People often ask me how I select the cigar that I’m going to review. The selection process this time was not difficult, as several people recommended that I review this intense, mouthwatering, sexy new cigar. After sampling a few sizes, I want to share my moments of passion, fantasy and secret thoughts about Nick Melillo’s first solo release: El Güegüense, The Wise Man.
When you are sitting in your office wishing you were somewhere else, do your dirty lustful thoughts take your mind to another place? A place where you are touching the exposed foot of a cigar to a fiery wooden match? When the day is done and you finally leave the office to smoke, Is the cigar as good in real life as it was in your fantasy?
BACKGROUND: El Güegüense is the debut cigar of the Foundation Cigar Company, which is owned by Nick Melillo. Nick’s career began as he worked in a cigar shop in Connecticut, the same shop where his grandfather purchased his pipe tobacco. A few years later, Nick was offered a position with Drew Estate; eager to seize this opportunity, Nick moved to Nicaragua and enjoyed a successful relationship with that company that lasted for over 10 years. As a result of his profitable time with Drew, Nick recently made the decision to start his own company, Foundation Cigar. In 2015 he released his first cigar under his own banner; El Güegüense (pronounced whe-WHEN-say), named after one of the oldest known Nicaraguan folk figures, the “Wise Man”.
Body: Medium/Full. It begins in the medium category but eventually moves into the full-bodied range. I like full-bodied cigars, but I like my body to have a sultry, sexy physique.
Sizes: Churchill, Corona, Robusto, Toro, Torpedo. The torpedo is my favorite vitola.
I don’t enjoy torpedoes if they’re box-pressed; I don’t like feeling a square shape in my hand and a pointed end on my lips…. This torpedo is properly cylindrical, and the firm shaft feels just right each time that I pull it toward my wet mouth.
Smoking time is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, how long does it take you to finish?
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ‘99 wrapper from Finca
Puntalito in the Jalapa region of Nicaragua. (A finca is a farm.) The color is a rich shade of dark brown, a perfect contrast against my soft, pink skin. A subtle, oily sheen, just the right amount of tooth, thin veins and tight, visible seams (it’s always better when it’s tight…). The flavor provided by this wrapper is deliciously mouthwatering.
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99, the same succulent leaf as the wrapper, but from a different farm, Finca San José in Jalapa.
Let’s talk for a moment about Cuban tobacco with regard to the wrapper and binder utilized in El Güegüense. Be careful you may learn something…….
The Corojo wrapper was used exclusively on all Cuban cigars from 1930 to 1990. This is what gave Cubans their distinctive, full-bodied flavor. Cuban Corojo (from the original El Corojo farm) was the finest wrapper leaf in the world; it was thin, supple, and had exceptional flavor characteristics.
Unfortunately, true Cuban Corojo was highly susceptible to disease and blue mold, which unfortunately killed off the strain.
Eventually the original Cuban Corojo was replaced with plants grown from original Corojo seed. Growers engineered hardier strains by utilizing hybrid, cross-bred seeds that were more disease-resistant and higher-yielding, but with similar flavor characteristics.
The first of these new hybrids was Habana 2000, but it was unpopular due to fermentation problems and burn issues. Other hybrid strains were cultivated which were more successful: Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99, both of which are used in the Wise Man.
In Nicaragua, near the Honduran border, not far from Esteli (a name you’ll see on many of today’s finest cigars), the village of Jalapa is the ideal place for growing these new hybrid tobaccos. The rich, jet-black volcanic soil and ideal climatic conditions are said to rival Cuba’s best growing regions. For many years, Nicaragua has successfully yielded top-quality leaf, providing us with true Puros (cigars made with all-Nicaraguan tobacco grown from Cuban seed), satisfying our cravings for traditional Cuban flavor.
Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 (Esteli and Corojo), ’99 Nicaragua (Jalapa) and a blend of Corojo and Criollo long-fillers from 2011 and 2012.
Factory: El Güegüense is made in the Tobaccos Valle de Jalapa (TABSA) factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
Ring: The blue-and-gold band beautifully accentuates the beautiful chestnut wrapper and displays artwork from the traditional festival pageant entitled “The Wise Man.” If you look closely at the band you can see the colorful costumes of the performers.
STRENGTH/BODY/FLAVOR: This Nicaraguan puro, aged in cedar, is an elegant, complex, well-balanced cigar. Though it contains powerful tobaccos, I would characterize it as delicate; it never overwhelms my palate, and the ever-evolving flavor remains strong and smooth.
Upon lighting, it starts off powerfully, with notes of pepper, coffee, and a hint of sweetness. Those of you who are familiar with my reviews know that I rate my cigars based on how smooth they are, and this cigar is smooooth.
A BEAUTIFUL CIGAR TOUCHES ALL MY SENSES. Smoking something harsh does not compel me to have another one. Take it from Ramona: this blend is luscious. Don’t deny yourself another one….you can do it as many times as you want…
El Güegüense truly achieves a complex flavor. Some cigars are solid, consistent from beginning to end; some are more complex with a variety of flavors developing as you smoke them. This cigar evolves into an intricate combination of flavors, and it should be enjoyed deeply and slowly. Don’t rush it. Take your time and savor it. Over the years my palate has evolved to the point where I enjoy more complex blends, and this is now one of my favorites.
In the second-third it moves from medium to full-bodied, and the earthy notes remain strong to the end. El Güegüense leaves a nice lingering taste of pepper on my lips….and there aren’t many flavors I like to linger on my lips.
PAIRING: I paired El Güegüense with my pink pajamas, and matching blue bra and panties, as they coordinate beautifully with the satiny brown wrapper and the brightly colored band. I had to zip up the pink pj’s for the photo, but allow your thoughts to go where they may…
THE BURN: The cigar lights and burns perfectly, producing a good amount of gray, silky smoke that I can exhale sensually from my lips and into the room. Though minor touch-ups are required once or twice (no
thing unexpected), the burn line is mostly even and repairs itself when it starts to run. The light gray ash held on for nearly an inch; for an ash I like it long and firm, in other things, I like a bit more girth. The band removed easily without damaging the delicate wrapper. The firm shaft of the cigar is warm to the touch, doesn’t have any soft spots, and feels magnificent in my hand. While your cigar burns, relax and think about that thing you did last night…
RAMONA’S FINAL THOUGHTS: A beautiful cigar touches all of my senses, and El Güegüense achieves full sensuality.
El Güegüense offers something for each of my senses: I feel the tooth of the wrapper in my hand; I hear the gentle crackle of burning tobacco as I smoke on my little balcony; like an intoxicating perfume, I smell the aroma of the perfectly fermented Nicaraguan tobacco; I taste the notes of pepper on my wet lips; as I gaze at my body in the large mirror in my office, seeing the sophisticated beauty of my blue bra and panties.
Nick Melillo has been working all his life to get to this point in his career, and in my not-so-humble opinion, his goal has been masterfully achieved with the creation of this incredible cigar.
I recommend having a moment of passion with this cigar at any time, in any mood, with anyone that you enjoy smoking with. Maybe smoke one by yourself, close your eyes, spread your legs, reach beneath the blankets, let your thoughts and hand wonder to secret places…
A BEAUTIFUL CIGAR TOUCHES ALL OF MY SENSES