PCA 2024 Foundation Cigars

PCA 2024: Foundation Cigars; Photo Credit: John McTavish, Developing Palates

The 2024 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show saw big changes to two of Foundation Cigars’ core lines. First, the Metapa line has rebranded to Aksum. Second, the El Gueguenese and Wise Man Maduro lines made at Aganorsa are replaced with two all-new blends from the My Father Cigars factory. Meanwhile, the company is completing its first decade in business, and owner Nicholas Melillo is preparing for the second decade.

The rebranding from Metapa to Aksum took place before the PCA Trade Show. Melillo acknowledged the change was due to a trademark issue he was having. Rather than battling over the trademark, he opted for a total rebrand. Metapa was named for a town where famed Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío was born. Gone from the packaging is the name Metapa and the image of Dario. Instead, Melillo opted to extend the theme of the Ark of the Covenant, which is used on the company’s Tabernacle blends. Aksum is the name of an ancient city in Northern Ethiopia. Some say Aksum is the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. The image on the box and band of Aksum is that of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Father, Ras Makonnen. Makonnen was a governor of Aksum and confidant to Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II.

Aksum will maintain the same blends and sizes as Metapa for both the Claro and Maduro offerings. Aksum is still produced by AJ Fernandez. Of note, Metapa was Foundation Cigars’ first Sumatra-wrapped offering.

Meanwhile, My Father Cigars is producing two new blends: Wise Man Corojo and Wise Man Maduro. These replace the El Gueguense and The Wise Man Maduro lines produced out of Aganorsa.  With that move, Foundation is no longer making any cigars at Aganorsa.  Melillo acknowledged these are not re-blends but two completely new blends from the ground up.  The El Gueguenese name is being retired. El Gueguenese was a Corojo blend and was Foundation’s first line. Melillo says going with The Wise Man Corojo name will allow him to target a bigger audience. In terms of working with My Father, Melillo considered this a unique opportunity to work with the high-profile company.

Both Wise Man Corojo and Wise Man Maduro are available in 20-count boxes in the same four sizes: Corona, Robusto, Toro, and Double Corona. Wise Man Corojo is a 100% Nicaraguan puro, while Wise Man Maduro is a San Andres Maduro over Nicaraguan tobaccos.

The Wise Man Corojo and Wise Man Maduro are also receiving all-new packaging.

Interview with Nicholas Melillo, Foundation Cigars

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Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted