Foundation Cigar Co. was launched in mid-2015 by cigarmaker Nicholas Melillo. Before starting his own company, Melillo was perhaps best known in the industry for running production at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Nicaragua. Foundation’s first cigar, El Güegüense (or “The Wise Man”), debuted in 2015 and a maduro version followed in 2017. Both El Güegüense cigars are made at the Tabacos Valle de Jalapa (TABSA) factory in Nicaragua. Foundation’s other two brands—The Tabernacle (2016) and Highclere Castle (2017)—are made at A.J. Fernandez’s namesake factory Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua. The company headquarters is located on the grounds of a 50-acre tobacco field in Melillo’s home state of Connecticut.

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