Tag Archives: Foundation

IPCPR 2017 – Foundation Cigar Company

Tabernacle_LanceroEvery once in a while Facebook chastises me for not posting enough on the CigarCraig.com Facebook Page. It’s funny, I post twice a week when I update here, but I guess FB is looking for interaction. SO I took the opportunity to ask what I should smoke Friday night, and offered a prize to the person whose advice I followed. There were some great suggestions I really wanted to go with, but I didn’t have and El Rico Habanos on hand (an old favorite), nor could I find the new Enclave Broadleaf from AJ Fernandez. Mike Weinstein suggested the Tabernacle from Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Company, and I selected the Lancero for my evening smoke. I really love the Tabernacle line, it has a great Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with Nicaraguan fillers and smoked perfectly. The narrow ring gauge intensified the Broadleaf flavor, and slow smoking produced tons of rich, sweet smoke. Happy and sad at the same time that I only bought two of these, but it was the last two, so I didn’t have much choice. Tabernacle is a great cigar, thanks to Mike W for the inspiration, I’ll get some goodies out to you this week!


CharterOak_CTShade_RothchildAt the IPCPR show I visited Nick at his booth, which won the award for the best medium-sized booth, and we did a little video presented below for your enjoyment. He was displaying the new The Wise Man Maduro, simplifying the name from El Güegüense, which I guess the masses had trouble with. He also had the Highclere Castle on display, as well as the Special El Güegüense Humidor that he shows in the video. I didn’t receive any samples, but will certainly be buying some Wise Man Maduros when I see them. I did come across a Charter Oak Connecticut Shade from last year’s show and smoked that yesterday, boy what a great little cigar in the 4½ x 50 Rothchild size. These are priced from $4-6 and are exceptional values. The burn was great, the smoke had a nice, sweet nutty flavor and it was perfect for the early afternoon. Smooth, creamy and tasty. Not real pretty, but great tasting, and the closed foot is a nice touch. For what it’s worth, I had a couple of the Upsetters line from last year’s show that I could have chosen, I’m just always leery of the infused cigars. One of these days I’ll work up the courage…


Undercrown_Sungrown_GranToroNext Saturday I’m fortunate enough to attend Drew Estate‘s Connecticut Barn Smoker, the first of these events I’ve attended. I’m looking forward to learning more about the way tobacco is farmed in Connecticut, I’ve seen farms in Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, and burly tobacco farms in Lancaster County, but haven’t been to a farm in Connecticut. I’m looking forward to the experience and will take plenty of video and pictures to share with you. I figured I better try some of Drew Estate’s new offerings and had to sample the Undercrown Sungrown as I’ve heard great things about it. I’ll say right now, based on one sample, this may be my favorite in the Undercrown range, and I really like the maduro and Shade varieties a lot. It has a flawless milk chocolate-brown Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, Stalk Cut Connecticut grown Habano (like the T-52 wrapper), and Nicaraguan fillers. Besides this being one sexy looking cigar, it tastes friggin great! It had a nice, warm bread sensation, with some sweetness and a hint of pepper. I only came home from the show with a couple of these, but I will be putting more in my humidors as this is wonderful cigar. I look forward to trying other sizes. Willy Herrera and his team killed it with this one. Very impressive.


Check out the video with Nick, once again, terrible camera work by me, but great content from Nick! I need to look into one of those stabilizing gimbal camera holders I guess.


