General Cigar Co.’s Foundry has been one of, it not the most interesting projects of the last few years. It’s taken on many different names, many different shapes and many different blends. There’s been nearly 50 different cigars in the first three years of the brand, a number that while staggering, gets intensified given that new sizes have only been announced once per year at the annual IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.

War of Currents is one of the lines under the Foundry header, named after the fight between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla over which system of currents should be used for the U.S. electric grid.

Not to make anything more confusing, but War of Currents has two different lines under its name. Four were part of the limited edition Invention Series, while the other two are part of the regular production Laboratories Series.

Foundry War of Currents

  • Foundry War of Currents Auburn (6 x 50) — $8.25 (Boxes of 10, $82.50) — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Foundry War of Currents Belgrade (5 3/4 x 60) — $9.45 (Boxes of 10, $94.50) — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Foundry War of Currents Madison (6 x 57) — $8.95 (Boxes of 10, $89.50) — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Foundry War of Currents Menlo (5 x 60) — $8.45 (Boxes of 10, $84.50) — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Foundry War of Currents Laboratories West Orange (5 x 1/2 x 50) — $7.95 (Boxes of 24, $190.80) — Regular Production
  • Foundry War of Currents Laboratories Shoreham (5 1/2 x 54) — $8.25 (Boxes of 24, $198) — Regular Production

I reviewed the Menlo last April and found it to be pleasant, although overly salty.

Never a bad cigar, but never a good cigar. I’m somewhat intrigued to smoke some of the other War of Currents, and the price points make it a whole lot easier to do. This is not one that I will be purchasing again, but I wouldn’t be opposed to smoking one again. It’s boring, but still smokable. I really could do without the salt though.

After recently having some draw issues with another cigar, I was intrigued as to where things sat with the trompeta.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Foundry War of Currents Menlo
  • Country of Origin: n/a
  • Factory: n/a
  • Wrapper: n/a
  • Binder: n/a
  • Filler: n/a
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 60
  • Vitola: Trompeta
  • MSRP: $8.45 (Boxes of 10, $84.50)
  • Date Released: Sept. 24, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Redux: 1

The Menlo is hard, not something I remember experiencing with this cigar a year or so ago. While the band never sat flush against the back of the cigar, it has undone a bit more although it’s still holding on fine. As for the cold draw, there’s lots of sunflower seed, some sweetness, grains, earth, mild flavors and some saltiness, which gives me a lot of concern. I unfortunately forgot to cut the cigar before lighting, so no cold draw.

Once cut, I take my first puff which is dominated by a smooth earthiness with sweet leather behind it. The flavors are not particularly rich, but they are as smooth as I’ve ever had and sit somewhere around medium. There’s plenty of life in the flavor, but I quickly get the sense that this might be the peak of the Menlo’s aging spectrum. There’s lots of indications that the flavors have fully matured and I decided to enjoy it. The sunflower seed becomes more prominent in the first third, which remains dominated by a sweet earth, some sweetness and the occasional thyme. Floral flavor and grassiness add themselves to the mix in the second third, which also features a lemon drop cake sweetness in the nose and a well-done steak sensation on the otherwise earth finish. The floral flavors don’t really pick up at all in the final third, but the grassiness goes away so the floral perkiness is greatly increased. Peanuts are also there on the finish, which once again retains a touch of earthiness.

Foundry War of Currents Menlo

Smoke production is great from the moment I lit the Foundry Menlo and the cigar does well to sit more than 90 seconds between puffs before blasting out a cloud of smoke, which is great for my smoking style. Up until the last inch, when the Trompeta was really slimming down, the draw remained great throughout. Strength is medium from start to finish.

Disclosure: General Cigar Co. is an advertiser on halfwheel.

92 Overall Score

I have criticized Foundry in the past as a brand where the tobacco has been secondary. I still think that holds true—and the martian tobacco idea at last year’s trade show only adds fuel to that fire. However, I really enjoyed this Menlo. It was still a relatively basic cigar, not delivering the layers of complexity as many other cigars that score well on this site, but what it did do, it did well. This is the most drastic improvement I’ve ever remembered on a cigar and proof again as to why we do these sort of reduxes.

Original Score (April 2014)
Redux Score (March 2015)
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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.