Since debuting in 2015, Foundation Cigar Company was quick to capture the attention of cigar critics and ardent enthusiasts. This was due to the fact that the company marked the first solo project from Nicholas Melillo, a renowned cigar blender that was thrust into the spotlight through his involvement with modern-day classics such as the Liga Privada No. 9, Liga Privada T52, Undercrown (including the Undercrown Dogma), Liga Privada Único Serie, Nica Rustica, and more. Working with Drew Estate at their factory in Nicaragua for the better part of 11 years, it was no surprise that the cigar world watched closely as Melillo departed the company in 2014; returning only one year later with what has since become a household name with craft cigar enthusiasts.

Since this time, Foundation has consistently introduced a new blend to its premiere lineup with each successive year—all of which have made appearances on Cigar Dojo’s annual Cigar of the Year lists (as well as receiving impressive, 92-plus ratings). Essentially, each of these releases have fallen under one of two brands: The Wise Man and The Tabernacle. With alternating years, Nick has showcased different varieties of each brand, including a maduro followup to the original El Güegüense in 2017 and a unique, hybridized followup to The Tabernacle in 2018. The latter cigar is known as The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No. 142, a blend that makes use of a special wrapper ingredient (for which the cigar is named) to set itself apart from anything released by Foundation to date.

Indeed, 2018’s The Tabernacle cigar is secured in a unique, Connecticut-grown wrapper known as Havana Seed CT No. 142. The leaf is an offshoot of original Havana seeds that were brought to the Connecticut River Valley between 1860 and 1870. Nick actually selected the leaf before Foundation Cigar Company made itself known to the public, waiting patiently as the unusually oily wrapper fermented for upwards of three years! Finally, at this summer’s IPCPR trade show, the leaves had shown enough maturity to be unveiled; being paired with a Mexican binder and fillers of Nicaragua and Honduras (a similar core blend to the original The Tabernacle cigar).

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Being careful not to release the finished cigars until Nick was 100% sure that the they were performing at their best, No. 142 was then aged for an additional five months, nearly missing our year-end list’s deadline with an eventual December launch. Allow us to assure you, this is a truly special creation that was worth the wait… Since the moment the Cigar Dojo staff first sampled The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No. 142 in early August, it was instantly apparent that the cigar would be a contender for the top prize. There was a unanimous consensus that the cigar showed a uniqueness in its profile—clearly separating itself from the sea of new cigars that were still being sampled from the trade show, only a few weeks prior. This profile is medium-full in body, spreading dense and oily flavors across the palate upon lighting. Along with the conventional Nicaraguan spices, cedar, and cocoa, the experience is boosted by unorthodox complexities that will often catch the smoker off guard. With time, though, these unidentified complexities materialize as raw and pasty black bean dip, bubblegum, gin-like botanicals, and chocolate-covered cherries, among others. This is the type of cigar that begs to be smoked back to back (to back?), as the unique complexities take time and reflection to uncover.

The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No. 142 Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Havana Seed CT No. 142 (USA)
  • Binder: San Andrés (Mexico)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí | Jalapa) | Honduras (Jamastran)
  • Factory: Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Regular Production
  • Vitolas: 4
  • Price: $9.00 – $12.00 (MSRP)

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