Pronounced “El-Wah-Wen-Say,” the new El Güegüense cigars are being made at the TABSA factory in Nicaragua, home of Casa Fernandez, Viaje, and some Illusione cigars. The name is based on one of Nicaragua’s most culturally iconic folklore dramas and translates to “the wiseman.” The imagery on the box looks like the masks used in the performance.
According to Melillo, El Güegüense is blended with vintage-specific tobacco. The blend is comprised of a Corojo ’99 wrapper and binder from Jalapa, though from different tobacco farms, while the filler is made up of Criollo and Corojo tobaccos from 2011 and 2012 crop years. (Note: Corojo ’99 does not indicate harvest year, but seed variety.)
The El Güegüense cigars will be packaged in boxes of 25 and in five sizes: Robusto, 5 1/2 inches by 50 ring; Corona Gorda, 5 5/8 by 46; Toro Huaco, 6 by 56; Churchill, 7 by 48; and Torpedo, 6 1/4 by 52. They’ll retail from $9 to $13 . They will be debuting at the IPCPR trade show on July 18, but the cigars will not be available until September.
Melillo formerly ran production at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Nicaragua, where he worked for 11 years. The Connecticut-based Foundation Cigar Co. is his first cigar brand since departing Drew Estate in 2014.