Today is Oct 1, 2017 and this day is declared by Drew Estate cigars as Pappy Day. Today is the day that the new Pappy Van Winkle Tradition cigar is being released exclusively available to Drew Diplomat Retailers. Of course, if you attended the Kentucky Barn Smoker event this weekend, you got your hands on one of these beauties as they were one of the many cigars in your bag. The release is being coordinated with the annual release of the Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon and Rye,
If you recall, Drew Estate collaborated with Old Rip Van Winkle Distiller to release the Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented cigar back in 2015 and that was a highly sought after small batch blend. The cigar was sold exclusively through Pappy & Company, a licensing company owned by three daughters of Julian P. Van Winkle III, president of Old Rip Van Winkle.
This year, the new Pappy Van Winkle Tradition will be a distributed by Drew Estate and it is a blend that is close to the heart of Willy Herrera, the Drew Estate master blender. I caught up with Willy at this years IPCPR and he explained the history of the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition which you can see in the following short video:
Julian Van Winkle, president of the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, further notes:
“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,… 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.”
Unlike the Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented cigar, the “Pappy Van Winkle Tradition” is just that – a Traditional cigar. The blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
- Binder – Indonesian
- Filler – Nicaragua and Dominican Republic
In fact, Jonathan Drew, President and Founder of Drew Estate notes, ‘
“The Pappy Van Winkle Tradition features an ultra-complex combination of extensively aged fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic that are blanketed with a flawless Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper. Availability is limited. I am humbled to extend the Drew and Van Winkle friendship, time-tested honor, and craftsmanship to Drew Diplomat Humidors across the United States.”
The Pappy Van Winkle Tradition is available in 4 vitolas and packaged in 10-count boxes:
- Coronita (4 x 46) MSRP $146.00
- Robusto Grande (5.5 x 54) MSRP $216.00
- Toro (6 x 50) MSRP $240.00
- Belicoso Fino (5 x 50) MSRP $250.00
The company will also be releasing 7 x 48 Churchill that will be exclusively available at Drew Diplomat Spirits Retailer and will retail for $236.00 for a 10-count box.
To make things even more fun, the company has reserved 2 (Not for sale) vitiolas that will be available exclusively at Drew Diplomat Rewards Events or directly from Jonathan Drew and Julian Van Winkle as described below:
- Lonsdale (6.5 x 44) Box Exclusively at Drew Diplomat Rewards Events in October, November and December 2017
- Corona (5.5 x 44) Exclusively available from Jonathan Drew and Julian Van Winkle
So let’s celebrate Pappy Day as I walk you through the Drew Estate Pappy Van Winkle Tradition.
I received samples of the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Toro at the IPCPR for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press. I have to admit, I have smoked a couple since then, familiarize myself with the profile and see how they settled in. Today I decided it was time to review it – as it has been resting for 2 months out of the sleeve in my humidor and its a rainy Florida day and a perfect for sitting in the lounge enjoying a fine new blend.
The first observation of the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition. is the silky smooth milk chocolate-brown wrapper. It has this fine tooth to it, is practically veinless and is finished with well applied cap. The barrel shows no signs of softness and feels solid in the hand.
There are two band in this cigar. The primary band uses a red, gold, and white motif and has a photo of Mr. Van Winkle (Pappy) smoking a cigar centered in it and a red ribbon below that identifies it as the “Pappy Van Winkle”. A secondary red, gold, and white band is right below and declares it as the “Tradition”
Running it along the nose I detected a delightful sweet fermented leaf aroma on barrel and even more enticing sweet tobacco, cocoa, and nutmeg set of notes off the foot. You know, I have always enjoyed the Willy’s craft and this cigar is right on point so far.
I sliced the cap with my Palio cutter and took it on a little cold draw journey. Considering this blend has been around for a few years before hitting the shelves I felt it deserved the attention.
The cold draw was interesting pleasant with a dash of pepper, sprinkle of sweetness and plum fruit flavor. I had to roll this one around for a little more taking in the flavor and setting my palate for the initial burn. Unlike some cigars that seem to build on the pre-light pepper, the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition stayed consistent and shouted Fire Me Up!
Cigar Review Notes
- Pepper blast on first light – I did not expect that based on the cold draw
- As the pepper toned down a malt note entered
- Solid white ash develops on crisp thin char line
- Sweetness enters after an inch
- Tooth opens with some nice oiling on the wrapper
- Coffee with a gentle cinnamon in the background
- Excellent ash is forming
- Ash finally fell after a good two inches
- Fairly centered burn cone
- Hint of roasted oak enters
- Spice builds in the second third
- Ash picks up where it left off
- Subtle Almond notes enter, lightly gracing the palate
- Coffee builds in the profile with some added cedar
- Spicy nut and maple aroma
- Malt finds its way back in at the end of the second third
- Black Pepper adds to the retro-hale
- The nut enters the flavor in the final third
- Medium strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 20 minutes to the nub.
Overall, the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition was a delight to smoke with well-balanced flavors and enticing aromas. This may certainly be the cigar we have been waiting for from Willy and of course it has been sitting in the vault waiting to hit the market. The burn on this was pristine and it only fell once. I know this is a pricey smoke but it is certainly worth a try.