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First introduced at the 2012 IPCPR show, the Foundry Tobacco Company started off as a way for General Cigar Company to show off some of its more innovative packaging and blends. While the inaugural releases took inspiration from the Steampunk era, Michael Giannini upped the ante in 2013, announcing 18 different blends at once in the newly conceived Compounds, Elements and Musings line.

As the name suggests, each of different blends is inspired by one of the elements on the Periodic Table, with packaging to match Giannini’s unique interpretation. For the most part, the actual components of each blend are not being disclosed, as Giannini wants people to smoke the cigars without any preconceived notions. While the vast majority of the blends are limited releases, Carbon and Uranium will remain in production.

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The Foundry Tobacco Company website has some general information about the line:

Inspired by the periodic table, Compounds, Elements, and Musings is a study in contrasts and complexities. Here, chemical elements are represented by 18 exotic blends, each exhibited in arresting packaging. Multitudes of tobacco, handpicked from obscurity, compose the common thread among them.
Intricacy reigns. Take Plutonium, with four different blends, each in the same size, all within one box. Or H2O, with three blends applied to one size, also within the same box. Then there’s Titanium, with two different sizes together in one box. It doesn’t end there.
Just two of the blends will stay, with Carbon and Uranium. The remaining 16 blends and their outrageous presentations will be retired once their supply is depleted. The quantity of each blend is set according to the scarcity of the tobacco it contains. As unpredictable as science itself, no two blends will retire together.
As the periodic table predicts new, yet to be discovered or synthesized elements, this grouping of extremely limited blends foretells enigmatic, provocative releases to come. 

There are 18 different blends under 14 different frontmarks in the Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings line:

Foundry Elements Compounds  Musings

  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Hydrogen (6 1/2 x 46 x 56) —$5.85 (Boxes of 20, $117.00)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Helium (6 5/8 x 54) — $5.30 (Boxes of 20, $106.00)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Carbon (5 1/2 x 60) — $4.99 (Boxes of 77, $384.23)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Argon (5 x 50) — $5.49 (Boxes of 25, $137.25)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Titanium Belicoso (6 x 52) — $4.45 (Boxes of 20, $88.95)1
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Titanium Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 46) — $4.45 (Boxes of 20, $88.95)1
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Vandium (6 1/8 x 54) — $5.99 (Boxes of 20, $119.80)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Xenon (6 1/4 x 54) — $6.25 (Boxes of 20, $125.00)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Europium (7 x 60) — $6.75 (Boxes of 20, $135.00)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Gold (5 1/2 x 55) — $5.75 (Boxes of 20, $143.75)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Uranium (7 x 70)  — $6.99 (Boxes of 18, $125.82)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Plutonium (5 x 50) — $5.99 (Boxes of 25, $159.75)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Plutonium (5 x 50) — $5.99 (Boxes of 25, $159.75)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Plutonium (5 x 50) — $5.99 (Boxes of 25, $159.75)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Plutonium (5 x 50) — $5.99 (Boxes of 25, $159.75)
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings H (5 x 50) — $5.00 (Boxes of 36, $180.00)2
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings 2 (5 x 50) — $5.00 (Boxes of 36, $180.00)2
  • Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings O (5 x 50) — $5.00 (Boxes of 36, $180.00)2

1The Titanium is sold in one box of 20. The box contains 10 cigars of each size.

2The H, 2 and O are three cigars with different wrappers sold in one box of 36. Each box contains 12 of each wrapper.

The boxes the Foundry Europium come in actually look very different than what was shown in press photos. Without the glossy exterior and clasp to close it, the boxes look less like a steamer trunk, and more like a fairly normal box with the addition of a few extra pieces on top.

Foundry Europium Box 1

Foundry Europium Box 2

Foundry Europium Box 3

Foundry Europium Box 4

Foundry Europium 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Foundry Compounds, Elements & Musings Europium
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
  • Wrapper: n/a
  • Binder: n/a
  • Filler: n/a
  • Size: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 60
  • Vitola: Gordo Extra
  • MSRP: $6.75 (Boxes of 20, $135.00)
  • Date Released: September 24, 2013 
  • Number of Cigars Released: 150 Boxes of 20 (3,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The first thing you notice when you see the Foundry Europium is the absolutely massive main band, then the secondary band, then the fact that it is 7 x 60 cigar. A barely seen dark espresso brown wrapper covers the cigar that glistens with oil and is fairly rough to the touch. It is extremely spongy when squeezed, almost to the point that it is distracting. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong earth, leather and pepper, but not much else.

