Just before the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Foundation Cigar Co. announced a new release that would only be available in a humidor.

Of course, that is nothing new in the world of cigars, where humidors are almost as ubiquitous as the cigars that are stored inside them. However, these specific humidors—named Chest Collector Humidors—are a bit different.



They were created to commemorate the company’s new headquarters, which opened last year in the middle of a tobacco field in Windsor, Conn. There are were only 200 of the handmade humidors produced, each priced at $500 with 30 cigars inside. The design of the humidor was inspired by a Hoyo de Monterrey humidor from the 1920s and opens to reveal two boxes which fold up and out.

Alex “Thief Operandi” García, a Nicaraguan-born artist, designed the painting that sits in the lid that shows a tobacco field.

“We wanted to honor those predecessors who brought the leaf to the state. They worked with different varieties and really put Connecticut on the map with regards to tobacco,” said Nicholas Melillo, president of Foundation, in a press release. “We’re talking about hundreds of years of experimentation to arrive at the incredible point where we are today.”

The cigar that is included in these humidors might look a bit familiar to fans: not only is it the same 5 1/4 x 46 vitola as the regular production Tabernacle Corona Gorda, it also features the exact same band and no secondary band. In addition, the humidor cigar is rolled with the same tobacco as the regular production version, albeit in different proportions: a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper covering Mexican San Andrés binders and filler tobaccos sourced from the Jamastran Valley in Honduras as well as the Estelí and Jalapa regions of Nicaragua.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Foundation Chest Collector Humidor Corona Gorda
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut (Broadleaf)
  • Binder: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Corona Extra
  • MSRP: $16.60 (Boxes of 30, $500)
  • Release Date: Nov. 16, 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 30 Cigars (6,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Visually, the Foundation Chest Collector Humidor Corona Gorda features a very rustic exterior, with a dark, almost purple brownish wrapper that features a bit of oil and is quite rough to the touch. There are some obvious veins that are a bit distracting when you hold the cigar in your hand, as well as a multitude of bumps running up and down the surface. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of cedar, strong espresso, hay, manure, black pepper, almonds, and raisin sweetness, while the cold draw brings flavors of strong hay, dark fruit, creamy leather, aged cedar, barnyard, cocoa nibs and the same raisin sweetness.

Starting out, the Foundation Chest Collector Humidor Corona Gorda features an immediate dominant flavor of rich espresso beans, interspersed with other notes of cedar, earth, leather, hay, cinnamon, roasted peanuts and a touch of cloves. In addition, there is a distinct dried raisin sweetness on the retrohale carried over from both the scent of the wrapper and the cold draw that combines very nicely with some aggressive black pepper. The draw is excellent with just the right amount of resistance for me and while the burn is not razor sharp, it is also far from needing help. Smoke production is a bit thin off of the foot—albeit well within normal levels—and the overall strength hits a point close to the medium by the end of the first third.

The sweetness changes significantly in the second third of the cigar, becoming more of a marzipan note that sticks with the profile well past the halfway point. The dominant flavor has also changes to a creamy cedar flavor with a bit of leather to back it up. Other flavors of cinnamon, hay, roasted peanuts, coffee grounds and toast flit in and out, while the black pepper on the retrohale continues to make itself known. Smoke production remains a bit thin, while both the draw and burn continue to excel. Finally, the strength has increased noticeably and reaches a point just below medium by the time the second third comes to an end.

The final third sees more changes to the sweetness of the Foundation Chest Collector Humidor, this time to a distinct burnt sugar flavor that reminds me strongly of crème brûlée. The dominant flavors continue to be a combination of creamy cedar and leather, backed up by lesser notes of cocoa nibs, rich tobacco, peanuts, cinnamon, coffee beans and black pepper on the retrohale, which has started to wane a bit. Construction-wise, both the draw and burn continue to impress, while the overall strength stalls out just after reaching the full mark as I put the nub down with about an inch to go.

Final Notes

  • The name Tabernacle is in reference to the portable dwelling of God on earth that was carried around by the Israelites as described in the book of Exodus.
  • The Foundation Chest Collector Humidor took the fifth spot in halfwheel’s 2017 Packaging Awards.
  • Construction was awesome overall, with only one sample needing one touch-up in the first third.
  • Final smoking time was a respectable one hour and 22 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel. The humidor was given to halfwheel by Foundation Cigar Co., though none of those cigars were smoked for the review.
91 Overall Score

If there is one word I would use to describe Foundation Chest Collector Humidor Corona Gorda, it would be extreme. Not in a bad way—far from it, in fact—but extreme describes just about everything in this cigar, from the excellent construction to the black pepper on the retrohale that does not dissipate until well into the final third to the ever-morphing sweetness that constantly changes from a dried raisin note in the first third to a marzipan flavor in the second third and finally a burnt sugar note in the final third. Having said that, you will not mistake this for a light blend at any point and while it is full-bodied enough to affect the balance a bit, it is not near bad enough to stop me from recommending trying it for yourself if you can get ahold of one.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.