Team Cigar Review: Foundation Menelik

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Cigar Details: Foundation Menelik

  • Vitola: Rothschild
  • Length: 4.5″
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: TABSA
  • Blender: Nicholas Melillo
  • Price: $13.00
  • Release Date: August 2019
  • Source: Foundation

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper on the Foundation Menelik is dark brown and has a few prominently raised veins present. The seams are smooth, well blended and hardly visible while the head has a well applied triple cap with a thick stump twist finish. The band is gold, black, red and green and carries the line name. The aroma from the wrapper is a hay forward barnyard funk while the foot brings wood, leather and white pepper. The pre-light draw is a floral sweetness and there is a mild spice on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

The Foundation Menelik is thickly pressed and firm throughout. It has a lovely tight pigtail cap and sports some veins and slight tooth throughout. It has a soft Maduro coloring and has that chocolate brown coloring. I am getting aromas of rich earth, sweet spices, wood, dark chocolate and faint licorice off the foot and wrapper.

Pre-light Experience

The Foundation Menelik has a pigtail cap, with a fairly firm box press with a dark wrapper. The band is ornate with gold writing and accents on a black background and green accents. I was able to detect aromas of aged cedar, leather and hay from the wrapper. Earth and sweet prune were present from the foot.

First Third

The cigar begins with wood, intense cinnamon and some mustiness. At a quarter inch in, the cinnamon is toned down as the mustiness becomes a bit fuller. At three quarters of an inch in, the wood is more defined as oak and the mustiness is paired up evenly with it. The cinnamon is now in the background. The retrohale is musty oak. As the third comes to a close, the cinnamon picks up and is right behind the musty oak. The strength in this third was right at medium.

First Third

The first third begins by delivering some strong spice notes, black pepper up front and it is accompanied by dark cocoa powder and rich earth. There are some licorice qualities present as well with a finish of minerals and damp wood. I would classify the cigar as being medium-full in flavors, and the same for body and strength.

First Third

There is powdered cocoa with generous spice and cedar to open. Spice carries into the post draw and lingers on my lips. The cocoa gives way to background leather almost completely. A nice creaminess centers everything together. The spices moves up to medium plus intensity, almost overwhelming the palate. As the cigar settles in, powdered cocoa begins to lead into the post draw. Spices move down to light plus intensity as the powdered cocoa moves up in strength by the 16 minute mark. Toasted dark earth is present by the halfway point. That same toasted earth also takes over the post draw, with spice returning in the bottom half.

Second Third

The second third sees a continuation of the musty oak with cinnamon right behind. At a quarter inch in, the cinnamon has become very faint. At three quarters of an inch in, a light char and light vegetal note join the profile. The retrohale is musty oak with a bit of the vegetal note. As the third comes to a close, the profile is lightly charred oak and mustiness with a light vegetal note in the background. The strength in this third bumped up to slightly above medium.

Second Third

I am in the second third of the cigar and finding a slight bit of transitioning taking place but some positive continuation as well. The rich earth notes serve as a solid base and with that is some dark cocoa powder. I am getting some rich spice notes as well and the finish is of seasoned wood and black pepper. It has a nice balance the sweet and spice. Like before, the cigar is medium-full in body, strength and flavors.

Second Third

Toasted earth and cocoa moving into the second third. The cocoa establishes once again as the primary flavor. There is almost a peat smoke nature to the cigar as it settles in. Creaminess joins the profile as it settles in.

Final Third

As the final third begins, the vegetal note increases a bit in fullness. At a quarter inch in, the cigar warms up and some bitterness joins the profile. The retrohale maintains the musty oak and vegetal note profile. At three quarters of an inch in, a warm bread note joins the profile. As the cigar comes to a close, the profile is lightly charred and musty oak, vegetal note, warm bread and slight bitterness. The strength in this third remained at slightly above medium.

Final Third

The final third shows a lot of the qualities from the second third. It is still medium-full overall and giving off the strong spice, rich earth and dark wood notes. I am getting that dark cocoa powder and there is some pepper on the finish.

Final Third

Toasted earth and some bitterness leads the cigar moving into the last third. Mild cocoa is in the middle of the profile, but it is being pushed aside by earth. Cedar comes through at the end of each draw.

Burn

The burn line was slightly wavy throughout, but never needed any attention. The ash held on in one inch increments.

Burn

Menelik smoked fairly well from start to finish. It was never a perfect burn line and at times it was uneven and wavy. With that being said, it did not present any major problems.

Burn

The burn started out fairly straight, eventually being slightly uneven. The cigar goes out at the halfway point of the first third requiring a re-light. The burn is straight and requires no attention for the remainder of the review.

Draw

The draw was slightly tighter than I prefer, but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.

Overall

The cigar began with wood, cinnamon and mustiness and the wood quickly became more defined as oak. The second third saw a light char and light vegetal note join. The final third saw the vegetal note increase and some bitterness and a warm bread note join in. Construction was pretty good and strength was slightly above medium most of the way. The Foundation Menelik started off nicely, but then the second third saw some char and vegetal notes join in which knocked things down a notch. The final third went down another level with the bitterness and increased vegetal note. Overall, I’m not really impressed with the cigar and likely wouldn’t return to it unless it was readily available and I was curious what a repeat performance would look like.

Draw

Draw was great from start to finish. Nice level of resistance and smoke production.

Overall

The Foundation Menelik is a solid release and it is a great size. I think if you are looking for a quality Mexican offering with great AGANORSA Nicaraguan fillers, you will be pleased with the cigar. With that being said, it is not the most impressive release from Foundation and I don’t think it is as special of a release as some may. He has better offerings out there and most of them for a better price. To go back to the cigar though, it is a quality maduro that has a nice core flavor profile that is fairly complex. It may not be game changing, but it is another solid Mexican release to the market.

Draw

The draw has some snug resistance to it, roughly 2 to 2-1/2 notches.

Overall

The Foundation Menelik is complex and enjoyable in the first third with flavors ranging from powdered cocoa, spices, leather, creaminess and toasted earth. That complexity falls off in the middle third, and is unbalanced in the last third with some bitterness and toasted earth taking over the palate. The burn was good, with one re-light, and some resistance to the draw. Total smoking time was 1 hour and 19 minutes.

Aaron
Seth
John
Very GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
Good
GoodFirst
Third
Very GoodFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond ThirdGoodSecond ThirdAverage
SubparFinal
Third
GoodFinal
Third
Subpar
Very GoodBurnGoodBurnGood
Very GoodDrawVery GoodDrawGood
AverageOverallGoodOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.50

Cost/Point

$2.36

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

7.17

Cost/Point

$1.81

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.25

Cost/Point

$2.48

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Foundation Menelik
Seth GeiseTeam Cigar Review: Foundation Menelik

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