El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 (Finca Puntalito Jalapa)
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 (Finca San Jose Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo & Criollo (Estelí and Jalapa)
Size: 5.5 x 50 “Robusto”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $10.50 MSRP







Today we take a look at the new El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company.
Thanks to an anonymous reader who bought these cigars from Cigar Federation.

Before I go any further, I have to comment on the new Tat Monster series cigars hitting the shelves. A minimum of $13 per stick. Last year’s retail for a 10 count box was less than $10 per stick. I got a box on Cbid for $63.00.
This uptick in price is a helluva cost of living increase. I’m sick to death of seeing 5 packs, from all manufacturers, going for $60.00-$95.00. Are they insane? When does the greed stop? Next year? Don’t think so. Watch. The 2016 IPCPR releases will be even more expensive. Get ready for the average price of a 2016 stick to be $18.00.
(Had to get that off my chest).

The cigars made their debut at the 2015 IPCPR trade show.
Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)
Only AGANORSA Tobacco used.

Couldn’t find info on whether this is a limited run or regular production. But wherever they are sold, they are going fast.
Nicholas Melillo worked for Drew Estate 2003-2014. This is his return to the cigar business. And this is his first blend. He was part of the team that came up with the Liga Privada No. 9, T52 and Undercrown.

From the Foundation Cigar Company (Nicholas Melillo-Owner) web site:
“For five hundred years, Nicaragua has served as a crossroads of cultures, ever since indigenous inhabitants mocked arriving Spanish conquistadors in a colorful, costumed satirical masterpiece called “El Güegüense” (Gwe-gwe-nse), or “The Wise Man.” It is Nicaragua’s signature work of drama, the ultimate expression of its unique history, language, dance, and culture. This Gran Baile, or great dance, continues today, not only in the form of long-held folkloric performances, but in the careful blending of Nicaragua’s tobacco, which is some of the richest, most flavorful filler tobacco in the world. Master blender Nicholas Melillo has worked tirelessly to create and honor the great dance of flavors which you are about to experience in El Güegüense cigars.”

Also from the FCC web site describing the El Güegüense:
“Leaves from the third, fourth, sixth and medio tiempo primings were used to obtain good strength, aroma and flavor.
Aroma – Intense with hints of honey, wood and pepper
Sabor – Woody, cedar, hints of sweetness, and mouthwatering, characteristics of Habanos.
Color – Rosado Rosado Cafè
Fortaleza – Medium to Strong
Draw – Impressive
Combustion – Very stable
Ash– gray / silver”

My 5 pack varies in appearance. One cigar is gorgeous and another is rustic looking. But all have tight seams. Few veins. Nicely applied triple caps. And the wrapper is an oily, medium brown color with a bit of tooth. The stick is solid with some give.

Robusto 5.5 x 50 $10.50
Corona Gorda 5.625 x 46 $9.90
Toro Huaco 5 x 56 $12.00
Torpedo 6.25 x 52 $11.50
Churchill 7 x 48 $11.00
All five sizes will be sold in boxes of 25.

Price Range: $9.00-13.00 MSRP. The above prices are from the Cigar Federation Store. Small Batch Cigar sells only boxes of the Churchill and the Toro Huaco. They have a 5 pack of the Toro Huaco. I mention these two online stores because of their 10% coupon codes.
As far as I can tell, no one is selling them for less than MSRP. IN fact a few of the online stores are selling them above MSRP like Jack Schwartz Importer.

From the shaft, I can smell strong wood, spice, sweetness, and allspice.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell barnyard, grass, strong spice (Double sneeze), big dose of wood, sweetness, and allspice.
The cold draw presents flavors of Wood, cedar, spice, sweetness, dried fruit, and earthy tobacco notes.
I read one reviewer tasted Red Twizzlers. Now I’m jealous. I can’t taste it.

The draw is excellent.
Right away: cherries and creaminess, strong red pepper, toasty and nutty, hints of cocoa, strong earthy tobacco notes, cedar, and some espresso.

Now this is how a good cigar should start…not lollygagging around waiting for the second half to begin before it kicks into high gear. I expect exactly this from a $10 stick. Kudos Nicholas Melillo! You nailed it. (And now a word from our sponsor: Do you have an itchy rear end? Do you have uncontrollable flatulation? Do you have an insatiable taste for cheap sea food? I don’t. So never mind).


The writing on the cigar band is so small, I am having trouble focusing my camera; even with the arm sling. Standing it up seems to work nicely as you can also see highlights of the oily wrapper and its slightly mottled condition.
All flavors are hitting on 8 cylinders. Powerful, bold, delicious, complex, balanced, and a long juicy chewy finish. Like me…or at least how I used to be. Sigh.

We now have a candy bar full of peanuts and mousse-like milk chocolate. Like a Snickers bar. With Jalapeno sauce poured on it.
Strength is medium+ body.

