One of the first-time exhibitors at this year’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show was no stranger to the show floor, but now with his own company and debut brand, it would be interesting to see how Nicholas Melillo and Foundation Cigar Co. would be received by the retailers.

Foundation Cigar Co Booth IPCPR 2015

After being greeted by the two figures you see above, it was onto to an introduction to Melillo’s first line, El Güegüense, the Aztec word for the wise man. It’s a Nicaraguan puro using AGANORSA tobacco: a corojo 99 wrapper from Finca Puntalito in Jalapa and a corojo 99 binder from Finca San Jose in Jalapa, while the filler has a mixture of corojo and criollo from Estelí and Jalapa. Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) is producing the cigar.

Foundation Cigar Co El Gueguense

There are five vitolas being produced for the line’s launch, Robusto (5 1/2 x 50), Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46), Toro Huaco (6 x 56), Torpedo (6 1/4 x 52) and Churchill (7 x 48). All fives sizes will be sold in boxes of 25 with pricing set between $9-13 and are due in September.

The rest of the booth was elaborately decorated with masks from Nicaraguan artists La Familia Florez, and it was certainly colorful and inviting, as the tables were filled nearly every time we passed by.

Davidoff is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.