Drew Estate's new collaboration with the venerable Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery expands the availability of Pappy Van Winkle cigars and adds a new, mainstay blend to the Nicaraguan cigar company's portfolio.
The new smoke, called Pappy Van Winkle Tradition, differs significantly from previous collaborations between Drew Estate and the Van Winkle family. While Pappy Van Winkle cigars released in 2015 and 2016 were only made available through the Van Winkle family's online marketplace, pappyco.com, Tradition will be sold at all authorized Drew Diplomat retailers. This new blend also forgoes the Kentucky-grown, barrel-fermented leaf that made up one half of the duel wrapper on last year's Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Barrel Fermented.
Tradition instead uses a dark, Ecuadoran Habano wrapper, Indonesian binder and aged filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. According to Drew Estate, the blend was created by master blender Willy Herrera in 2010 before he joined the company. During Herrera's first visit to Drew Estate's cigar factory in Nicaragua, he created three blends as something of an audition for the job. One ended up becoming the blend for Herrera Esteli and a second is now being used for Tradition.
Julian Van Winkle, president of the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, also played a part in deciding on the final blend. "I was invited to Cigar Aficionado's A Night to Remember by Jonathan Drew in 2016 and was presented with a wooden box of cigars with white bands that read, ‘Exclusively for my friend Julian by Willy Herrera. Sincerely, Jonathan Drew,' " said Van Winkle. "I loved this blend because of its balance. Shortly thereafter, my family and I visited La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Nicaragua where I smoked the same blend most of the trip. By the end, I knew that this would be the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition."
Tradition comes in four sizes: Coronita, measuring 4 inches by 46 ring gauge; Robusto Grande, 5 1/2 by 54; Toro, 6 by 50; and Belicoso Fino, 5 by 50. Each size comes in boxes of 10 with a price tag between $14.60 and $24.60 per cigar, before taxes.
Additionally, Drew Estate created three exclusive sizes to be sold at select retailers or given away during events. A Churchill (7 by 48) will only be available for purchase at Drew Diplomat Spirits retailers. A Lonsdale (6 1/2 by 44) will be given away at Drew Diplomat rewards events, while fans will only be able to get the Corona (5 1/2 by 44) from either Jonathan Drew or Julian Van Winkle personally.
Pappy Van Winkle Tradition is expected to begin shipping in October to coincide with the annual release of Pappy Van Winkle's Bourbon and rye.
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