Foundation Best In Show

Foundation Goalie


That’s all for today, until the next time,





Filed under IPCPR, Review, Video

Romeo 505, Gispert Intenso and a Foundation Cigar Event

I went to a couple of events this week, although both visits were brief.  Thursday I stopped in to my local CigarCigars shop, which is on my way home and just about 2 miles from my house. Since it was before dinner, and while it takes five minutes to get home from this particular shop at five o’clock on a weekday, it takes practically a half an hour to get there since all of the rush hour traffic is headed west bound. This is one of the main reasons I chose the location of my new job last year, the commute is awesome.  Anyway, they were having a RoMEo 505 event at the shop with the local Altadis rep, and when I saw this displayed at the IPCPR show last year I was RoMEo_505_Piramidesintrigued and disappointed that there weren’t samples! Astute observers of my smoking habits will note that I don’t feature a great many Altadis cigars here, mostly it’s because there aren’t many that I like, quite honestly. I really wanted to like the RoMEo Añejo, but every one I smoked had a terrible draw, and I haven’t found an H. Upmann that I really liked in 20 years. I love the Henry Clay Tattoo and Stalk Cut and a couple of Montecristos, but I haven’t had good experiences with the new Yarguera (technically an Upmann, I guess. Anyway, I keep trying, and I picked up a few sizes of the new RoMEo 505, another Añejo, a new Gispert and Steve, the manager at the shop shared a new Upmann made by A.J. Fernandez that is on the schedule for this week (I’m not entirely sure it’s on the market). I immediately went home, grabbed some dinner and hit the streets with a RoMEo 505  Piramides, a 6 ½” x 54 figurado. 505 is the area code of Nicaragua, I can think of at least two other cigar lines that have used telephone area codes in the naming of cigars, but, heck, cigar names are tough to come up with. This is a Nicaraguan puro made at the Placencia Factory in Esteli, with Habano wrapper, binder and filler from Jalapa, with additional Habano in the filler blend from Condega and Esteli. The choice to wait until I ate was a good one, as this was a pretty heavy-duty cigar! it was aggressive with a load of sweet spice and earthiness. This was a cigar that is up my alley!  I enjoyed the crap out of this cigar, and look forward to smoking it again. This isn’t probably going to appeal to the typical Romeo y Julieta smoker, but it certainly will appeal to someone who loves strong, bold cigars. My gut instinct last July was right, this is a cigar that captures my interest.


Gispert_Intenso_BelicosoFriday I had to try the Gispert Intenso Belicoso with its dark and oily broadleaf wrapper calling to me. This is another collaboration with A.J.Fernandez, who seems to be making great cigars for just about everyone! Gispert is a very old Cuban brand name going back before the revolution, but was phased out over the years. The Altadis Gispert line was a milder cigar in my recollection, but this Intenso version is not. I found another Altadis cigar that’s very much to my liking. It has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. This actually reminded me a lot of the previous RoMEo 505 in its boldness, and sweet spice. I loved this, it burned my fingers, and  for a cigar in the under $7 range, it’s a big winner in my book. Whattaya know, I’m two  for two with Altadis cigars! Last time that happened was when I smoked the Henry Clay Tattoo and Stalk cut back to back to see what the difference was (I think the Tattoo is richer due to the higher primings used, otherwise they both use the same tobacco varietals and are fairly close, I like them both). So the Gispert Intenso weems to be another winner…it’s got a nice box press too.


TabernacleYesterday we happened to be attending an Earthday event right near the Wooden Indian Cigar shop in Havertown, PA, where Nick Melillo was visiting with his Foundation Cigar Co. brands. I bought a few Tabernacles and El Güegüense, and sat down with a Tabernacle Torpedo for a bit. I picked up some El Güegüense in lancero and short lancero, the latter of which was a BOTL.org exlusive. The Tabernacle is another A.J. Fernandez collaboration. featuring Connecticut Broadleaf which Nick is famous for using in his days at Drew Estate where he created the Liga Privada series for Steve Saka. The little 4½” x 52 torpedo is a heater! Rich, sweet broadleaf goodness with some power behind it. It’s unfair to make comparisons, but one can’t help putting the Tabernacle and Steve Saka’s Mi Querida on the same playing field, and they are both terrific. I’m quite happy to have a handful of Tabernacles in my humidor now, yet another cigar that is everything I want in a cigar, great construction, beautiful presentation, great taste and overall experience. It was fun catching up with Nick at the event, I think I’ve known him for about fiver years, and he’s a terrific cigar maker and a fun dude. Twin Engine Coffee was also represented and paired well with the Tabernacle. Another high quality event by my friends Dave and Dan at the Wooden Indian!


