It has been three months since we presented Nick Melillo the award for the Stogie Press #1 Boutique Cigar of the 2017. The award for the excellent craftsmanship, and superb blend, of the Wise Man Maduro. Those that have enjoyed that cigar probably don’t disagree with our assessment.
Now, here we are, 3 months later, once again examining the craft of Foundation Cigars and Master Blender Nick Melillo. This time it’s an extension to the company’s Tabernacle series of cigars.
Introduced at this years IPCPR, The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT. No. 142, employs a special hybrid Connecticut grown wrapper leaf. If you are curious about the number 142 and how it came to be, I will let @NickRAgua, the master himself, explain as he did in the press release for this new blend:
“I’ve been working with particular farmers in the valley since 2014 to help optimize the plant’s overall health while maintaining the seeds unbelievable flavor characteristics. The culmination of these efforts involved combining the seed with Havana Seed #38 and Havana Seed #1207, also known as Page-Comstock.
The end result is Havana #142.”
Of course, as we all know, masters of the leaf don’t always work alone, in fact they collaborate and support each other more than we may realize. The case of the Tabernacle Havana Seed No. 142 is no exception, as Nick reached out to his friend and masterful cigar man, Abdel (A.J.) Fernandez, to help him cure the thin and fragile leaf he created. Nick explained:
“While the leaf is incredibly oily and full flavored, the leaf itself is quite thin, making for an extended fermentation process, and at lower heat.
The tobacco has been curing for almost 3 years in Nicaragua under the watchful eyes of Abdel Fernandez and myself. The tediousness involved in developing Havana Seed CT #142 is well worth it, as the leaf is incredibly flavorful and unlike any other tobacco in the world.”
Flavorful indeed, and as you will read, well worth the time and effort. The blend of the Tabernacle Havana Seed CT. No. 142 is a multi-country offering of quality tobacco:
- Wrapper – U.S. Connecticut Havana Seed #142 grown in Connecticut
- Binder – Mexican San Andrés
- Filler – Nicaraguan (Estelí, Jalapa), Honduran (Jamastran)
The Tabernacle Havana Seed No. 142 is available in 4 popular vitolas and are packaged in 24-count cabinet style boxes similar to the original Tabernacle blend.
- Corona – 5 1/4 x 46 – MSRP $9.00
- Robusto – 5 x 50 – MSRP $10.50
- Toro – 6 x 52 – MSRP $ 11.50
- Double Corona – 7 x 54 – MSRP $12.00
*MSRP pricing was pulled from the Neptune Cigars Website, which offers a 10% Discount on boxes and 5% on individual cigars.
A.J. Fernandez not helped with curing the wrapper leaf but was also contracted to produce the end product at his Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua in Estelí.
For this review I sampled the single corona vitola I received from Nick at the IPCPR.
When Nick says the Tabernacle Havana Seed No. 142 leaf is “incredibly oily” he is not joking. The wrapper is dark brown, toothy, and yes, oily! It is rare that I see such wrappers as oily as this one. I just wanted to skip the pre-light ritual and get right to clipping it and firing it up – but I will do my due diligence, and properly break down the experience for you. The cigar is solid, well packed and urging you to turn it to ash.
Let’s shift slightly to the band on this cigar. The original Tabernacle cigar used a grey and gold band with an image of a priest looking to the side. The Tabernacle Havana Seed No. 142 brightens the band up with a ruby-red, gold, and white motif. The priest on this band is looking more at you than to the side. The blend is inscribed, on the bottom of the band, in gold lettering, stating “The Tabernacle Havana Seed Ct. No. 142”.
Moving to the pre light aromas is where your senses pick up again with its sweet natural tobacco and dried fruit aromas. Just breathe it those notes and let them settle in your mind for a moment before slicing the well applied double cap that finishes the cigar so finely.
Once the cap is sliced – and after smoking this, I would even suggest a punch on this corona – the cold draw is even more enticing than the aroma. It was like eating a handful of fruity gummy bears laced with a slow and growing peppery spice. The draw was perfect with a restriction just as I like it.
OK, maybe I don’t need to light it quite yet. I just rolled it about for a another minute or two, getting myself settled with some soft jazz tunes to journey with Nick and Foundation Cigars to what I hope is another incredible smoking experience.
The tunes are on, the lights are dim, and I have a lit cedar spill in my hand to warm the foot of this beauty and draw in the first puffs of the night.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial puffs offer a peppery nasal burn
- Rich black espresso notes quickly add to the profile
- Light grey ash begins to form resting on a thick char line
- There is a mild wave that develops early on
- Floral aromas fill my nasals after every puff
- Herbal sweetness fills in the espresso
- Cinnamon spice completes the introduction
- Aroma shifting to a syrupy sweetness
- Sweetness builds as delicious almond notes enter
- The oils are oozing on the wrapper
- Ash finally fell halfway revealing a well-formed burn cone
- Smoke production is amazingly full for a corona
- The flavor is just so perfectly balanced at the midway point – I know I am going to miss cigar this when it’s finished
- Dry fruit enters as the almond fades
- Aroma shifts once again to a spicy component
- Strength increases to a medium – full deep into the second third
- Fruit and spice notes maintain a delightful dance on the palate through the final third
- Total Smoking Time was just a tad over 1 hour.
Overall, The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT. No. 142 was another spectacular cigar from Nick Melillo and Foundation Cigars. This 1 hour smoke was filled with palate pleasing flavors and aromas that will entice you to come back for more, so you might as well buy a box. In total transparency, the only point I deducted on this was due to the slight wave in the burn, in a couple of spots. I am certainly going to want to try some of the other vitolas in this line. In the final Analysis Stogie Press rates The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT. No. 142 a solid 97.
Point Deductions: (-1) Mild Wave
Bonus Points: (+1) Buy a Box; (+1) Extreme Oiling