Nicholas Melillo, owner of Foundation Cigar Company, has partnered with Highclere Castle, known as the iconic face of the award-winning television drama, Downton Abbey, to create a cigar reminiscent of those enjoyed at Highclere Castle during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
“Nick is arguably one of the most well-respected cigar blenders in the industry,” said Highclere Cigar co-founder and CEO, Adam von Gootkin. “Partnering with him to craft this masterpiece cigar speaks to his obsession with quality while embracing the rich history of enjoying cigars at Highclere Castle. His access to rare tobaccos and high-quality, by hand, production capabilities has led to what will certainly be a very special, well-respected cigar.”
George Carnarvon, the current 8th Earl Carnarvon, owner of Highclere Castle and farmer of the 5,000 acre estate, is an active partner in the endeavor. “Having had the opportunity to visit Nicaragua and tour the tobacco fields and factories where our cigars are made, I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the passion and skill that goes into making a super-premium cigar. The cigar itself is an excellent representation of that, and I think my ancestors would be proud it bears the Highclere badge.”
Recently, Highclere Castle’s archivist discovered letters and personal account records of the Carnarvon’s cigar purchases in the early 1900s from dealers in London as well as the Ritz Hotel. Melillo subsequently crafted a cigar that reflects that historic flavor profile and smoking style.
The Highclere Castle Cigar is hand rolled in Estelí, Nicaragua, using a Connecticut Shade wrapper, and both Criollo and Corojo from the volcanic soils of Jalapa and the island of Ometepe. The binder is made from Mata Fina, a dark tobacco from Brazil. The blend is finalized with an exclusive hybrid seed the company has named Nicadán.
The cigar will be launched at the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association’s 85th Annual Conference in Las Vegas this coming July, 2017. The first release will be limited and cigars will be available in select cigar lounges and tobacco shops across the United States by September 1, 2017, followed by availability at Highclere Castle and internationally. Sizes to include Churchill, Toro, Petit Corona, Robusto, and Corona.
Origin: Nicaragua, Foundation
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade Grown
Binder: Brazil Mata Fina
Sizes: Petit Corona (5 1/2 x 46), Robusto (5 x 50), Corona (5 x 42), Toro (6 x 52), Churchill (7 x 48)