Don’t forget to circle back to my last post and enter the contest to win some cool General Cigar Co. Goodies!  Also, please keep one of our readers, Patrick, in your thoughts as he goes through some medical stuff over the next few days. He always signs his comments with the tag line “Life is Good”, and we want that to remain true for him!  That’s all for today, until the next time,





Filed under Events, Review, Stores

IPCPR Cigars: Quesada, Foundation and Cordoba & Morales

Quesada_Oktoberfest2016_NicTripBockHausI dug into the IPCPR samples humidor in the latter half of the week and gave some new cigars a try. The first out of the three was the Quesada Oktoberfest 2016 in the Nicaraguan Triple Bock Haus size, I comfortable 6″ x 56. I’ve smoked some older versions of this in the Uber size, the massive 6″ x 65 and enjoyed them, and this one was quite enjoyable as well.  I am aware that Oktoberfest isn’t until September, and I’m aware that not being a drinker the whole premise of pairing it with beer is lost on me. The Oktoberfest line has cigars that are made in both a Dominican and Nicaraguan blend, differentiated by the secondary date band, the Nicaraguan having the red band, with the DR line having a blue one. The best I can find about the blend is that it’s a Nicaraguan Puro, made by Placencia in Esteli, no other details were available. I like the cigar, it has a nice, bold flavor that was satisfying, but I was a bit distracted by the draw. Humid evenings will do this to some cigars sometimes, so I can’t assign blame to the cigar, and I just checked the IPCPR samples humidor and it’s being Boveda controlled at 68%, Maybe I’ll try to bring that down a little, although the next few cigars I smoked from the same humidor (spoiler alert!) smoked spectacularly. Good smoke though, please let me know how it works with beer!


Foundation_Tabernacle_ToroSaturday afternoon I enjoyed a new cigar from Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Co., the Tabernacle.  This is Nick’s Connecticut Broadleaf blend, and there have been those who compare is head to head with the Mi Querida from Steve Saka. Sure, Nick and Steve blended the Liga Privada No.9 for Steve’s palate, so there is definitely going to be some parallel, but let’s let these two great cigars stand on their own and not compare them to each other or the Liga No 9. The Tabernacle is produced at AJ Fenandez in Esteli, yet another great cigar from that factory. It has a Broadleaf wrapper over a San Andrés binder, with fillers from Esteli and Jalapa, I love the cigar already! The cigar had a perfect burn and draw, so there was no missing the great rich flavors of the broadleaf and Mexican, a nice sweet and earthy flavor. I say this often, but this is a cigar I’ll want to have in my humidors. I look forward to trying Nick’s other new blends, the Charter Oak, and maybe even the Upseters, although I’m always a little shaky when it comes to infused cigars. The Tabernacle is a winner.


CordobaMorales_Platino_DCLast night I went searching for a cigar for my evening walk, and I settled on the Cordoba & Morales Platino Double Corona, a big cigar at 7 ½”ish by 54 by my measuring (because there’s np mention of the Platino line on the website!). This cigar had a “bun” style pigtail cap and a covered foot, so I snipped off the cap and went right into lighting this so I got the full effect of the blast of flavor from the wrapper. I couldn’t find much out about this line, but I believe it to be a Sumatra wrapper. The first thing that came to mind when I lit this was that is had a savory, grilled beef kind of flavor, it was really quite different and appealing. This was another cigar that burned perfectly, with only a slight touch-up near the end, I don’t think that’s too uncommon with cigars this size. Oddly, this was the first Cordoba & Morales cigar I have smoked, and I look forward to smoking more of them. The Platino is an awesome smoke.  Here is a re-run of the video interview I did from the IPCPR show in case you missed it the first time around.



