Session three of the Florida Barnsmoker takes you into the mind of Master Blender, Willy Herrera, and part of the process behind picking which leaves on which plants to place into new cigars but also tweaking blends to try to continue to match flavors from original recipes 20 years prior.
Joining Willy Herrera is Henry Pineda, Drew Estate’s factory representative. With a passion for tobacco joined with a passion to bring Nicaragua to the world, he takes you down the very basics of what goes into the mindset of Master Blender and blenders who live full time in Nicaragua. Since Barnsmoker is an attempt to make light of the current farm (FL in this case) and a “miniature” version of Cigar Safari in Nicaragua at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate.
The job of a Master Blender
In this session, Willy takes a moment to walk you down the specifics of what a master blender does. At first thought you may think that the job of the master blender is to blend new blends. I mean with all of the Freestyle Lives that Drew Estate puts on, someone has to blend them, right? You’d be correct! Willy does blend new smokes for those, but more importantly, Willy takes tobacco from 2021 and makes cigars with it that identically represent cigars that were made in 1999. Tweaking blends, maybe shuffling around leaves in their order of the cigar and switching techniques around the tobacco’s curing process to ensure the buyer (you) that your favorite Liga Privada No. 9 is just as good as it was when you first fell in love with it.
The informational session also takes a small dive into the chemistry of the leaves. We all know that a tobacco plant has to be cured from our previous sessions, and that curing can look a multitude of ways, but did you know that there are even zones on a tobacco plant where leaves can be more full in body, stronger nicotine content and better combustibility? Because there are zones (Viso, Seco, Ligero)
Too much ligero? won’t smoke right. Too much seco? won’t taste right. The chemistry behind it all gives you a greater appreciation for Master Blenders everywhere and love for their craft as they craft cigars time and time again that smoke well and taste great!
Another long video ahead, because there’s just so much information to be had, but this video actually takes us all the way back to 2020 when we had the opportunity to go to Cigar Safari in Nicaragua. Please enjoy the loopback and information from our final session of the Florida Barnsmoker!