California winemaker and cigar smoker Fred Schrader is getting back into the cigar business with an upcoming release he's calling Schrader MMXIII, a 6 inch by 60 ring gauge perfecto made in the Dominican Republic at Quesada Cigars. It will be launching on May 17 and will be available at the Nat Sherman Townhouse in New York City as well as retailers that carry Nat Sherman products. This new smoke is a follow-up to his limited-edition Schrader Hispañiola Doco-Est MMIX-I, which came out in 2010.
"Next to my endeavors in wine, making cigars is the most exciting challenge I have ever embraced," Schrader said.
Affectionately nicknamed "Sparky Two," the new cigar is cross-branded with Schrader's wines and bears the same dragon logo printed on the label of Schrader's Old Sparky Cabernets.
The new Schrader MMXIII cigars were three years in the making and blended with the help of Michael Herklots, close friend of Schrader's and Nat Sherman's vice president of retail and brand development. Covered in a Dominican binder and wrapper, the cigar's filler blend is a combination of Nicaraguan, Peruvian and Dominican tobaccos. According to Schrader, the cigars have been aging in the Dominican Republic for 26 months.
Fans of the first release nearly six years ago may recall its large figurado format at 7 1/2 by 56. It retailed for $26.95 per cigar, and scored 88 points. Schrader's first cigars were of a different blend and made in the Dominican Republic at the "Para Ti" factory. Para Ti was a code name for a small clandestine factory located within what was the Quesada's tobacco storage facility in Licey. They were distributed by Havana Cellars (owner and distributor of the Tatuaje brand).
"We listened to the feedback on our first Schrader cigar and channeled those comments into building our new blend," Schrader said.
The new perfectos are packaged in black six-count boxes emblazoned with the Sparky dragon. Only 2,500 six-packs are being released, each retailing for $84 per box, or $14 per cigar. They are distributed by Nat Sherman International.