This summer saw the launch of Foundation Cigar Company by Nick Melillo who had his career start at the retail level while living in the state of Connecticut. From here he would go on to Drew Estate where he would oversee their factory operations and he was responsible for blending Liga Privada No. 9, T52, Dirty Rat, L40, Nica Rustica as well as others.
Nick would eventually leave Drew Estate to start his own business and this is his freshman release, El Gueguense. Pronounced Wah-when-say, the name means The Wise Man and this weekend Nick will be a guest on The Cigar Authority where we will find out more about this excellent cigar which is available in five sizes.
Cigar Review: El Guguense
Size: 5 x 50 (Robusto)
Wrapper: Nicaragua Corojo ’99 (Jalapa)
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaragua Corojo ’99, Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 (Jalapa & Esteli)
The Look: The reddish-brown hue of the cigar is the perfect definition of a rosado wrapper. With a slight brindle effect, the wrapper is virtually flawless with only a few minimal veins. The cigar which is rolled to perfection features one of the most colorful cigar bands in the industry. The cigar which is firm to the touch has no soft spots and a nicely packed foot with an above average weight.
The Notes: The cold draw of El Gueguense has a warm inviting note that reminds me of anise with a touch of spice used on Christmas cookies which would include a touch of ginger. The aroma off the foot of the cigar serves up a similar experience to that of the cold draw.
Once the cigar is lit the notes of pepper are dominant especially through the nose, however in the background some elements of citrus and raisins linger along with some baking spices. As the cigar progresses the notes seem to balance out with a slight leather on the finish. As the first third ends some almond appears for the first time.
In the second third of the cigar the pepper remains but there is some continued almond that becomes the primary note with some citrus on the lengthy finish of the cigar. The retrohale of the cigar also reveals some nuts and wood.
The last third of the cigar see the almond notes begin to disappear with the cedar notes picking things up on the palate. Through the nose the cigar takes on some heartier pepper notes with a slightly earthy finish.
The Burn: It seems like the thickness of the wrapper and binder burn a little slow and at times the burn is less than perfect. Despite this I never touched up the cigar though at times I was tempted to do so and I was rewarded at the half way point when the burn became perfect. The combustion line is a little bit thick on the burn and it revealed a darker and flaky ash. Despite the burn being less that admirable I never need to relight the cigar and it remained lit from first light to last puff.
The Finish: This is a stick that I refer to as the new school days of cigars. It’s full-bodied, full of pepper, and lots of subtle nuances. I’ve often wondered if there will ever be another Pete Johnson in the industry and by this I mean someone who starts off as boutique but becomes mainstream. I think the answer is yes there will be and his name is Nick Melillo.
- When I first saw the band I was unsure about it as it is very busy, but it has quickly become one of my favorites.
- A few people on social media refer to this cigar as a pepper bomb, but there are so many subtleties going on, that I feel pepper bomb isn’t fair to the cigar.
- I feel like these cigars should be stored at a slightly lower humidity to help with combustion.
- In July we did a pre-release review; and while some elements remained constant the cigar became stronger and more complex with the extra time.
- On Saturday we will have Nick Melillo on the show, if you have any questions you would like asked of him please leave them in the comments.
- If you live near Salem, New Hampshire, Nick will be at Two Guys Smoke Shop from 10a-3p
- Smoking time was 2.5 hours.
- I paired the cigar with water.