Highclere Castle Cigar
Produced by: Foundation Cigar Co. and Highclere Castle Cigar Co.
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Nicaragua (Criollo and Corojo)
Size: Petit Corona—5 1/2 x 46
Time to smoke: 60 minutes
Release date: October 2017
About the cigar:
Highclere Castle Cigar is one of those cigars that I’ve been itching to try since it first came out in 2017. This cigar is a collaboration between Nicholas Melillo (Foundation Cigar Company) and Highclere Castle Cigar Company to create this smooth and elegant beauty.
If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, you’ve probably heard of Highclere Castle as it is the filming location of the award-winning series. But the estate’s love affair with cigars dates to 1862. The tradition at the estate has always been to retire to the library after dinner for a cigar and whiskey. Lord Carnarvon, the current eighth Earl of Carnovan, is the owner of Highclere Castle and the farmer of the 5,000 acre estate, is an active partner in the endeavor, and is a cigar aficionado.
“While in Nicaragua in the tobacco fields and factory, I have gained a deep appreciation for the passion and skill that goes into making a super-premium cigar,” Lord Carnarvon said. “Like wine, there is a direct correlation with the soil, weather, and artisanal craft of the cigar maker.”
As for their partnership with Foundation Cigars and Nick Melillo, Highclere Cigar co-founder and CEO Adam von Gootkin says, “Nick Melillo is arguably one of the most well-respected cigar blenders in the industry. Partnering with him to craft this masterpiece cigar speaks to his near-obsession with quality while embracing the rich history of enjoying cigars at Highclere Castle—and a very special access to the rare tobaccos that Nick has.”
Well, let’s try this “masterpiece cigar.”
As I stated above, this cigar is one I’ve been extremely excited to sample since 2017. I obtained a few sticks, but unfortunately life gets away from you sometimes and so, too, did these cigars. They ended up aging over a year in my humidor. But it was finally time to get them out and try them, and I’m happy to report: The Highclere Castle Cigar was worth the wait.
I was hesitant to review this cigar because I just wanted to savor and enjoy the moment instead of looking for nuances here or there. But alas, works calls.
The Connecticut Shade wrapper is wonderful to look at, and there are very few visible veins and seams—a very well-constructed cigar. The light-up and draw is effortless, and (spoiler alert) I never touch a flame to this cigar again.
The cigar is exhibiting notes of pepper, fireplace, and leather with a tiny bit of grass inching its way in. As I sit on my patio, I can only dream I could have joined Lord Carnarvon in his castle library smoking this cigar. Imagine the delightful smells of 15 of these cigars filling a room. The smell of heaven? I should think so.
The mouthfeel is creamy, and there is lots of pepper in the retro-hale. A bit of cinnamon flavor moves its way in during the second third as well as some citrus. The room notes are getting spicier. Additionally, the cigar is exhibiting a little bit of bitterness, but it isn’t overpowering. The light peppery ash holds for well over an inch, which is impressive for such a small ring gauge.
The Highclere Castle Cigar smokes like a charm and features an absolute pristine burn line. And like I said earlier, I haven’t had to touch it up at all.
Highclere Castle Gin. Of course, they have a gin, and of course, this cigar pairs beautifully with it. This gin is produced in England’s oldest gin distillery and is made using botanicals grown on the Highclere estate. It’s a special gin for a special cigar.
This cigar needs to be mulled over, talked over; maybe contemplate life with a friend while enjoying one. Is it worth the $15 price tag? I would say so. The flavors and aromas are nice but nothing to write home about, but nonetheless, it’s a special cigar that is excellent for special occasions as you instantly feel a kinship with the Lords of Highclere while smoking it. If nothing else, that’s as good a reason as any to try one.
For more info, visit highclerecastlecigar.com.
Highclere Castle Victorian Releasing Soon!
Highclere Castle Cigar Company has partnered once again with Nicholas Melillo and Foundation Cigar Company to release the Highclere Castle Victorian.
The Highclere Castle Victorian is wrapped in Habano Ecuador, hearkening back to the very first cigars imported into England in the Victorian era. The flavor profile of the cigar was created as a tribute to the style of cigars most popular during Victorian times; when smoking rooms became the fashion in grand country homes and castles.
The previously released Highclere Castle Cigar was designed when the Highclere Castle archivist discovered letters and personal account records of the Carnarvon’s cigar purchases in the early 1900s from dealers in London as well as the Ritz Hotel. Melillo subsequently crafted a cigar that reflects that historic flavor profile and smoking style.
The new Victorian is a “full-bodied cigar delivering notes of nougat, cedar, cinnamon, and leather,” said Melillo. “This is some of the rarest and highest quality wrapper that I have been able to source, based on 20 years of building relationships with farmers and exceptional tobacco growers.”
The cigar will be launched at IPCPR in Las Vegas on June 28, 2019. The first release will be limited, and cigars will be available in select cigar lounges and tobacco shops across the United States by August 2019.