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Foundation Cigar Company

Hidden away in the heart of the Connecticut River Tobacco Valley, known as the world's premier tobacco growing region, there is the world’s only corporate cigar office based on a farm - This office is the home of the Foundation Cigar Company

Nick Melillo, the founder of Foundation cigars, could have stayed as Head Blender of Drew Estate Cigars which he has held since 2003 or take a risk and seize an opportunity to use his 20 years of experience and his access to the highest quality tobacco to make his own cigars of his dreams. The choice in the end was easy and in 2015 Foundation Cigar Company was born, all for the love of the leaf.

Nick Melillo’s cigar journey started in high school when on Saturdays, he would go for a smoke with his brother and grandfather at their local shop in New Haven, Connecticut. After learning all details of every cigar in the humidor Nick persuaded them to give him a weekend job. His passion was already shining through but after four years at the same cigar shop the world came calling and Nick took off to travel the earth.

Following this lengthy trip, Nick received a call from Jonathan Drew who needed someone who knew and loved cigars and was willing to move to Nicaragua to oversee the setup and operations of his new cigar company - Drew Estate. Nick said yes without hesitation and immediately started blending and fermenting tobacco; his blends completely changed the cigar industry.

Some of the blends Nick created for Drew Estate include the Liga Privada #9 and T52 as well as the Undercrown range, Kentucky Fired Cured, the Tabak Especial and much more! A true legend of the tobacco industry. However he is not just a master blender, he also personally sourced and femented all tobacco for Drew Estate from 2003 to 2014.

2005 was the pivotal year that Connecticut Broadleaf started being fermented in Nicaragua, and Nick got to work with the most unique tobacco on Earth, cementing his name as the ‘Chief of the Broadleaf’.

In 2015 Nick decided to branch out on his own, forming the Foundation Cigar Company. His first line of cigars, El Guegunse, took the cigar world by storm and reached Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 in 2016. Its maduro sibling, The Wiseman, reached #3 in Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 in 2019. This unbelievable feat was achieved purely by word of mouth with an advertising and marketing budget of zero!

Nick’s other cigars have won plenty of awards too with the Charter Oak winning #1 Best buy and the Highclere Castle Victorian being awarded 95 points by Cigar Aficionado. His cigars are so popular even the world’s most popular podcaster and presenter Joe Rogan considers them to be the best available.

Nick and Foundation Cigars will continue to develop groundbreaking blends using the world’s finest and rarest tobaccos but what is most important to Foundation Cigars is the cigar smoker themself and the smoke filled moment of pure pleasure.

They have three Ranges - The Charter Oak Broadleaf which comes in a Toro or a Lonsdale, The El Gueguense Wiseman which comes in Lancero and Robusto and The Tabernacle Toro.

The CT Broadleaf of the Charter Oak quality really shines through in the incredibly rich, aromatic profile present. The true Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper crowns the cigar beautifully, giving great depth of sweetness present to the immediate palate. 

The Wiseman is patiently aged with the finest Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper in the world, a phenomenal San Andrés binder and fillers from Estelí in Nicaragua and the Jamastran Valley in Honduras, giving a rich espresso and spice with an exceptionally well-rounded cacao flavour. 

Made with the finest example of one of the most sought-after wrapper leaves in the world, The Tabernacle Broadleaf Maduro is everything that could be desired in a serious, premium cigar. The cigar is patiently aged with the finest Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper in the world, a phenomenal San Andres binder and fillers from Estelí in Nicaragua and the Jamastran Valley in Honduras.

Click here to view the range of Foundation Cigars

Written by Oliver Partington