That’s all I have for today, until the next time,






Filed under IPCPR, Review, Video

Defcon from Arandoza, El Gueguense, and Epic Maduro Reserva

Arandoza_Defcon_ToroNo events this week! I was going to stop at a local shop that was having a Rocky Patel event, but I wasn’t feeling particularly well and wanted to spend the evening at home.  I have been able to get back to smoking some trade show samples and really enjoying them. I admit, as I’ve been going through the samples looking for something to smoke there are some cigars I come across that I don’t remember getting!  I suppose I’ll have to  do some research when I decide to smoke them.  So far I haven’t run across any duds, but I try not to select bad cigars if I can help it.  Thursday evening I grabbed a cigar that I’ve been looking forward to trying. I’ve been quite enamored with the Arandoza line, and made a point to meet Robert Arango and his wife, Pilar, at the show.  They are really nice people and they are responsible for some really nice cigars. They debuted their fourth cigar in the Arandoza line, Defcon, at the show and after loving the Arandoza Red last year, I was excited to try this one. The cigar has a rustic Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. I really enjoyed the cigar.  It may have been a little bit less refined than the Red, which is a powerful smoke on it’s own, but it had the power accompanied by some bitterness with a hint of sweetness that I really like.  This is a really nice addition to a line of cigar that I really appreciate. One more to add to the list of great cigars from Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory. If you find yourself in the Easton, PA area this Thursday, there is an Arandoza event at Famous Smokeshop.  If it had been Wednesday, I would have gone, but it’ll be hard for me to get there Thursday. Tell Robert I said hello!


El Gueguense_ToroAfter working my first 5 day work in a month due to travelling to the  IPCPR and then the Drew Estate Nica Rustica Belly release event in Kentucky, I needed a great cigar to close the week. This is when I would normally shy away from an unknown, and smoke a tried and true favorite, but the lure of a new cigar from a cigar blender who’s previous work many times falls into the “tried and true” category was too much to resist.  Nick Melillo brought his new cigar to the show,  El Güegüense, which took me some practice to pronounce (and even remember)  It’s pronounced something like”Gway gwen say”, and means “The Wise Man”, which is also on the classic and ornate band depicting these wise men from Nicaraguan folklore.  El Güegüense was actually the first literary work from Nicaragua after it was “discovered” by Columbus, and was a dance/drama protesting colonial rule and poking fun at the conquistadors.  I found this cigar to be quite different from what I’ve sampled before from “the chief of broadleaf”, it was quite a bit more delicate and refined, with some earthieness, maybe a bit of fruity sweetness, nicely balanced and flavorful, but not overpowering. Solidly medium. Although this sample maybe could have used another month or two in the humidor, as it’s burn was less than perfect, this is going to be a really great cigar when it hits the shelves in the next couple months.  I smoked the 6″ x 56 Toro Huaco vitola, and I think I still have a Robusto floating around. This cigar is loaded with Corojo 99 from Jalapa, and is made in the same factory as Casa Fernandez, along with Dion Giolito’s Illusione cigars.  Interestingly, they all shared the same tradeshow booth (they were at either end, and, in my opinion, overshadowed the Casa Fernandez offerings). This cigar rate’s another thumbs up from me, very enjoyable and worthy of a Friday evening.


Epic_MaduroReserva_LanceroYesterday, after once again moving furniture (this time in and out of the garage as we tried our hand at a yard sale. We sold a good bit of stuff, but much remains…anyone need some really nice oak and glass display cabinets? We have three, but that aren’t going cheap…), and grabbing a bite at a local place, I, once again, craved a satisfying smoke.  I met Dean Parsons of Epic Cigars last year at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival in Colorado, and tried and enjoyed his cigars.  You really have to admire a guy who serves Altadis with a cease and desist order for using “Epic” on their Montecristo line, and coming away a winner! He played pro hockey too!  Anyway, when I saw Dean at the trade show he handed me an Epic Maduro Reserva lancero, a new size in the line. I almost always enjoy the interplay between a maduro wrapper (in this case, Arapiraca from Brazil) and a Cameroon binder, and I was not disappointed. As happens with the smaller ring gauge, the flavor is a bit sharper and more focused, and you get more from the wrapper and binder as there’s just less filler (Domican Piloto Cubano seco and ligero and viso from Nicaragua).  For what it’s worth, this lancero felt like more of a 40 or 42 ring gauge, but it was still a cool and elegant size and I enjoyed it to a finger-burning nub. This hit the spot after eating a tasty Italian Oval, which is  basically a personal size pizza that’s not perfectly round). I love the dark, rich flavors, like an after dinner espresso.


I don’t know what today will bring, but there will be a cigar or two involved for sure.  Don’t forget to go back to Wednesday’s post and enter to win a huge General Cigar sampler!  I’ll be back this Wednesday to announce the winner.  So until the next time,






Filed under IPCPR, Review