When Nat Sherman International closed its doors in New York City on September 16, it seemed to be the end of the company’s premium cigar brands. But former vice president Michael Herklots and former VP and chief financial officer Brendon Scott have formed a company that has purchased the rights to Nat Sherman’s old cigar brands. They intend to bring them back to market later this year as part of a new venture that will also create new cigars.
The new company, Ferio Tego LLC, of Ramsey, New Jersey, acquired the brands from Altria Inc., which had owned Nat Sherman since 2017. The brands in this deal include Timeless, Metropolitan and Epoca, as well as the Ancora line of cigar accessories.
In an interview with Cigar Aficionado, Herklots said the cigar brands would remain the same as before in terms of blend, cigarmaker and style. The cigars made in the Dominican Republic will be made by Quesada Cigars, the Nicaraguan cigars made by Plasencia Cigars and the Honduran cigars made by the Davidoff group. The only change, said Herklots, would be the secondary band, which will now read: Exclusively For Ferio Tego.
Herklots said the inventories of cigars once owned by Nat Sherman were gone. “We sold six months’ worth of cigars in six weeks—this is obviously starting from scratch,” he said, talking about the period in the fall when he was shutting down the Nat Sherman International business for Altria. “We’re reengaging immediately with factories to try and restore these brands back to shelves as quickly as possible.”
Although the blends will be the same, the brands are no longer associated with Altria’s Nat Sherman trademark, so the name Nat Sherman will not appear on any of the upcoming products.
Herklots and Scott also intend to create a Ferio Tego cigar, which will start as a limited edition. Ferio Tego should hit shelves in the spring, with Metropolitan and Timeless arriving by the summer. Other brands will follow later.
Herklots, who spent 21 years in the cigar industry and the last nine years working on these cigar brands, said in an interview that this new venture was “a dream come true.”
Altria acquired Nat Sherman in January 2017 and quickly assimilated the company’s cigarette division, but never seemed to mesh well with the far smaller cigar division. Altria ultimately put it up for sale in late 2019, and after an unsuccessful attempt to find a buyer, the cigars were sold off and the flagship Nat Sherman townhouse on 42nd Street was closed in September, in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. The closure marked the end of a 90-year era of Nat Sherman selling cigars in New York.
The deal struck by Ferio Tego only includes the cigar brands—the cigar store, which was leased, was never owned by Altria, and will remain closed.
Ferio Tego is named for the Herklots family motto, which Herklots says loosely translates to strike and defend.