I stopped by Famous Smoke Shop the other day to pick up some accessories and while I was there I picked up a few cigars that I hadn’t tried before and some that I had tried but wanted different sizes. I came across the Charter Oaks Petite Corona by Foundation Cigars.

“Charter Oak cigars are an affordably-priced premium cigar edition from Nicholas Melillo that reaffirms his passion for U.S. Connecticut cigar tobacco in both shade-grown and broadleaf maduro selections. Produced at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars in Nicaragua, the core blend consists of fillers from the Estelí and Jalapa regions of Nicaragua, with a Sumatra binder for the shade version, and a Nicaraguan Habano binder for the broadleaf.” (credit Famous Smoke Shop for the description)

The El Gueguense (highly rated award winner) along with the Tablernacle, are also from Foundation Cigar Company. I have not tried anything from them yet so I decided to go with the smaller Charter Oak simply because it is freezing here in Pa and I wanted a smaller, shorter smoke.

The Petite Corona Broadleaf is 5 1/4 x 42 and features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with Nicaraguan filler and binder. It is a mild to medium strength. It is a nice maduro dark brown with the foot folded over. I pick up notes of earth, hay, cedar and a faint sweetness. The band is very cool featuring the image of a historic Oak tree from Hartford Connecticut paying tribute to state Nick was born and raised in.

With the foot being covered you can’t pick up much from it. I used a match to get started and it lit quickly. Straight guillotine cut (I almost opted for the V-cut) and off we go. Right off the bat, the semi-sweet chocolate mixes with earth and some cedar. There is a little pepper left on my palate but blends nicely. The draw is nice with a bit of resistance which is good for a cigar this small. The burn line is forming and is nice and even. The flavor profile remains basically the same. A bit of chocolate with that earthy, cedar wood, and a touch of pepper spice. The pepper doesn’t really build much but is enough to let you know that it is there. For a cigar that is priced under $5, I am VERY impressed with it. I did not expect this much complexity and flavor from this stick.

The second third adds a bit of leather and a nice creamy feel to the blend. The draw is still great, the burn got a bit off but I attribute that to the swirling heat from the heater in the garage. I walked outside in the brisk, cold air for a couple of minutes and the burn evened out immediately. I can’t believe the flavors coming out of this smoke. This cigar rivals cigars I have paid double the price for. Very impressive. Still picking up the earthy, cedar, leather and spice with faint sweetness that pulls it all together.

The final third there is a subtle sourness that comes in but is not overpowering and blends in with the sweetness. The pepper and wood notes are still around and this cigar ends with a very nice, very complex flavor profile. I expected this to be a quick, short smoke but the resistance on the draw really kept this cigar from burning too hot and I got a little over an hour with it. 1 hour 15 minutes and there was little sitting time. I could not put this cigar down. I can’t say enough about this cigar. For the money, I absolutely did not expect to get this much quality and flavor from it. Unbelievable smoke for around $4.50.

“I wanted to create an economy-minded, everyday smoke for connoisseurs; something tasty and delicious but didn’t break the bank”, says Melillo. Mission accomplished sir!! Well done!

Overall, I have to say this cigar completely exceeded the expectations I had for it. Construction was solid, draw and burn were both very good. The complexity of the blend was very interesting and made it hard for me to put down. It never changed so much that it waivered from the initial profile, but enough to make it interesting. This one is an absolute no brainer for me. This is a box worthy purchase any day of the week at this price point. The only other cigar at this price that edges this Charter Oaks is the Rorshach by Black Works Studio. Do yourself a favor and pick up a few of these great cigars. They are available in other sizes as well. I did not pick up the Shade version of this because I am much more a broadleaf guy but I would imagine it is good probably not as complex. This was a mild to medium smoke for me and would be great for beginners looking for a flavorful change, but it is complex enough that experienced smokers would enjoy as well. I am certainly getting more of these and I want to step up into the Tabernacle as well.

Paired with water for the first 2 thirds and Dreaming Tree Crush Red wine for the final third. Paired very well and I could certainly see this pairing with a scotch, rum or bourbon.

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I hope you enjoyed this review. Feel free to leave you thoughts, comments or reviews and as always, long ashes and full glasses. Peace!

 

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