Cigar Review: The Tabernacle Lancero by Foundation Cigar Company

  • TabLanc_straightVitola: Lancero
  • 7” x 40 ring gauge 
  • MSRP $12.50
  • Purchased at Maxamar

Background

It surprised me to realize that I first reviewed The Tabernacle from Foundation Cigar Company over a year ago, when it first came out. It was the first entry in what I was hoping to be a “Battle of the Broadleaves” between two former Drew Estate employees: Nick Melillo (who founded Foundation and blended Tabernacle) and Steve Saka (whose company is Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust and his Broadleaf blend is Mi Querida). In the end I ended up giving the bigger nod to Mi Querida, but I can’t deny that The Tabernacle is an extraordinary smoke. We didn’t get the Lancero size at Burns when it came out, so I was happy to be able to pick one up on my recent California trip and saved it for this review.

Reviewing the details, The Tabernacle blend uses Honduran (Jamastran Valley) and Nicaraguan (Estelí and Jalapa) fillers, a Mexican San Andres binder, and a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. Nick Melillo did blend this cigar and is having them rolled in the AJ Fernandez factory in Nicaragua.

Prelight

The box design hasn’t changed from the initial release…still a wooden box with fairly elaborate artwork on the lid. The band for this lancero release is scaled down rather dramatically. It almost seems too small, with very tiny type and a minuscule image of Haile Selassie (225th King of Abyssinia) on it.

The wrapper leaf itself was a dark chocolate brown color with an almost velvety feel to it and a good amount of oils under my fingertips. Giving it a sniff, I got notes of cocoa powder, earth and cedar, while the foot had a slightly sweet tinge to it and still some earthiness.

The prelight draw was good with just a slight bit of resistance. Flavor-wise the cold draw had earth and oak notes with a touch of unsweetened cocoa.

TabLance_bandFlavor

The Tabernacle Lancero fired up quickly and evenly, exploding into flavors of earth, dark semi-sweet chocolate, and chili pepper, with a lighter dose of cedar and dried fruit toward the finish. At the start, the retrohale was almost painfully peppery. As the first third continued on the pepper mellowed out a bit and more cedar and sweet flavors started coming through.

The sweetness continued to build as I worked my way through the second third, taking on a richer chocolate note, bolstered by notes of earth and red pepper flake. The woody notes subsided, too, allowing the sweetness to come through even stronger.

The last third showed even more sweetness and a more subdued pepper spice. The Tabernacle Lancero proved to be very sweet and enjoyable right until the end.

Construction

It’s rare for a Lancero to be as perfectly built as this: great draw, almost perfect burn line and very solid ash.

TabLance_angleValue

The Tabernacle line is a “premium” line and is priced as such. For Broadleaf fans like me, though, it’s well worth it.

Conclusions

The Lancero size of The Tabernacle really showcased the sweetness inherent in the Broadleaf wrapper, though I suspect the Mexican binder added some extra to the proceedings. This was a fantastic full-bodied smoke that is among the finest Broadleaf-wrapped cigars I have ever had, making it most enjoyable vitola of this blend, in my opinion. A Perfect 10 and a new dark horse candidate for Cigar of the Year.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 5/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 10/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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