Bite Size Review: Nat Sherman Epoca Prince
We’re big fans of those cigars that seem to fly under the radar and whose acclaim is often fleeting. This shoe seems to fit the folks at Nat Sherman International just fine. Now the jeweled corner piece of tobacco giant, Altria (Nat Sherman Holdings), Sherman, a Hungarian immigrant, built his legacy through his iconic tobacco shop in the heart of pre-depression New York City where it remains a must-see stop for any cigar lover. Unlike many of the newer boutiques like My Father or iconic established cigar czars like Fuente, Nat Sherman is just fine with a small, dedicated portfolio of cigars.
One of Nat Sherman’s lines that has made a lot of hay over the years is the Dominican Timeless, a “go to” smoke of the first order (see our 2018 review here). Most of the cigars in Nat Sherman’s portfolio are considered medium bodied causing some to turn up their nose which is unfortunate because cigars like Timeless offer so much more than just serving as a pairing companion or an infusion of nicotine. This certainly didn’t stop Nat Sherman from launching another medium-bodied cigar, Epoca, in 2014. Epoca is one of their “newer” releases, but really serves as a resurrected brand that gave Sherman a solid footing in premium cigars in the late 1920s.
You would think it must be difficult to replicate a cigar that was essentially a Cuban cigar outfitted with a domestic wrapper but having a veritable cornucopia of today’s tobaccos at your disposal, nailing a similar feel, aesthetics and flavor palette is really not that far off the map. I certainly have zero experience with 1920’s era, U.S.-made Cuban cigars, but I find it hard to fathom that today’s Epoca, with it’s Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, rises to what must have been a far more robust cigar of the time.
I freely admit, Connecticut shade-wrapped cigars are not my first choice when it comes to what I load into my overstuffed humidors and cabinets; however, I also acknowledge there is much to be appreciated regardless of taste or composition. Sporting a foil, throw-back band, our year-old Epoca Toro is lightly oily, seamless and features a solid frame and a spongy foot. The nice triple cap and minimal veins complement the rich, peanut butter-hued wrapper. The scintillating aromas of leather, cake batter and chocolate also foretell the deliciousness to come The draw is effortless and dusts the palate with a mild apricot essence.
Epoca’s opening salvo was not a huge surprise: a nutty core mixed with creamy notes of white pepper, leather, peanuts and caramel. The long finish is a robust mix of oak and baked bread. The texture is silky, the savory draw is salty and woody and there’s just a bit of spice left on the tongue along with notes of toasted oats. Overall, a medium, flavorful body with a nice little kick. Black pepper notes arrive late as transitions are dominated by woody foundations, balanced with a residual nuttiness and a light, sweet cherry essence. Black pepper and spice knobs are turned up as finishes become bolder with coffee and earth notes.
Construction overall is solid as is combustion although our Toro’s burn does get a bit wavy at times – a minor annoyance. The Epoca doesn’t just check the boxes, she shines in every department seemingly flaunting her smooth, medium-bodied persona with pride. Our Toro remained very smooth and tasty and even I, Mister anti-Connecticut shade, couldn’t deny enjoyment with every draw. I do think Epoca is priced right and to those of you who like ‘em more robust, I say you must add this to your humidor. This is indeed a nice homage to Nat Sherman’s history and legacy. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: The Epoca brand and its extensions are manufactured by Quesada Cigars at their factory, Manufactura de Tabacos, S.A. ( now just MATASA), in the Dominican Republic.
- Profile: Medium
- Vitola: Prince [Toro]
- Length / Ring Gauge: 6.0″ x 50
- Purchased: B&M
- Origin: Dominican Republic
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- Binder: Dominican
- Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
- Blade: Xikar Xi1
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $9.95 [Box $199]
- Humidor Age: 12 mo.
- Box: 20
- Other Vitolas: Admiral [5″x50], Breva [5″x42], Knickerbocker [7″x48], Perfecto [5.7″x52], Senator [6″x56]
N O T E S
Smoke Time: 1:11
Construction: Peanut butter hue; nice triple cap; oily; lumpy; minimal veins; seamless; solid with spongy foot; excellent smoke producer; holds 1″ ash.
- Wrapper – Leather, cake batter
- Foot – Milk Chocolate
- Cold Draw – Apricots
- Initial: Nutty nucleus; notes of white pepper, leather, peanuts, caramel and cream on retro; oaky finish with notes of baked bread; silky texture; savory, salt and wood draw; light spice on tongue; residue of toasted oats on tongue; a bit of black pepper added late.
- Transition: Oak and cedar core; oaky finish also features notes of coffee now; some residual leather and nuttiness coming through; black pepper more pronounced, but with same spice level; whiffs of caramel on the retro; sweet cherry essence on draw and remains very smooth.
- Transition: Still overtly woody; more chocolate and earth input; spice remains; more cherry essence on retro; bold finish of charred wood.
Touch ups: N/A
Combustion: Excellent, but wavy at times
Weaknesses: Complexity gets lost late
- 5 packer
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]