Back in July of 2022, just before the PCA trade show, Foundation Cigars announced a new addition to their core line of cigars, Olmec, named after one of the oldest civilizations know on Earth. Foundation Olmec comes in 12-count boxes and in two wrapper options: San Andrés Maduro and Claro.
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 comes from the Olmecs, one of early Americas’ oldest and most mysterious civilizations. The Olmecs pre-date the Mayans and Aztecs and are considered the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica. They were the first to make mathematically accurate pyramids, calendars, and, perhaps, the first to smoke cigars. The Heart Land of the Olmecs is the tropical lowlands of modern-day Mexican states of Veracruz, Tabasco, and San Andrés Tuxtla. Today, this is the same region that grows high quality San Andrès Negro wrapper tobacco. This seed variety is considered one of the oldest seed varieties in the world.
Both the San Andrés Maduro and Claro blends of Olmec use the same Nicaraguan filler tobaccos from the Esteli and Jalapa valleys. After fermentation, these filler tobaccos are bale aged for three years before going into production. The San Andrés Negro wrapper tobacco comes from the rich volcanic soil of the land of the Olmecs. It is fermented slowly at low temperatures to preserve the natural oils that give flavor. Both blends will come in the same sizes and prices and boxes of 12: Corona Gorda 5 1/2 x 48 $12.50 per cigar, Robusto 5 x 50 $13.50 per cigar, Toro 6 x 52 $14.50 per cigar, Grande 6 x 60 $15.50 per cigar, Double Corona 7 x 52 $16.00 per cigar.
Ring Gauge: 52
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrès Negro
Filler: Esteli and Jalapa
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
Blender: Nicholas Melillo
Number of reviewers: 4 – John A. (Bostoneo) Alan (Eulogy) Jason H. (Jokey Smurf) Mickey T. (irratebass)
Age: 2 Months
Release Date: n/a
Contributed by: Foundation Cigars
Initial Impressions – Foundation Olmec Maduro Toro (Pre-Release)
“A large, slightly pressed, ring gauged cigar, six inches in length. The dark hued and rustic brown wrapper adorns this big, beautiful stick that is densely spotted with plenty of tooth. This is all topped with a slightly oversized cap, which could be slightly unattractive.” –John A. (Bostoneo)
“Aroma on the body reminds me of Coca-Cola which is a new one on me. There is heavy barnyard aromas coming off the foot.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“I’m getting most of the flavor from the retrohale with notes of baking spice, raisins, mild pepper, and sweet cedar. I wish this was on the draw as it is falling a bit flat. There is an oily black pepper on the draw. As it gets closer to the end of this third the flavors pick up a bit and dry oak, leather, and walnuts.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“The first puffs of this sample are initially light and sweet but quickly morph into wood and leather. The finish is peppery at the back of my palate while the mouth feel is slick and oily. The flavors fade quickly but the pepper sensation hangs around until the next puff and sometimes makes me want to clear my throat. The smoke is ample and through the nose has a significant pepper bite. Fortunately it flashes quickly and is gone, making me able to retrohale every puff if I choose to do so.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
“Charred notes of wood with full bodied notes of black and green peppercorns. As the ash begins to periodically flake off, the flavors deepen toward the heavier side of medium body with graphite and even more charred, slightly sour, notes.” –John A. (Bostoneo)
“This third is much better on the draw. The profile is pretty dry with notes of cedar, leather, pepper, baking spice, walnuts, and a slightly sweet tobacco. I still like the retrohale a bit more with raisins, baking spice, and mild pepper giving off a nice bready flavor.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“A full-bodied profile comes into play here as burn and construction remain consistently top notch. Charred wood, dark leather, and slight earthy black pepper are the main notes gathered thus far. As I work my way towards the end of this cigar, the profile becomes more and more syrupy until, eventually, this cigar comes to a close.” –John A. (Bostoneo)
“Very similar to the previous third. Walnuts, baking spice, mild pepper, leather, and oak for a pretty dry profile. The smoke output and draw remain very good till the end.” –Alan (Eulogy)
Overall Impressions – Foundation Olmec Maduro Toro (Pre-Release)
“The draw is almost perfect with just a slightly too snug feel. The smoke output is fantastic with thick creamy smoke.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“Excellent burn as there were no relights or touch ups needed.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“This was a nice looking cigar and the box press was really nice for when I wanted to set it down. The ash held on for solid 1” chunks but did tend to fall off beyond that length.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium-Full
Experience Overall: 91
“Overall, this was mighty tasty. A wonderful mixture of leather, charred wood, stewed fruits and pepper led the way to make a winning combination. Combined with great construction, it makes this cigar a no brainer to pick up again to enjoy again!” –John A. (Bostoneo)
“It does everything so well even though it isn’t my favorite profile. After the first inch the flavors start to warm up and matches the strength. This probably isn’t a morning cigar but I could see this pairing very well with a strong drink. If you enjoy rich, bold, strong cigars this is an easy recommendation.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“This was a nice way to start the day but I would have preferred the flavor profile to be reversed and had it start mellow and morph into the fuller bodied smoke it was in the beginning. Based on the gradual lessening of flavor, body, and strength it lost my attention towards the end. It was good but I should have smoked it backwards.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
“This cigar was ok. It really didn’t give up many transitions. I did get cream, molasses, and wood notes but that was pretty much it from start to finish. If you want a cigar to smoke and not have to think about and just chill then this one is for you. Sadly this just wasn’t for me. I would have liked more transitions. I would not seek these out.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
Smoking Time (in minutes): 112
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.