Charter Oak Review


First a little introduction: My name is Peter and I’ve been smoking cigars 19 years. I am a native of NY and as such I am sarcastic and acerbic. If you don’t agree with me then say so and stand by your convictions when challenged. If not, then shut up and go away. I tend to be pretty picky about what cigars I like and have yet to find a reviewer whose pallet is similar to my own. As such I don’t really read a reviews tasting notes. I go by the overall score. Keep that in mind when reading my thoughts on cigars. I might hate it but I’m not you. Try it for yourself.

Now here is a little of my approach to judging cigars. The nature of a handmade product is that there will be deviation from the standard. With a single cigar you don’t know if you’re smoking the deviation or the standard. So in order to have an informed opinion at least three samples need to be smoked. That said first impression are important. The cost of cigars is ever increasing and the consumer has a wide array of choices. If that first smoke isn’t any good I’m probably not going to give it another try.

For that reason, I try to take care to properly store my cigars before smoking and forming an opinion. This doesn’t just mean keeping them properly humidified and at the right temperature. It also means letting cigars I have had shipped to me sit in my humidor for a week prior to smoking. As well if I pick up something at my local shop that is a few days off of the truck I’m going to let it rest for a week. Now I do cheat from time to time on those releases I’ve been dying to try. In these cases, I smoke the first one as soon as I can get it onto my grubby little hands but don’t formulate a solid opinion. I wait until after resting and then smoking the others I’ve bought to do that.

In part one of my FIRST IMPRESSIONS I’ll be giving you my thoughts on three new releases from Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Company. The Charter Oak Connecticut Broadleaf, the Charter Oak U.S. Connecticut Shade and the Tabernacle. Foundation Cigars Charter Oak Broadleaf

First up is the Charter Oak Connecticut Broadleaf in the 4 ½ x 50 Rothschild vitola.

Blend information

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Undisclosed

Filler: Undisclosed

Factory: Undisclosed

Now for my first impressions The cigar starts gritty and earthy. At less than an inch in notes of cedar and unrefined sugar developed. It’s smoking quickly but staying cool The retrohale is very peppery and jalapeno like Ending of the 1/3 and the strength & body are dialing back back from Medium+ to Medium – The retrohale has deeply mellowed to gentle earth and oakiness At the halfway point and there are notes of oak, earth, and a slightly bitterness The burn rate slowed significantly at the halfway point Entering the 2/3 with lots of gentle bitterness The whole of the 2/3 is oak and bitterness. It needs a sweet component to balance it out The retrohale has a generic woodiness and the spice has all but gone away The 3/3 is much of the same but less distinct. very boring This is a solid value prices smoke that is worth a revisit for a full review

Next I smoked the Charter Oak Connecticut Shade in the 4 ½ x 50 Rothschild vitola.

Foundation Cigars Charter Oak CT ShadeBlend information

Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Shade Grown

Binder: Undisclosed

Filler: Undisclosed

Factory: Undisclosed

It starts with notes of hay, coffee and cream, lots of cream The retrohale has the same hay with some sweetness, cream and pepper spice Bottom of the first inch, very nice cinnamon finish on the pallet Bottom of the 1/3 generic wood, retrohale is nice and sweet Surprisingly this US CT is smoking slower than the Broadleaf.

At the halfway point and it’s all about the retrohale, crème brulée baby Entering 3/3 and the flavors have mellowed out to light sweet cream with a touch of bitterness on finish The retrohale is short and sweet and oak notes

This is a very impressive little smoke. I am very surprised at how creamy it was considering it US CT wrapper and not the sweeter Ecuadorian variety This as a cigar to smoke again


Finally, I smoked the Tabernacle in the 7 x 40 Lancero vitola. Foundation Cigars Tabernacle

Blend Information

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Mexican San Andres

Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan

Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez, Nicaragua

Start out rich and with notes of raisin, chili spice and that broadleaf tobacco sweetness. Early on I got a weird but not unpleasant French fries note. The retrohale is tons of cocoa Bottom of 1/3 with lots of sweetness and earth. The retrohale tastes of cinnamon graham cracker The hallway point and it pretty much the same as the start and it is so good Entering final third and still the same. But damn it is good Last inch and there are earthy touches of sweetness. This Tabernacle Lancero really surprised me. I am not Lancero goy. But I really enjoyed this one.