October 2018

Nicholas Melillo rose to fame as the tobacco mastermind at Drew Estate. He started out in retail but ventured on and became in charge of the tobacco at Drew Estate. Yet Melillo had a dream, his own brand. So in 2015 he started the Foundation Cigar Company.

In just a few years time, Foundation left quite an impression with cigar smokers in the USA. Their portfolio now includes the following brands:

El Güegüense, which translates to the wise man. This cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, and celebrates the Nicaraguan people, land and culture. The cigars are made at the Tabsa factory, but no more than 225 cigars a day to ensure a high quality product. Melillo oversees the production personally.

The Wiseman Maduro. This cigar is made with Nicaraguan fillers from Condega, Esteli and Jalapa with a Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper. Melillo considers this to be a line extension to the El Güegüense serie.

The Tabernacle is the third line from Foundation Cigars. Melillo’s nickname is Chief of the broadleaf and he shows why with this blend. The wrapper on the Tabernacle is a Connecticut broadleaf from farmers that worked close with Melillo for over a decade. Add a San Andres binder and fillers from Jamastran Honduras and Jalapa and Esteli, Nicaragua and you get this bold and rich cigar. The cigars are made at the factory of A.J. Fernandez.

There is a line extension to The Tabernacle, The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT no. 142. This seed is a rare seed and the plant has an incredible amount if oil. It takes three year to ferment this tobacco because of the oil, but it’s tobacco like no other tobacco.

Charter Oak is a tribute to his home state Connecticut and it comes in two blends. There is the Charter Oak Connecticut Shade, made from Nicaraguan fillers, a Sumatra binder and Connecticut Shade wrapper. There’s also a broadleaf version, Melillo is chief of the broadleaf for a reason, made with Nicaraguan filler, a Habano from Nicaragua as binder and a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper.

Highclare Castle is blended for the 8th earl of carnarvon but it’s not a private blend, it’s available on the free market. The fillers are criollo and corojo from Jalapa and Ometepe with a Brazilian Mata Fina binder and a Connecticut Shade wrapper.

Melillo has a history with Drew Estate, and Drew Estate is the king of infused cigars with their popular Acid lines. So it’s not a surprise that Foundation has an infused line too, the upsetters, but infused with herbs and a Jamaican twist. It is such an interesting line that we will write a seperate article about The Upsetters soon.

Sasja van Horssen from The Longfiller Company, the largest independent cigar importer & distributor in The Netherlands, said he will start carrying products from Foundation Cigar Company. We haven’t had confirmation on which lines, for what prices and what the timeline will be. We will report on that as soon as we know.

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