The Drew Estate story is one of daring, heartbreak & success but, most of all, one of passion for cigars and the country of Nicaragua, where they have been making cigars since 1998.
Jonathan Drew & Marvin Samel are not your average cigar makers, their story does not start in Cuba, or with fathers in the cigar business. It started with a dream, and through their can-do spirit and never-say-die attitude made Drew Estate one of the premier cigar manufacturers on the planet. The two frat brothers from New York started out small…. Small, as in a 16 square foot retail kiosk in the World Trade Center in NYC.
In late 1998, Jonathan Drew moved to Esteli, Nicaragua with the hopes of starting a rebirth in the cigar world. With a handful of rollers and an even smaller handful of money, the story of “That Crazy Gringo” began. Imagine, going from a NYC apartment to sleeping on a mattress above a ram shackle factory, hardly knowing a word of Spanish too! In early 1999, Jonathan returned to Brooklyn with several amazing new blends for the next Drew Estate release. It was different, even shocking, and it needed something equally as spectacular to launch it. Enter Scott “ACID” Chester, an emerging artist in the DUMBO scene, whose mixing of industrial, urban, graffiti & motorcycle art would make for the perfect vehicle.
By 2000, they were ready for Round 2 with the release of Natural by Drew Estate. The ying to ACID’s yang, Natural was equally as original and more traditional. The launch of Natural took place on a vintage yacht sailing around Manhattan with invited friends and industry folk. Natural’s alluring flavor and aroma was the perfect match for a special evening.
Contrary to popular belief, ACID was not their first cigar brand. La Vieja Habana was. Originally released in 1998, this traditional cigar put them on the map, but when hurricane Mitch ravaged Nicaragua, the brand was put on hold. In 2001, La Vieja Habana returned loud and proud in stylish Art Deco form, a mix of tropical Cuban and NYC deco. The cigar, a real cigar smoker’s stick, rich tobaccos, great wrapper selections, and a can’t-be-beat price.
Early ‘01, they were making progress when Forbes magazine did an article called Cult Brands and included them alongside such brands as Krispy Kreme, Apple & Harley Davidson! It was a nice validation of the hard work they put in & put a little zip on their pitches the rest of the year.
By 2002, their little factory in Esteli was cranking out some amazing cigars, and a whole lot of them too, like their infused cigar AMBROSIA tobaccos exxotica. Everyone looked at them like they had three heads when they released it, but no matter, it showcased their dedication to The Rebirth of Cigars and to Jonathan’s vision of the Cigar Subculture.
2004 brought them to a crossroads. Their ever-growing company needed a change. So, they packed up shop and left the cozy confines of NYC for the fun and sun of Miami. Their move to Miami coincided with the hiring of a new company president: Steve Saka. His challenge, to guide them to the next level (and to bust everyone’s butt like a drill sergeant).
On the horizon, dreams were about to come true. Jonathan’s full vision of La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. The dream that began nearly 10 years ago becomes reality with the building of their new factory.
Drew Estate’s Isla del Sol cigars are in line with their mission to create exotic tobacco blends and elevate the expectations of cigar enthusiasts. These island inspired cigars are real jewels despite their budget cigar placement. The dual bands and “Sun Blessed” insignia give the presentation personality. A pleasantly mild and light smoke with dimensional flavor, the rich blend encompasses the spirit of the island lifestyle, light and breezy, not heavy and complicated. A premium handmade cigar blended with sweet coffee so rich that the flavor lingers on the palate much like a sip of fresh-brewed java. This beauty is covered with a dark Sumatra wrapper that surrounds a rare triple-Nicaraguan-leaf mix infused with exotic Sumatra Mandheling bean coffee and garnished with a sweetened cap. All in all, this premium handmade cigar is smooth and deliciously flavorful with an extremely enticing aroma.