Pre-Release Group Review: Foundation Cigar Co. El Güegüense "The Wise Man"

Nicholas Melillo launched Foundation Cigar Co. at IPCPR 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The first cigar released by Foundation Cigar Co. is called El Güegüense which translates to "The Wise Man."  You can read the press release for some additional info.

El Güegüense will be available in five sizes:

  • Corona Gorda - 5 5/8 x 46
  • Robusto - 5 1/2 x 50 
  • Toro Huaco - 6 x 56 
  • Torpedo - 6 1/4 x 52 
  • Churchill  - 7 x 52 

Foundation Cigar Co. El Güegüense "The Wise Man"

Size: 5 1/2 x 50

Vitola: Robusto

Wrapper: Corojo 99 from Jalapa

Binder: Corojo 99 from Jalapa

Filler: Criollo '98 from Esteli and Corojo '99 from Jalapa

Factory: TABSA - Casa Fernandez in Nicaragua

MSRP: $10.50

Cigars smoked for review: 2

Cigars for review provided by Foundation Cigar Co.

Note: For this review we used CigarFederation's rating system

Rob's Review - 94 AKA "Box Purchase"

Pre-Light: The El Güegüense is a great looking cigar.  The artwork on the band is really cool.  We have Nicholas set to come on CigarChat at the beginning of August and I'm curious to find out the meaning behind the band artwork.

The Corojo 99 wrapper was smooth and oily with no veins or imperfections to speak of.  The construction was on point from the wrapper and cap application to the draw and burn.

The cold draw was smooth and offered up notes of raisins, mild citrus and mild baking spice.

Beginning:  The El Güegüense started off with a profile that was directly in the center of my wheelhouse.  The first puff offered up notes of raisins, peanuts and a lovely nougat sweetness.  The texture was creamy and the flavors were sweet with a mild earthiness.  There was also a mild baking spice on the retrohale which began to spread as I progressed through the first inch or so.  The spice abated at the one-inch mark and everything smoothed out.  The first third finished up with nutty notes leading the flavor profile.

Middle:  The middle of the El Güegüense brought out more complexity.  The baking spice returned to the retro, but never reached a "blow out" point.  The sweetness took on more of a creme brulee/burnt caramel flavor which added some nice depth.  The nutty and mild earthy notes remained and somehow it all balanced out perfectly.  The aroma picked up in the middle as well.  My wife pointed out that the smoke has a sweet roasted peanut smell to it.

End:  The body really stepped up in the final third.  The flavor profile didn't really change, but the flavors seemed the thicken.  The baking spice took on an earthy flavor along the lines of black pepper that I really enjoyed.  The strength, which had been sitting in the medium to medium-minus range, picked up a bit toward the end as well.

Final Thoughts:  I loved the El Güegüense, but it was not what I expected.  I was initially expecting something a bit more bold and dirty like the Liga Privada stuff and this blend was a major departure form that.  The El Güegüense was an elegant cigar with nuanced flavor that really showed off some of the great things that can be done with Nicaraguan tobacco.  I have a feeling this one is going to end up in my Top 10 Top 5 this year.

Rob's Rating: 94 AKA "Box Purchase"

I already have a box on hold. The only question is which vitola...

Logan's Review - 89 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"

This cigar wasn't what I expected it to be. I guess I made the mistake of assuming it would be the earthy, dirty, full bodied bombshell just like the Liga Privada stuff Nick blended while at DE. If you are hoping for a Liga Privada cigar, you are going to be disappointed.

The first inch or so was very blah for me. Faint notes of tobacco and cream came through but nothing of consequence.

There were notes of figs and almonds while the body on this was very middle of the road with a clean finish. The construction was flawless. Through the middle of the cigar I wasn't super impressed. It is good but just reminds me of some of the illusione blends, which I can be hit or miss on.

The second half was a completely different cigar. There were notes of hay, raisins, hints of sweetness, black pepper, the retro wasn't super strong which I think will appeal to a lot of cigar smokers. It was rich, sweet, and had caramel notes. Very meaty. Complex. 

This cigar was never past medium in body but was definitely stronger than I had expected.

Cigar Federation Group Rating: 91.5 AKA "Box Split"

Views: 942

Comment by Docwill on July 27, 2015 at 12:25pm

Great stuff Rob and Logan. I will say it one more time, this is a fantastic format and even better when more reviewers are involved. Go for the corona gorda Rob.

Comment by Matt Ross on July 27, 2015 at 12:32pm

So, my only guess is that either a) Nick had two batches of cigars he handed out as samples, or b) there is inconsistency in these blends.  As I wrote here last week, someone brought me back a sample and a few of us smoked this together (palates I respect), and everyone thought the same thing - that this was overly strong and spicy on the start and didn't wow any of us.  I suspected that it might have just been too early/fresh and needed some more time, and I'll revisit it, but the experience Rob and Logan detailed above is so vastly divergent from my experience that it is almost funny.

Comment by RobbyRas on July 27, 2015 at 12:38pm

Thanks Shooter! Doc! We're gonna do more group stuff as we plow through all these new IPCPR releases...

Comment by RobbyRas on July 27, 2015 at 12:39pm

Matt -  I never got much spice... there was that mild build at the beginning, but it plateaued early and never really spiked... there was more spice at the end, but again, it never was harsh or overpowering...

Comment by Ky70 on July 27, 2015 at 12:47pm

Nice write-up gents.  Whenever I see nuanced used to describe flavor, I wonder if it will register with my dull palate.

Comment by Docwill on July 27, 2015 at 12:50pm

Who you callin' Shooter Rob. I think you just insulted the man, lol.

Comment by RobbyRas on July 27, 2015 at 12:59pm

Oh man... i have a lot of windows open and avatars are starting to look the same... my bad Doc... Fixed!

Comment by Shooter on July 27, 2015 at 2:43pm

Great reviews you too! Doc it is an honor to be confused with you!

Comment by Jason Meyers on July 27, 2015 at 3:03pm

Great reviews! I am going to get a 5 pack of these in the Corona Gorda and give them a try.

It's interesting to hear that Matt's experience was completely different. Perhaps there ended being a couple different tweaks of the blend in the Pre-release cigars, or there is some inconsistency in the construction.

Comment by bob dog on July 27, 2015 at 4:07pm
I like the group aspect! Sounds like a pretty good cigar!


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