Foundry Ramon Allones 550 robusto

Finally, the Nubbit Brothers give full review of a cigar new to the market, and it is a classic – the Foundry Ramon Allones!

Foundry Ramon Allones 550 robusto cigarNicaraguan puro
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan Proprietary
Filler: Nicaraguan from three different growing regions

Punch: I like the style of the copywriters for General Cigar’s Foundry division. Here is how they describe their two new Foundry blends scheduled for release to retail this September, 2015:

“The paradigm shifts once again. Time travel takes on a new meaning.”

“In homage to the past and a nod to the future, classics are reimagined. With a passport to forbidden tobacco, suddenly the old is new. You’ve expected the unexpected from Michael Giannini and Foundry Tobacco Company. Once again, the visionaries deliver.”

“Heritage brands are shone in a modern and contemporary light. Here is a futuristic interpretation of how two storied brands could look 10 years from now. The world’s best tobaccos mixed with the forbidden fruit.”

“But for now, while those leaves remains locked away, the blends tell the story. The best tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua and the USA expertly developed in true Foundry style.”

“Make way for the new classics.”

Draw: The new classics to which they refer are their new Foundry Ramon Allones and Foundry Bolivar brands, each of which pays homage to cigars of the same names produced over a century ago.

This Foundry Ramon Allones we are sampling has a black pepper kick right from the cellophane, and a dark tone of over-stretched rubber bands – you heard me, burnt rubber. It is an attractive oscuro wrapper with a dry, almost papery texture. No nonsense construction, with an unfinished foot and a pigtail cap. The band is huge on this 5 x 50 robusto, covering almost half its length. The band itself is in flat, bright colors and fonts which might suggest “clownish” in the American market unless you have experienced the vibrancy of street marketing in Central America or Europe.

P: Chopping the end (didn’t punch it cause it has a cute little pig-tail) gives a medium-tight draw for me. The tight draw is probably due to the semi-closed foot, or what General calls an “unfinished” foot. The pre-light flavor is meaty with a subtle sweet clove.

Draw: Meaty, with sweet clove – yes. Subtle. Yes. A light toasting of the wrapper yields grilled chicken skin and instant-tea powder. On second and third smokes, it is meaty still, this time with more seafood (seasoned in instant tea). Not so much clove as chili powder: savory, not hot.

P: I lit just the foot overwrap, just to get the flavor of only the burning wrapper – green chile, not the heat, just the greenness, then dry tea leaves or hardwood, and a touch of mango. I got a bit of cotton candy on the start of one of the three I smoked for this review, and shortly after the start on another one I got a hint of black licorice. Mmmm… I may have schizophrenic taste buds, but I’m liking this from the get-go.

D: Green pepper or green chile is all I got from the overlight. Initial flavor, which at the moment is essentially the fillers burning, is medium-roast coffee and mild green and black pepper. After lighting it thoroughly, more of the same plus mango and tea, as Punch called out. I’m thinking English Breakfast Tea. I’m also getting some stretched balloons as a “tunneling” flavor (it’s shooting through from attack to finish) on two of the three.

P: <rant>I have to chastise General for their irregularly updated web site. Some General brands are relatively current (Punch Signature), while others (like Foundry) have some one-year-old products still unrepresented (Chillin’ Moose). Well at least there is the Foundry web siteSurely it will have this year’s new offerings front and center… Oh… Well, maybe they are just putting the finishing touches on the new items… At least it has the Chillin’ Moose. Foundry’s page also needs a custom favicon to replace the amateur looking default icon on the browser tab. Back to General’s site: it is using an outdated security certificate and Chrome shows the insecure symbol indicating that, “This site uses a weak security configuration signatures (SHA-1), so your connection may not be private.” It has been this way for at least a couple of months. Being a web developer myself, I’m sensitive to things like these and would have lesser expectations of a small company’s web site, but General? (Private note to General Cigars: contact us!) </rant>

D: But, Punch, what about this CIGAR?

P: I’m digging it. The overall flavor intensity is fairly low – below medium, but the nuanced complexity keeps me pulling along. The flavors are in the middle of the spectrum, not particularly earthy, not peppery, with a very subtle sweetness and citrus rind dominating, keeping the character open and light.

D: I’m enjoying the complexity with tropical fruit, coffee, tea, spice, mild pepper and rubber bands, wow. It IS a circus of flavors! Ash retention is great for a robusto at more than two inches. Smoke volume is on the light side, and the smoke itself is fairly thin, with a sandalwood aroma (and a touch of creosote). On one of our samples, I tasted toasted coconut; on another, I noticed the black pepper more. This has a very “tropical” taste to me; I keep seeing an image of a palm tree on a beach. This might be a great afternoon smoke with your piña colada, before your evening beach boil. I think the tropical flavor is papaya.

P: Into the second third the flavors are getting cleaner, less wood, more acidic citrus zest. I would not have thought of tropical flavors on my own like you did, Draw, but I won’t call you crazy for making that association based on the flavor thus far. There are plenty of other things I can call you crazy for, but this is not one of them. 

D: Er… in the middle, the rubber band and coffee notes seem to be escalating… Not so much coffee though as jalapeno leather. Mmm, okay, there’s coffee,  jalapeno leather, toasted coconut, and the papaya which tasted pickled.

P: For me I notice some sweetness has been building gradually; there are mild vegetals, and the flavor is becoming richer. Just in time, too, because the previous profile was getting old. There is also a noticeable pepper in the nose now. Very pleasant.

D: Definitely richer. I’m hot-boxing… wow, I just can’t get enough!

P: Into the last third the flavor intensity is building. There is a sharpness to the profile – not harshness, more of an acidity, like lime (the fruit, not the alkaline chemical). Still with vegetals and the open citrus carrier, in just the right proportion to have a nicely balanced profile. Just as I say that, the complex vegetal took over and sent the profile into a very unnatural and distasteful direction. I’m done!

D: Yes. At the nub, I really taste the rapid vegetal shift that Punch describes. A brief purge sends the lime away for several puffs, allowing the full rich flavor to skulk through. On one of these Foundry Ramon Allones I really felt the nicotine; at least mild, maybe more medium. I haven’t had anything to eat with it. On the other two, I didn’t feel it so much.

Burn It or Spurn It?

Punch: Burn away. The Foundry Ramon Allones was a nice stick. Not overpowering in intensity, nice, smooth, slightly sweet citrus for the most part. with a small rise of complexity in places – just enough to keep it interesting. In the last third vegetal complexity and vanilla came in. Stop midway through the last third to have the best lasting impression, as it turned distasteful shortly thereafter. I didn’t notice any nicotine effects. My burn and draw were very good.

Draw: Yeah, burn it! The intensity never really went over medium, but the character was moody and sweet, consistent but temperamental. The strength is somewhere between mild and medium. A rich set of meaty, earthy, fruity and spice. Great burn and aroma. These are available in three vitolas, the other two bigger than the robusto. I think Foundry Tobacco Company has a solid position in the market as a retro-future reblender… the classics of tomorrow, yesterday! …or something like that. What they’ve done here is take an original blend, an original Cuban Ramone Allones from 1837, and spun it into something fresh, with no disrespect to the venerable Ramon Allones cigar. This is a great novation on a classic, or, not knowing the original, a great novation!

This full review is based on three sticks each, received with thanks, from General Cigar. Tune in for our follow up in six months and 18 months, to see how these age.

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Comment (1)

  1. […] My burn on all three was excellent. Compared to the Foundry Ramon Allones, which we just reviewed here, this Foundry Bolivar had greater variety throughout with higher highs and lower lows. I think […]

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