Nat Sherman is one of the most well-known luxury tobacconists in the world. They have had a retail store and smoking lounge in New York City for 80 years now.
They are famous for their own brands of all-natural cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco. As soon as you walk through the front door you will see nearly 100 pipes displayed, as well as over 15 exclusive pipe tobacco blends.
Here is an account of our visit to the store, including a video interview with Michael Holba, Retail Sales Manager.
The store includes a richly appointed smoking lounge (The Johnson Club Room – membership required) with large screen TV, today’s newspapers and several magazines.
The store is heavily-populated with extremely knowledgeable staff with every employee being an expert in all of the myriad tobacco products.
As a matter of fact, while visiting the store in November 2009, when I took out one of my pipes to smoke, Margery Dine, the Director of Retail Operations immediately said; “That’s a Nording Hunting Pipe”, and she was correct. It is more impressive when you realize that they do not stock this line, and that she is a young woman with this knowledge.
I felt comfortable and at home right away. Michael Holba, the Retail Sales Manager, offered to let me sample the Tabac Sherman # 536 – Empire English blend. This English blend has a great smooth flavor. There is nothing added to it to create the mildly sweet and spicy flavor. It somewhat reminds me of Maltese Falcon, but a little lighter, kind of like “Maltese Falcon Lite” if there were such a thing. I acquired a 2 oz. bag and recommend you do the same. It was so good, I smoked it all weekend, and I am smoking it as I write this.
You can order it here. Tabac Sherman # 536 – Empire English
You can smoke throughout the entire store. There is an excellent air-purification system. Several of us were smoking and you would have barely noticed it had you walked in from outside.
While at the store, I also had the pleasure to meet Michele Sherman, the granddaughter of the late Nat Sherman, and daughter of President & CEO Joel Sherman. (See our interview with Joel Sherman here.) Not only is she pleasant, charming and attractive, but she smokes cigars and knows about tobacco having grown up in the business. Now that’s my kind of woman!
Michele popped in for a surprise visit and had nothing to worry about. The store was buzzing with lots of customers all being attentively catered to. The Shermans appear to run a tight ship, and have a well-managed and trained staff. I met 6 different store employees during my 2-hour stay and they were all the epitome of professionalism and warm friendliness.
Michele’s brothers Larry and Bill are also involved in the business.
While many of our freedoms are sadly being stripped away, you can find solace in the fact that you can walk into Nat Sherman’s on 42nd Street and experience the same welcoming attention, gracefulness and knowledge of fine tobaccos that a customer in the 1930’s experienced.
You do not have to be an expert, experienced smoker either. The staff is extremely friendly and they love to take all the time needed to guide someone new into the splendid relaxing world of luxury tobacco. While you’re there, take time to relax and enjoy smoking in comfort just like thousands of patrons have for decades.
Note: If you’re a customer that hasn’t been there in a while, keep in mind that they have moved (in November 2007) around the corner onto 42nd St, just South of 5th Avenue (between 5th and Madison) at 12 East 42nd Street.
Nat Sherman has an interesting outgoing message when you dial their phone number. Press the AUDIO button below to hear it.
Nat Sherman, Inc.
12 East 42nd Street at Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Ph: (800) 692-4427
Nat Sherman’s Listing in the Pipe Store Locator
Read Our Interview with Joel Sherman Here
See the Nat Sherman Photo Gallery with 80 Photos