the pepper as a secondary note.
As the cigar reaches the 20 percent mark, the pepper and earth notes were now the primary flavors – giving this a classic Nicaraguan flavor. The lemon citrus flavors moved back to a secondary flavor and the chocolate notes returned to being a tertiary flavor.
In the second third of the Timeless Collection Nicaraguan, the earth flavors were left standing as the primary notes. The lemon and pepper notes continued to play a secondary role. The chocolate notes switched between a secondary and tertiary flavor. By the last third, the lemon and chocolate notes had diminished leaving the cigar to have an earthy and peppery feel – i.e. that classic Nicaraguan profile. The end of the cigar had some spice. I wouldn’t categorize it as harsh, but it was a rougher finish. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The burn of my Timeless Collection Nicaraguan 660 did require several touch-ups with my butane lighter to burn straight. While the touch-ups adjusted the burn-line, it seemed like I was touching up this cigar a lot more than I would have liked. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color. I wouldn’t categorize the ash as tight, but it wasn’t loose. At the same time, the ash wasn’t too prone to flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
From a draw perspective, I found the Timeless Collection Nicaraguan 660 performed very well. This made the cigar an enjoyable one to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I did not find the Timeless Collection Nicaraguan to be a nicotine bomb. I assessed this cigar as being a classic medium strength cigar. When I first got the blast of citrus and pepper at the beginning, this appeared as though this cigar would be a medium to full-bodied smoke, however once the citrus and pepper settled down, the smoke became a medium-bodied smoke. Taking that initial citrus/pepper blast aside, the strength and body balanced each other with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
When Herklots mentioned he viewed both the MATASA (Dominican made) and Nicaraguan blends of the Timeless Collection as part of the same line, I was a little baffled. However, after smoking both – I get it. Both cigars had that unique lemon citrus and cocoa undertones. Thus I see the parallels between the the flavor profiles of the two blend. This is a perfect cigar for a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast looking for a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar with some nice complexity.
The big question to ask is which Timeless Collection blend is the better one? I’m still going to go with the MATASA one, but this is not a knock on the Nicaraguan one. Even though I had some fight keeping the burn of the Timeless Collection Nicaraguan straight, I still enjoyed the flavor of the cigar. Finally, I do feel this blend was made with bigger ring gauges in mind – and I believe it works well with the 60 ring gauge format here. Overall, I’d still reach for the Timeless Collection Nicaraguan again – as it does provide a nice change of pace.
Body: Medium (Medium to Full to start)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were gifted to me by a friend.