This year at the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show, Nick Melillo and his Foundation Cigar Co. doubled down and released a follow-up to the award winning 2017 Highclere Castle. This time it is a Ecuadorian Habano Maduro cigar known as the Highclere Castle Victorian.
In the press release prior to the show, the company noted;
“The Habano Ecuadorian wrapper harkens back to the very first cigars to be imported into England in the Victorian era. The flavor profile of the cigar was created as a tribute to the style of cigars most popular during Victorian times, when smoking rooms became the fashion in grand country homes and castles.”
The Highclere Castle Victorian is described as a full bodied cigar with a blend highlighting:
- Wrapper – Habano Ecuador
- Binder – Mata Fina
- Filler – Nicaragua
The Victorian is expressed in 5 vitolas and comes packaged in 20-count boxes:
- Churchill (7 x 48) MSRP $16.00
- Toro (6 x 52) MSRP $15.00
- Corona (5.5 x 46) $13.00
- Robusto (5 x 50) MSRP $14.00
- Petit Corona (5 x 42) MSRP $12.00
For this review I sampled the Highclere Castle Victorian Toro which I received from the company for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
Highclere Cigar co-founder, Adam von Gootkin talks about Melillo:
“Nick is arguably one of the most well-respected cigar blenders in the industry. Partnering with him to craft this masterpiece cigar speaks to his obsession with quality while embracing the rich history of enjoying cigars at Highclere Castle. His access to rare tobaccos and high-quality, by-hand, production capabilities has led to this historic, award-winning line of cigars that we are incredibly proud to offer to connoisseurs.”
The Highclere Castle Victorian is beautifully presented with a smooth dark brown wrapper that is light on veins and displays a slight oily sheen in the light. It has a decent weight and no soft spots in the packing. The presentation is finished with a well applied double cap.
A single bright red band adorns the cigar with the Highclere Castle logo printed in a gold in the center and the name “Victorian” printed in black on a gold background on the bottom. The band is a fine contrast to the dark leaf it is wrapped around.
As I ran the Victorian across the nose I picked up sweet fermented leaf notes along the barrel and a light buttery note off the foot.
I sliced the cap with a double blade cutter, right across the shoulder of the cigar, and proceeded with a few cold draw puffs that had a perfect restriction that greeted the palate with a light earthy note and a just a sprinkle of black pepper.
As I warmed the foot with my double flame torch, I drew in the first puffs of tangy, herbal filled smoke. The early retro-hale had a just a slight peppery burn.
Cigar Review Notes
- First light offered tangy and herbal notes on the palate
- Light pepper hit the nasals on the initial retro-hale
- Mild floral aroma quickly wafts off the foot
- White ash evolved on a wavy and medium thick burn line
- Flavors start to grow after an inch of burn – plum notes with a nuance of licorice near the end of the first third
- Smoke volume is full and thick
- Natural tobacco sweetness fills in the profile
- Ash fell with a well formed and fairly centered cone
- Sweetness grows both in flavor and aroma
- Cocoa notes enter moving through the second third
- Nut components blend well with the cocoa
- Off-burn appears midway in the burn that required a mild touch up
- Mint joins the mix
- Caramel enters in final third
- Burn cleaned up in final
- Medium strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 35 minutes
Overall, the Foundation Cigars – Highclere Castle Victorian Toro was a fine cigar that offered a plethora of flavorful notes from foot to nub including some enticing nuances like licorice and mint, not mention the early plum note! The burn did have a mild wave through the first half and eventually developed an off burn that required a mild touch-up, after which it burned beautifully down to the nub. This is certainly worth picking up a fiver to add to your rotation and is a cigar that both experienced and new cigar enthusiasts would enjoy. I rate this a 93.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) Touch-up Required; (-1) Off-Burn