Foundation Wise Man Maduro Guest Cigar Review

Today I have the pleasure of introducing Zachary Riley, who has been a fervent reader of Stogie Press and recently contacted me to see if he could pen a review for publication. I have to say, he is a well informed cigar smoker.  We chatted for a bit this past weekend, and decided he would write his inaugural review on the new Wise Man Maduro from Nick Melillo and the Foundation Cigar Co.  I told Zachary I just picked one of those up at my local shop and was planning on writing a review myself, but I figured, hey let Zachary do it, and lets see what he’s got.

The review that follows, is for the most part, unedited by me, and Zachary’s own words. Nice job brother, not everyone can write reviews and not everyone can sense the flavors and aromas like you did. I think after I push this one out I am going to fire up that Wise Man tonight and compare palates.

The Foundation Cigars Wise Man Maduro Review

by Zachary Riley

So, this cigar is blended by none other than Nick Melillo, or “Nick R. Agua”. I’ve smoked several of these, but I have a funny story about my first experience with this cigar.

I met Nick in June or so, and we immediately hit it off. I ended up getting from him this very cigar and the pre-release of the Highclere Castle, both would be premiering the next month at the trade show, IPCPR. I gave them a week or so to get adjusted to my humidor, and couldn’t wait any longer, so I smoked the shade first, and then the Wise Man.

I was blown away by both, but since these sticks have been released, Nick asked me what I thought about them since coming to the public eye. I told him both were even better than the two blends he gave me in June.

Foundation Cigars Wise Man Blend:
So here is what I like to know before, or during smoking a cigar. What tobaccos am I tasting at this time?

The Wise Man Maduro is a really unique cigar, and I’m going to break down the blend from the outer wrapper all the way down to it’s core filler components.

  • Wrapper: This particular cigar has a beautiful Mexican San Andreas wrapper.
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo 99 from Jalapa
  • Filler: A blend of Criollo 98 and Corojo 99 from Esteli and Jalapa

Most people think the Wise Man is just a wrapper change from the fantastic and original Gueguense, but in reality it’s a tweaked blend of that cigar. Adding more ligero to compliment the bold San Andreas wrapper.


Foundation Wise Man MaduroSo as I said previously I have already smoked this cigar several times, and that should make you feel even better about what I’m describing to you. This is top quality construction. In all the ones I’ve smoked, I have not had any problems whatsoever with it wanting to tunnel in, burn extremely unevenly, or anything to that nature. It is a fantastic cigar construction wise.

Smoking experience:

So the first thing I do is take the cigar out of the cellophane, and take a big whiff of it. The first big note I get is coffee, and I don’t mean a sweet coffee, I am referring to a strong cup or black coffee, almost like an espresso.

Then I look at the foot and get a whiff of that. What I get is sweetness. Almost like a caramel/toffee type of sweetness.

Now I’m ready to cut the cigar. What I’m using is the brand new Xikar Deep V Cut. After cutting it, I go ahead and get a few cold draws. What I’m tasting here is a nutty almost nougat type taste, so the whole cigar smells and tastes good, so I’m ready to light up.

Cigar Review Notes

First third: The first draw after lighting it up, WOW! What a flavor bomb. So much going on in this stick. Spice, strength, sweetness, and more. I do my first retro through the nose and there’s a little white pepper,  you’re also getting that pure coffee, earthy, and sweet nougat taste through the nose.

Second Third: So I just started the second third of this wonderful stick, and the spice has almost completely disappeared, but the other flavors have transformed and gotten even stronger! Now I am getting a pure chocolate note, and I’m not talking about eating chocolate, I’m referring to pure cocoa. If you retro through the nose there is still just a hint of the white pepper spice there, but what I’m now getting through the nose are  leather, coffee, and seriously earthy notes.

The last third/finish: So I’m on the last third of the cigar, and the white pepper spice I talked about earlier is basically completely gone. It went away in the retro through the nose as well. In this last third/finish I’m getting a lot of creaminess to the smoke. The cocoa has turned into more of a leather/earthiness on the inhale. Through the nose I am getting close to the same as on the inhale, but much more concentrated, but on the inhale it’s pure cream with a heavy sensation of earthiness. This makes it quite different than the first or second thirds.

Foundation Wise Man Maduro

Foundation Wise Man Maduro

Overall, I really enjoyed smoking Foundation Cigars Wise Man Maduro. The huge amount of variety was fantastic, the strength was wonderful, and it had a great burn from top to bottom. It has incredible flavors from the initial light all the way down to when you’re barely able to hold on to the cigar anymore. The Wise Man Maduro has extremely complex changes through the smoke, and has just a stupendous smoke texture from start to finish. If you’ve never smoked Foundation Cigars, and want to try something strong, complex, and noteworthy, then this cigar is for you!

I hope you enjoyed this review of Nick Melillo’s, or Nick R. Agua’s, Wise Man maduro. Stay tuned to more reviews from us in the future.

Boston Jimmie’s Notes

After Zach reviewed this outstanding cigar, I picked one up at one of my local shops – Paradise Cigarz in Rockledge, FL. Here are my notes to compare palates:

  • Dark chocolate brown and gritty wrapper – square box press
  • Some oils running through
  • Chocolate malt, toast, and pepper – wow lots going on with the pre-light aromas
  • Cold draw provides pepper, cocoa, and nutmeg
  • Lots of pepper hits
  • Pepper fades back on the palate letting way for espresso notes to enter
  • Ash fell early but revealed a perfectly centered lightly peaked burn cone
  • Fruit notes enter near end of first third and there is an earthy aroma at this point
  • Soft and gentle spice enters wrapped in the espresso and cocoa.
  • Butter cream enters in the second third with a smoke that has a well developed creamy texture
  • Smoke volume is full
  • Aroma has a slight spice and nut
  • A savory BBQ sauce note enters midway yum
  • Burn is pristine
  • Sweetness builds gently through the second half
  • Ash falls often
  • The sweetness and spice are perfectly balanced in the final

Zachary Riley

Zachary Riley

Zachary Riley is a 23 year old who has been smoking cigars for the past five years, and has been smoking heavily the past two years. He is a father of one son, unmarried. He enjoys smoking everything across the board from Connecticut cigars to heavy maduro and oscuro. He is wanting to get into the cigar business eventually as either a retailer, or a blender.

When not working hard you can find Zachary on Facebook here:



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