Foundry by General Cigar Company
General Cigar Company decided that they wanted to take a detour and create something new, exciting and bold. With that in mind, they set out to create a new cigar based on the seemingly old idea of the Steampunk movement. Steampunk, if you are unfamiliar, is a 19th Century view of the future. For instance, imagine a computer made with gears and hydraulic pistons churning and clanking with every process initiated. That’s the idea. Take something out of history and add some playful imagination to it.
Along this line of thought, General Cigar wanted to use a fresh visual approach to creating a brand, and most importantly, they wanted to create a premium cigar that incorporated tobacco from nontraditional sources. This had me both intrigued and skeptical.
Using a proprietary Connecticut wrapper called H-47 (said to have been aged 8 years), Foundry uses no tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, or Nicaragua. It is available in four varieties, all named after Steampunk-era folks: Wells 6×50, Lovelace 6.25×54, Talbot 5×60, and Cayley 6.5×60, and ranging in price from $7.95-$9.45. For this review I smoked a Talbot.
Starting with the branding, I was very interested. As an artsy guy myself, I love new and alluring brands. The box is adorned with classy and well-designed flours and clean lines, and is constructed of a variety of wood and metal. The cigar has a clean, subtle band which appears to be individually numbered (although I have a feeling it may just be for show) with a beefy metal gear on top of it. I have to be completely honest, the gear made me think this stick was totally badass. I wanted to smoke this one really badly based on the looks alone.
Holding the Foundry, I felt a medium-tight pack inside a light milk chocolate wrapper. I smelled sweet light tobacco and nothing more. The only veins present were mammoth in size and wrapped a decent portion of the stick. The main thing I noticed was a giant crack running about half the length of the cigar. I maintain my humidor with extreme precision, even when I’m residing in Afghanistan, so I know it was not an issue of being dry. The cigar came wrapped partially in plastic, so I wonder if the foot has a tendency to split. I have read elsewhere that other people have experienced this cracking, too.
Given the massive size of this stogie, the cut was pretty tough, and my cutter is pretty sharp. After the cut, I experienced nice, clean ghost draws. I was expecting a problem with the light, but all went surprisingly well. I initially gathered sweet and spice on my lips, not pleasant, but not a turn-off either. I felt the draw was a little painful and there was an underproduction of smoke. I felt that I really needed to work the stick to make any progress. I half believe the giant crack running down the side impeded the draw, but I half believe it was simply a poor draw.
As I progressed through the length of the smoke, I couldn’t help but find myself constantly struggling to keep it lit. It never went out, but I always felt like I needed to be a machinegun-puffer to get anywhere. I hate being forced to pay attention to my cigar, it’s like a nagging wife. As a topper, there was no excitement in the flavor profile. I experienced the same spice and tobacco flavor that I did at the very beginning with no morphing at all during the duration.
The bottom line is that this cigar is priced at the $8-10 range because of the elaborate decoration on the box and the stick itself. If you are an avid Steampunk fan, this may be a nice cigar to add to your collection of top hats, eyeglasses and hydraulic toothbrushes. This is a novelty cigar that lacks function and does not deserve a spot next to respectable, traditional cigars. If you take cigars seriously, please don’t bother. The choice of tobacco is poor, the craftsmanship is not there in the roll, and the overall experience is bland and boring. I firmly believe General Cigar attempted to sell this stick on its looks alone. They need to focus less on presentation and more on perfection. Let’s just say, I certainly won’t be smoking another one these!