Nick Melillo was back this year with a colorful new booth, new Foundation cigar lines and of course, new insights into the world of tobacco. We got started with The Upsetters. Nick has been a long time fan of reggae music and Jamaican tobacco, and he also has a history of working with Nicaraguan tobacco. Those factors came together to create The Upsetters, which features both Jamaican and Nicaraguan tobacco (as well as a “Caribbean infusion”). He describes the profile as balanced, sweet and aromatic.
That leads into a discussion about the indigenous tobacco strain called “cows tongue” or “silver tongue”, as well as the unique curing process used by Jamaicans. The process is similar to the fire curing done in Kentucky, but instead of burning hard woods, they use herbs. The end result is a tobacco that is surprisingly mild.
Up next is The Tabernacle. The cigar has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Mexican San Andres binder, and Esteli, Jalapa and Jamastran fillers. The cigar will retail for $9 to $12 and Nick describes the flavor of this one as rich, earthy and espresso-like. The meaning behind the name is “a transportable container of something that is holy” which describes how Nick feels about his humidor, but is also a reference to the Ark of the Covenant, which some claim is held in Ethiopia. The image on the box is of Haile Selassie, the 225th and last king of Ethiopia. As it turns out, Nick is well versed on the history of Ethiopia, and gives us some background. OK, a lot of background. But it’s pretty interesting.
Also new is The Charter Oak, which Nick created to pay tribute to both Connecticut and his grandfather. It comes in five sizes and two wrappers: Connecticut Broadleaf and an Ecuadoran Connecticut Shade. It uses the second cuts from The Tabernacle line and will retail for $4 to $6, plus applicable taxes.
Last but not least we talk about the new El Güegüense Special Edition Lancero (7 1/2 x 40, $12.50 MSRP). 250 boxes of 13 were produced. Nick also mentions a special edition Short Lancero (5 1/2 x 40, $11.50 MSRP) whose proceeds will go to BOTL Operation Esteli. There are 20 to a box, and only 200 boxes made.