The Nat Sherman cigar brands are back but Nat Sherman isn’t back.
Michael Herklots and Brendon Scott—two former employees of the now-closed Nat Sherman International—have purchased the various brands from Altria. The pair are launching a new company Ferio Tego, LLC to sell those brands.
The one name that isn’t included in the deal is Nat Sherman itself.
Instead, Ferio Tego will sell brands like Timeless, Metropolitan, Epoca, Host and Ancora, the various brands that Herklots launched or made over during his nine years at Nat Sherman. Herklots was tasked with making over the company’s portfolio when it was still owned by the Sherman family and then leading the Nat Sherman brand after it was purchased by Altria, the tobacco company that owns the U.S. rights to Marlboro, in 2017.
In 2019, Altria announced that it was planning on exiting the premium cigar business and put up Nat Sherman International for sale. That included the various brands that Ferio Tego purchased, as well as the famous Nat Sherman Townhouse, a retail store in Manhattan, which Ferio Tego did not purchase.
The company was allegedly close to an agreement to sell the entire division to an unnamed buyer. Ultimately, those plans were derailed by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and a deal was never reached. In August, Altria announced that it would be closing Nat Sherman International after no agreement was reached.
Herklots, formerly vp of Nat Sherman International, said he and Scott did not bid on the entire Nat Sherman International portfolio as it would have been a conflict of interest given that Herklots was tasked with helping to sell the brand.
“We closed the business (on) Nov. 15 and once it was closed I couldn’t sleep thinking that there might be a chance to continue the legacy myself,” said Herklots in a text to halfwheel. “I was heartbroken thinking that the brands I worked so hard to build would be left ‘on file.’ And so I asked for consideration to acquire the brands after we closed.”
It’s unclear how many other parties inquired about purchasing the brands after the August announcement.
“We are grateful to Altria for working with us to find a path forward for these brands,” said Scott, previously the CFO for Nat Sherman International, in a press release. “I am extremely excited to work with Michael and our manufacturing partners to continue the legacy of these brands built by so many people over many decades. We are eager to bring our products back into the humidors of retailers and consumers.”
The company says it hopes to have its first product, a cigar line called Ferio Tego, on shelves this spring. Herklots said the company is still finalizing an agreement about where it will be made.
As for brands like Timeless and Epoca, the various ex-Nat Sherman brands are scheduled to be relaunched in the summer. Herklots told halfwheel that he is working on agreements with the various factories that made these brands to continue to make them under Ferio Tego ownership, meaning products will be in the Dominican Republic (Quesada), Honduras (Davidoff) and Nicaragua (Plasencia). The cigars will keep the same look, though the secondary band will now read “Made Exclusively for Ferio Tego.”
The Ferio Tego name comes from the Herklots family crest, which dates back to 1641. The coat of arms is being used as the company’s logo.
Ferio Tego also purchased the rights to the ex-Nat Sherman pipe brands, though Herklots said pipe tobacco is part of future plans and not the initial rollout.
Update: An earlier version of this story referred to Brendon Scott as “Brendan.”