The year 2019 marked the fifth IPCPR Trade Show for Nicholas Melillo and Foundation Cigar Company. Over the five years, Melillo’s portfolio has had a steady, healthy and organic growth.  This year saw Foundation deliver an all-new line, a line extension, a limited offering become regular production, and some new packaging options.

Highclere Castle Cigar Company, the joint venture that includes Foundation Cigar Company owner Nicholas Melillo and George Carnarvon (the 8th Earl of Carnarvon and the owner of the famed Highclere Castle Estate located in Hampshire, England). It’s a brand distributed by Foundation Cigar Company.  Two years ago, there first Highclere Castle was released with a premium Ecuadorian Connecticut offering. This year, the second release by Highclere Castle, the Victorian was unveiled. The Highclere Castle Victorian uses a high priming dark Habano Ecuador wrapper. It’s the first Ecuadorian Habano wrapper used on a line under the Foundation Cigar Company umbrella. The cigar is called Victorian because it is meant to be reminiscent of the very first cigars imported to England during the Victorian era, which took place in England under the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901.

Last year, Foundation Cigar Company introduced its first Habano offering, The Tabernacle Havana Seed No. 142. While the new Highclere Castle Victorian uses an Ecuadorian grown Habano wrapper, the No. 142 features a hybrid Havana Seed wrapper (called No. 142) grown in Connecticut not far from Foundation’s company headquarters. This year the No. 142 line saw its first line extension in the form of a 7 x 40 Lancero. By the time we got to the booth, there were no more samples of the Lancero on display.

For the past couple of years, Foundation Cigar Company has had a quiet event only release known as Menelik. This year the Menelik became a regular offering.

Menelik was the name of an ancient emperor of Ethiopia, who was said to be the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Menelik was also known as Ibn al-Hakim, which translates into “Son of the Wise Man.”  This ties to two of the company’s flagship brands El Güegüense (The Wise Man) and The Tabernacle (the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant which was said to have been dismantled by King Solomon). The blend is highlighted by a San Andres Mexican wrapper and it joins The Wise Man Maduro as a San Andres wrapped offering by Foundation. Menelik is available in one size – a 4 1/2 x 52 soft box-pressed petit robusto.

Finally, some packaging changes were introduced to The Upsetters. This is Foundation’s infused line of cigars highlighted by the incorporation of Jamaican tobacco. The changes include new Inside artwork and a series of secondary bands on most of the line (the exception being the Upsetters Ska) The artwork also is meant to pay homage to the artistry of legendary Jamaican musicians.

IPCPR 2019 Product Reports

Bear Duplisea delivered content and photography for this report.

Photo Credits: Cigar Coop