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Pappy Van Winkle Cigars Join The Van Winkle Family Line Up

If finding a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle is a head smashing against the wall in frustration event for you, may I suggest an alternative if you are a lover of cigars? Word has just hit the social media waves of some new Van Winkle branded, barrel fermented 100% long filler cigars that are just starting to ship from Drew Estate, a cigar company, and which are being sold through the Pappy & Co online store.

Pappy & Co, who we first brought you word of last year when the company starting selling an $825 limited edition, Van Winkle branded decanter gift set, is run by fourth generation members of the famous Van Winkle clan. They apparently had partnered with Drew Estate last year in an “exclusive manufacturing agreement” to produce premium handmade cigars that were crafted to pair extremely well with the Van Winkle whiskies, particularly the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye.

image via Drew Estate
image via Drew Estate

What you get in these Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve cigars, according to Drew Estate, is a product made by hand in very small batches down in Nicaragua. It features

Kentucky seed, Kentucky grown tobacco that was fire cured and then barrel fermented. The blend includes a barrel fermented “tapa negra”-style wrapper over a Mexican San Andres base wrapper, as well as aged Nicaraguan filler tobaccos.

So what exactly does “barrel fermented” mean when it comes to these cigars? Specifically, the Kentucky tobacco leaves used in them, after having been smoked over a two week period using hardwoods in a tobacco barn via a time honored tradition that “has been followed for over 200 years,” are taken to Louisiana, where they are put into 53 gallon barrels (not Van Winkle specific barrels from what I’ve been told by those tied to this endeavor). From there, once again according to Drew Estate,

pressure and time are the keys to this fermentation, so we place almost 500 pounds of high quality leaves in the charred oak barrels for over one year, only opening the barrels three times for their rotations and turns. It is a painstaking process, done by American labor in the USA.

The barrels are then sealed in a vault-like manner to keep oxygen out and intensify the barrel fermentation to the max, reaching utter perfection in taste, aroma, and definition.

The next step is shipping the smoky leaves from the United States to the Drew Estate factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. Never sparing any expense in our determination to do things perfectly, we even ship the entire barrel itself to Nicaragua so that the leaves remain virgin throughout the entire process.

The cigars are available in special 10 count boxes and come in two different sizes – a 5.25×52 Robusto ($130 per box) and 6×54 Toro ($150 per box). It is said it took “numerous iterations” to find the final blend, which should make it enjoyable to both those new to cigars and also those more experienced in cigar smoking ways. To learn more about how they are made, check out the videos at the end of the story that Drew Estate produced detailing much of the production process.

“We’re extremely happy to be working with Drew Estate on this project,” said Carrie Van Winkle, great granddaughter of the legendary Pappy Van Winkle, in a statement, “as both of our companies are known for their high quality, handmade products. When we approached Drew Estate with the idea of working together on a premium cigar, we knew we’d made the right choice. The finished cigar is the perfect pairing for our family’s whiskeys, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.”


Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.

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