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Cigar Review: The Tabernacle By Foundation Cigar Co.

The Tabernacle By Foundation Cigar Co.





The Tabernacle is Foundation Cigar Company’s newest super premium cigar, boasting a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and some of Nicaragua’s finest fillers. It is a combination of tastes that calls on founder Nicholas Melillo’s roots in the Connecticut River Valley and also his work with the finest artisanal tobacco batches in Nicaragua.

“I want to show my love for Connecticut Broadleaf,” says Melillo. “I was born in New Haven where, at the turn of the century, there were many cigar factories.” Also wanting to continue showcasing the flavors of northern Nicaragua, Melillo blended The Tabernacle at AJ Fernandez’s factory in Estelí.



“AJ grows some of his tobacco on the farm, La Soledad, where I lived on when I first moved to Estelí in 2003. I know firsthand that AJ’s farm is blessed with the perfect location for growing filler tobaccos. He has incredible tobacco inventories and gave me full access to some of his best leaf for this project.”

The Tabernacle box tells the story of the cigar’s name. The artwork features an image of none other than Haile Selassie, 225th King of Abyssinia, whose lineage traces directly to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The reference to “tabernacle” is as a container for the Ark of the Covenant.”



  • 4 1/2 x 52 – Torpedo – 24 count box
  • 5 1/4 x 46 Corona – 24 count box
  • 5 x 50 Robusto – 24 count box
  • 6 x 52 – Toro – 24 count box
  • 7 x 54 Doble Corona – 24 count box
  • 7 x 40 Lancero – 13 count box



“They call me ‘Chief of the Broadleafs’ for a reason,” Melillo continues. “I have been working closely with farmers in Connecticut for over ten years. Broadleaf is more than tobacco for me. It is something sacred.”
On the outside, this cigar uses a CT Broadleaf wrapper, selected by Melillo for this project two years ago.

“AJ Fernandez has been meticulously fermenting this broadleaf wrapper and the combination of both of our passions for tobacco is dangerous.” The Tabernacle also uses a San Andreas Mexico binder and filler from Jamastran Valley in Honduras, plus the Esteli and Jalapa Valley in Nicaragua.





A beautiful dark brown CT Broadleaf wrapper with minimal tooth and vein but notable seam. The wrapper transitions from dark brown to a lighter shade in the sunlight. The feel of the wrapper has a rough almost shark skin feel to it. The single band on the Tabernacle is muted black and lighter grey in color with gold and red accents.

In the middle of the band, as explained in a press release last year from Foundation Cigar Co. is an image of none other than Haile Selassie, 225th King of Abyssinia, whose lineage traces directly to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The reference to “tabernacle” is as a container for the Ark of the Covenant.”

Looking like a full on hippie with a beard, long hair with a cake looking hat and Dali Lama robe. Below reads “THE TABERNACLE” with “ESTELI-NICARAGUA” in straight gold font. The vitola has a rounded cap and a wide open foot. Pre light aroma produced dark chocolate, sweet cedar and natural tobacco. The cold draw had flavors of milk chocolate, powdered cocoa, cedar and earth.




Upon first light there is an immediate flavor of orange peel with heavy doses of dark chocolate, cedar and creamy leather. The aroma from the vitola is that of freshly lit cedar.

Black pepper is present at a medium level crescendoing into a light pepper dusting. An aftertaste of coffee and mocha are present in between draws. The retro is producing an assault on the nostrils with a full dose of black pepper evolving into a light caramel flavor with a continued spice noted several seconds after exhale.




Entering cruise control the chocolate flavors are off the chart! Creamy dark chocolate with a background nuance of semi sweet milk chocolate is present. Overall the taste is very reminiscent of baked brownies or chocolate cake.

Other notable background flavors of coffee, mocha and creamy leather. Black pepper has decreased allowing a distinct chocolate core to take point. The retro has decreased in strength evolving into flavors of toffee and caramel.


“I had to keep reminding myself that this is a cigar and not a chocolate brownie, keep smoking and don’t eat it”




In the final duration flavors of baked brownies, roasted nuts and a nuance of Oreos complete with cream filling. To say the saturation of chocolate flavors being produced is an understatement. Background flavors of sweet cedar, coffee and milk chocolate are present and experienced mostly in between draws with a light dusting of pepper noted on the lips and palate.

The retro has decreased significantly allowing a long finish of toffee and caramel. From first light to final third I had to keep reminding myself that this is a cigar and not a chocolate brownie, keep smoking and don’t eat it.




The construction of the Tabernacle was solid all the way through. The draw had the perfect amount of resistance on the straight cut producing an abundance of thick dense creamy and aromatic white smoke. The burn line was razor sharp, the CT Broadleaf almost burned separately from the filler with the carbon line pulling away from the ash, I have experienced this in several thick Broadleaf wrappers and it imposed no threat to the integrity of the cigar.

The whitish ash held past the inch point and tapped off with ease, zero re lights were required as the vitola smoldered producing an almost reddish orange glow with the combustion of the filler tobacco. The strength of the Tabernacle was in the solid HIGH MEDIUM to FULL BODIED wheelhouse that produced a myriad of complex and balanced flavors. Quite a follow up to the highly successful El Gueguense that took top honors on Cigar Smoke’s list of 2015.

Due to time restraints and acquisition of Tabernacle samples this review comes after our 2016 tops were published, as a result it was not in our top 25, my mistake as this would have clearly taken a high spot on our list which it so clearly deserved.



  • Chocolate/Dark/Milk
  • Chocolate Brownies/Cake
  • Oreos
  • Cream/Cream Leather
  • Sweet Cedar
  • Coffee
  • Mocha
  • Black Pepper/Medium
  • Black Pepper on the retro evolving into flavors of Toffee/Caramel


Cigars purchased: Auction

Cigars smoked for review: 3

Cigar Smoke rate: 94

Size: 6 x 52 (Toro)

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: San Andreas Mexico

Filler: Jamastran Valley Honduras, Nicaragua Esteli and Jalapa Valley



Toar Campbell

Love of all things cigars, craft beer, Stouts, IPA's (any beer). Follow me on Untappd @Toar Campbell. Writer, reviewer, founder
Toar Campbell

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