Once Nicholas Melillo announced his new Foundation Cigar Co., the question became when would the self-proclaimed “chief of broadleaf” make a cigar with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper? It would come in the form of his sophomore release, or releases, namely by way of a line called The Tabernacle, as well as the more value-priced Charter Oak Maduro.

Connecticut is known best for its mustard-colored shade-grown wrappers and to a lesser degree, the dark, oily broadleaf tobacco, but those two are hardly the only tobacco being grown in the state. In 1875, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station was founded to do exactly as the name implies—experiment. Tobacco is part of what the Experiment Station does and it’s produced a myriad of tobacco varietals over the years.

As the name of this cigar would suggest, the wrapper is Havana Seed CT No.142, a variation of a Cuban-seed tobacco grown in Connecticut. Much of the rest of the line is shared with the original Tabernacle: the same filler components and the same four sizes. That means a Mexican San Andrés binder over a blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers, though Melillo has said there is less Honduran tobacco than the original line.

  • The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No.142 Robusto (5 x 50) — $10.50 (Boxes of 24, $252)
  • The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No.142 Corona (5 1/4 x 46) — $9 (Boxes of 24, $216)
  • The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No.142 Toro (6 x 52) — $11.50 (Boxes of 24, $276)
  • The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No.142 Double Corona (7 x 54) — $12 (Boxes of 24, $288)

The line debuted at the 2018 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in July and shipped to retailers the first week of December.

  • Cigar Reviewed: The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No.142 Corona
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: U.S.A. (Connecticut Havana Seed CT #142)
  • Binder: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Corona
  • MSRP: $9 (Boxes of 24, $216)
  • Release Date: Dec. 3, 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

I’m happy to report there’s no secondary or footband to delineate the Havana Seed CT No.142 from the regular Tabernacle. Instead, the black background on the regular band has been replaced by a deep red color. In addition, there’s some text at the bottom of the band that specifies this as the second release. Comparing the two cigars—not their bands—shows the Havana Seed CT No.142 as both darker and with more oils. The aroma off the wrapper is quite pungent: saltiness, barnyard and some floral flavors. Surprisingly, the aroma from the foot isn’t as strong as the wrapper. There’s earthiness and leather, though the latter isn’t as pungent as the aromas from the wrapper either. The cold draw is much sweeter thanks to nuttiness, sugar candy and a bit of floral flavors. Despite the sweetness, the most apparent sensation is the aroma from the wrapper, which is super pungent.

The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No.1422 Corona begins with some sweet creaminess thanks to a thick butter flavor and a bit of some nuttiness and sunflower seeds, right around medium-full. As the puffs go on, the nuttiness overtakes the creaminess and is joined by earthiness and sunflower seeds. Through the nose there’s a biscuit-like bread flavor, some pepper, oranges and a homemade mayonnaise creaminess. The finish has some of that pepper along with earthiness and a bit of a metallic flavor. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. Unfortunately, the thick wrapper struggles to stay evenly lit.

There’s not a ton of differences between the first and second thirds. The earthiness begins to overtake the nuttiness, though by the end of the second third the nuttiness is back on top. There’s a definitely reduction in the sweetness of the creaminess, but the creamy flavor is still quite prevalent. If there is one major shift, it’s the retrohale—now featuring peanuts, coffee and a lot of Lay’s potato chips. Once again, I find some metallic flavors on the finish, but it’s far less than the first third, and now joined by cayenne pepper and some of that potato chip flavor. Flavor and body are both now full, while strength picks up to medium-full.

The final third of The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No.142 is the closest thing to an outlier in terms of the similarities, though it’s still quite similar. Creaminess once again moves to the forefront of the profile, now alongside mustard, nuttiness and some lemon. The earthiness that once was strongest flavors is receding with every puff and with an inch and a half to go, it’s pretty much gone. Once again, the largest shift in profile is the retrohale, now just white pepper with a touch of leather. Flavor and body are both full, as is the strength.

Final Notes

  • I mentioned this in a few other places, but I’m fascinated to know how this cigar would have fared on The Consensus Top 25 had it been released in early November versus early December. It managed to make the list at 18th place, but given how Foundation’s releases have done on the list in prior years, I imagine it would have been a top three candidate had most publications actually had a chance to review it.
  • Given that we take about a month from the time a cigar shows up at our office until it’s reviewed—though at the moment it’s more like two and a half months thanks to a backlog of cigars—this cigar had zero shot of making it on our list for 2018.
  • The text on the sides of the boxes are engraved pretty deep into the box, a lot more substantial than a typical box. It’s a nice touch and one that probably will get missed by 99 percent of the people who smoke this cigar
  • I really appreciate the efforts that Foundation goes through when it comes to promoting Connecticut and explaining the state’s unique tobacco history. The name of this cigar could have been something else, but it gives both the company and its retailers the time to inform consumers about Experiment Station and the various tobaccos that are grown in Connecticut.
  • Unfortunately, while Connecticut is still growing a lot of tobacco, it’s growing far less shade than it used to which is a relatively recent phenomenon.
  • The aroma from these cigars was so strong that I opted to keep these outside of my humidor in a sealed bag with a Boveda. That being said, I really enjoy opening the box of these cigars and smelling them.
  • Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Foundation Cigar Co.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes on average.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigar Hustler, Corona Cigar Co. and JR Cigar carry the Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No.142 Corona.
89 Overall Score

My initial thoughts after smoking three Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No.142 Coronas is that I really want to try one of the larger vitolas. While the Corona was a very good cigar, and likely only a few burn issues away from being a top 25 candidate, I feel like the flavors were a bit stuck together at times. I enjoyed the profile, though I do wish there was a bit more contrast and transition particularly if you aren’t retrohaling. I’d like to smoke the other vitolas before I give a verdict about whether this line is better than the original Tabernacle, but if you want to know which Corona is better, it’s definitely the 142.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda 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.