There's an old show business cliche that "You gotta have a gimmick" to get noticed. In the cigar business though, quality always trumps gimmicks. When I opened the box of General Cigars' Foundry cigars when they first came in, and saw that each one featured a metal gear around the traditional band, it seemed like exactly the kind of gimmick that should set off alarm bells. But I decided to give one a try and see if it might surprise me...
The Foundry cigars are a nod to the Steampunk trend that melds mechanical imagry of the industrial revolution with futuristic inventions. The Steampunk movement takes inspiration from classic science fiction writers, and Foundry's size are all named in honor of these pioneering authors: Wells, Lovelace, Talbot, and Cayley. The cigar reviewed here is the Lovelace, which is 6 1/4x54.
General cigar is not releasing much information about the tobacco blend in this particular cigar. Cigar Aficionado reports that the cigar features a proprietary wrapper called H-47 Pleno Sol, and includes five different tobaccos from four different countries to round out the blend.
The wrapper is medium brown, and incredibly smooth, with almost non-existent veins. There is very little flavor on the pre-light draw, which was surprising since the "Pleno Sol" name suggests that the wrapper is some sort of sun grown leaf. However, there is little in the flavor to suggest the typical richness of sun grown tobacco.
The initial puffs reveal flavors that I tend to associate with young tobacco. A slightly grassy quality with a lingering harshness on the finish remains for about half an inch. Even though the origin of the tobacco is not publicly revealed, interviews with Michael Giannini, the Foundry's creator, reveal that the tobacco blend is taken from countries that are not traditionally thought of as tobacco producers. Its possible that what I picked up as the character of "young tobacco" is simply the natural character of this particular blend.
After a few minutes of smoking, the cigar smooths out and reveals an unusual and subtle, though not unpleasant flavor. The smoke is fairly light bodied, indicative of a shade grown, rather than sun grown leaf.
The ash developed cracks early on, and I was forced to tap it off much sooner than I typically like. The burn is largely uneven for the first half of the smoke, but evens out in the later half.
The most pronounced flavor profile I get from the blend is a hint of light roast coffee, with traces of wheat on the finish. The draw and body of the smoke combine for a smooth smoke.
I tend to smoke more full-bodied cigars so I wasn't expecting the Foundry to be exactly to my taste, but I was expecting a bit more complexity in the blend. I could see someone who really enjoys smooth, mild smokes sitting down and enjoying this cigar, if they're willing to open themselves to the possibility of flavors that differ from traditional tobacco growing regions. The fact that I've seen smokers around the shop wearing those metal gears as rings indicate that there are many smokers who have developed a taste for this unique offering.
The nice thing about purchasing cigars in a brick and mortar store is that if you find something you don't care for, something else is only steps away. If a customer came in who had a similar reaction to the Foundry that I had, and was looking for something else on the light side of medium bodied, but perhaps with more traditional flavors, I'd probably recommend the Avo Heritage at the same price point.
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Enjoy reading our reviews of various cigars sold in 11 Davidus Cigars locations.