Oh happy morning. I love writing about great cigars. And so tired of writing about shit bird cigars. The El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company is a winner. We can stop right here and you can scurry off and just buy some.

It’s always a roll of the dice with a new company and only a few reviews. I don’t know if I would have picked these to review if it was my dough. I’m poor and $10 a cigar is a lot to gamble on. Now I’m so happy that a generous reader was so much smarter than me.

The malts kick in: Chocolate Malt, Crystal/Caramel Malt, and Maris Otter Malt. (See Malt Chart).

Caramel shows up. The cherry flavor is booming with largesse. I have to agree with a very smart reviewer who tastes Crème brûlée (A dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel. It is normally served at room temperature. The custard base is traditionally flavored with vanilla, but can have a variety of other flavorings.).


Smoke time is 25 minutes.
The El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company is so intoxicating that smoke time is whizzing by. Lots of complexity. Beautiful balance. A wonderful and flavorful finish.
Smoke pours from the foot like a house afire.

This cigar is a combo of a French dessert and a Snickers bar. It will most definitely make “The Katman’s Best 195 Boutique Brands/Blends in the $6-$9.50+ Range.” I will have to crib a little as the price goes from $9.00-$13.00 MSRP but the Robusto I’m reviewing is just a buck higher.


Man oh man…Foundation Cigar hit one out of the park with this cigar blend. And this is their first cigar! Obviously, Melillo is a journeyman blender; especially with his background and brings a brilliant talent to his new company. I can only imagine what is ahead of him.

Construction is spot on. The char line is doing well.
Here is the kicker. I’ve only had this cigar for less than a week. I dry boxed it for 72 hours. And voila! This is the New Breed fashion for blending. Get ‘em ready and no mucking about.

I’d buy a box if I were a rich man.
“Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.
All day long I’d biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.”

I checked Nicholas Melillo’s FB page and he’s a young man! With his experience, I figured him for an old codger like me. Boy, is this young man going to have an exciting future in cigars. By the time he hits 50, he will be a real force to be reckoned with in the cigar industry.


The El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company hits medium/full.
The nuttiness is defined by marzipan, raw cashew, and hazelnut. Very strong flavor element. Ooh..ooh..And the peanuts are now screaming laughter. All I need is some fancy jam and we have a PB&J sandwich.
There is a fruity sweetness buried in the cornucopia of flavors but I can’t recognize it yet.

This was my first stab at the El Güegüense. So I had no idea what I would be met with.
So lucky me. I still have four sticks to drape myself with naked in the shower. No worries. I shall put them in sandwich bags. What? You thought I was crazy? No. Just demented. LOL

A cappuccino flavor jumps through the hoop. The peanut component is muy strong. And now I have a tin roof sundae.


When I was a little guy, my dad would take me to Baskin Robbins and we always got his favorite sundae…the Tin Roof. Technically, the peanuts should be those little Spanish peanuts.

Smoke time is 45 minutes.
The El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company is one of the most enjoyable cigars I’ve smoked in ages. It will get a very high rating.

The transitions are absolutely marvelous. Ever changing. Constantly rotating like a big disco ball.
The char line needs its first minor touch up.


The five sizes are perfect. I would love to try the Corona and the Churchill.
There is too much glue on the cigar band and I have to cut it off. But miraculously, no nicks to the wrapper. I try removing the cigar band from a second cigar but same issue.
That’s because I use a scimitar looking X-Acto blade.



Writing, reviewing, and smoking a great cigar makes my dementia disappear for the duration. Usually, I have problems with understanding how my camera works but not this morning. Huzzah!

Here they are: Chocolate, peanuts, malts, spiciness, caramel, creaminess, cherries, coffee, nuts, toasty, cedar, vanilla, and a lovely sweetness.

Strength remains at medium/full. But the El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company is so smooth, that the strength is hardly noticed. It is a flavor bomb par excellence.
The red pepper makes its surge. Tongue is burning. And I believe there is anal leakage. Damn erectile dysfunction meds. LOL. But then I don’t have to worry about that. Our anniversary isn’t until February.

Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
The El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company is bordering on a perfect blend for my palate.
Oddly, no nicotine yet. There. I’ve jinxed it.

The last third is like smoking a cigarette after sex. But then I’ve never smoked a cigarette so instead, I lie there and whimper while sucking my thumb.
Strength is still medium/full.
Flavors are still as bold as earlier.


This has been such a lovely surprise. I am shocked that the cigar took such little humidor time before it was ready.
The El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company finishes beautifully. No harshness. No heat. And no bitterness. Just flavors galore.

AND…no nicotine. Jinx parlayed.
I most definitely recommend the El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company.
Melillo is a brilliant young man. He made his move at the right time in his career. He has proven himself on his own.
Final smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.


