Cigar blending is, as you'd expect, an art and a science. And when a cigar company as meticulous as Drew Estate needs a new master blender, the hiring process...
Cigar blending is, as you'd expect, an art and a science. And when a cigar company as meticulous as Drew Estate needs a new master blender, the hiring process is intense. In Willy Herrera's case, he went to Drew Estate's La Gran Fabrica in Nicaragua to visit and discuss joining the team. The visit turned into a two days of blending sessions that served as his "audition."
He passed, of course, with flying colors (and no doubt, puffs of smoke).
One of these blends became the Drew Estate Pappy Van Winkle tradition. The partnership between the Pappy Van Winkle whiskey brand and Drew Estate includes other cigars. This one was served up as a gift. Julian Van Winkle (the "Pappy" in "Pappy Van Winkle") was invited to a Cigar Aficionado event by Jonathan Drew and was given a box of cigars and a note that read “Exclusively for my Friend Julian by Willy Herrera, Sincerely, Jonathan Drew.” He ultimately selected it to become the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition because it's an old-school purist's smoke. No special aging or fermenting techniques. Just natural tobaccos shining through, the way they might have in a simpler time. Pair it with a Pappy Van Winkle bourbon or rye and enjoy two fine products of the Americas that go perfectly together.