Cigar Review: Highclere Castle Corona by Foundation Cigars

Cigar Review: Highclere Castle Corona by Foundation Cigars

Foundation Cigar Co. 
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: USA (Connecticut Shade)
Binder: Brazil (Mata Fina)
Filler: Nicaragua
Size: 5 1/2” x 46
Strength: mild to mild-medium
Price: $13.00

Overall Rating: 9.2

Nick Melillo’s Foundation cigars has produced some pretty wonderful cigars over the past few years, having a cigar in our Top 5 each of the last two years, including The Tabernacle our No. 1 Cigar of 2016. Foundation Cigars latest cigar is named for Highclere Castle, the English estate owned by George Herbert the 8th Earl of Carnarvon. Those who are familiar with the TV show Downtown Abbey are sure to recognize the building gracing the cigar’s box, as Highclere Castle serves as the location for the shows fictional namesake estate. Made at AJ Fernandez’s Nicaraguan factory and distributed by Melillo’s Foundation Cigars, the Highclere Castle is a great mild-medium bodied cigar that is sure to fly off retailer’s shelves.

Pre-Light: The Highclere Castle is an impressive looking cigar. The Connecticut Shade wrapper is very smooth to the touch, and free of any noticeable veins. There is a nice oiliness to the golden wheat colored wrapper. The gold and cream colored band only accentuates the golden color of the cigar’s wrapper.

There are barnyard hay, oak and wheat aromas to the Connecticut Shade wrapper of the Highclere Castle Toro. The cigar’s unlit foot has notes of hay, oak, wheat, slight cinnamon and sugary sweetness. An easy cold draw allows through flavors of oak, cinnamon, wheat and oat, as well as a pleasing sugary characteristic.

Burn: The Highclere Castle Corona is very even burning cigar from start to finish. An easy draw allows through plenty of smoke, while a light gray ash clings firmly to the end of the cigar. This is a very well constructed smoke.

Flavor: Initially, the Highclere Castle begins with mild notes of oak and hay that quickly develops into more complex flavors.  Very early in the first third cedar, oak, hay, leather and mild spice all being to come through on the palate. Through the nose there is a mix of cedar and mild spice. As the first third of the Highclere Castle continues it grows more and more complex. Dark roast coffee, cashews and sea salt join the existing cedar, leather and mild spice. A very subtle white pepper lingers on the tongue after each puff. There’s a pleasant creamy character on to the first two thirds of the Highclere Castle Corona. Into the second third of the cigar flavors of leather, hay and sea salt are the most prominent, as the cigar’s strength increases slightly. As the final third of the cigar begins, the white pepper through the nose is also more noticeable on the palate. The final third of the Highclere Castle Corona ends with flavors of cedar, sea salt, oats, exotic spices and white pepper.

Overall: I’m a big fan of British television in general, and Downton Abbey in particular, so I was intrigued when I heard that Nick Melillo was releasing this cigar. Being named for the real life castle that serves as the fictional Downton Abbey, this cigar offers much more than I was expecting. Mild to mild-medium in strength, the Highclere Castle is not lacking in flavor which builds and changes as the cigar progresses. It seems to be the new trend that Connecticut Shade cigars are becoming more complex and flavorful, and the Highclere Castle is no exception. Flavors of oak, cedar, cashews, leather, coffee, sea salt, mild spice and white pepper all occur to varying degrees in the Highclere Castle cigar. While the price may be a bit high for an everyday cigar, it does not seem overly expensive for the flavor, quality and complexity that the cigar offers. (At Toasted Foot, we do not take price into account in our Overall Rating of cigars.) Personally, I really enjoyed the Highclere Castle, and would have picked up more had my local retailer not run out. I got some of the Toro for my father for Christmas, so I may need to steel some of his. Though I enjoyed all the vitolas that the cigar is offered in, I found the corona to be my favorite, however the mild cigar smoker will find the toro to be the most mild of the sizes this cigar comes in. I’d definitely recommend picking up some of this cigar when you see them on you local tobacconist’s shelves.

Pairing: The Highclere Castle cigar pairs very well with a nice Speyside single malt or a brandy. Personally, I like the Balvenie 12 DoubleWood or Balvenie 17 DoubleWood with cigar. This is also one of those cigars that will go well with a nice cup of coffee or black tea.

Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210