About a month from now, I’ll publish an annual feature here at halfwheel, a rare editorial and an even rarer halfwheel post that features lots of speculation. It’s called “Ten Questions,” and the concept is pretty simple: at the end of each year, I list the 10 cigar industry-related questions I’m most curious about for the new year.
For each question, I ask the question and try to provide a prediction. About 363 days later, Patrick Lagreid will grade the predictions I made after the year is nearly over.
Last year, this was one of the questions and its prediction:
8. WHERE DOES MICHAEL HERKLOTS END UP?
With the closure of Nat Sherman International, the most obvious question wasn’t what would happen to the building that the retail store occupied in New York City. It’s what would happen to Michael Herklots, who revamped Nat Sherman’s premium cigar business when it was still owned by the Sherman family and oversaw it until the doors were literally locked.
Prior to his time at Nat Sherman, Herklots was in charge of Davidoff’s New York City retail stores and gained seemingly universal notoriety and respect throughout the cigar industry. He is one of those people that could lead a trade organization. But he’s also a person that seems likely to find plenty of work outside of the cigar business.
I think the ideal job for him in the cigar industry would be to lead General Cigar Co. Currently, Régis Broersma is the head of General Cigar Co. despite the fact that he announced in 2019 that he would be leaving for another role at Scandinavian Tobacco Group in Europe. Ultimately, STG didn’t find someone to replace Broersma and eventually it was decided he would do both jobs from Europe. That means the person directly in charge of one of the largest premium cigar companies in the U.S. is based in Europe and doing full-time two jobs.
Herklots has experience running a premium cigar company. He’s got extensive relationships throughout the entire cigar industry. He’s the consummate brand ambassador and he’s someone that would fit in with General’s seeming desire to hire younger people. Whenever it becomes legal again, the idea of Michael Herklots hosting black tie events at Club Macanudo in Manhattan is something that seems like a perfect fit, even if that’s not the main responsibility of the head of General Cigar Co.
Prediction: As much as I think Herklots makes a ton of sense as General Cigar Co.’s president, I’ve learned that these predictions aren’t about what I think makes sense. I think the more accurate guess is a broader one. I’ll say Herklots ultimately takes a job outside the cigar business because it seems like a safer guess than picking a specific cigar company.
At the time I was making that prediction, I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be correct. About two days later, my suspicions were confirmed and I was on the phone with Michael Herklots to talk about his plans.
As it turned out, Herklots and Brendon Scott—two former Nat Sherman International employees—purchased the rights to the Nat Sherman International portfolio from Altria. It included the names and branding for the Nat Sherman cigar brands, its pipe tobacco brands, as well as some of the accessories. There was one name the deal didn’t include, Nat Sherman itself. Altria—the company that purchased Nat Sherman in 2017—is continuing to sell at least one Nat Sherman cigarette brand. Due to legal complications regarding the marketing and selling of cigarettes, it’s much easier for Altria to not have a cigar brand that also uses the same name as a cigarette brand.
Herklots and Scott announced that their new company would be called Ferio Tego, its cigars would use the same names, blends and factories as each line did when it was owned by Nat Sherman, and the company’s products would be distributed by Davidoff of Geneva USA.
While the rollout experienced some delays and a bit of confusion, the plan for Ferio Tego was to start with a completely new cigar before bringing back various brands from the old Nat Sherman portfolio. As it turns out, it would be two cigars, both 6 x 50 toros. The Ferio Tego Generoso uses a Honduran shade-grown wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers from Nicaragua. It’s made by Plasencia Cigars S.A. in Nicaragua, a longtime partner of Nat Sherman and one of the three factories Ferio Tego is using now.
The cigar I’m reviewing today is the Ferio Tego Elegancia, which is made by Quesada. It uses an Ecuadorian wrapper over a Dominican binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
- Ferio Tego Elegancia (6 x 50) — October 2021
- Ferio Tego Generoso (6 x 50) — October 2021
Both cigars have an MSRP of $21 and come in boxes of 10. The cigars are limited, though Ferio Tego isn’t disclosing the production numbers.
Speaking of those boxes, they are made by HumidifGroup, a product Humidif is now marketing as “Smart Packaging.” The boxes include a near-field communication (NFC) chip, which should give your smartphone the option to pull up the Ferio Tego website after you place your smartphone near the box. I tried it on both the Elegancia and Generoso boxes that we purchased, neither worked with my iPhone. I’d be curious to know how much this feature cost as its usefulness for the end consumers seems rather limited, though I wonder if the information a company could get from this type of product has lots of use.
Beyond the two limited cigars, Ferio Tego has also shipped its versions of the Timeless Panamericana, Timeless Prestige, Timeless Sterling and Timeless Supreme. Those cigars use the same names, branding and blends as before, the one difference is the secondary bands now say “Exclusively for FERIO TEGO” instead of “Exclusive for NAT SHERMAN.”
- Cigar Reviewed: Ferio Tego Elegancia
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacos de Exportación
- Wrapper: Ecuador
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $21 (Box of 10, $210)
- Release Date: October 2021
- Number of Cigars Released: Undisclosed
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
This is a pretty classic-looking Connecticut shade wrapper. There’s a bit more yellow than I would say a typical shade wrapper has and I notice some small water spots, but there are no illusions about what wrapper is being used here. Each cigar is quite firm to the touch, though there’s still a bit of bounce. These have been out of cellophane for over a month and I can’t smell much other than some mild barnyard and acidity. I’m sure there was a lot more aroma-wise before these cigars went were taken out of cellophane, but these were photographed, went box in the box without cellophane and then about a week in the open air of a humidor. The foot of the Ferio Tego Elegancia smells like cedar, creaminess, an acidic ketchup and a sweet milk chocolate. Cold draws have an oatmeal base surrounded by leather, earthiness, creaminess and a slight fruitiness that is almost like a floral flavor. Intensity-wise, it’s right between medium-plus and medium-full; fortunately, despite the firm feelings, the draw seems to have the appropriate amount of resistance.
