Fred Rewey, founder of Nomad Cigar Company, is a rising star who has brought his own ‘twist, passion and influence’ to an age-old industry that demands quality, class and satisfaction. His humble yet extremely quirky personality elevates the cigar smoking experience to a whole new level by personalizing the brand with character and charisma. He defies the lore of traditional wisdom with a fiery passion for delivering great cigars that scream ‘WOW.
“I love doing things a little differently than everyone else,” said Rewey.
Rewey, who was born in Wisconsin but is now based out of Florida, definitely does things ‘differently’. He likes to break the rules and ignore customary conventions when creating his blends. The highly acclaimed Connecticut Fuerte and S-307 releases are prime examples.
“I was told never to release a ‘stronger’ Connecticut cigar by a couple of people,” said Rewey. “They said, ‘It has been tried before…it will fail.’”
Contrary to the belief of cigar elders, the CT Fuerte has received many positive reviews and has become a hot topic of conversation among smokers around the globe since its March release. ‘Not your father’s Connecticut,’ as described by Rewey, is a Connecticut wrapped stick that boasts extremely flavorful Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. Even the wrapper is a non-traditional Ecuadorian Connecticut that is slightly darker and richer than the American grown. The idea behind the one-and-a-half year project was to create a cigar that would take the mild smoker and introduce him/her to a more flavorful stick without nuking his/her palate.
“No, it is not going to kill your palate, but it is going to make you notice it and enjoy a whole other level of flavor. Oh sure, the ratings are in the 90′s…but what really matters is a great cigar smoking experience,” according to Nomad’s website.”
The S-307 is blended at the acclaimed Tobacalera AJ Fernandez in Nicaragua. Rewey went into the project knowing he wanted a stronger cigar made from Nicaraguan tobacco. And because Rewey is a big fan of the San Lotano Oval he immediately turned to Fernandez for assistance. This initial thought behind the S-307 was to create a bold, full-bodied smoke, but the tobacco that Rewey fell in love with did not lend itself to such a profile. And, when blending a cigar it is important not to ‘force’ the tobacco to be something that it is not. So the end result was an extremely satisfying cigar of medium strength that has become Rewey’s top-selling cigar.
“I would have to say the S-307 is the best-selling cigar but the Connecticut Fuerte also seems to be gaining a lot of traction for only being on the market a short time,” said Rewey.
Since his inaugural release of the self-titled Nomad in 2012, Rewey has become ‘very’ involved in the blending process behind his releases, and will continue blending all of his cigars going forward. After trusting industry experts to blend the eponymous Nomad, Rewey was ‘all in’ when it came to blending the Limited Edition Esteli Lot 1386. It was the first true blend that he created from seed to shelf. The 1386 was the company’s second release and first Nicaraguan blend that was another hot seller for Nomad. It nearly sold out when it was introduced at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show.
Before he started blending his own cigars, Rewey would try to articulate his desires to the blender and the blender would return to him with some options. After smoking the blends, they would go back and forth until the blend met Rewey’s expectations. Last year Rewey took some time off and spent several months in Nicaragua and Dominican Republic learning about and studying tobacco under the guise of the best cigar makers in the industry.
“The more I learned, the better I was getting at blending,” said Rewey. “I can write a blend on a piece of paper and get a lot closer than I ever could before. Of course you always have to tweak when you start smoking it.”
When determining the ‘perfect’ blend one discovers a distinct ‘courtship’ between the different tobaccos used in the cigar.
“I feel my job is to take quality tobacco and create a blend to best show it off,” said Rewey. “In the beginning I tried to force the tobacco into being something that it was not. Now I seek out some interesting tobacco and see what it ‘wants to become’.”
As Gary Griffith of House of Emilio likes to say, ‘The tobacco drives the process”. And that is especially true when introducing new blends to the Nomad family. Rewey doesn’t use a particular timeline when he releases new blends to the market. Because of his tireless work ethic, he is constantly entertaining new ideas and experimenting with new blends, but ultimately, ‘when they are ready, they are ready,” he explains.
“Certainly, Nomad grew faster than a lot of cigar companies – and for that I am very grateful, but I don’t really have a timeline in mind,” he explained in reference to releasing new blends.
Rewey is currently working on a few new projects with some of them slated to hit the market this year, including the strong, full-bodied cigar that he has been seeking for quite a while now, which he intends to release this summer at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. And, he expects to release a limited production of the CT Fuerte in a Lancero vitola this year as well.
Like most boutique cigar companies, quality control is of the utmost importance to Rewey and his company. He approves every final blend and sample lots of cigars before they reach the consumers. He has several inspection points along the way as well.
“I put so much effort into making sure the right people are rolling and inspecting the cigars. I think that is why we get so many comments on the construction of the cigars,” said Rewey.
Rewey’s reputation for ‘doing things differently’ stems from his adventurous personality and zest for life.
“I like to do new things. I like adventure. I love to travel – it is always something different,” said Rewey.
Before launching his own company in 2012 Rewey was ‘just a guy who enjoyed smoking cigars” for the prior 13 or so years. About five years ago he started to study the history of cigars, its culture and how they are made. But it wasn’t until 2011 when a ‘close friend’ of his in the cigar industry asked him why he hadn’t started his own cigar company.
“I gave it some thought and decided, ‘why not’, he said.
Rewey supports smokers of Nomad and enjoys having ‘fun’ and interacting with them on social media and his website. Through his website he hosts giveaways and contests while sending out ‘goofy’ e-letters that include the infamous ‘NRC’ that has been causing quite a buzz among fans. The NRC stands for the ‘Nomad Ruling Class’. It started out as a joke in his weekly e-letter, which are more on the line of ‘brainless ramblings’ than a pitch on what cigar to smoke, but have since turned into a fan favorite. The NRC comes with an advanced warning, “If you sign up for them I am having a lot of fun with them.”
“I have a true appreciation for everyone that smokes Nomads,” Rewey said. “I know when they go in the humidor they have a choice of what to smoke. If they choose mine, I get to keep getting out there and pushing myself to make great cigars – I hope to sit down with every Nomad smoker at some point. Like I said before…I like to do things a little differently.”