General Cigars announced the addition of Ramon Allones and Bolivar to the Foundry Cigars lineup leading up to IPCRP 2015 this past July. With all the news about Cuba and the unavoidable speculation that Cuban cigars will soon be available at your local 7-Eleven store, these additions to the Foundry line received a lot of attention. We'll have a review of the Bolivar next week.
Each cigar will be available in three vitolas:
I was able to catch up with Michael Giannini at IPCPR and he gave me some insight into these brands and blends. Take a look at that interview below. We also have Michael set to appear on CigarChat in December so you won't want to miss that.
Foundry Ramon Allones 550
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra Oscuro
Binder: Proprietary Nicaraguan tobacco
Filler: Nicaraguan tobaccos from three different farms
Cigars smoked for review: 1 per reviewer (2 for me)
Cigars for review provided by General Cigars
Note: For this review we used CigarFederation's rating system
Rob's Rating: 89 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"
Pre-Light: I love the look of the cigar, but I kind of hate the band. Sorry Michael. The band is simply too big and it coves up way too much of the beautiful Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. The Ramon Allones also has a nice pigtail cap and an unfinished (closed) foot.
As I mentioned above, the wrapper was beautiful, but was also quite fragrant. Strong notes of cedar and baking spice were hard to miss. The cold draw was a bit tight and offered notes of raisins, earth, cinnamon and a bright herbal note that I couldn't place.
Beginning: While the Ramon Allones fired up easily the flavor got off to a slow start. It started off with a nondescript earthy sweetness that settled on the back of the tongue. The retrohale had a mild cinnamon spice. Sounds good, right? The profile was nice, but it was quite thin for the first 3/4 of an inch. Then the dam broke and the flavors kicked in. I smoked two samples for this review and this happened both times at a similar point.
Middle: Notes of honeycomb, creamed coffee, cocoa and cedar were complimented by a warm pepper spice on the retro. Everything came into balance in at the midpoint. There was a richness to the flavor profile that I completely enjoyed.
End: As the final third began, I was hit with an interesting tangy note. It was almost like citrus, but not quite. It brought an interesting element to the flavor profile. It happened in both cigars right around the same time. I enjoyed it. So much so, that I found myself waiting for it in the second cigar.
Final Thoughts: I was impressed with 2/3 of this cigar. Once the flavors kicked in it was quite a ride. The first third was a bit boring, but you could feel that the flavor was going to show up. There was a slow build of flavor from the first puff, I just wanted it to build faster. If you're a bit patient with the Ramon Allones, you will be rewarded.
Matt's Rating: 86 AKA "I'd buy a couple"
Really eager to see how this cigar performs - is it just a move to prepare for the incoming Cuban invasion, or does this cigar have legs? The branding is a bit hokey - not sure how I feel about it. It matches Michael G's personality, I guess, but this isn't the kind of band I'd expect to see on a cigar a bunch of businessmen are smoking. Not sure if that makes sense, but it is hard to take this cigar seriously. The cigar has a pigtail cap and a covered foot. The wrapper is a mottled milk chocolate. You can make out the seams in the wrapper if you look close, but the veins are very minor and unnoticeable if you're not looking up close.
I rip off the pigtail cap and take some prelight draws that have strong notes of chocolate - like thick hot chocolate. When I light up, unfortunately the strong chocolate doesn't stick around, but there is a flavorful note that I just can't pinpoint - odd, yet enjoyable. Within a few draws, this disappears, though, and the flavors become very mild and mellow and you really have to search for them. There is some chocolate, but it is very, very subtle.
The most dominant note I get is very interesting - I'd call it a disinfectant or cleaner, but I don't want to make it sound that negative. I think most reviewers might call that a pine note, but it immediately reminded me of my wife cleaning the house which is why I went with "cleaner". The draw has a bit of restriction and I'd like to see it a bit more open, but the ash is holding on very nicely at over an inch at this point. As I reach the end of the beginning, the power is ramping up and I'm getting some spice on the back of the tongue.
I kick off the middle and the ash finally falls at about the 1.5 inch mark. The flavors and strength have kicked up, but the flavors remain largely the same with a bit of pepper through the nose on the retrohale. The pine flavor is still there, but there are some bready flavors as well. The strength and white pepper is now dominant in the middle, and I'm actually enjoying the middle of this cigar. I'm also getting an odd tingling on my lips which is intriguing. I find the final third to be very similar to the middle. Everything I said above I could restate for the final third.
I'm not going out to buy a box of these, but they are one of the best General Cigar blends I've smoked in some time - maybe ever. The cigar started off very odd, but I found the middle and end to be enjoyable. A cigar I'd smoke again and keep a couple of in the humidor.
Surgeon's Rating: 90 AKA "Box Split"
"The Ramon Allones by Foundry is an easy box split choice."
I used a v-cut on the Ramon Allones and found the draw to be on the tight spectrum.
The nose on the Ramon Allones is spicy cedar. I wasn't able to pick up anything else here.
The first third begins with rich coffee, cocoa, and finishes with a bitter espresso. There are pepper and spices present in the retrohale but they are run over by the flavors on the regular draw.
The middle third starts out with some light, sweet citrus. The bitter espresso has given way to cocoa. The finish on each draw is a creamy cocoa that coats the palate between draws. On the retrohale it's a combination of cedar and cocoa with some rich meaty mesquite coming through once the middle third settles in.
In the last third some light earthiness blends into the sweet citrus and the citrus picks up in strength to finish out.
The Ramon Allones by Foundry is an easy box split choice. I really love the citrus flavor element in the middle and last third. It's a great journey around the cigar flavor map.
Surgeon's Pairing Recommendations:
Coffee, espresso, rum.
Cigar Federation Group Rating: 88 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"