Right off the bat, the Foundry has strong flavors of leather, earth, hay and dark chocolate, along with an interesting — albeit fairly small — vanilla sweetness that comes and goes throughout the first third. There is a touch of black pepper present on the retrohale at points, but no spice at all, and the amount of smoke is not as large as I was excepting, considering the size of the cigar. I am noticing a slightly bitter finish that is a little disconcerting, and really hope it does not get stronger. Construction-wise, the draw is a bit loose for my tastes, and while the burn gives me no major issues, it is far from perfect. The overall strength is just not a factor so far, and ends the first third well below the medium mark.

Foundry Europium 2

Unfortunately, the slight sweetness that was present in the first third of the Foundry Europium starts to dissipate fairly quickly as the second third progress, eventually disappearing altogether by the halfway point. It has been replaced by a stronger bitterness on the finish, which seems to be getting stronger as the second third continues. The core flavors have stayed the same for the most part, although all are less distinct: earth, hay, leather, dark chocolate and a little coffee every once in a while. Construction-wise, the draw is still fairly open and the burn is still a bit wavy, and the strength is still below the medium mark.

Foundry Europium 3

The final third of the Foundry Europium is almost a carbon copy of the second third: no sweetness, same palate wrecking bitterness on the finish, same loose draw and a burn that never comes close to evening up. The flavors remain the same as well for the most part, with earth and hay leading the way and leather and coffee bringing up the rear. One change is the smoke production, which has increased noticeably, and stays strong until the end of the smoke. The strength never quite makes it to the medium mark, but gives it the old college try, ending just short before I have to put the nub down with a little more than an inch left.

Foundry Europium 4

Final Notes

  • I have to say, the marketing for these cigars truly astounds me. While I have to admire his enthusiasm, Michael Giannini admits multiple times on this video interview that he used logos for the various element releases for no other reason than he liked the way they looked and that he did not even know what some of the elements were before choosing to use them.
    • For example, he says, “I don’t really know what Europium does, but I don’t have to,” before explaining that his interpretation involves going to Europe, a logo of a merman and a box that looks like a steamer trunk. 
    • The box for the Helium blend has a Hindenburg-like airship in flames, despite the fact that there was actually hydrogen (which incidentally is actually another release in the series) in the airship that burned, not to mention the fact that Helium is nonflammable. 
    • The four Plutonium blends come in a box that combines to look like a bundle of dynamite, despite the fact that the two have almost nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that both could be involved in blowing something up. 
  • It confounds me that a company would go through the trouble of putting together this many blends based on a single unifying theme and then use logos, boxes and band art that has absolutely nothing to do with the element the actual cigar is named after.
  • Having said the above, some of the boxes are fairly innovative, and the series actually placed 6th in our 2013 Packaging Awards.
  • Price also has to be mentioned, as not one of the 18 releases retails for over $6.99, and the vast majority are under $6.00.
  • Patrick really enjoyed another release in this series, the Foundry Argon.
  • Cigar companies not disclosing blend information so that people can smoke without preconceived notions is nothing new, as the Quesada Heisenberg shows.
  • In February, Michael Giannini and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo announced plans to release a joint project called Re+United, which will combine tobacco from both companies into one blend.
  • Construction-wise, the burn was all over the map on the two samples I smoked, and I am glad I v-cut them, as it would have been too loose of a draw otherwise. In addition, one of the cigars I tried to smoke was totally plugged, to the point that I could not even draw enough air through it to get it lit.
  • The ash is extremely flaky, and does not hold on for more than an inch before falling at any point in the cigar, which is a bit shocking considering the ring gauge. Do not smoke this over a laptop.
  • Even in world that has the La Sirena, the main band on this cigar is so large it is almost obscene. I actually measured it, and found it is exactly three inches, which means it covers up exactly 42% of the cigar. For reference sake, the secondary band is one inch long, which means both bands together cover 57% of the total length of the cigar.
  • Speaking of the bands, I am really not sure what to make of the main one. The logo looks to be some sort of merman holding a trident, but what that has to do with an element whose main use is for its phosphorescence properties is truly anyone’s guess.
  • The final smoking time for the two samples I smoked for this review averaged two hours and 10 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • The Europium was sold exclusively through catalog retailers, mainly JR Cigars, who is now sold out.
70 Overall Score

Leaving aside the marketing and judging just the blend, the Foundry Europium is actually not bad for the first three inches or so, but after that, the profile totally falls apart, becoming extremely monotonous and including a bitterness on the finish that pretty much destroys any hope for enjoyment. The construction on both samples I was able to smoke was well below average, and it was just not an overly enjoyable cigar starting around the start of the second third. While I have not smoked all of the blends in the series, the Foundry Europium should not be your first choice to try.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

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.

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