Dimensions/Shape: 5 5/8 by 46 ring gauge; Parejo
Wrapper/Capa: Finca Puntalito Jalapa, Nicaragua Corojo 99
Binder/Capote: Finca San José Jalapa, Nicaragua Corojo 99
Filler/Tripa: Jalapa and Estelí, Nicaragua Corojo 99 and Criollo 98
Tabacalera: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (Nicaragua)
MSRP: $9.90 single, $247.50 box of 24
Nick Melillo’s first release from his newly found Foundation Cigar Company was received extremely well by publications and fans alike, earning #25 spot in Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 of 2016 and first place in Halfwheel’s The Consensus Top 25 Awards. He already had built a reputation for himself after being responsible for Drew Estate’s incredibly popular NicaRustica, Liga Privada, and Liga Undercrown brands. Indeed, he did not disappoint with El Güegüense (pronounced el whe-when-se, the name of a Nicaraguan folk tale), a tribute, in his words, to Nicaragua. I encourage everyone to read more about Nick Melillo’s career and the history of Drew Estate; it’s quite interesting and impressive to say the least.
This corona gorda features all-Nicaraguan, high-priming tobaccos (tobacco leaves harvested from the top half of the plant) which, according to Foundation Cigar Co, offer “good strength, aroma, and flavor.” As I will mention later on in the tasting notes, these tobaccos do provide the smoker with a very tasty Habano-like experience, and such was the intent of Melillo as stated in a variety of interviews. (Check out Cigar Federation’s interview below; it’s packed with great information on Foundation Cigars and the premium cigar industry.)
The Experience: As you’ll first notice when purchasing the cigar, the presentation is gorgeous. The band and box beautifully feature the characters of “El Güegüense” and evoke Cuban heritage, due to the box’s traditional Cuban dress-box style. The Corojo 99 wrapper reflects the sophistication of the cigars presentation with its beautiful reddish-brown hue and oily sheen. Right away, when smelling the foot and taking the cold draw, I enjoyed notes of pepper, chocolate, and salt. With the first light, I got a big blast of pepper along with mocha and a light brine, often remarked in many Habanos. Following the first light, you’ll experience a complex, full-flavored cigar with pleasant nuances. I picked out notes of cedar-spice, cayenne pepper, mocha, and a really unique cherry-sweetness. This corona gorda takes me a little over an hour to smoke, and its strength eventually builds up to a medium-full intensity. Overall, this well-made cigar will give you a very relaxing, flavor bomb of an experience.
As you may have guessed, I really like this cigar; I consider it one of my favorites and even invested in a box. I would highly recommend this cigar to advanced smokers.
Cigar Federation Nick Melillo interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwNZvsQGADc