Foundry by General Cigar Company

Right before the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, General Cigar Company announced a new cigar called Foundry.  The Foundry is significant because not only did it mark a new cigar, but it marked a new brand in the General Cigar Company portfolio.   The theme around Foundry is the Steampunk movement.    I have had an opportunity to sample several cigars of the Foundry, and this cigar delivered an outstanding cigar experience.

When we previewed Foundry shortly before the trade show, here is what we wrote about the Steampunk movement theme:

The Foundry will use a theme from the Steampunk movement.  Steampunk is typically a type of Science Fiction that incorporates element’s of technology into it.   This is often done through fantasy-type machinery (i.e. H.G. Wells’ Time Machine)  The most striking feature around this cigar will be the banding as it will feature a metal-gear that represents some of the machinery.  While this is often a genre associated with the Victorian era, many elements have found their way into contemporary works

The man behind the Foundry brand is Michael Giannini.  Many are familiar with Giannini’s work with Team La Gloria of General’s La Gloria Cubana brand.  This resulted in some unique creations such as the Artesanos de Tabaqueros, Artesanos de Obelisco, the Serie N, and Artesanos Retro Especiale.  Earlier this year, Giannini took on an expanded role in which he would now have product development responsibilities across all General brands.  The use of the metal gear is an example of Giannini bringing his passion for innovation to this new brand.

Let’s take a closer look at the Foundry and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile

We do not know a lot about the blend of the Foundry.  General Cigar has chosen to keep much of the details around this proprietary.  We were told that the cigar does not contain tobaccos from the traditional countries of Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.  We also have been told the blend consists of five tobaccos from four countries.   Finally, we do know the wrapper is a proprietary wrapper that is eight years old called H-47 Pleno Sol.

Wrapper: H-47 Pleno Sol
Binder: Unknown
Filler: Unknown

Vitolas Available

The vitolas pay homage to figures associated with Steampunk works or artifacts.  There will be four vitolas initially launched.

Wells: 6 x 50
Pays homage to H.G. Wells.   His work the “The Time Machine” is associated with exactly what the work is – a fictional time machine.

Talbot: 5 x 60
Pays homage to Bryan Talbot.  Talbot is a modern day comic book artist that incorporates elements of Steampunk into his work
Lovelace: 6 1/4 x 54

Pays homage to Ada Lovelace.  Lovelace is often considered the first computer programmer as her algorithm was incorporated into Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.  Lovelace (and Babbage) is featured in a modern day historical fiction work called The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua.  In that work, Lovelace’s work is used to fight crime.  She is also depicted (fictionally) as a pipe smoker.

Cayley: 6 1/2 x 60 x 56 x 43 (Figuardo)
Pays home to Sir George Cayley. Cayley is considered a pioneer in aeronautics.    He is the designer of the first glider (before the Wright Brothers had the first successful powered flight).  Cayley’s flying machines are often associated with Steampunk artifacts.


For this cigar experience, I went with the Lovelace vitola.  The Foundry Lovelace has an oily butterscotch wrapper.  It has some dark spots to it.  It also has visible veins and visible wrapper seams.

The band to the Foundry has a “factory style” to it.  It has a beige and brown bag color to it.   At the top of the band it says “FOUNDRY TOBACCO CO.” followed by the Foundry logo, the text “EST 2012” and a serial number.  The serial number on each of the cigars I smoked was “781061” and was in a red font.  The lower part of the band features Giannini’s signature and the names of the four vitolas “WELLS LOVELACE TALBOT CAYLEY”.  

In the middle of the band is where the gear is positioned.   In the packaging, cellophane covers the cigar from the footer until the bottom of the gear.  The gear is sized to each ring gauge on the cigar.  As much as it is nice to keep the gear on the cigar while smoking, I advise taking it off before smoking.  I also would recommend removing it carefully as the wrapper is delicate.  A final note on the metal gear – Giannini mentioned at IPCPR that this would be something to hold on to as it could be incorporated into future Foundry projects.  He did not elaborate on more details.

Different sizes of the Foundry Gears.  One is for
the Talbot and one is for the Lovelace
Foundry with metal gear removed

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For this particular cigar experience, I did remove the metal gear from the Foundry Lovelace.  I then went with my usual straight cut into the cap of the cigar.   I then proceeded to start the pre-light draw.  The dry draw notes provided me with flavors of natural tobacco and cedar.  Overall it was a satisfactory pre-light draw.  At this point, I was ready to fire up the Foundry and see what the cigar experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Foundry yielded me a mix of pepper and natural tobacco to start.  I soon also detected some floral notes and an unknown sweetness.  By the five percent point, I also detected some nut flavors. 

Around the five percent point, the nut flavors became the primary flavor.  The floral notes were still very present and could be detected prominently on the after-draw.  The natural tobacco and sweet notes were in the background while the pepper notes were tertiary.  By the ten percent mark, the pepper moves back up into a secondary note.

It is around the 15 percent mark the sweetness started to take form.  It seemed to take on a combination of peach and banana notes.  This sweetness would move to the front and the nut flavors moved to the background with the pepper notes.  The nut and pepper provided a good balance to the sweet notes up front.   The floral notes also had pretty much dissipated.  This flavor profile held on for a while.

Late in the second third, the sweetness took on some citrus qualities to it.  The pepper moved into the forefront creating a citrus spice.   As the cigar moved into final stages the spice was definitely the dominant flavor.  For the most part the resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

The Foundry performed very well when it came to construction.  The one point of caution I will mention is that the H-47 Pleno Sol wrapper is delicate.  This needs to be considered when not only removing the gear, but also handling the cigar.

The burn performed consistently well each time I smoked it.  The burn line remained straight requiring minimal touch-ups.  The resulting ash was white and firm with some slight flaking.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.   The draw was outstanding as well – making the Foundry a very enjoyable smoke.

Strength and Body

I did not find the Foundry to overpowering from a nicotine standpoint.   I found the Foundry to have “just enough” strength to satisfy most cigar enthusiasts.  I assessed the Foundry to deliver a medium strength cigar experience.  The Foundry also does a nice job in terms of its flavor depth.  The Foundry starts out medium-bodied and will progress to the upper end medium to full-bodied by the second half.    When balancing the strength and body of the Foundry, I give the body a slight edge.
Final Thoughts

Over the past couple of years, General Cigar Company has employed a strategy to reinvigorate some of their existing brands.  We’ve seen this with La Gloria Cubana, Partagas, and Macanudo.  While they could have easily taken the Foundry and integrated it into one their existing brands, they took the bold move to launch a new brand.  The Foundry cigar itself delivers a very good and unique smoking experience.  Combine this with some innovative packaging and marketing, and this is a very nice way to launch a brand.  The Foundry is a great cigar for a novice cigar enthusiast looking to graduate to a medium strength cigar, medium to full-bodied cigar.  Experienced cigar enthusiasts will certainly appreciate the unique flavor profile.  As for myself, this was a very enjoyable smoke – and one I certainly look forward to smoking again.

Final Thoughts

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Good
Assessment: Memorable
Score: 92

Source: The cigars for this assessment were a combination of cigars purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina and samples provided by General Cigar Company.  Cigar Coop is appreciative for these samples, but in no way does this influence this review.