Just before IPCPR this year, Foundation Cigar Company announced that their event-only Menelik would become a limited release cigar. We did a quick review of this cigar last year and gave it a 91, but now let us see how it does blind.
This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed. All of our cigars reviewed are shipped to the panelists with Boveda packs to ensure optimal smoking experience.
The name, Menelik, comes from the ancient emperor of Ethiopia thought to be son of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba. He was also known as Ibn al-Hakim, which translates into “Son of the Wise Man.” hence the connection to Foundation Cigars who have released El Güegüense, which translates to The Wise Man, and Wise Man Maduro. The blend uses a San Andres Mexico wrapper, Nicaraguan Corojo 99 Jalapa binder, and Esteli, Condega, and Jalapa filler. Single cigars are sold for $13 while a box of 12 cost $156. Menelik comes in one size, a soft-box pressed petit robusto or rothschild measuring 4 1/2 x 52. It also has a pigtail, or culita, cap.
Vitola: Rothschild Length: 4 1/2″ Ring Gauge: 52 Country of Origin: Nicaragua Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo Filler: Nicaraguan Factory: Tabacos Valle De Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) Blender: Nicholas Melillo Number of reviewers: 5 – Mickey T. (irratebass) Alan(Eulogy) John A. (Bostoneo) Isaac M. (The Nothing) Ryan H. (Ryan H.) Price: $13.00 Age: 1 Month Release Date: August 2019 Contributed by: Foundation Cigars
“Gorgeous looking robusto cigar that seems to be box pressed with a cool looking nipple on the top of the head. ” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“There’s a very slight barnyard note that I’m getting off the bat. I’m getting a little bit of stone fruit sweetness and baking spice finish to round out the profile. ” –Alan (Eulogy)
Flavor: 90 Strength: Medium Body/Complexity: Medium
“A slow roast on light up coaxes flavors of black pepper, spicy dates, and a dry malty backbone. A slight sweetness begins to build towards the end and subtle notes of black coffee and malt. ” –John A. (Bostoneo)
“I’m getting a ton of red pepper right off the bat. The draw is a little too tight, personally. There’s a cherry sweetness, leather, and slightly burnt toast that starts to develop. ” –Alan (Eulogy)
“Most this third is rich tobacco and red pepper. There’s a little bit of stone fruit and leather occasionally but rich tobacco is the first and last taste on the palate.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“The earth takes over the profile, you can get little nuances of the other notes of cedar and dark chocolate.burn is performing very well, draw is tighter than I would like and the smoke out put is lacking.” –Ryan H. (Ryan H.)
Flavor: 89 Strength: Medium-Strong Body/Complexity: Medium
“Getting quite a bit of spice in the final third. The floral elements are all but gone now, however after typing that the floral showed back up, but on the retro-hale……interesting, and a very good smoke. Strength is up to a medium plus now. ” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“Concentrated black coffee and bits of cinnamon greet me into the start of the last third. From here, the cigar goes into cruise control with this profile while becoming more and more concentrated and syrupy with a nutty aftertaste. ” –John A. (Bostoneo)
“I like slightly tighter than average draws but this was just a few steps above plugged. It didn’t burn hot and the smoke output was pretty good even with the tight draw though. ” –Alan (Eulogy)
“The burn performed nearly flawlessly from start to finish.” –Isaac M. (The Nothing)
“It was a very attractive cigar. I liked the soft boxed pressed shape, the nipple cap, and the overall roll was great through out. ” –Alan (Eulogy)
“Really nice cigar here. Some quite interesting floral notes a majority of the smoke, and when you least expected it the spice came in and the floral moved to the retro. Strength went from just to a medium to a medium plus, but not until the final third. ” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“I think it’s better than the sum of its parts. It smokes great, the ash was impressive, I liked the shape and ascetics of the cigar. It just could have been a bit more interesting in terms of flavor. It’s by no means bland or wispy in flavors but I’d have to be in the mood for a tobacco flavor profile to really enjoy it at the time. Still, I would recommend this if the price was right and the flavors are in your wheelhouse. ” –Alan (Eulogy)
“Overall, this was not a bad smoke. Certainly not the best of the best out there, this one gave a balance of tasty dark notes while maintaining a smooth finish without any harshness or sour notes at all. A good mile marker to measure other sticks against. ” –John A. (Bostoneo)
“This cigar staged itself well from start to finish. Transition in flavor were not widely varied until the end when I nearly became a different cigar. The body and the strength of the cigar almost seemed to roll counter-intuitively, though, and that lead to me losing some interest at times as it didn’t seem as flavorful as it had been. I’d pick up a few of these to enjoy from time to time.” –Isaac M. (The Nothing)
“A nice profile and a very relaxing experience. Buy a 10 pack give it a try.” –Ryan H. (Ryan H.)
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.
Blind Cigar Review: Foundation| Menelik
Overall Score – 90 – Very Good
Blind Cigar Review: Foundation | Menelik
"I think it's better than the sum of its parts. It smokes great, the ash was impressive, I liked the shape and ascetics of the cigar. It just could have been a bit more interesting in terms of flavor. It's by no means bland or wispy in flavors but I'd have to be in the mood for a tobacco flavor profile to really enjoy it at the time. Still, I would recommend this if the price was right and the flavors are in your wheelhouse. " -Alan (Eulogy)