In the General Cigar Co. booth at the 2016 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show, Michael Giannini had a new project to show off from the Foundry Tobacco Co. brand called Time Flies.
This ended up being the last project General and Giannini would release together under the Foundry line, as only a couple months later it was announced that Giannini would be leaving the compan. Labeled as the brainchild of Giannini, the Foundry brand was launched in 2012 and featured cigars with very interesting themes including steampunk, the periodic table and this latest one – Time Flies, which features a very Dia de los Muertos-feeling skull with a few well placed gears, giving it just a touch of steampunk feel as well.
While the line will come in four sizes for regular production, additionally there were two limited editions released. One version comes in skull shaped boxes and the other in a custom $35,000 humidor, both which use an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper instead of the Ecuadorian habano 2000 that comes on the regular production cigars.
Today however, I’ll be looking at the regular production blend, which as previously mentioned comes in four sizes.
- Time Flies 550 (5 x 50) — $7.50 (Boxes of 20, $150)
- Time Flies 526 (6 x 52) — $8 (Boxes of 20, $160)
- Time Flies 54725 (7 1/4 x 54) — $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170)
- Time Flies 606 (6 x 60) — $9 (Boxes of 20, $180)
- Cigar Reviewed: Foundry Time Flies 550
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano 2000
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $7.50 (Boxes of 20, $150)
- Release Date: July 25, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Time Flies 550 has a beautiful looking, evenly colored wrapper that is extremely soft and oily to the touch—it’s not what I would call delicate, but it certainly is luxurious. There is a slight give to the cigar when squeezed, enough to appreciate but not under filled or squishy. A large barnyard aroma comes off the wrapper that is earthy, has some leather and then ends with a touch of dried fruits. The cold draw is very different, with musty wood, spicy peppers, cocoa powder and an odd but not off putting note of peanuts.
Starting into the first third there is a huge spicy pepper note that overpowers anything else that might be around. It’s a bit odd considering the cold draw was much more delicate and complex. Thankfully that quickly calms down within the first inch, with the spicy peppers almost completely dying out leaving a profile containing a significant spice note up front, followed by sweet cinnamon, almonds, creamy cedar and leather. The burn had been mostly even up until this point, but an errant section needed a touch up to keep up with the rest. Holding on to over an inch, the ash shows good construction, though it’s a bit flaky and makes a bit of a mess all over the place.
As I move into the second third of the Time Flies, the profile continues to lead with the rich spices, while sweet cinnamon, roasted almonds, creamy cedar and some old leather make up a flavorful and interesting background. The burn still seems to be having some issues, with a touch up needed again around the halfway mark. Ash pieces continue to litter the area around me, enough to the point where I’m surprised there’s still a regular looking section of ash to roll off in the ashtray. While the spice note is still dominating up front, the background has become slightly muddied though still enjoyable, with the cinnamon and cedar being the only two distinguishable notes left in the group.
Shifting into the final third, I suppose I should’ve seen the writing on the wall with the muddied notes, but the profile has taken a bit of a harsh turn with some underlying bitterness. The spice note is still strong enough up front, but the rest has seemingly fallen apart, leaving a fairly one-dimensional cigar. Needing one more touch up before things are done, the final inch is somewhat of a struggle to get through, probably one which I would’ve put down already if this wasn’t for a review.
- While all three samples performed similarly on burn and profile, two had a much more open draw, while the third was noticeably closer to ideal. The two that were more open were still within acceptable limits, but different enough to take note of.
- The limited editions of the Time Flies were both the same blend, however the 250 skull boxes were limited to just the robusto size.
- The $35,000 humidor has three sizes of the special blend, features a 30-pound skull and also comes with a special ring. Giannini teamed up with jeweler and sculpture artist Ginny Benton to create the humidor. You can view more photos of it on Benton’s site.
- The silver band has a holographic rainbow hue to it, and features the following text along the sides:
Leave a mark
Call your mother
Help a friend
Make a statement
Set a goal
Raise some eyebrows
Challenge the world
Seize the day
Expect the unexpected
- Cigars for this review were provided to halfwheel by General Cigar Co.
- A.J. Fernández, who makes this cigar, advertises on halfwheel.
- Final smoking time averaged an hour and a half.
Going into the Time Flies 550, the cold draw really drew me in and got me pumped for the cigar. Though the very beginning started a bit surprising, it transformed into something that was truly sublime. Fortunately, that great profile lasted for about half of the total cigar, but unfortunately it started falling apart towards the end of the second third. Slowly going downhill, the final third ended in somewhat of a mess, which was really disappointing for how great the earlier profile was. I still think that the Time Flies blend has some great potential, and I’ll personally be looking to trying some of the other sizes as well. If you do happen to see these at your local shop, I wouldn’t hesitate in picking one up to try for yourself, as it was certainly something I enjoyed more than not.