Drew Estate's Herrera Esteli Coming To Market

Willy Herrera has been working with Drew Estate for a year and a half since leaving his family's El Titan de Bronze rolling gallery in Miami, and now his personal brand is about to ship to cigar shops across the United States.

Nearly a year in the making, Herrera Esteli cigars should reach shelves by the first week of February. The line is made in Nicaragua at the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate factory and features a blend of Ecuadoran, Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos.

"It's different than anything Drew Estate already produces," said Herrera, who added that he intended the cigar to be "Cubanesque" in flavor. "I wanted it well rounded and flavorful, but not too powerful. This is difficult to do when you're using Nicaraguan tobacco. It's very strong, and a lot of the prototypes would be too spicy or too peppery."

Herrera Esteli is not a limited-edition cigar, but it is made in very small quantities and will only be shipping to 50 accounts.

For more on the story see tomorrow's edition of Cigar Insider.

To read the Cigar Aficionado feature story on Drew Estate, click here

"Thanks for the input JD. Really look forward to trying it out. Also looking forward to the update to the Android APP although I think I've got most of the stores in the Dallas metroplex mapped out that carry a pretty good selection of your brands. I've not tried the APP to find the stores so I'm definitely going to give that a try." —January 21, 2013 13:30 PM
"Mark, Thank you for your kind words, Mark. What you said about finding the LP brand is 100% true with a little elbow grease, and that's why I wrote that segment on the HERRERA ESTELI brand. Cattrips made a valid point in regard to the Liga Privada brand, and I am sorry that we have not been able to keep up with demand. There are a lot of special things in the work with Willy Herrera, who is the man behind the HERRERA ESTELI project. We are excited to see what he can do now that he has the leviathan of tobacco inventory at his back. Best, JD" —January 21, 2013 10:06 AM
"Well put JD. However, he seems to be primarily knocking LP and Unico. While at one time I would have agreed with him, I finally came to the realization that they can be found quite easily. There are many groups, such as CATS, that can either help you track them down, or make trades for other products. It's easy to throw your hands up in the air and say eff this. But, once you have worked in the industry and have a real understanding of demand, it tends to change your outlook. The brand that I recently left had the pleasure of having one of the blends crafted by Willie, and I still stand by it. JD, keep up the good work, and never lose this personal aspect of your brand. It's what makes DE different and forward thinking." —January 20, 2013 09:34 AM
"HERRERA ON CIGAR LAW ESTELI DANLI SANTIAGO MIAMI www.cigarlaw.com HERRERA ESTELI is not a brand. It's a surname combined with a geographic term. See http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=85605662&pty=EXT " —January 16, 2013 15:51 PM
"Capttrips. I have read other posts that you have written and know that you are a true cigar lover. I am sensitive to your comment and would ask you to allow me to take a shot of responding to it. In regard to the HERRERA ESTELI brand being the shelves long enough for people to find them - I really think that we are going to accomplish this goal. Please let me explain why. To begin with, at the Drew Estate factory we operate different (not better, but different) because we really don't make brands for other companies. With the exception of the "JAVA by Drew Estate" that we have made for Rocky over the last 8 years, we try to keep the full production floor making only products that we ship to ourselves in the USA, Germany, Holland, and Switzerland. While it is common practice for factories to make tons of other brands for Brand Owners, we took a different approach toward building our bands. A few years back, there was a very special brand, ILLUSION, which I was and continue to be enamored with - and spent a lot of time working on a brand with the owner called Nosotros. While the brand was beautiful, Dion and I missed the mark because the consumers wanted something that would be "in between Liga Privada and Illusion" - but instead we made brand with a whole different character. Dion and I continue to be friends till this day - and I consider him to be one of the best brand builders and people in the industry today. We both learned a lot from the Nosotros experience. I know that the things we learned made both of our companies stronger for different reasons. On the DE side, I went back to being extra critical about making brands for/with people who were not Drew Estate employees - and decided to bring WILLY HERRERA on board the Drew Estate team once I realized his talent and character. This was a solid decision and allowed us to take 1.5 years in crafting HERRERA ESTELI. This is a very long time to have a person working on the books of a company, living in Nicaragua, and burning through tobaccos while developing a product that we could all be proud of. This brings me to your comment about having a product that "You can find on the shelves on a consistent basis" ... it made a lot of sense for us to use the limited amount of rollers who are trained for 1.5 years to roll these cigars (LIGA PRIVADA ROLLERS & BUNCHERORS) - to only bring on 50 or so stores that we can actually supply on a monthly basis. Imagine we opened up the HERRERA ESTELI to 3,000 stores. How many boxes per month would we be able to send to each store? Less than a box per month. That would be horrible. So instead, our decision was to START the distribution of the brand with less stores (about 5-59 - cant remember exactly) so that the stores could get behind the brand and know that they will have more coming in the next month. Then, as new Rolling Pairs are trained, we will tick up the amount of stores and locations that receive the brand. Sir. I truly understand and respect your comment. I hope that you see why we made the decision to distribute the brand in this capacity. I really think that it was the right way to release it. The Drew Estate APP is for Iphone, Ipad, and Android. It allows the user to find the locations that Liga Privada are sold. I am going to listen to your comment and ask our IT Team to make a function on the APP that will allow consumers to find the HERRERA ESTELI brand the same way. Sincerely, JD" —January 15, 2013 18:35 PM
"Great to see another release from DE that will be available for a nannosecond and gone for 6 months. Give me a cigar I can find on the shelves on a consistent basis. Tired of the hype. " —January 15, 2013 07:17 AM
"Estelí Several natural attractions can be found in the Northern department of Esteli, which comprises plateaus divided by hills with multiple climates. Its capital city is dynamic, and most of its towns feature archaeological areas and hard-working artisans. Many of its plantations preserve natural areas such as woods, cloud forest reserves and waterfalls. The city of Estelí is famous for the tobacco production that takes place in the high quality cigar factories and plantations, located in the urban area. Its active center has a museum, cultural and business centers. Besides its many hotels and restaurants, Esteli also has bars and clubs with a good ambiance. The Miraflor Natural Reserve (North), as well as the El Tisey-La Estanzuela (South), are two renowned, easily reachable places. The first one is a large mountainous area with several agro-production farms and natural conservation sites. Here, one can find waterfalls, tropical dry and cloud forests, and a great variety of birds and orchids. El Tisey is commonly known for the Salto de la Estanzuela waterfall, where visitors can take a good swim and practice rappel." —January 14, 2013 19:37 PM
"They are terrific. We were lucky to have Willie premier them at our Post Turkey Day Crawl in Dallas last year. " —January 14, 2013 19:08 PM
"I've heard about these and looking forward to giving them a try. Can't wait for tomorrows Insider. " —January 14, 2013 18:28 PM