|Nat Sherman Epoca Selection – Prince|
The Nat Sherman Epoca Selection was one of several new lines introduced by Nat Sherman in 2014. This cigar is actually a re-launch of an old brand by the company. Nat Sherman is a company that has prided itself on its rich history and the Epoca brand plays a very important role in it. In 1929 when company founder Nat Sherman acquired New York cigar company Schwab Brothers & Baer, Epoca would become the first cigar band to be owned by Nat Sherman. The original Epoca was a blend of Cuban tobacco that was made in the United States. The new Epoca Selection uses Cuban seed tobacco from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic along with an Ecuadorian wrapper. Over the past few weeks I have been smoking the Epoca Selection line and most recently the Prince vitola. Nat Sherman has been delivering some very good cigars to the marketplace and the Epoca is no exception.
To resurrect the Epoca, Nat Sherman turned to the Quesada family. The company has a long history of working with the Quesadas. The Epoch is made at the Quesada factory in Licey, Dominican Repub Development for the new Epoca project began back in 2013. The Nat Sherman team brought a prototype of the blend to the 2013 ProCigar festival in the Dominican Republic and solicited feedback. Input from that feedback was incorporated and the final blend made its way to retailers prior to this year’s trade show.
Back when the Epoca Selection was announced, Michael Herklots, Vice President of Retail and Brand Development commented that “The blend for Epoca is a tribute to the premium cigars of the 1920’s and 30’s. Clear Havana’ cigars were medium to full-bodied with light wrappers. The new Epoca pays homage to the original experience, offering a full rich flavor that remains balanced and approachable.”
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Nat Sherman Epoca Selection and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The blend to the Epoca is a multi-national blend with tobaccos from three countries.
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
The Nat Sherman Epoca Selection is available in six sizes. It is packaged in 20 count boxes.
Breva: 5 x 42
Admiral: 5 x 50
Prince: 6 x 50
Senator: 6 x 56
Knickerbocker: 7 x 48
Perfecto: 5 3/4 x 52
For this cigar experience, I smoked the “Prince” vitola of the Epoca Selection – which is basically a toro-sized vitola. As mentioned above, the original Epoca was defined as a “Clear Havana” – meaning that it had a light-colored wrapper While the new Epoca selection keeps to the light colored wrapper theme, I still found the Ecuadorian wrapper to be a shade darker than most Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrappers. Upon closer examination some subtle darker spots can be seen on the surface on the wrapper. The wrapper itself is slightly oily. There are a minimal amount of visible veins. The wrapper seams are quite thin and well-hidden.
The band itself is definitely retro-styled. It has a classic white, red, and gold color scheme. The middle of the band features a red elongated shield with gold trim sitting on a white background. On the shield is the text “EPOCA” in white font. To the left of the shield is the text “HAND” in white font on a red background. To the right of the shield is the text “MADE” in white font on a red background. There is gold trim on the edge of band. An interesting fact is that there is no mention of “Nat Sherman” on the band.
Nat Sherman also worked to design the boxes to be reminiscent of the original Epoca.
|Original Epoca box|
|Epoca Selection box (2014)|
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up lighting up the Epoca Prince, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The pre-light draw produced mostly woody notes. There were some subtle notes of natural tobacco sweetness and a light tingly spice. I didn’t categorize this as the most exciting pre-light draw, but since the pre-light experience does not factor into the final assessment rating and score there was no loss of points here. At this point I was ready to light up the Epoca and await what the overall smoking experience would have in store.
The start to the Nat Sherman Epoca Prince continued with the woody notes I picked up on the pre-light draw. I also picked up some light fruit sweetness, cream, and spice in the background. Meanwhile the retro-hale was delivering notes of black pepper through the nasal passages.
As the flavor profile took form, the wood and fruit sweetness notes became primary. The fruit notes were a little sweeter than earlier on, but they never got overpowering. The spice in the background developed into a combination of cedar and baker’s spice. This cedar spice also replaced the black pepper on the retro-hale. Meanwhile there still were notes of cream in the background, but at this point they were moving toward the forefront. Toward the end of the first third, the cream notes had now joined the wood and fruit sweetness as a primary flavor.
The second half of the Epoca Prince was similar to the first half. The cream notes did recede back to a secondary note during the second half. Meanwhile the cedar / baker’s spice notes joined the wood and fruit sweetness in the forefront. This is the way the flavor profile held until the end. The resulting nub was ideal – cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
When it comes to the burn and draw, the Epoca is a cigar that performed exceptional. The burn line remained straight from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash was mostly white with some black streaks mixed in. The ash itself was a tight and firm one – coming off the cigar in nice clean chunks. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Nat Sherman Epoca Selection Prince|
The draw neither a tight nor a loose draw. This was a low maintenance draw and one that made it very easy to derive flavors from.
Strength and Body
Given Nat Sherman was trying to recreate a brand from the 1920s, I certainly was not expecting a nicotine bomb with the Epoca. There were no surprises with this cigar. I found this to pretty much on the lower end of medium strength from start to finish. In terms of the flavors, I also found them to be medium-bodied. I did see the flavors slowly increase in intensity throughout the smoking experience. By the last third, the Epoca had crossed into medium to full-bodied territory. In terms of strength versus body, I gave the edge to the body throughout the smoking experience.
While I have not smoked the original Epoca blend from 1929, there is no doubt that with the new Epoca Selection, Herklots and his team were seeking to deliver a very “old school” smoke – and that’s exactly what they delivered here. I didn’t find this to be a cigar that smoked like a Cuban, but something more as a throwback cigar. I will say the way the flavors are delivered here, they do tend to put some dryness on the palate. However, the flavors were still very enjoyable and I found the Prince size to be the best of the sizes I smoked. Finally, the Epoca is a cigar with some incredible construction.
The Epoca is a kind of cigar that can satisfy both the novice and experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is certainly a cigar I would smoke again. It’s a cigar that grew on me each time I smoked it – and it’s worthy of a box split.
Body: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Final Third)
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split