Cigar Review: El Güegüense by Foundation Cigar Co.

Cigar Review: El Güegüense by Foundation Cigar Co.

Foundation Cigar Company
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Corojo 99)
Binder: Nicaragua (Corojo 99)
Filler: Nicaragua (Corojo 99 & Criollo 98)
Size: 7” x 52
Strength: medium to medium-full
Price: $11.00

Click here to buy it now.

Overall Rating: 9.4

Nick Melillo is best known for his part in blending the Liga Privada No. 9, Liga T52, UF-13, L40, Feral Flying Pig and Dirty Rat, among many others. So, since leaving Drew Estate in 2014, cigar enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting Nick’s next venture. The El Güegüense is the first release from Nick’s Foundation Cigar Company, and while completely different from the Liga line, it may be among the best cigars that he has ever released. The El Güegüense lives up to the hype, and is bound to be a much sought after cigar.

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Pre-Light: The El Güegüense Churchill is a great looking cigar. The Corojo 99 wrapper has a light brown color to it that really makes the band pop. As bands go, the El Güegüense has one of the the most beautiful bands I’ve seen recently. The bright colors, costumed characters and even the texture of the paper all seem to add to make the band really stand out against the cigar’s wrapper.

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The wrapper of the El Güegüense has an aroma reminiscent of dried fall leaves and nuts. From the unlit foot of the cigar there are nutmeg, cinnamon and mild coffee notes. An easy cold draw  offers notes of wood, citrus and spice.

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Burn: There’s an aroma to the burning El Güegüense that is both floral and cedary. The burn line is a bit wavy, but the burn never get out of hand. A perfect draw allows through copious amounts of flavorful smoke.

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Flavor: Nick Melillo’s El Güegüense starts of with some strong, but not overpowering spice notes. Just below the spice is flavors of cedar, citrus and leather. As the first third gets going flavors the existing notes are joined by coffee and caramel. On the retrohale spice and leather are the main notes, while some subtle coffee just behind it. The transition to the second third begins to get a bit toasty with notes of graham cracker, nutmeg, wheat toast and coffee. The spice has died down significantly during the second third. Subtle cherry, leather and cinnamon flavors remain in the background during the second third of the El Güegüense. During the last third of the El Güegüense the flavors remain mostly the same with graham cracker, leather, toast, nutmeg being the main components, while on the retrohale mild black pepper begins to mix with spice.

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Overall: The El Güegüense has been one of the most anticipated cigars of 2016. While often such hotly anticipated cigars rarely live up to the exceptions (ie. Padrón Damaso), the El Güegüese surpasses those exceptions by leaps and bounds. While those looking for a Liga Privada with a different band will be disappointed, but the El Güegüense stands on its own as a great cigar. Medium bodied and extremely full flavored, the El Güegüense is one of those cigars that fall in the sweet spot where it will appeal to a large group of cigar enthusiasts. Since Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigars is still fairly small and demand for the cigar is so huge, for some time the El Güegüense is going to be a bit hard to find, but it is worth seeking out. The Churchill or Corona vitolas, due to the smaller ring gauges, allow for the most enjoyment of the cigar’s blend. I’d love to see this blend in a lancero, because I have a feeling it be phenomenal.  Personally, I went through the first box of these to come into Stogies World Class Cigars, and have since been through more from both Stogies and Smoke Inn. The El Güegüense is one of the best cigars released this year.

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Pairing: The El Güegüense is one of those cigar that pairs with a wide range of beverage choices from red wine to single malts to IPAs. I personally enjoy the El Güegüense with a glass of Lagavulin 16.

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On a side note: The name El Güegüense, which translates at “The Wise Man”, is taken from the first real post-Columbian Nicaraguan work of art. The play/dance mocked Spanish conquistadors with satire in Gilbert & Sullivan like way. While the work is an important part of Nicaragua’s history, it doesn’t make the best name for a cigar. Pronounced “way-when-say”, the El Güegüense has a name that almost no one gets right. Even many avid cigar enthusiasts are just calling it “Melillo’s new cigar” when I talk to them. While it’s not as annoying as three letter brands or cigars with all number names (or worse the ←→ ←→), the name is still an odd marketing choice, that I personally find a bit irksome.

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Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210