I’ve given up complaining about the expense of cigars over the last year. It is a reality that I don’t care for. But there is no stopping it.
The El Güegüense from Foundation Cigar Company could have been a much more expensive cigar compared to the other new releases whose price point is just damn ridiculous.
So yes, it is worth every nickel of the $10.50.

Nicholas Melillo made a bold move and really took a big risk in going out on his own. But this journeyman blender knew the time was right. And this blend proves it.
I hope he doesn’t wait til next year’s IPCPR trade show to introduce another blend. No matter what it is, I want it.
This was the complete package. I don’t have a single criticism. And I believe my earlier rants say it all on how I feel about this cigar.
I tip my yarmulke to Mr. Melillo.



And now for something completely different:
Earlier in my life, I found a perfect way to ditch good friends: Open a recording studio.

Back in the early 80’s, I had one in Long Beach, CA. I had a partner who did the engineering although I was also capable of the tech stuff. But I was the producer. The big cheese.

We were beginning the recording of the Butch “Eddie Munster” Patrick song, “Whatever Happened to Eddie?”
I was doing this whole project with my money and one lender. An ex-con who was one of my best friends and advisors.
So I had to convince some of the best players around to record for me on the cheap. I got off easy on the bass playing, as I was that guy.
But I needed guitars, keys, and drums.

Believe it or not, the keys and drums were the easy part. It was getting the right guitarist that was so difficult.
I had some of my best friends come in, and since I had gotten a license from Universal Studios to use the theme from the Munsters, every note of the song had to be perfect.

Try and tell hot shot players that they have to tone it down and play what I tell them to play. Since I was using a lot of young guys in their 20’s, most didn’t have a lot of recording experience. And it’s completely different from playing live.
Live, you can woodshed the hell out of a song. In the studio, it takes a really good sense of control and discipline; to be able to play the same riff from one take to the other.

And my friends couldn’t do it. The packed their gear and stormed out with their middle finger raised and calling me the 7 words TV won’t allow.

Plus Butch attended all of the recording sessions. Which had an intimidation level.

There is something inherently cool about sitting behind the big glass window of a control booth. Everyone wants to hang out and watch you work….that is until they see how difficult it is and that the attention to detail can become very tiring for someone that’s not a musician….which Butch was not. This whole project was a monster Milli Vanili with Butch lip syncing and pretending to play bass.

It took a full week to get the guitar part right. Then it was my turn. As the studio owner, I got a lot of session gigs from bands that would come in and ask if I knew a bassist. Duh.

So I made a lot of dough on the side. But my general rule was not to play while they recorded and I produced. I would come back to the studio, after I went home and had dinner (I was a swingin’ single guy back then), and take a short nap.

I’d open up the studio, around 11pm, and be totally by myself. I clicked on the lights of the booth… while leaving the recording area dark. In fact, I dimmed the lights in the booth.

We were analog back then. 3” reel to reel tape. I’d sit in a comfy chair with my bass plugged in direct. No amp. Grab the good headphones and learned the song during several playbacks. Then I pushed record. And I’d play my ass off.

Bet you didn’t know this….but after the first couple albums, McCartney would do the same thing. The rest of the band recorded and he would come back later and lay down his track with the rest of the band out doing whatever they were doing.

There is something magical about sitting by yourself, with all that high tech equipment at your disposal. Play a clam. Hit rewind and do it again. Or just punch it in later.
I used to get some fine bass lines while I sat alone in the studio. Not being bothered by other people who all had suggestions.

Often, I would sit there all night and would go out and watch the sun rise.
I miss all that. Fortunately, I still have the greatest hits of what I played stored in boxes in the basement.
And then the second best part…watching the faces of the musicians as they listened to what I laid down the night before. Bliss.

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7 replies

  1. Katman, thanks for the review! FYI, the Monster series you mentioned that were in 10 count boxes were the Pudgy Monsters, and they retailed for around $95. The yearly released Monster series have always been $13.

  2. I believe that the MSRP for last year’s Tat Jekyl was also $130 for a 10 count box.

  3. I bought a few of those boxes and never paid more than $95.00.

  4. Finishing up my second go at this stick…box worthy until last third, which is unremarkable…even burn an issue at end…where did this go wrong?

  5. What size did you smoke? The same as me? The Robusto or a larger size? A reader just sent me the Toro Huaco (6 x 56) and I’m just spit ballin’ here but I’m guessing that this behemoth cigar won’t have the full flavored body of the Robusto. It is so big that I need to put aside 2 hours before I dig in.

  6. I just finished thee 6 x 56. I minor burn issued corrected at the beginning. And the flavors were outstanding.
    You just got a bum cigar or maybe it didn’t have enough humidor time?

  7. Creme Bluee, cannot agree more!

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