The Ferio Tego Elegancia looks like a classic Connecticut shade cigar and the first puff tastes like it. There’s cedar with some sweetness, creaminess and semi-sweet Nilla wafer flavor. It’s about as typical as you could make a Connecticut cigar with two exceptions: it’s a lot fuller and it lacks the black pepper note. Eventually, nuttiness takes over and sits on top of the cedar and creaminess. Other secondary flavors include a brown mustard, some sugar, black tea and coffee beans. The finish has nuttiness, leather, oak and creaminess. Retrohales are smooth with nuttiness leading herbal flavors, oak, a touch of toastiness and some barbecue sauce flavors. After the smoke leaves my nostrils, I taste nuttiness over toastiness, leather and some saltiness. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is mild-plus. Construction is flawless on each cigar other than some cracking near the foot of one cigar, something that I don’t think is a negative outside of the way it looks.
Nuttiness remains the most obvious flavor during the second third of the Ferio Tego Elegancia, though there are some changes with the secondary flavors. Oak replaces cedar, meatiness emerges, the creaminess isn’t as strong and a bit of black pepper emerges for the first time. On a more meta level, there are two other changes: one, it’s less sweet than before; two, the individual flavors are a bit more separated from one another than they were in the first third. The finish tastes like peanut butter thanks to the merging of nuttiness and creaminess—an opposite effect compared to the main flavors in the mouth—along with oak, leather and white pepper. Retrohales have hay, leather, oak and nuttiness. It’s a bit sweeter once the smoke leaves the nose as the peanut butter sits on top of pasta, oak and a mild herbal flavor, the latter of which feels a bit out of place. Flavor is medium-full, body is mild-medium and strength is mild-plus. Construction remains excellent.
While the herbal flavor seemed out of place in the second third, it’s much more complementary in the final third. There’s still nuttiness and oak, but without the creaminess, the profile is a lot less sweet. In addition, there’s a mild spice blend and something that reminds me of the aroma of bottled water after it’s left out in a car for a few days. The finish is saltier with the herbal flavor picking up as well. It’s still lots of oak and nuttiness, but like the main flavor, the secondary flavors make a massive difference in terms of the overall profile. Like the main flavor, the retrohales in the final third are noticeably less sweet. There’s nuttiness—more bitter than before—earthiness, herbal and some white pepper. The finish has a flavor that is closer to peanut butter—though it’s still not sweet—along with oak and white pepper. Flavor is full—though a bit lighter than before—body is medium-full and strength is mild-plus. Construction remains excellent on two cigars, though one sample needs a touch-up, the only time I need to correct the burn across three samples.
- Prior to joining Nat Sherman in mid-2011, Herklots spent much of his career working for Davidoff at the company’s stores in New York City. This means the distribution deal with Davidoff is a homecoming of sorts, though I imagine most of the people Herklots worked with at Davidoff are no longer at the company.
- Between the dark blue and gold colors and the actual designs on the bands, there’s many parts of this band that seem like it could be part of Drew Estate’s Undercrown brand.
- These boxes are advertised as doubling as humidors. I’m not sure how well it would work, but it’s not just a cigar box. There’s certainly more robust construction of the box itself. Furthermore, there’s a tray of sorts that creates a small shelf at the bottom of the box. Underneath it is an included HF Barcelona Gelly60 humidity packet.
- I’ve mentioned it in other reviews, but I try to knock the ash off of a cigar after about an inch of ash has formed, this is a cigar where it’s so easy to get even chunks of ash that I was routinely getting two inches of firm ash.
- One sample cracked near the foot shortly after lighting. It impacted neither the flavor nor construction, but I took a picture of the damage.
- “The initial offer for 2021 Ferio Tego is currently being sent to retailers. The cigars are expected to arrive in stores the first week of October. Due to the extremely limited production of the 2021 inaugural release, inventory will be allocated,” was a line included in the press release about these cigars.I took that to mean these would be quite limited, which doesn’t seem to be the case. As of yesterday, I looked at the first 10 stores that showed up in the search results for this cigar and nine of the 10 had these in stock.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was between one hour and 50 minutes to two hours and 15 minutes.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Corona Cigar Co., Famous Smoke Shop and STOGIES World Class Cigars carry the Ferio Tego Elegancia.
If you like cigars with a nutty profile—particularly if it’s closer to peanut butter—the Ferio Tego Elegancia is an excellent cigar. The cigars featured a dominant nuttiness from near start to finish, a full and smooth profile, and excellent construction. At times, the nuttiness—as enjoyable as I find it and as detailed as the flavor is—can get a bit monotonous. It’s a lot of nuttiness, some different types of nuttiness, but nothing ever gets close to challenging the nuttiness for the top spot in the profile. The Elegancia is a cigar with a noticeable price tag, superb construction, big flavor and little nicotine—all in a cigar that wears a golden wrapper, something that sounds rather familiar to plenty of other cigars in Davidoff’s own portfolio.