Foundation Cigar Company El Güegüense
This week, another cigar that I’ve been anxious to review. At bat is Foundation Cigar Company’s El Güegüense paired with a bottle of Deep Ellum’s Four Swords.
The Good Stuff:
Following a similar story to Steve Saka, the cigar community has been on pins and needles waiting for Nick Melillo to release his debut brand under his new company called Foundation Cigar Company. Earlier this year Nick announced said brand as the El Güegüense, pronounced L – Wha – When – Say. The translation for El Güegüense means “the wise man”, but it’s also the name of a very old drama that is considered one of the oldest Nicaraguan literary works. Produced at Casa Fernandez’s Tabacos Valle de Jalapa the El Güegüense features a Nicaraguan Corojo 99 wrapper from Finca Puntalito in Jalapa, a Nicaraguan Corojo 99 binder from Finca San Jose in Jalapa, with Nicaraguan Corojo 99 and Nicaraguan Criollo 98 from Jalapa and Esteli fillers. The El Güegüense comes in five sizes, the Robusto (5 1/2 x 50), Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 36), The Toro Huac (6 x 56), and the Churchill (7 x 48). The cigars are all packaged into 25 count boxes and run between $9 and $13 a stick. I picked up a handful of these over from our friends at 2 Guys Smoke Shop.
Size: 5 5/8 x 46
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99 Jalapa
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo 99 Jalapa
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo 99 and Nicaraguan Criollo 98 Jalapa and Esteli
Pairing: Deep Ellum Four Swords (Quadruple 10.5% ABV)
The El Güegüense starts out with a gorgeous medium brown wrapper. The color isn’t too consistent as there are many splotches of dark brown, and lighter areas around the small veins that run their course through the cigar’s body. The veins are very minor for the most part, and the wrapper leaf is laid seamlessly over itself carrying a slightly toothy, lightly oily texture. The wrapper is pretty thin but doesn’t feel too delicate as I squeeze it between my fingers. There is only one small soft area located just before the cigar’s round triple cap. The El Güegüense is polished off with a vibrant blue and gold band with great colored decorative detail and the “El Güegüense” names as well as “Esteli, Nicaragua” printed on the front.
The wrapper on the El Güegüense gives off a very strong, pungent cedar and malt aroma while the foot of the cigar carries some great spice and earthiness with just a little bit of pepper. The cap cut clean and easily using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces lots of rich cedar, spice, and oat notes with a bit of a pepper punch on the lips from the wrapper.
The El Güegüense starts out with a nice bit of very bold oak, cinnamon and spice, dark chocolate, and just a splash of pepper. Only enough to really linger on my lips for a few seconds before fading away. After the first few puffs the pepper had completely disappeared as the sweetness increases throughout the first third. The draw is perfect. Each little puff pumps out a very thick cloud of thick, white smoke while the El Güegüense gives off a good deal of stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is razor thin and dead even leaving behind a trail of light and medium gray ash which held on for about an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the El Güegüense some really nice plum has been added to the bold oak, spice, and dark chocolate with some lingering soft sweetness and cinnamon. The retrohale is really bold coating my nasal passage with a ton of cedar and really strong sweetness which helps amplify the sweetness as the cigar progresses. The burn is still dead even, solid, and razor thin as I close out the second third with no nicotine kick what so ever.
Into the final third of the El Güegüense and it’s just pouring on the flavors lead by strong oak and cherry backed by dark chocolate, spice, and sweetness. The flavors haven’t changed up much, but they didn’t need to. They started out great and finished great. Simple as that. The burn as been flawless and I never once had I reach for my lighter to touch up or relight. I close out the El Güegüense after and hour and a half with no nicotine, no harshness, and no extra heat.
This time of the year we are all considering our top cigars of 2015 and I’d be damn if Foundation Cigar Company’s El Güegüense doesn’t make it into quite a few lists this year, including mine. I’ve smoked a handful of these and have been impressed each run. The flavor profile is awesome, solid, and consistent while the price point is right where it should be. This is a perfect cigar for novice cigar smokers looking for a great full-bodied cigar that isn’t too powerful nor will it break the bank. It’s also perfect for those seasoned smokers looking for a solid, full-bodied stick to add to their regular rotation. Box worthy for sure.
Four Swords is a 10.5% ABV Quad aged in Chardonnay barrels. The beer comes out of Dallas, Texas and has just recently been making it’s way out west to El Paso. The beer leads with strong oak, fruit, caramel, malt and booze with a decently heavy mouthfeel before finishing with even more fruit, cherry, toffee, caramel, sweetness and booze. There is a very nice cherry that lingers on the aftertaste as well. This is a brilliant pairing with the El Güegüense as the flavors match up and it even helps really bring out the fruit buried in the El Güegüense’s profile. The cigar would also pair well with almost any Belgian style quad, lambic, or apple juice.