In 1960, a 21-year-old Joel Sherman began working full-time at his family’s business, Nat Sherman. Now, 54 years later, he holds the title of president and CEO of Nat Sherman International whose operations including a cigar brand, a cigarette brand and a retail store in New York City.

To commemorate his 75th birthday, the company announced it would be creating a limited edition cigar, aptly named the Joel Sherman 75th Celebration. While the 10-count boxes were first shown off at the 2014 IPCPR convention and trade show last month, the company held a party last night that served as its formal release.

Joel Sherman 75th Celebration

Priced at $19 per cigar, the Joel Sherman 75th Celebration uses Dominican tobacco for the binder and filler and is covered in a Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. Production at The Quesada Factory is limited to 25,000 cigars.

“These cigars are the epitome of a lifelong desire to create a unique smoking pleasure for my friends and customers,” said Sherman in a press release. “I have always been asked ‘how do you smoke a cigar?’ and my answer is always the same ‘however you like’.”

Joel Sherman Drum

(image via Michael Herklots)

When you see the box in person, the personal touches become apparent. Each contains a note from Sherman himself explaining his love of cigars and his history in the family’s business. It extends further, with a crest on the front of the box that was inspired by a bass drum Sherman played when he was younger.

Joel Sherman 75th Celebration 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Joel Sherman 75th Celebration
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: The Quesada Factory
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Size: 7 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Fundadores Gordo
  • MSRP: $19.00 (Boxes of 10, $190.00)
  • Date Released: August 6, 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: 2,500 Boxes of 10 (25,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2

The Joel Sherman 75th Celebration’s pale brown wrapper is exceedingly silky smooth to the touch. It feels a bit light for the size when held in the hand and is just a bit harder than expected when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of rich cedar, dark chocolate, nutmeg, nuts and slight sweetness, while the cold draw brings flavors of wood, earth, cream, nuts and a very slightly pepper on the tongue.

The first third starts out with a great base of creamy peanuts, along with nice flavors of cedar, leather, white chocolate, earth and white pepper on the retrohale. A slight sweetness comes and goes, while there is a very distinct lemon peel note that starts about halfway through the first third and continues to grow stronger as the cigar burns. Construction-wise, the burn is excellent so far, almost razor sharp, and the draw is spot on, with just the right amount of resistance. The overall strength is fairly negligible by the end of the first third, but does seem to be increasing slightly.

Joel Sherman 75th Celebration 2

An interesting buttery creaminess starts to invade the profile of the Nat Sherman product during the second third, combining nicely with a sweetness that tastes quite a bit like vanilla to me. Other flavors of peanuts, coffee, leather, earth and cocoa flit in and out, while the lemon peel tartness from the first third has actually receded quite a bit by the halfway point. There is still a wonderful amount of white pepper on the retrohale that has remained fairly constant and the smoke production has increased noticeably. Both the burn and draw remain excellent, while the strength stubbornly refuses to budge, still not hitting the medium point by the end of the second third.

Joel Sherman 75th Celebration 3

The final third of the 75th Celebration continues the trend of evolving flavors with a hay note taking over dominance from the buttery creaminess that was in the second third. Leather, earth, chocolate, espresso and even a little cinnamon are all on display at various points, while the white pepper on the retrohale stays constant. The construction continues to impress with a near razor sharp burn line, but the smoke production has fallen off a bit from its high in the second third. The strength finally reaches the medium mark, but never threatens to go over by the time I put the nub down with a little more than an inch to go.

Joel Sherman 75th Celebration 4

Final Notes

  • Joel Sherman was born in 1939, and his 75th birthday was on August 2.
  • Both the main band and the secondary band are brand new creations that have never been used for any of Nat Sherman’s releases up to this point, and were designed specifically for this release.
  • Along with the above, I find both the secondary band and the main band are wonderful, minimalistic and extremely well designed.
  • The blend for the Joel Sherman 75th Celebration was in process for almost a year before it was released.
  • Nat Sherman has indicated it’s the first time they’ve known of this size being used. A quick search on halfwheel reveals Viaje used it last year for the Viaje Exclusivo Super Lance. One notable difference between the two cigars is that the Viaje has a pigtail, whereas the Nat Sherman has a standard round cap.
  • Considering the length, I was a bit surprised at the relatively quick one hour and 45 minutes burn time on both of my cigars.
  • The construction was excellent on both samples, the burn never gave me a problem, and was close to razor sharp for the entire smoking time.
  • The cigars for this review were provided to halfwheel by Nat Sherman Cigars at the IPCPR tradeshow in Las Vegas.
90 Overall Score

Everything about this release screams (or maybe quietly whispers) elegance to me: from the bands to the boxes to the story behind the cigar itself. Although fairly light strength-wise, the blend is a flavor bomb, medium-bodied and very well made. Having said that, the flavors of the Joel Sherman 75th Celebration are subtle for the most part and really need to be concentrated on to get the full experience, so take your time.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.