If a tobacco blender issues teasers regarding the release of a new blend, there's a ripple of excitement in the pipe smoking community. If a well-known pipe tobacco company announces that an entire new line of tobaccos is upon the horizon, the anticipation is positively palpable. When one of the world's premier cigar companies declares their entry to the pipe world in the form of eight distinctly different blends, that's not just huge, it's a cause for celebration. And maybe a bit of head-scratching, too, as premium cigars are a big, big business, while high-quality pipe tobaccos are something of a niche industry. Both do, however, share one point of commonality: The best reputations depend on modern-day expert craftsman with a love for the art of blending, whether the task at hand is preserving a storied smoke of old, or producing something fresh and new.
In the cigar trade, the story of Drew Estate is already legend, etched in the mind of most every serious connoisseur. Founded in Nicaragua by John Drew in 1998, at the height of the cigar boom, their offerings entered the market with a trailblazing approach to the very idea of what a cigar could be, as well as an iconoclastic marketing plan that flew in the face of every Armani-wearing 'celebrity-holding-a-stogie' advertisement.
What most cigar and pipe men aren't aware of, though, is that the President of Drew Estates, Michael Cellucci, is actually a long-time pipe aficionado himself, and has been hard at work for the past 18 months overseeing the creation of eight mixtures for Drew Estate's entry to the world of artisanal pipe tobaccos.
Crafted by Drew Estate's principal blender and tobacco buyer, Nicholas Mellilo, and manufactured in Denmark, these time-honored blends represent a full 180 turn in philosophy from Drew's initial cigar offerings; indeed, the very name of this groundbreaking series is 'Classic'. The reason that Drew Estates elected to launch with traditional blends comes from Michael Cellucci himself. While the early Drew cigars were quite successful and attracted an entirely new demographic to the world of cigars, it wasn't until the release of the more conventional Liga Privada in 2006 that the company gained a foothold in the broader premium cigar market. Drew Estate's strategy this go-around is to establish itself in the world of pipe tobacciana with solid foundations first, proving their understanding and respect for the traditional, and only then build gradually more creative and exotic blends from there.
Named, for the most part, after famous landmarks in the founder's native New York City, and packed in 50g tins, the Classic series consist of eight blends, six of which are aromatic. The non-aromatics are 'Grand Central'; a blend that features "...a dense aroma of lightly toasted burley and light Virginias" and "Meat Pie"; a traditional Medium-body English which happens to be Mellilo's personal favorite. "Toasted Black Cavendish" and "Heirloom Cherry" are pretty much self-descriptive, "Gilded Age Reserve" is a blend of black cavendish and sweet virginia, "Harvest of the Hudson" is a light-to-medium bodied tobacco, laced with just a hint of apple. The notes of chocolate, caramel and vanilla of "Central Park Stroll" "...makes you feel as if you were in a bakery" and "7th Avenue Blonde" promises both a light and pleasing sweet fragrance for the crowd and a stimulating blend of tobaccos ranging from Cavendish to Orientals to golden Virginias for your palate.
The first shipment of these ground-breaking blends is imminent and we're as excited as a (place a deleted simile which would result in my firing here ^^). For a real-time alert on the arrival of the new Drew Estate Classic blends, you'll find a notification button on the product page. As with the Capstan/Three Nuns release, we here at Smokingpipes are setting everything up early so that you all can get in on this premier the second our first shipments hit inventory.